Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Wow. Almost a year.

Hey. It's been awhile, hasn't it?

So. I continued being pregnant (and miserable). At 42 (!) weeks, I finally kicked into labor and gave birth to a healthy, beautiful little girl.

At the same time, my mom was having a rough time and was in and out of the hospital several times (including when I was in labor).

It was a very long, long winter.

I took 16 weeks of family leave (8 weeks paid, 8 weeks unpaid). I struggled with being a mom to two kids, and taking care of my own mom at the same time. But, Spring came and things got easier. The warmer weather definitely helped with mom. I started getting outside and getting active again with running and biking. Things were looking up. I felt good. I felt like I finally had control over my life again.

Then I went back to work.

It didn't help that we were very understaffed, so I was immediately having to do the work of 2-3 supervisors (no adjustment period). Struggling to find time to pump; trying to leave work on time to get home to a hungry baby; and male coworkers that really didn't seem to understand that I just had a baby and therefore was hormonal, exhausted and overwhelmed already. Plus, my mom's anxiety at being home alone kicked in big time, so I was basically having to be in 2 places at once.

And the debt. 8 weeks of unpaid leave did some damage. I'm still paying it off.

That's when the depression kicked in.

Struggling just to get through the day. Feeling alternately angry and numb. Self destructive habits. Suicidal thoughts.

I'm seeing a doctor to help me through this, but its hard. I downplay a lot of things. I'm trying to get back to happiness, but it seems impossible. I love my family very much, and I'm working hard to try to feel the love I know they have for me. Depression is isolating. In the meantime, I'm trying to stick to basics:

-avoid alcohol
-sleep (ha!)
-do some form of exercise everyday
-take my medications and supplements
-eat a vegetable
-do something just for ME once a week.

I'll be ok. it's just going to take some time and effort. I'm working on it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Some of you may already have guessed, but I am pregnant once again. It's been a journey getting here. I wasn't expecting it to be quite so soon, but I've given up trying to plan/control things.

I haven't spoken much about it because at first I was terrified. Terrified that I would have a repeat experience of last time. So I waited until the initial test results were clear. They were. Then the scans. They were also normal. Everything looked good. But I still wasn't comfortable talking about it. So many things could still go wrong.

Also, this pregnancy has been hard. It's been the polar opposite of when I had my son. That pregnancy was easy. No complications, and I didn't even really "feel" physically pregnant until a few weeks before I delivered. I was able to go about my normal daily routine with minimum adjustments.

This time?

I. am. miserable.

I have non-stop nausea that is barely managed with medication. I ran out of my prescription a few weeks ago, and was right back to vomiting multiple times a day until I got it refilled again. I've vomited on myself while driving. It's awful, and it kept me from gaining any weight. The medication helps, but I have to stay on top of it. If I miss a dose, I am right back to vomit-central. I was hoping that it would fade after the first trimester, but nope. It's just as strong as ever.

On top of that, I also have pregnancy-related erythema nodosum. It's a pretty uncommon condition. Basically I have inflamed "nodes" on my lower left leg that are excruciatingly painful. When they flare (which is a couple of times a day), it literally feels like my lower leg is on fire. It wakes me at night and can make it difficult to walk or stand. I can't use the usual treatment (NSAIDs) because of the pregnancy. Instead, my dermatologist has me using a cream that is supposed to shrink the nodes. It does NOTHING. Basically, I gotta wait until the pregnancy is over and the hormones level out.

And now I have vertigo too. It comes and goes, but I have to be careful. No bike rides for me, and I have to be really careful on stairs.

Both the medication for the nausea and the erythema nodosum leave me exhausted. I have to plan my day in short bursts. Walking from the sofa to the kitchen. From the kitchen to the upstairs. From the garage to the car. Car to work. Office to the bathroom. etc. I'm still working full time, and it is difficult. I've had to be very clear on boundaries and expectations at work. I don't have a choice. I literally cannot do certain tasks, so I've had a lot of practice telling colleagues "no, I'm not doing that." (Not that my work has been overly difficult, but there have been situations where I had to let go of the guilt and feelings of incompetence because I haven't been able to do the work I usually do.)

Because of all this, I've had to think carefully about my expectations and plans. I dropped out of the Maryland Master Naturalist certification class because I just couldn't attend the classes with the nausea & exhaustion. I opted out of the promotional test at work, because I don't have the energy to study. With a newborn & a 2-year old, I couldn't risk taking on a new schedule/workload that would leave me with less flexibility. My goal is to just get through each day, honestly.

I know this all sounds miserable, and honestly? It sometimes is. Which is why I haven't spoken much about it. I don't want to come across as ungrateful. I don't want to jinx it. I still think about my last pregnancy every day (especially lately, as I was pregnant and happy this time last year).  But as the weeks pass, this pregnancy gets more real and solid. I finally feel comfortable enough to really start believing that we will have another baby in the winter. I don't want to share due dates or anything, but I have passed the point in pregnancy where it is no longer a "miscarriage" if something goes wrong. We have another child to prepare for! A baby is coming, and that reality gets more real every day.

Meanwhile, kiddo is growing into a sweet, silly little boy. I feel bad about not being able to be as active with him as I would like (pretty much most of my down-time is spent on the couch), but I know it's temporary. We'll be back to playground trips and time in the backyard soon. I just wish he would quit growing so fast! He's starting to talk, and my heart melts with every "thank you mama! hi mama!".

Speaking of, someone is awake from his nap. So I will be signing off for now.

(P.S. my macbook's screen is slowly dying. I usually write my blogs on my macbook, so blogging will definitely be sparse until I can replace it. As it is, trying to write this on a screen that is messed up is giving me a headache.)

Monday, October 9, 2017

5th Annual Boundary Stone Ride

My laptop at home is busted, so I haven't been able to post much. Hopefully I can get that remedied soon. I also haven't been riding much, but that probably won't change in the near future (but for a good reason! I'll get to that another time). But that doesn't mean you shouldn't get out!

5th Annual Boundary Stone Bike Ride – October 14th 

What: 5th Annual Boundary Stone Bike Ride
Where: Jones Point (Alexandria, VA)
When: Saturday, October 14, meet at 9am, wheels up at 9:30am
Who: All ages and abilities welcome

What: 5th Annual Boundary Stone Bike Ride After Party
Where: Boundary Stone Public House (116 Rhode Island Ave NW, DC)
When: Saturday, October 14, 8pm til close
Who: All riders and supporters 21+

Event details
History buffs, bike nerds, and adventure junkies unite! On October 14th, join us for the annual bike ride around the original perimeter of DC to check out the oldest federal monuments, the DC boundary stones. Each side of the diamond is approximately 15 miles of biking - join us for 1, 2, 3, or all 4!

The ride is sponsored by Boundary Stone DC, and all participants get a free beer ticket to redeem at the bar. The after-party begins at 8pm, with a band, beer specials on DC Brau Brewing Company beers, and PRIZES for best costume, best bike decor, and best selfie with a stone! 

Four community bike shop partners - Phoenix Bikes, Gearin’ Up Biycles, VĂ©loCity Bicycle Cooperative, and Bikes for the World - will provide rest stop support at each corner stone. The ride is free, but donations support their programming, including youth mechanic training, bike maintenance workshops, earn-a-bike programs, and more.

Register! Ride! For me!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Where has the time gone?!

It's summer already! We had our first taste of summer heat the last couple of days. It was brutal.

Last time I posted, I will still on family leave taking care of my mom (she's doing fine) and had completed the Errandonnee challenge. Then April came and I started the 30 Days of Biking Challenge. I was doing great with it, but unfortunately once I went back to work in the middle of the month, my biking became sporadic again. It's still incredibly difficult trying to balance working full time, taking care of the kiddo & all of the adult stuff I need to tend to. But I'm working on it. I'm trying to set aside at least 20 minutes a day for conscious exercise (a walk, a bike ride, a swim, etc).

Kiddo loves the Yepp Maxi seat I installed on Betty the Beach Cruiser. We've taken many rides to the playground. The only drawback is the limited carrying capacity--the Yepp seat has rendered my rear rack useless for carrying anything else. I have to rely on my front basket for everything. I can just about stuff the diaper bag in it, and that's about it. Now that beach weather is here, we'll probably switch back to the trailer so that I can haul everything.

I bought kiddo a balance bike, but so far he has shown zero interest in it. That's ok. It will be there for when he does.

You can always follow me on Instagram (@girlonabikedc) for more recent updates on our adventures.

I've been making an effort to ride more at work. Easier said than done.

Picnics in the park will happen more often.

Took a bike history tour of Brentwood/Woodridge. It was very interesting.

Walking with the kiddo. 

Yeah, he needs a bigger helmet.

Not my bike at the beach.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Errandonnee 2017

...is completed! For folks unfamiliar with the Errandonnee Challenge, check it out here.  Basically, you have 12 days to complete 12 errands by riding/running a minimum of 30 miles.

I'm actually pretty chuffed that I managed to complete this challenge. It has been awhile since I've done any sort of regular biking. I like that this challenge didn't require a daily commitment (that's next month, with 30 Days of Biking). I could do everything in one day or spread it out (I spread it out). Plus, it gave me the chance to finally try shopping & doing other useful activities by bike now that I live here.

Without further ado, here's the recap:

Location: Kent Island, MD.
Total Miles: 40

Errand 1: To The Playground! I put the kiddo in the Yepp seat on my beach cruiser, and we rode to the local playground for an afternoon of enjoying spring weather.
Category: You carried What on your bike?

Off we go!


Errand 2: Dropping the Kiddo off at the Baby Sitter's. Now that the weather is warmer, I will probably do this more often since its less than 2 miles away and way more fun than the car.
Category: Non-Store Errand

Diaper Bag in the Basket

Errand 3: Coffee Pitstop at Waterman Joe's.
Category: Personal Care (caffeine is self-care).
Waterman Joe's is a little drive-up trailer on the local main street. Funny story: the first time my husband got coffee there, he parked his car and walked up to the window. Everyone looked at him like a nutcase. He didn't realize you could drive your car up to the window, he was so used to walking to places. The lady working the window was a little startled to see my on my bike, heh. She asked where I was going to put the coffee--in my holder of course!

I really should have brought my own mug. 

Drive up/Bike up Window

Errand 4: Spa Day. I got my hair cut, brows waxed and nails painted at a local spa/salon. It was probably the fanciest salon I've ever been to, and I stood out a bit with my bike clothes. But it was so worth it.
Category: Personal Care

Fancy! This place was huge.

No bike racks, so I had front porch parking.

Errand 5: Stopped by the local bike shop. They were having their spring tent sale, so I stopped by to see what they had. I picked up some socks and a new multitool (I can't find my other one).
Category: Personal Business

Lots of Bikes. Especially Beach Cruisers.

Errand 6: Off to Kmart to pick up some prescriptions and other personal items.
Category: Personal Business


Errand 7: Rita's was finally open for the season, so of course I had to stop for a cone!
Category: Wild Card


Errand 8: Crab Shack for Lunch. The local crab shack is finally open for the season, so I stopped for lunch. I had the crab cake sandwich. It was overly salted. Oh well. They have teens that work there, so I'm sure its just a matter of time before they get the recipe right.
Category: Non-Store Errand.

Crab cake sandwich

Errand 9: K-Mart (again). Needed some supplies plus a new coffee mug for the bike.
Category: Store

Good thing I was on my bike, otherwise I might have bought the grand piano for me, the kiddo

Errand 10: Antique Store. I needed some home decor items, and luckily my town has a bunch of antique and art stores. I managed to pick up a pretty sailboat here, and carried it on my bike without it breaking.
Category: You carried What on your bike?!

Antique-ing by bike.

Errand 11: The Art Studio. I still needed something pretty for the house, so I stopped here. A small painting of red strawberries against a blue background caught my eye. The employee told me that it was painted by a local artist that recently had a stroke, and could no longer paint. He told me she would be so happy to hear that someone bought her painting. I'm definitely going back for another--she painted a beautiful heron that would look good hanging up on the wall.
Category: Arts and Entertainment


Errand 12: Lunch Date with Kiddo. I want to do this more often, but he's still a little young. He's at the age where he just wants to throw everything, so it can be a bit of an ordeal eating a meal in public. There's a restaurant nearby that is open for lunch, and usually empty or with a few senior citizens that don't mind a boisterous toddler. We rode there and had a nice, but quick, meal. He had the hotdog and fries (he preferred the fries) and I tried the oysters Florentine. I've never had oysters before and I wanted to give them a shot. Not bad. I might try them again.
Category: Social Call

He still prefers eating crayons rather than drawing with them.

Oysters Florentine. Next time, I will try them raw.

And that brings Errandonnee 2017 to a close. I am so glad I participated. I don't think I would have ridden my bike at all otherwise. I signed up for 30 Days of Biking for April, so we'll see how that goes.

In other news, I am doing so much better than before. I took 8 weeks of family leave from work so I could concentrate on taking care of my mom & son without worrying about scheduling everything around work. I go back to work in 2 weeks, and I'm already in a much better state of mind. I'm still sad about the pregnancy loss, but its no longer a raw, angry, pain. And now that Spring has sprung and I've been able to get outside more, I feel mentally and physically refreshed. Getting outside in the fresh air is essential. Today is the first day in 2 weeks that I haven't hit my step goal with my fitbit (I actually forgot to take my walk today). I'm a little miffed that I'm breaking my streak, but that's ok. Back at it tomorrow.