Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.
And if you’re Catholic, or just like the idea of giving something up for Lent, you most likely spent yesterday the same way I did: stuffing your face.
x4 or 5 or 6…
This year, the six weeks of Lent happen to also be the last six weeks of my pregnancy. When my husband and I discussed what we were giving up last week, he was surprised I had planned to give up anything. After all, I’ve already given up three of my most favorite things: sleeping on my stomach, running fast, and lunch meat.
Still, it’s important to me to give something up for Lent. Besides religious reasons*, I’ve made some great, lasting healthy lifestyle changes that started during Lent. I kicked my fast food habit my senior year of high school, I realized I didn’t have to binge drink every weekend to have a good time in college, and I finally stopped using artificial sweeteners (I was a Splenda addict) five years ago.
I had grand plans of giving up buying anything that wasn’t a necessity this year. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but my 2014 goal has been to really get our finances under control. Things have been going well so far and I’m proud of our progress, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. So, I thought 40 days without buying anything extra would be the perfect challenge – a new behavior that would hopefully last.
But I just don’t think the timing is right with the pregnancy. These are my last few weeks alone with Wyatt, and there are plenty of extras I don’t want to give up because I know they’ll go away soon anyway. I want to go on weekly lunch dates with him, take him to playdates at museums that have an admission fee, and treat him to frozen yogurt just because. I know this is selfish and not in the Lenten spirit at all, but it is what it is.
So, I’m giving up chocolate again this year. I feel like this is my old standby. It won’t be easy to quit chocolate cold turkey when I’m super pregnant, but I figure it’s a good time to tame my sweet tooth – it’ll be 100x worse when I’m nursing!
All from the last 2.5 weeks. Think I have a slight chocolate problem?
Staying away from chocolate won’t be a permanent change, nor would I want it to be. I’m also giving up social media when Wyatt is awake. I would love to break up with my phone all together, but sometimes editors email a few writers potential assignments and it’s first come, first serve. So, I have to check my email pretty constantly. But I don’t have to play on Instagram all the livelong day or constantly look for deals in my neighborhood’s marketplace on Facebook. I’d love this change to last so fingers crossed!
What are you giving up or doing for Lent?
*I do not want this to turn into a debate whether it’s “right” to give up something for Lent or not. I know giving up chocolate or beer or whatever for 40 days is not a real sacrifice, believe me. I always stick with my Lent commitment, but rarely any other challenges because doing it over Lent is more than just a ritual for me, it actually means something. I don’t feel like getting into religion further here, so we can agree to disagree if this isn’t for you. Thank you!
What a week! A couple of weeks ago, I was complaining that the city of Charlotte was essentially shut down for three days because of a 1/2 inch of snow (we had nothing like Atlanta did).
We’re under another snow-related shutdown, but this time we have 8 inches of the white stuff in my south Charlotte town!
This time, the shutdown is completely warranted. We simply don’t have the resources to deal with winter weather. The snow is unreal. I moved south 13 years ago and this is by far the largest snowstorm I’ve experienced since being here (we’ve had a few ice storms, though, that were far more disabling).
We got an inch of snow on Tuesday morning, and it stopped by the afternoon. The bad stuff wasn’t set to hit until Wednesday late morning. When I woke up Wednesday, everything (including the gym) was already closed and it was just flurrying out, so I went running!
Oh my gosh, it was so much fun. I know northerners will mock me, but this was only my second time running in falling snow ever. It picked up while I was out there, so I took it really slow, walked down hills, and stayed in my neighborhood. But it was just the coolest experience ever! I got in 3 miles at an 11:00ish minute pace and had the biggest grin plastered across my face the entire run. You’d think I’d just broke 1:40 in a half marathon or something.
As soon as I got home, I told Jeff to head out for a run because I didn’t want him to miss out on the experience. He ran (much) further and faster than I did but he had the same reaction – and came in with icicles on his goatee ha!
Later, I saw my friend and neighbor Lindsay post her snow cream creation on Instagram and I knew I had to try it. Is snow cream is a southern thing? I’d never heard of it and neither had my NJ friends and family. It was surprisingly good – even Wyatt was a fan!
Whisk 1c milk, 1/4-1/3c sugar, and 1/2 tsp vanilla until foamy. Gradually add 4-5c of snow, top with sprinkles, and enjoy!
Then we headed out into the snow. I played with Wyatt in the snow the day before but now there was so much more on the ground. He loved it.
Unfortunately, I suck and did not have the proper gear for my little guy – no boots or snow pants. Here’s a trick that kept him pretty dry, though – we wrapped plastic grocery bags around his feet up to his knees before putting on his pants, socks, and shoes. Jeff used to do that growing up, and I was surprised by how well it worked.
Learning to make snow angels!
Still, he was slipping and sliding all over the place in his sneakers. But he didn’t seem to mind!
It was only when he dove head first into the snow and couldn’t get it out of his eyes that it was game over.
Eventually, the snow turned to sleet and then freezing rain. It was heavy, too! I woke up around 2 a.m. on Wednesday night to the sound of loud freezing rain. By Thursday morning, I’d hoped it was over. Nope, we got a few more inches of the heavy white stuff.
By yesterday afternoon, it started melting.
One snow day is fun, but two snow days is one too many. However, I’m glad Wyatt got to experience the snow and a part of me hopes we get a substantial storm (where we don’t lose power) every year for his sake.
But I’ll be happier when spring is here. Rumor has it it will be in the 70’s next week! Bring it on.
Oh – happy Valentine’s day! I hope you’re spending it with people you love!
On Sunday, I will have been blogging for three years!
Blogging is a weird thing. Three years ago, I felt comfortable blogging about almost any subject – running and yeast infections, anyone? -- but now I feel a lot more guarded. I’m sure you could tell by my hiatus last Fall, but it’s tricky figuring out what I feel comfortable sharing sometimes. I want to share and be honest enough to relate with you guys – that’s my favorite part of blogging, after all – but I also want to protect my son and, admittedly, my own feelings.
Most of the time the accountability that blogging offers is a great thing -- I love sharing most of my running and parenting stories! Other times, it’s pretty embarrassing. When I was running the Long Branch half marathon a few weeks ago and heading into the porta-potty for the third time, I didn’t think “oh boo, my race time is really going to suck.” I thought, “ugh, I’m going to have to blog about this!” Which is so silly. Obviously I’m not the only runner to experience mid-race stomach problems (in fact, about 65% of you probably have).
I genuinely appreciate every single one of you reading my blog – especially through all of the topic and tone changes throughout the years! You guys have helped me become a smarter runner (emphasis on the –er part), a more confident mom, and a more mindful writer. Blogging has opened up some really cool doors that have lead to some awesome opportunities and wonderful friendships. And it’s all because of you. Thank you so much for supporting this hobby of mine.
I’m going to do the same thing I did last year. Leave a comment below telling me what your favorite running shoes are -- and I'll buy one of you a pair of your choice! Entries will be accepted until 11:59 eastern time on Monday, May 27, 2013. A winner will be randomly chosen and announced in next Wednesday’s post. Good luck!