Crocheted Elephant Gift

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I made a crocheted elephant for my adorable nephew for a Christmas gift. It was a bigger project (and a bigger elephant!) than I expected starting out but I’m quite pleased with the results.

The pattern is from a book called Crocheted Wild Animals that features some really cute creatures and easy-to-follow instructions. I love handmade toys and can’t wait to make some for Miles when he’s older.

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Postpartum Diet Week 2

Here’s my first post in this series:

Also, I have been using the app TwoGrand to track my meals and workouts so I won’t be posting my workouts here anymore. You can follow me on TwoGrand under username margeauxvittoria.

And here’s what I’ve been eating this past week! Saturday and Wednesday were cheat days (in a big way). I also went off plan Tuesday night by stress-ordering a pizza (you’ve been there). But I’m pressing on. My photos are screenshots from the app mentioned above.

Breakfasts:

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1/4 cup steel-cut oats, cooked, with 2 tsp. maple syrup and a splash of 2%
2 scrambled eggs (cooked in coconut oil)
Coffee with 2 Tbsp. 1/2 n 1/2

Lunches (this was a little all over the place):

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-Lentil soup (1/6 of this recipe)
-100 calories carbs (I had pretzels, rice crackers, or quinoa)
-1/4 cup shredded cheese or a piece of fruit
-1/2 cup Edy’s Slow-Churned ice cream

Snacks:
Same as last week’s options

Dinners:

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-Pot roast with potatoes + green salad
-Stuffed butternut squash
-Taco salad
-Roast chicken and carrots with white rice
-The aforementioned pizza

Since I started doing this my weight has been consistently about three lbs. lower than where I was hanging out beforehand. My main goal over the holidays is to not gain any weight but I’m waiting to weigh myself until Wednesday so I don’t discourage myself unintentionally.

Introversion

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Any other moms out there struggle with reconciling their introverted-ness and motherhood? I’ve been really stressed out recently by not being able to go anywhere by myself for more than two hours. Being with an infant doesn’t quite feel like alone time either.

I’m not truly complaining – I enjoy being a mom. Just trying to figure out how to deal with my introverted tendencies simultaneously.

As we speak my parents-in-law are giving bottle-feeding another try with Miles. He hasn’t taken a bottle yet but if he does tonight maybe that’s my solution.

Macarons and Failure

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As of last year I decided to make homemade macarons a Christmas tradition. If you don’t already know, macarons are French cookies composed of two crunchy-chewy almond flour cookies with a filling sandwiched in between.

They’re finicky cookies to make, despite being the French equivalent of an Oreo. Egg whites must be aged then whipped; almond flour and superfine sugar blended together and sifted; ingredients combined just so with a technique called macaronage; shelled piped, left to sit, and then baked for just the right amount of time; cookies allowed to sit in the freezer to ripen and achieve that signature texture.

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I learned how to make them at a workshop at The French Pastry School in Chicago a few years ago, but didn’t actually attempt making them on my own until about a year later with a coworker’s help. Then I made them again for the last two Christmases. So I’ve made them a total of four times, two with help. Not much experience.

Here’s what I’m struggling with today: the macarons I just made are far from perfect. I should have used gel food coloring instead of liquid. I should have remembered that egg whites evaporate as they age because I didn’t have enough. I should have baked one batch longer and one for less time. I should have traced circles on the parchment so that the cookies would be perfectly round. I should have let them set on a more even surface than my bed so the shapes didn’t get messed up. I could go on. I know all the mistakes I made.

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Burnt.

If you’re anything like me, this kind of thing eats you up inside. But I’ve begun to practice sitting back and watching my emotional state unfold when I do something less than perfectly. It’s frightening. I place so much of my worth in my ability to not make foreseeable mistakes.

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Underbaked AND misshapen. 

As family and friends can tell you, in the past this would have triggered a giant meltdown and I probably would have thrown the macarons away. Failure is absolutely something I am not comfortable with. But this time I’m trying something different.

I wrote out a list of notes for next year’s Christmas macarons so I can learn from what I did. This year, I’m going to serve the imperfect macarons and refuse the urge to apologize for them to people who probably don’t know better anyway. And instead of letting these feelings of inadequacy and frustration rule my day, I’m going to observe them and then ignore them.

Maybe this seems like a ridiculous amount of contemplation to give to cookies. Maybe so. But if you struggle with perfectionism yourself, you know how seemingly unimportant things can eat away at you in a major way.

Life, and especially Christmas time, presents so many opportunities to either listen to perfectionism and let it steal from me or choose to ignore it and enjoy the messiness of real life.

Also, reality check: this is what I posted on Instagram today. I picked the prettiest mac, blurred out the background, chose a flattering filter, and sat back and waited for approbation to flood in and quiet my failure feelings. Social media can be such a lie and a crutch!

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11 Favorite Lines of Poetry

I judge a poem’s quality in part by the ability of its lines to function collectively and disparately. In a notebook I’ve written many line fragments from poems that speak to me more powerfully because of their briefness. Here’s a few favorites.

Walt Whitman 

By the sea, under the yellow and sagging moon,

The messenger there arous’d – the fire, the sweet hell within,

The unknown want, the destiny of me.

Sherman Alexie

You were a stranger. You were dark and brief.

And I am humbled by the size of your grief.

Juliana Baggott

You hate me

so well –

so thoroughly

only because you have practiced

(rigorous scales, taskmaster metronome)

hating yourself.

Terrance Hayes

All species have a notion of emptiness, and yet the flowers don’t quit opening.

Edgar Lee Masters

And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories,

And not a single regret.

Paul Hoover

You await a handsome savior,

but the plain man draws near…

Carl Sandburg

I have loved the prairie as a man with

a heart shot full of pain over love.

William Somerset Maugham

The tragedy of love is indifference.

Adam Lindsay Gordon

Life is mostly froth and bubble,

Two things stand like stone –

Kindness in another’s trouble,

Courage in our own.

Alice Meynell

I run, I run, I am gathered to thy heart.

Rupert Brooke 

Now, God be thanked, who has matched

us with this hour,

And caught our youth, and wakened us

from sleeping.

Workout Journal (Week of 12.14.14)

Sunday –¬†TIU Total Body Bliss Routine¬†

I’m continuing with the Tone It Up workouts because, since the schedule is already laid out for me, it’s one less thing to think about. I felt pretty good about this workout – it was challenging, but I felt like I could handle it.

Monday –¬†TIU Kettlebell Routine + 30 min. “Run”

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I used a 10 lb. dumbbell for this workout because I don’t have a kettlebell. It was challenging, especially the pistol squats, which I’d never tried before. I’ve decided a few of my short(er) term fitness goals are:

  • 20 full pushups
  • 20 pistol squats (10 each leg)
  • Run a 5K in 27 minutes

This run (my third postpartum) was progress. I ran a full mile with no walking, which was a definite improvement on my previous two runs. I still feel pretty pathetic but I’m pushing through that. (Fireworks added to hide map ūüôā ).

Tuesday –¬†TIU Ab Videos¬†

This¬†is the Tone It Up week schedule I’m working from¬†– I’m tired of doing individual links. Today I¬†added 40 uneven squats to my daily routine, inspired by this video that contains exercises to do to work up to pistol squats.

Wednesday РTIU Yoga + Arms, 1.7 Mile Walk 

Yoga first thing in the morning felt great – I enjoyed walking outside again too.

Thursday Р2 Mile Run + 10 Min. TIU Thigh Video 

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I felt like a badass today! Ran two miles and got into my running “zone” for the first time postpartum, then did 10 min. of thigh exercises plus my uneven squats. Actually feel like I can say I completed a “run” sans the “”.

Friday – 3 Mile Run + TIU Ab + Arm Workout

Ran three miles today with an average¬†11:10/mile! I’m psyched. I also did today’s TIU video plus my uneven squats and a new addition to my daily routine – pushups. I did one yesterday and I did two today. Planning on continuing by adding one a day. It was helpful to watch some YouTube videos about proper pushup form.

Saturday –¬†Rest Day

Had some definite fitness breakthroughs this week. I feel excited about my goals and as if they’re actually possible – always a good feeling! My runs definitely gave me that “runner’s high” feeling I was missing.¬†