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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tuesday workout!

So, I know that you can't have every piece of workout equipment out there. Stability balls, Bosu balls, exercise balls (which may or may not be the same as a stability ball, depending on who you're talking to or how much you've had to drink), medicine balls...


I haven't even gotten to the yoga mats, body bars, kettlebells, dumbells, barbells, ankle weights, wrist weights, dancer bars, swimsuits, swim caps, ear plugs, bike helmets, bike gloves, sports bras or castanets.

I found this workout ages ago in Women's Health, and when I find a workout I like, I carefully tear it out of the magazine and stash it in a huge manila envelope called PUPS'S WORKOUTS. I have only done this particular workout once before, so I was excited to adapt it to the HIIT formula of 50 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, repeat 4 workouts three times. 12 minutes of heaven or hell (depending on who you're talking to or how much you've had to drink).

It does require a relatively specific piece of equipment though: a medicine ball. And that's not something that I actually own. However, I am lucky enough to have a kung fu master as a husband, and in their tech classes (2 hours of sweat and occasional blood), they use what Todd calls pearls.

It's essentially a medicine ball, but one that is painstakingly, devotedly made over a long period of time. It takes countless strips of newspaper taped over like, a wad of masking tape or something similar, and over it goes those newspaper strips, until what started off smaller than an apple is now the size of a volley ball. OR HEY. The size of a medicine ball!

After the newspaper, Todd thoroughly goes over with countless strips of duct tape. And once Sifu Todd has deemed it worthy, it's finished. So you know, I used that.


Medicine Ball Workout

50 seconds each move, 10 second rest. Repeat the set of four moves three times, only ten seconds rest between sets. Total time: 12 minutes (well, 11:50 but you'll definitely use those last ten seconds to stand there panting between gulps of water).

1. Squat and Throw

Stand with feet shoulder width apart, medicine ball (PEARL) chest height. In one motion, squat down with your hooker butt out so your knees don't pass your toes, and slam the ball down hard on the floor in front of your toes. Catch the ball and stand up. Make sure to engage your core and keep your chest out. Repeat

(I am not sure how bouncy legit medicine balls are so adjust the strength of your throw depending on that)

2. Jackknife

Lie on your back, legs straight and feet together, holding the ball with straight arms over your head. You are one with the floor. You are a line! You are one with the ball! It one fluid motion, engage your core and bring your left foot straight up in the air, and bring the ball, arms straight, to touch your toe. Return to lying down, but make sure not to slam the ball on the ground above your head. You want to use muscles, not momentum. Repeat with right leg.

You could do either 25 seconds left leg, 25 seconds right leg, or just switch back and forth.

3. I Don't Even Know What To Call It

Stand with feet together, ball held at chest height. Bend your left leg and bring your knee in towards your chest. In one movement, extend your left leg out and slightly to the left while you extend the ball with straight arms forward and slightly to the right. If your balance is as appalling as mine, don't go to the side as much and just focus on going back with the leg, forward with the ball. Do the left leg for 25 seconds and switch to the right.

This exercise is far easier if you keep your core engaged.

4. Lunge and Toss

Stand with the ball at chest height. Drop down into a lunge while simultaneously tossing the ball lightly into the air. Once you're lowered into your lunge, catch the ball. Use your abs to stabilize yourself and squeeze your glutes down into that lunge to steady your body for the impact of catching the ball. Stand back up and repeat on the same leg. Do one leg 25 seconds and then switch.

I loved this workout. It was simple and easy to memorize so I wasn't having to check back with my paper. It was fun and enough of a challenge to sweat, but not so complex in movement that my form suffered. I loved how quick and easily the transition between moves was. Plus there is something cathartic about slamming a big heavy object onto a concrete floor.

If you don't have a medicine ball, then try anything that can bounce. Or just use a ten pound weight and instead of slamming it on the floor or tossing it into the air, mimic the movements without the weight leaving your grasp.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Home Sweet Hey-oh!!

So many moons ago, perhaps 12 of them or more, I posted how we finally got off our asses and did some improvements to our home. Its original title was rental house, and once we leave it will revert to that status, so we had been reluctant to spend a lot of money on a place that was, in the grand scheme of things, just a temporary abode.

This November we will have lived in this place for three years. That's nothing to shake a stick at, though I know it's still just a blip of time when you consider the long run. Aside from the horrible kitchen (I hate you, cabinets. I loathe you, receded grout), and the majorly outdated bathroom, and the fact that we could seriously benefit from a third bedroom and second bathroom, it's a great house. It charms the pants off of people. If Todd were still single it would be one hell of a wingman. Is that inappropriate? I am not sure, I've not even had all my iced tea this morning.

Back to the house! It's a charmer. It's a cutie patootie. We love our neighborhood and neighbors, we love the backyard and its super rad fireplace. But we were facing a tough decision coming down the pike within the next six months or so: what to do when we have baby number two? I'm not getting any younger and Todd's gray hairs are multiplying as if I had something to do with it. It's time to expand the family. But... Two bedrooms? ONE bathroom? Jesus, take the wheel.

I know, I know, back in the days of yore, people made families consisting of ten children in a no bedroom house with dirt floors and a cow in the family room. But whatever. We do  have another rental not too far from here, with great tenants that we'd hate to displace, but with that third bedroom, that second bathroom, that we so badly desire. Eventually we just decided we'd move in there.

But, and wow it's a big 'but' (and I cannot lie!)... It's the ugliest house on the street, and the street is ugly too. Not only that, but Todd would have to convert it from swamp cooling to A/C. He'd have to gut one of the bathrooms. We'd have to completely gut and remodel the kitchen. We'd have to convert the garage into a family room/playroom/office for Todd. The backyard is a giant dirt field. There is a decrepit old cedar tree in front and since I am a country girl from Nashville, I know those things attract ticks. A nasty old chain link fence needs ripping out in the front. Did I mention we'd have to convert the garage into a family room/playroom/office for Todd?!

It was a lot, and we were looking at a bill of several thousand dollars, all for an ugly house neither of us wanted to live in. Let me try and shed a little light on just how ugly it is: when Todd took us to go take a look at it, I involuntarily, and out of nowhere, burst into tears. Yep! Spontaneous despair. It's that bad.

So naturally, we were kind of stressing out about it. True, there were going to be some good things about it. Extra bathroom, mainly. We had some cool ideas for the backyard, as well. I'd finally have enough room to get a desk of my own, and a sewing machine, and I was going to Laura Ingalls Wilder the fuck out of stuff.

Then, the other night, just last week, we were discussing it. Now, my disdain for the place was obvious but Todd finally let it all out that he too was pretty down in the dumps about leaving our cutie patootie home for this other shit shack. We both wished we could figure out a way to just stay in our place until the opportunity presented itself to buy another property in the area of town we truly wanted to live in. Alex's bedroom was just so small though; there'd be no way to fit a crib in there with her toys, and I didn't want to compromise so much of her comfort.

And then it hit me. Switch bedrooms! All we have in our bedroom are a king bed, two dressers and two nightstands. We have a cool chair in there that I bought in New Orleans but I quickly assessed where we could put that. I mentally decorated Alex's room with our stuff, and arranged hers and Mystery Baby's stuff in our bedroom and it worked, perfectly. I told Todd and the relief we both felt was palpable.

I'm just so happy to stay in our home. We've shaken out all the growing pains that comes from adjusting to a new home and though it's small and will feel smaller still when we are a family of four, it's ours and we love it. Someday quite soon we'll pack up and say goodbye to our little house, but I'm so happy to know that we will just be moving once, and not making a years-long pit stop at the shit shack.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Fish Tacos!*

But Jil, you say. Jil, there is not a damn taco on this plate. Where are the fixin's? Where the fuck is the food, you say.

Aha!, faithful reader and a half, I retort. There ARE tacos and there ARE fixin's. I just couldn't resist taking a photo of this lovely fresh looking arrangement. Turn away if you do not like cilantro. Mom, I know you're trying your best, and I am proud of you.

Anyways, we had these Tuesday night and they were scrumptious. In addition to what you see, I had sauteed mixed baby bell peppers and red onion, and some heated corn tortillas waiting for us at the coffee table, where we eat like children, or maybe homeless people if either of those demographics had their own coffee tables.

YOU ARE SO INSENSITIVE JIL. Well, where else would a child or a homeless person have coffee? In a sippy cup? A rum bottle? Actually that sounds a lot like how most parents probably drink their coffee.

Look man, I've had four hours of sleep.

Fish Tacos
serves two

6 - 8 baby bell peppers, sliced into sticks
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
olive oil
12 oz white fish (pictures is mahi mahi)
2 tbsp flour
Garlic powder
Ancho chili powder
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 lime, quartered
1/2 avocado, sliced
6 corn tortillas
Pico de gallo if you are a bad ass

Pat your fish dry and then just when you think their humor couldn't possibly get any more sardonic, pat them dry again.

Heat oil in a cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat until piping hot, and add your peppers and onions. I wish you guys could see the sleep deprived typos happening over here, man. Saute/stir fry until tender and slightly carmelized, about 10 minutes or so.

While that happens, dredge your fish fillets in the flour, and then sprinkle with the garlic and chili powders. If you want kick, add some cayenne, man, whatever.

Remove the peppers and onions and keep warm. Add a bit more oil and if you are so inclined (I was), add a bit of butter. Fish and butter, people. Don't make them divorce. Cook about two minutes a side or until you achieve some nice golden color.

While that cooks, wrap your tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for thirty seconds. Leave those bitches in there until your fish is done.

When it's finish, plate up in such a fashion that it shames my photo above. Take the bowl of peppers and onions to the table and IF YOU ARE AN ASSKICKER you will cover the bowl with the plate upon which you heated your tortillas, keeping everything warm.

Yes, I am smart, actually, an internet IQ test proved it. Although I just found out yesterday that you don't need to highlight a word to italicize, or bold it, or underline it, you simply need to have your cursor within the word. Try it out. Impress your friends.

Enjoy those tacos, man.

*This post was written on Friday, the same day as the HIIT post, and yes, Jil is on four hours of sleep, and no she didn't do it two days in a row. I don't even know if that makes sense.

Friday, July 19, 2013

I Think I sHIIT My Pants

Okay, so.

So! I am so excited. Amped. Pumped!

Remember earlier this week when I linked to Dooce, and then afterwards to Bodyrock? Well I did more poking around, and Bodyrock led me to Daily HIIT and so far all week I've done these 12 minute kick your ass HIIT (that stands for high intensity interval training, mom) routines, and consequently, I've been sore for the week.

I signed up for the HIIT beginner challenge, and they email you a workout a day. I was hooked instantly when four seemingly innocuous exercises, done for 50 seconds with 10 seconds between, three times in a  row, kicked my ass and made me sweat as if I'd just run three miles. I mean, come on. What? 12 minutes manifests intself into a 5k's worth of sweat and exhaustion? I'm not limping the next day (more than usual)? IS THIS SPARTA?

Yesterday was a stretch day but since Jilly pups over here drank the koolaid I was like oh hell no, and I (virtually) marched onto their website, found another workout and proceeded to pound it out while Alex screeched "I WANT ATTENNEN" while eating her dinner of pasta and parmesan, like who the fuck wants attention while eating pasta? I want a dark room and zero witnesses.

By the way, if a toddler is fake coughing while eating her food and you pause your work out to ask fondly, sweatily, "Aww, do you want attention?" and she goes "Uh-huh" and you laugh sweetly and ruffle her hair and feed her a bite of bell pepper, just don't. Quantam leap yourself to the past and stop yourself from saying "do you want attention?" because she is going to go FUCK YES I AM THREE for the duration of your workout.

This is my workout from yesterday.

This is the beginner challenge.

Now, while I love the content, the actual website layout is not my favorite for a few reasons; the first workout I linked you to is the fourth in the HIIT Body program series, but there's not a way to find the first three. Yeah yeah, there are arrows to each side of the program link, but they don't go anywhere. I have a feeling this is a relatively new website, since their Blog page is in Beta.

The second reason is that their workouts are not categorized as beginner, intermediate or advanced. I mean, look, I've been working out for almost a decade, but there are still plenty of ways that exercise could make me injure myself or worse, throw up on my living room floor (but it's concrete, Jil!), and I also like knowing in advance what I'm getting myself into.

I also wish that they'd give you a series of workouts you can do in a week. Like, stackable routines. But, they do have a dropdown menu where you can find upper body, lower body, all over, etc, so I guess I will  just have to build my own, kind of like a teddy bear.

But aside from those complaints, I'm in love. I have NEVER been one to follow a fitness DVD. I figure you memorize a routine, throw on some music and do it alone. But these routines are a bit more intense than the pilates I am used to, and I loved playing the video and doing it as the instructor did it. They tell you what to look for in each move, what to do, to engage your core, and yes, in some videos they say "don't give it 10% or 50%, give it 110%" and shit like that, which is eyeroll worthy until you check out this sexy toothpick with abs for days and you're like, you know what sweetheart? YOU ARE ON.

It has motivated me in ways other than just working out. I've been managing my calorie intake and thanks to some internet research and talks with my friend Kat, I realized that if my BMR is 1573, aiming for a caloric intake of 1300 to 1500 will make my metabolism tank, so I've been meticulously making sure I eat more than that, and it's been amazing. I used to have the metabolism of a Budweiser horse, man. Eat two Big Macs and never gain a pound. I wonder how much all this obsessive cardio and calorie deprivation I've done over the years has negatively affected that.

I've been sleeping better, eating better, training better all week and I feel great. I couldn't get to sleep until 3am last night either, since Todd let me sleep in yesterday, but I'm still here, up and alert and relatively chipper. I'm not saying it's the working out, but I am saying it's probably the working out. As Elle Woods says, exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't kill their husbands.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Three Months to Three Years

You know, he was the first to make her laugh. It was September 2nd, 2010. Todd threw him pieces of paper that he'd jump around trying to snap at. You'd think a 100lb fang-tooth snapping his jaws all over the place would inspire fear, but I'm sorry, she is a fire sign and only fears repression. Her top five favorite things are highway robbery, winning arguments on the internet, prank calling the pope, skulking around catacombs and getting inside-joke text messages from Frank Black.

(Jil, those are your favorite things).

He still makes her laugh, you know. I'll have him "wipe his feet" which Todd taught him, where he spins in a circle, eager for a treat. Alex will laugh hysterically, twirling like a ballerina right there beside him, her only treat being, of course, the camaraderie that ensues. And he's so patient with the whole tail-pulling, screeching with laughter near his highly sensitive ears game.

Turns out her favorite things are actually destroying the house, having daddy throw her high into the air or launch her far onto the bed or let her walk on the ceiling, putting her stuffed animals in her little kitchen's microwave, running around the house letting Bingley chase her and pulling Patton's tail. So you know, still all fire sign things.

Most of Patton's favorite things are grosser than that, but one of them is definitely getting cuddles and kisses from his best non-kitty friend.

Monday, July 15, 2013

It's a goddamn fitness post!

Well, shit son! We haven't had one of those in forever. I've been struggling maintaining frequent workouts throughout the week because I like to work out outside. I gave up  my gym memberships because ugh, gyms, and because I was running and biking and swimming there. Doing weights. Well, I run and bike outside. I can swim at the city pool two minutes from my house for $2 a visit. I have weights at home.

But now, it's hotter than hell outside and when it's under 100 degrees, the humidity is through the roof and there's the threat of afternoon rain and lightning and ALL ABOARD THE COMPLAIN TRAIN so there's that. But seriously, folks, the last bike ride I did was in 106 degree heat and I was fairly sure that I would make the news for being the dead girl found in a pool of her own vomit.

So, last week I decided to really ramp up the at-home, indoor workouts. I did my usual routine on Monday but subbed out burpees for mountain climbers. So here is what that was:

15 pushups
20 crunches on exercise ball
40 second plank
15 bicep curls with weights
15 squats with medicine ball (hold medicine ball straight up over your head. Squat, bounce the ball hard onto the floor, catch it and stand while lifting the ball over your head again)
30 bicycle crunches or 15 fold outs
30 mountain climbers.

I do those moves three times with a very short break between sets. Then the next workout I did incorporated more back and butt, which I have been neglecting lately.

30 supermans
40 second plank
15 tricep kickbacks with weights
15 backwards leg lifts per leg. Stand in front of a wall and place your palms on the wall for stability. Slowly lift one leg backwards, squeezing your glute while you do it. Return foot to floor. That's one. You can also do this on your hands and knees and lift your foot towards the ceiling.
15 bent over rows with weights
16 walking lunges with weights
15 bicep curls

I also do this set for a total of three times.

I was pleasantly sore in several places last week, and so I'm liking the idea of doing workout one on MWF and the second one on TTH. That way I never have to step foot out of the house and am only sweating because I earned it and not because the sun is trying to set my skin on fire. Plus my heart rate gets a nice healthy spike.

BUT THEN. I was on Dooce today and she posted the workout she does when she's pressed for time but still wants to flirt with vomiting, and it looks like a really, really good challenge. I don't.... I don't know if I'll try it, namely because the first exercise looks like you have to jump and land on your knees? I'm not sure. I can't check out the video of it right now, but will study it this evening and guauge whether or not I can handle it.

But if I can't muster the courage to try it, I think I will be doing the above two workouts all week long. I want to run tomorrow but the old plantar fasciitis has reared its ugly head again, and the idea of cleaning the house Wednesday while hobbling around like a crippled work horse has really lost its apeal.

Happy Monday and happy sweating!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

This GF MFer.

I mean, would you just look at that guy? If he was selected to go on America's Next Top Model, he'd win. For one thing, there'd be no requirement for a makeover. If anything, those morons would be rallying for a makeunder in an attempt to sabotage what I'm sure would end up a flawless portfolio.

Everytime I think of a model's portfolio I think of that scene in The Great Muppet Caper where Miss Piggy shows Lady Holiday her, well, portfolio.

Anyways, this sporty son of a bitch (that's not cussing, that is just stating a fact). We spent the night over at some friends' house to celebrate the 4th of July, and they have a pool. We brought the dog because WHAT COULD GO WRONG amiright, and some youngsters had a blast throwing toys in the pool once they realized that this dog would chase anything, into anywhere. I mean, this is a dog who literally wants to chase bullets.

So for the entire afternoon the dog was hounded by kids and goaded into jumping into the pool over and over and over again. Then at night after the kids left, Alex went to bed and the wine started flowing in earnest, and we ladies had some fun jumping into the pool, Patton chased US into the pool. All night. Every goddamn time we'd jump in the pool, Patton would be all "WELL DAMN HUMAN NO DROWNING ON MY WATCH."

Hey, hey there. Did I ever talk about on here how Patton once tried saving Todd from the pool at his parents' house? Yeah, that's a thing. That's a thing that happens. So Todd was hanging in the pool and that was okay, Patton was still sort of pacing around the pool all quelle horreur, my master needs me but how can I herd him without drowning. But it was okay.

THEN Todd decided he wanted to swim a few freestyle strokes and Patton was like WHAT THE FUCK IS THE MATTER WITH YOU and leaped into the pool, chasing Todd down the length of the pool. Todd describes what happens next as such: "So he's swimming up to me, and his claws are digging into my chest, but then he put his teeth around my shoulder by my neck, so at that point I was like, I'm just going to go with it." And then Patton, with 6'7" Todd in his mouth, turns and drags him to the steps. So you know, Patton is a lifeguard. Just one with wildly inappropriate guidelines as to what constitutes drowning.

Now before you start injecting reason and logic into this blog post, because why the hell would I do that, the reason we brought Patton along was so we could sleep over. The whole idea was to put him in our guest room while people swam, and then let him out while we were done. But in the first five minutes of doggy introductions, so he could sniff and say hi to everyone, one of those kids threw something in the pool, and that was it.

There were some other things like Patton running into a jumping cholla bud and Todd having to painstakingly pluck out every single thorn (Jumping cholla is the palo verde beetle of plants out here, just a total asshole), but for the most part, the day and evening were punctuated with the intermittent splashing of a 100lb dog jumping into the pool. The water displacement all over the deck was unreal.

The next day, Patton could barely walk. Upon closer inspection we realized that at some point that afternoon or evening, he'd cut one of his rear paw pads on the flagstone that surrounds the pool. But regardless of that, he kept jumping in to "save us" from the water. Repeatedly. Like, his theme song should be "500 miles" by the Proclaimers. For more reasons than just the repetition, or the catchiness, or the devotion the song describes.

He hobbled around for a couple of days, and then that photo was taken, that sporty as all get out dog, happy as a pig in mud, happy with his mangled toy, something else to chase. I love this damn dog. If there's a better one out there, then no. No, sir, I do not accept that possibility. Now, good day, sir, and kindly look at that happy as hell dog once more, because he's America's next top model.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Growing Up.

Over the past couple of weeks, we've accumulated all the necessary accoutrements for Alexandra's graduation from crib to big girl bed. First the mattress was delivered; then Alex and I picked out her bedding; finally, yesterday afternoon, the frame itself was delivered. We had decided it was time for several reasons.

She could, and did, climb in and out of her crib, and indeed that had turned into a now favorite morning ritual of her getting up, turning on her own lights and coming to crawl in our beds, announcing "I'm awake! I'm ready to start the day. I turned on my lights by myself!"

She has been too big for her pack n play for quite some time, and the last time we took her camping, and before that, to California, she had to sleep diagonally in it. This year we'd like to go back to California, and we knew it would be way, way too small. It was time to get her acclimated.

Further, lugging a goddamn pack n play places sucks. It takes up valuable car space that the dog could be using in order to sprawl out more comfortably. Plus just stuff. I hate stuff, man. But I love spending money on it? Whatever, that's another post.

Anyways, there were a couple of reasons to maybe not do it already. She LOVES her crib, loves hunkering down within its safe and snug barriers. Each time I'd check her out in there, all snuggled up, like this...

... I would always say to Todd, "Man, I wish I had a crib."

And then there's the other, obvious reason: changing to a big girl bed means she's growing up, growing older. No more snuggles, no more Word World or Elmo, no more fruit pouches and kissing boo-boos. No more shared tub times, no more Dee or Ha-Ha. It means one day she'll recoil in horror if I try to hug her, and will curse me to hell if I try to hug her in public. One day she'll move out. She'll get married, have her own kids and our relationship, while always strong and always there, will take a back burner as she very rightfully puts her own little family above her old one.

Ooh, does that sound over dramatic? Does that sound like I'm jumping the gun? Well, I'm not. Every little step leaves me so painfully aware of how fleeting a childhood is, but how, in painful contrast, everlasting and ever-changing parenthood is. I never realized that, of course, why would I, until I became a mother. Oh, how it hit me. Death itself seemed to loom on the horizon. Tick tock, it goes so fast.

I said last night after the bed was put together, "This is kind of breaking my heart." I was smiling as I said it, gazing down at her lolling about on that little twin bed, so dwarfed by our own king, but that looked as wide and empty as an ocean with her little body bobbing on it. But it was kind of true. It broke in good ways and in bad ways, broke out of joy for something that pleased Alex so much, broke out of sorrow for knowing that the first three years of her life have already been experienced, that there is no going back.

What's funny is I didn't realize how affected I was until I started writing this. I was going to talk more about the bed, but here I am, forced to confront mortality and the fragility of human connection, all thanks to a little twin bed.

Before Todd and I got married, my father stopped by my place of work with an old photo of me. I was about 10 or 12, with an old vintage hat on my head. My dad had these hats and some cool feather masks as decoration in his cool boho San Diego apartment, and I was horsing around with them. It was my first visit to see him after the divorce. We were giddy, and I think that came through in the photo, from me and from him, the photographer. Anyway, he came in and held it up to me and said "Where did she go? I miss that kid, and she's gone forever."

It hurt my feelings. I said "daddy, she's here, I'm right here" and didn't understand. But now I do. It was a month maybe before he'd be walking me down the aisle, symbolically and perhaps a bit literally giving his girl away to the new man in her life. The beginning of the end. Too vividly do I understand what he meant now.

When you do not have children, and I'm not being self-righteous or sanctimonious here, for there are slews of markers in one's life to show the passing of time (I'm looking at you, laugh lines, there is nothing funny about YOU), but when you do not have these little juggernauts running around you, the honesty of life's passing can seem a lot more vague. But when a child who came out of your body gets her big girl bed, and amazingly enough, adjusts 100% without trauma or difficulty, you feel dizzy a little bit, woozy maybe from the lightning snap passage of time.

Where did those three years go? Soon, it will be 10, 20, 30. It will be gone. Life will have happened, man, but you're standing there, missing your babies, thinking about the first big girl bed, wondering what color the bedspread was. Will I remember how easily she adapted to it? How I sneaked into her room that night, on my knees beside her bed, and rested my palm on her chest, felt the unconcerned, confident rising and falling of her breathing, gazed in awe at her dusk-soaked profile, mouth slightly open, black lashes like open fans resting on her cheeks, beauty and perfection radiating from her? How I wanted to cry, out of pride at her sleeping there like she'd been sleeping in a big bed her whole life, out of sorrow that she was no longer my little baby in her little crib? How writing these words made those unshed tears come down the next morning?

I don't want to forget. I don't want to move forward. I want to live here forever.