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Reverb 2015

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#Reverb15 / Day 31 / Brand New

Kim and I are writing on a prompt a day for the month of December. Feel free to join in anytime!

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Prompt 31: Brand new. You can have a fresh start whenever you want. But there’s something nice about January 1. Share your plans for the new year.

This is my sixth year writing on these #reverb prompts in December. And this December was the fastest yet. Each December I think, eh, can I do this again? Write every day for a month on topics that require me to really think and often spill sides of myself that are less than attractive?

But then I always decide to do it, and each year I’m so glad I did. I do feel some pressure  to make each post a masterpiece. But the awesome thing about these types of month long projects is that you’ve just got to push something out. I can’t wordsmith a post to death because I got to get it out and on to the next.

I used to think that I shouldn’t post anything (or produce anything) unless it was perfect. I can’t put out shoddy work! This must be edited several hundred times!

But that meant I never put out anything. Because I couldn’t get it just right.

That’s why I love #reverb. I don’t have time for that. If I want to participate, I’ve got to go with the first idea that comes into my head when I read the prompt and then go.

And then a surprising thing happens. When I stopped holding back and self editing, I produced my best work.

It’s like when I teach group fitness. A new person will come to by BodyStep class, a person who hasn’t ever taken a BodyStep class. She won’t understand all the cues and jargon or the pace of the class. Maybe she’s deconditioned and, right now, she can’t do a burpee.

So her first class is kind of a mess. But she comes back again and now knows that I mean when I say “over the top” or “three knee repeater.” She comes back again and this time keeps up with all the cues. She comes back again and again and now she can do burpees more than half the time.

All this to say, you have to start somewhere. And it’s often kind of ugly. Okay. It can be really ugly. It’s like when each of my kids were learning to walk. They didn’t just walk one day. They crawled and scooted and fell over and tried again. And same thing when they learned to eat with a fork and put sentences together.

I see it everyday with Kate. She’s learning to read and write. And she gets SO MAD when she doesn’t know how to spell a word. Sound it out, I tell her. But it won’t be right, she screams.

Oh my little perfectionist.

That’s when I tell her, I didn’t always know how to write. I had to sound it out. And I didn’t know how to drive a car. I had to learn. And the first BodyStep class I taught was…well…let’s just say, not my best.

So rather than not do anything, let’s embrace that blank slate. Try again. And again. And once more.

On that note, I’m excited to share a couple projects I’m taking on this year. One is a collaboration with my friend, Elizabeth Chapman, from the blog Teaching Sam and Scout. (Here is a the podcast we recorded to learn more about her.) We’re collaborating on a project called B+ Goals: Because Done is Better Than Perfect.

On the 1st of each month, Elizabeth and I will share a couple of goals we have for the month. Some small, some bigger. And we will put in our best B+ effort. We’d love for you to join in and share your goals!

Secondly, since I love collaborating so much, Kim and I will continue with #reverb. We will write on one #reverb prompt a month until December (when we will do a prompt a month again). She and I also have another fun collaboration in progress that I can’t wait to share. Something different from #reverb and something that will stretch us and be totally fun. Look for that in February.

Personally, I’ve got some other projects up my sleeve. And they pair nicely with the word I picked for the year. More on that later.

So, let’s do it! Let’s not be afraid to be brand new.

#Reverb15 / Day 30 / Process Over Outcome

Kim and I are writing on a prompt a day for the month of December. Feel free to join in anytime!

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Prompt 30: Process Over Outcome. What did you take on this year where you truly enjoyed the process (and didn’t just focus on the outcome).

During the early weeks in my pregnancy with Thomas, I bled. A lot. It started around six weeks. I guessed I had a miscarriage. What else would be causing all this bleeding? My heart sank every time I discovered more blood. And more blood. And more blood.

I just figured this pregnancy wasn’t meant to be. Miscarriage rates are high, something like 1 in 4 pregnancies. So while I wasn’t all that surprised and I was grateful I already had two healthy children, it was a sad blow.

I called my OB about the blood but the nurse kept insisting that the baby might be just fine. No, no, I said, I’ve bled too much I think. But she kept persisting and scheduled me for a 7 a.m. ultrasound to check it out.

Still miserably nauseated I tucked my pajama bottoms into my faux Costco Uggs and made my way to the ultrasound. Laying on the cold table in a flimsy gown, the technician got to work.

“I’m sure there’s no heartbeat,” I said. “There isn’t, right?”

She squinted her eyes at the black and white screen and said, “No. There is a heartbeat. See, it’s beating.”

I thought I’d feel relief. But instead I felt wary. Beating, for now, I thought.

The technician said she’d report the results to my OB, and later that morning the office called me and said Dr. Wolf says everything looks good and when can I come in for my 8 week visit?

But I was still bleeding some. Something had to be wrong, right?

The nurse said no, there’s nothing wrong with your baby. Come in at 8 weeks and let’s check you out again.

So I made an appointment. And when 8 weeks rolled around my Mom took my unwashed and nauseated self to the exam. I laid back as Dr. Wolf jellied up her ultrasound wand and began the exam.

I held my breath. Waiting for the sad news.

But Dr. Wolf just smiled and said “there it is!”

And there it was. Beating away on the screen. Blink, blink, blink.

“But,” I croaked. “I had so much bleeding.”

“Yep,” she said, not at all concerned. “Sometimes we see a lot of bleeding. But everything’s okay!”

Shocked but still not feeling a wave of relief, I left my appointment with a roll of fuzzy ultrasound pictures and a prescription for Zofran. I hunkered down and waited for the nausea to dissipate.

It didn’t.

And then there was all the worry that this baby would try to come a little too early, like Michael.

But he didn’t.

I ended up walking around 4 centimeters dilated for over four weeks.

First this pregnancy tried to scare me into thinking it wasn’t going to take. Then I spent weeks and weeks worrying I’d deliver a micropremie. And now this baby is fully cooked and won’t come out!

Go figure.

I did not want to be induced with Thomas. I wanted him to come on his own, like his sister and brother did. I spent evenings wallowing on the couch while Dan rubbed my feet, anxious about emergency C-sections.

The night before my scheduled induction I whined to Dan I don’t want to do it this way! I don’t!

But I knew there wasn’t another way. Dr. Wolf and I discussed all the options, she assessed how I was progressing and this way was the best way for him and for me.

You would think, given this my third rodeo, that I would know I had zero control over this situation. I guess I’m a slow learner. Because I spent an exhausting amount of energy devoted to trying to control an outcome that was decidedly outside my control. In every single way.

Everything ended up going near perfectly with Thomas (Save for that one point where I blacked out and Thomas being directionally challenged and coming out sunny side up but in terms of deliveries, those things were pretty minor.). All that wasted energy, flailing around, trying to control bleeding or nausea or when he’d make his appearance.

I desperately wanted to know what was going to happen. And I believed if I fought hard enough against reality, I could bend the outcomes to my will.

I learned that that way never works. So the only option I have is to accept (over and over and over again) and live through those values I created. Letting go of the outcome and trusting the process again and again and again.

#Reverb15 / Day 29 / Decisions, Decisions

Kim and I are writing on a prompt a day for the month of December. Feel free to join in anytime!

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Prompt 29: Decisions, decisions. What decisions did you make this year? Were they easy to make? Or hard? How did you come to your decision? Did you make a pro and con list? Go with your gut? Ask for advice?

When it comes to making decisions I’m either so definite that I won’t entertain any other options. Or I have no idea what to do and resemble a squirrel darting around in the middle of the road.

This way!

No, this way!

No, the other way!

And I’ll ask everyone I know what I should do. I’m like the Davy Crockett of inquiry. Hunting down the right answer. Someone out there knows what I should do!

In the past I’ve been scared of  making decisions because I’m fearful I’ll make the wrong choice. I very much dislike regret and making mistakes. So I’ll hem and haw and won’t make any decision for fear it’s the wrong one.

But is an incredibility useless way to be.

Looking back I can come up with very few scenarios in which I think, eh, that wasn’t the greatest choice. And so far in our marriage, the biggest mistake we made was this one time when we bought a cheap washing machine.

Now that I’m over a decade into making my own choices, 100% of the time, I’ve come to realize very few things are permanent.

You don’t like the choice you made? How can you change it?

You decided to go down one path but now realize it’s not for you? Change it.

You were going one way and then a life event happened? Change directions.

Decide, go, adjust. Decide, go, adjust. Decide, go, adjust.

#Reverb15 / Day 28 / Home Town

Kim and I are writing on a prompt a day for the month of December. Feel free to join in anytime!

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Prompt 28: Home Town. Talk about where you lived this year. Why did you choose this area? Did you discover a new place in town you love? Tell us about it.

I’m a relic in these parts. Most people who live in the DC Metro Area are transplants. They’ve come from somewhere else and ended up here for job purposes. Many of them come here for short stints before heading back to where they came from or moving on to another part of the world.

But not me!

I wasn’t born here, and I spent my elementary school years in another state. But I consider myself a native to the Northern Virginia area nonetheless. I spent my formative years here, from eighth grade through high school and back again after college for graduate school. So around here, I’m pretty much a native.

And Dan is a native, too. Even more than me! He has lived in Northern Virginia almost all his life. It was pure happenstance and luck that when we met at U.Va. our parents lived 15 minutes from each other back up in Northern Virginia.

People are straight up SHOCKED when I tell them that I’m a native, Dan’s a native, and that our parents also live in the area, all of 15 minutes East or West.

When Dan and I were shopping for our first home, we knew this area inside out, backwards and forwards. The price of homes in that neighborhood versus this neighborhood. The distance from the nearest Metro stop. The proximity to 66. The school pyramids. Everything.

We picked Vienna based on price, abundance of young families, schools, and ability to be anywhere in about 20 minutes. And we love it here.

Last year when we moved in with my parents while we were building our house, we realized just how much we love it here. My parent’s neighborhood and town is lovely. I grew up in that neighborhood. But it didn’t feel like my town anymore since we’d put down roots in Vienna. Our friends lived in Vienna. The kids go to school in Vienna. Our pool is in Vienna. My gym is in Vienna. Our pediatrician is in Vienna. We missed it terribly.

Now that we’ve been back in our town for the past year, everything feels right. I know how to cut through all the backstreets. It takes me less than 10 minutes to get to Target. I see my Vienna friends often for coffee and chit chat (And run into them at Walgreens on Christmas Eve!).

I can’t go anywhere without running into someone I know (or one of my family members). And that’s just how I like it.

#Reverb15 / Day 27 / Worn Out

Kim and I are writing on a prompt a day for the month of December. Feel free to join in anytime!

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Prompt 27: Worn Out. What did you completely wear out and have to replace this year?

Many years ago for Christmas, Dan and I bought Rosemary a set of cordless phones. You know those giant packs of cordless phones at Costco? Yep. Those phones. So many phones.

Her old set was dead (probably from being put put in the fridge on accident). And she tended to lose them. So we bought her this giant pack so she’d always have a phone around.

She thanked us profusely and took the phones home. We knew she needed help setting them up, so a couple days later we went over to set up the phones.

We came over and couldn’t find them.

“Rosemary,” Dan said. “Where are your new phones? Did you plug them in to charge?”

She led us over to a closet, opened the door, and pointed to one of the shelves.

“Oh, no,” she said. “I’m just going to save them right here. For later.”

We convinced her there was no reason to save the phones. That they were meant to be used now. Especially since her old ones were barely working, and it was important that we were able to call her (and visa versa).

But I tell this story because I’m Rosemary’s Granddaughter. And I have a tendency to want to “save things” for later.

Not in a hoarder sense. Oh, heaven’s no. I’m all about getting rid of stuff. More what I meant is treating something “special” and therefore not using it. As in, “I’ll save that for a special occasion.”

I do this especially with things like art supplies. And then the paint and markers get all dried up before I have a chance to use them.

Or the beautiful leather bag I bought myself as a treat gathers dust in my closet because I’m afraid to use it.

Or the high end lipstick I bought eventually crumbles because I thought it was only worthy of being worn for special moments.

I don’t know what special moments I think are going to happen in the future. So I’m on a quest to use it up and wear it out. Whatever it is.

Two years ago I bought a pair of Chaturunga tights from Athleta. These are high end tights, retailing for $60+. After I bought them, I wore them once. And then tucked them into my drawer.

WHY?!

What “special occasion” sweat sessions especially deserved the Chaturunga tights?! They were meant to be worn! They were designed to be worn into the ground!

So I got those tights out. And I wore them and wore them and wore them.

I wore the crotch out of those tights.

In 2016 I hope I wear out a lot more things. I don’t want to die with pristine items in my drawer waiting for “some day.”

I also need a new pair of tights.

#Reverb15 / Day 26 / Another Year Older

Kim and I are writing on a prompt a day for the month of December. Feel free to join in anytime!

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Prompt 26: Another year older. You had a birthday this year. Do you finally feel like a grown up?

I feel like a grown up when I get real excited about stuff like amazing vacuums and high quality washers and dryers and driving a sensible car.

Or maybe that doesn’t make me grown up.

Maybe that makes me lame?!

Anyway. Sometimes it feels like I’m making it up. This is what grown ups do. But, you know what? I think we’re all making it up. It’s not that when you grow up, you know everything. It’s that when you’re a grown up you know you don’t know everything. So you make stuff up as you go, given the facts you’ve learned. And then fake it ’till you make it!

So, yeah, I feel grown up. I make up everything as a I go along. And I never say no to cake.