Sunday, June 30, 2013

Eating healthy on a cruise

Or not.

Turned out to be not. I debated long and hard and in the end decided (or just failed to decide the other way) to just eat whatever I wanted the whole time. So here is a list of things I did right and things I did, well, LESS right. And then we will all understand why I weigh about 6 lbs more than I did pre cruise.

1. Eat bread. They brought copious amounts of bread with every meal. At breakfast it was pastries, Danishes, bran muffins, slices of banana bread, at dinner it was just rolls, nothing special. I would have not missed out on life if I'd passed on the whole deal. But I didn't. Pass, that is. I ate some Danish type things, some days. I especially ate rolls when I had soup. With lots of butter. My version of self control was saving my bread and butter till I got my soup. (Bad)

2. Exercise. I did lots. I actually did a 5K or 2 nearly every day, and a couple times I ran (read: jogged slower than most people walked) 2 of them. I swam laps, did the elliptical thingy (in a somewhat spastic fashion, not pretty), and walked and walked and walked. And stairs! We were on deck 5. We never took the elevator. Going for a cookie meant going up 8 flights of stairs. So it didn't happen that often. But when it did, or when we went up there for other reasons, we took the stairs. (Good)

3. Sugar and caffeine. I had them. I took a break from my fast and ate stuff with sugar and caffeine. The chocolate desserts were not good, but chocolate ice cream was worthy. So was the creme brûlée. Which is my favorite. Which was available every day. And I had some. Nearly every day. And coffee. Lots of coffee. (Bad)

4. Other indulgences. I had hot chocolate a few mornings, shrimp cocktail most evenings (it was only 5 small shrimp), and a couple days got an extra entrée. I got a snicker bar in Denali and frozen yogurt in Anchorage. I had fish and chips several times. The best was at Humpy's in Anchorage. All pretty much worth it, I'd say. But I was very full after nearly every meal. (Bad)

5. Frugality. I think I did pretty well as far as not overdoing stuff that cost extra. I took stuff to make oatmeal for all the breakfasts off the boat. I had stuff to do lunch also, but we were always checking out and transporting, so that didn't work. We took Starbucks Via instant coffee also, so the one trip to Cafe Artigiano in Vancouver was the only coffee purchase. We were pretty conservative about our souvenirs, too, as conservative as you can be and buy for 13 kids. (Good)

My favorite parts were: seeing whales, running around the deck surrounded by ocean every day and mountains many days, walking and talking with my husband after many meals, frequent naps, eating yummy food without cooking or doing dishes, reading a whole book, hearing an Athabascan woman tell her story and sing her song, watching my friend paint the mountain, finding a piano when I needed it most, getting off the beaten path, writing postcards to my children and talking to them on the phone, swimming in an indoor outdoor pool in Vancouver, buying presents for my babies, meeting people on the cruise and hearing their stories (including an older couple who won the trip and a man who defected from Poland in his teens), and seeing my children again.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

First born

A long time ago, at a hospital not far away, we walked in as Two and came out as Three, he a father, I a mother, she a daughter. Our firstborn. The first stunning gem on our many faceted crown as parents.

I remember being confused when the medical staff kept calling me Mom. Now I'm so used to the title that on our cruise, our steward called us sir and ma'am, but it seemed to me he was also calling me Mom, endearing. But on that first day as a mother, I kept wondering who they were talking about.

I was also somewhat bewildered when they all referred to the tiny person they kept handing me by the name we had chosen for her. This was a cherished thing, this name we had thought and talked and debated about and finally landed on, only newly bestowed, and here they were throwing it around like it was a foregone conclusion that that's who she was. But was she? Did it fit her? Did we choose well? Would she like it? Would it suit the person she would become? We didn't know.

So much emotion those first moments and days and months. And life is truly never the same. I read a quote when I was pregnant with her, "The decision to become a parent is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." There has been a lot of growing up in the last year, mostly on my part. I don't fall apart nearly as bad when she takes my heart and drives to the other side of town. I am even ok with the idea of her going on a mission trip to the other side of the world. Though I'll likely need drugs to get through it.

The most amazing and delightful thing happens somewhere along the line, when a baby who literally sucks their life out of you becomes a daughter, a person, a sister in faith, and a true friend, one of my best friends. How wealthy I will be someday when all my little life suckers are friends?!

I am the wealthiest woman I know. I know this. I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams. I have gotten to name and bring home 13 treasures, and I get to be with them every day. The uniqueness of each gem in my crown is part of what motivates me to have as many of them as God will give me. And while many have called me mom, she is the one who made me a mom. Happy birthday to my eldest daughter and the delight of my eyes.