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Pregnant and 40-Something: Ten Ways it’s One Big Adventure

My first three kids were born in my 20s. The next five were born in my 30s. Now, I am expecting baby #9 and I’m in my 40s. It’s a whole different ride.

1. People, and by people I mean people in scrubs at your care provider’s office, act as though you will shatter at any moment. If your blood pressure is low, they marvel. If you express that you are feeling well, they shake their heads in wonder. Oh, venerable gestating one, how ever do you do it? Watching me walk across the waiting room must be like watching a majestic, ancient tortoise amble across an expanse, a living fossil, a moment for National Geographic Magazine to capture in their hallowed pages.

2. They don’t make Centrum Silver Prenatals.

3. Avoiding the chemicals in hair coloring during the first trimester means at the dawn of the second trimester, one may look like one of The Golden Girls (perhaps Dorothy) who just finished binging on early-bird meatloaf down at the all-you-can eat buffet. And if you threw a party, invited every one you knew-oo-oo/you would see the biggest slice would be for me/and the card inside would say/here’s a coupon for 500-count Tums with calcium.

4. I saw a pair of maternity booty shorts at Target and blushed. Maternity clothes seem to be designed with Teen Mom in mind. I don’t want animal print leggings, fringe, cutout holes in the shoulders so that I can’t wear a bra. I don’t want to look like I belong in LMFAO, shufflin’ everyday. I want to look like Blanche. (see #3)

5. Math. You will entertain yourself by calculating how old you’ll be when your baby graduates from high school and college. Personally, I imagine being in the audience, cheering our for our Valedictorian, when the woman next to me leans over and asks which grandchild belongs to us. In my best old lady voice, I’ll say, “The principal!”

6. You’ll depress yourself by wondering if you’ll ever meet your baby’s children—especially if the baby waits until his/her 40s.

7. I hear the Red Hat Society throws raucous, uproarious baby showers for members. They take over entire private meeting rooms at Panera! Joining post-haste.

8. I wish there were a wrinkle-fighting moisturizer with zit-zapping capabilities in a safe, non-Retinol formula. It’s not fair to have to battle emerging fine lines and hormonally-inspired zits at the same time. So, I guess I’ll continue washing my face with vanilla pudding.

9. If the baby is a girl, I’ll be hitting menopause at about the same time she starts her period. My husband threatens to go on a 3-year-long camping trip around then.

10. I realize I’m not a decrepit old crone and neither are the rest of my peers who are of advanced maternal age. Society isn’t fully on board with the idea. Medical professionals aren’t, either—and in many cases with good reason. Being pregnant at this age reminds me that the process of building a new little life is an astonishing miracle at any age. I’m proud to be a part of it. I feel younger. I feel energized, even when I can’t keep my eyes open. I feel like doing back flips, even though my lower back feels like I’ve been kicked by a burro. There’s a mental component to pregnancy which can’t be underestimated. Being in the mindset that there is churning life a foot beneath my double chins is the fountain of youth.

Triathlete Training for Moms

There is something amazingly invigorating about a 750 meter swim, 20K bike ride and 5K run, competing alongside some 600 participants…and the achievement of being able to claim the title of “triathelete” (even at a sprint distance!).

It wasn’t the sport that held the draw for me; nor the physical benefits – though rather advantageous after having two wonderful kiddos! Personally, I was intrigued with the conquest…and comforted by the distraction.

Life trials are inevitable and while I would mostly prefer to avoid them at all costs, I do recognize and accept the fact that they will, eventually, lead to improved character, buffing me into a better person so long as I persevere the course – knowing when to press forward and when to coast along to catch my breath – recognizing along the way the truth that I am not the one ultimately in control of it all.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon

Fear…it’s an interesting emotion. An inhibiting feeling that, in the absence of, may result in amazing achievements far surpassing human understanding and probability. Disposing of this useless, yet persistent, annoyance is – what I believe to be – the first step in conquering the end goal.

I suppose this is the reason I chose to take my life’s frustrations onto the track, bike, and – since the swim is mandatory for this particular race – into the pool (or the lake on race day, ugh). In the summer of 2010, along with my astoundingly supportive little sis, I (WE!) earned the title of “triathelete.” Thankfully, the triumph was accomplished simply by crossing that finish line, regardless of speed or grace – which is good because we finished our first tri on our MoUNtaIn BiKeS!

I can’t make claim that I excel in any of the three events, that I have superior equipment or more than adequate training – I am, after all, a mom with a bit more to do (and spend time/money on) than my hobbies. Which is exactly how I came to discover that moms can be triatheletes too. Not only can we be great athletes ~ we have been in training since day one and didn’t even know it! Yep, all that lugging of the bucket seat, chasing after that toddler and piggy back riding when little legs get too tired to walk on their own has sparked an inner athlete that need but only to be directed and perfected for the sport.

It’s as simple as that: keep doing what you’re doing and have fun with it! Practicing the specific skills is an important element too, but can often be accomplished with kids in tow. Of course, some kid swapping is helpful – especially for sanity, but absolutely take the opportunity to instill the love of physical activity and the great outdoors with your children.

The Swim:
While admittedly lacking, my training in this area is often accomplished as my children splash around – under the direct supervision of a lifeguard on duty – in the children’s pool at our recreation center. When they were younger, they required one-on-one attention, which made swimming more complicated – I would either use the gym nursery or swap workouts with a friend. Even a day at the pool teaching kiddos simple skills and having fun helped me gain confidence in the water, so never pass up the opportunity to jump in!

The Bike:
Biking with little ones is surprisingly convenient – and enjoyable – once you are prepared with the right equipment. Over the years, I have used various bike attachments for my kids. I have found inexpensive equipment at yard sales or used sporting equipment stores, which is nice because they do grow out of these rather quickly. My favorite gear so far has been our bike trailer – not only because I can still squeeze both kids into it at ages 8 and 5 (but now they fight…and it’s a tight fit, ha) but because it converts into a jogger as well. I love the dual purpose.

We have made it a morning tradition to either walk or bike to school – works for us because the school is just around the corner, but it assures a little fresh air and reminder for the importance of activity in our day.

The Run:

Running is my absolute favorite form of exercise…but that was not always the case. It hurts. Honest but true…however, the pain does subside with training, and when it does, the sport is quick, affordable and majestically beautiful in our lovely state. I think it’s one of the best health-conscious family activities Colorado has to offer – well, maybe second to skiing, wink.

Using a jogger or convertible trailer during training will make your 5K feel like a walk in the park! A smart mom gave me the tip of keeping restlessness at bay by offering up a favorite snack while you’re out on the trail…because you might find yourself too winded to use the reliable parenting tactic of lecturing, yelling and the like.

The Tri:

Putting all three activities into a single event is trying indeed, but most certainly not beyond that of carrying a child for nine months, giving birth (ok, so I admittedly had cesarean sections…but hey, that wasn’t easy stuff either!) and absolutely not a challenge beyond that of being a mother – on the clock every hour, every moment of every day. When it begins to feel like too much, add hydration, quick caloric energy and undeniable confidence and determination…you will soon find yourself crossing that finish line…and on to the next quest!

I’ve got a theory that if you give 100 percent all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end. ~Larry Bird

 

 

10 Ways to Spend Quality Time With Your Kids

We asked Dr. Harley Rotbart, Professor and Vice Chair of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Colorado, and the author of No Regrets Parenting – Turning Long Days and Short Years into Cherished Moments for Your Kids, for advice on spending the right kind of time with kids.

What is “quality time?”
I define quality time as meaningful and memorable time, regardless of duration or content. Quality time can occur when you least expect it—yes, at a planned outing to the children’s museum or amusement park, but also in the minivan on the way to ballet practice, and during commercials of your favorite family TV show.

10 ideas for quality time
Make the most of every minute that you get to spend with your kids, and include them in more things than you may have thought possible. For example:

1.) Walk, don’t drive. Next time you need to take the kids to an activity someplace close by, leave a few minutes early and walk instead of drive. Hold hands, and talk about school or about the beautiful flowers along the way.
2.) Include kids in your projects and home repairs. Don’t let cartoons or Facebook be the “babysitter” while you do house projects. Give younger kids a flashlight, and have them watch what you’re doing – in the attic, the garage, the basement. When the kids are older, you hold the flashlight for them.
3.) Kitchen time is family time. Share quality time while you cook. With younger kids, this may mean watching you chop veggies from a high-chair. As kids get older, they can learn to cook and help clean up, too.
4.) Read together at the library or in the cushy seats at a bookstore. A change of venue for reading can make it more exciting and fun, and the selection is limitless.
5.) Fold laundry together. You can chat while folding laundry and running between the laundry room and the dresser drawers. When they’re a little older, do the ironing together, too.
6.) Unplug the car. No, not the hybrid – unplug the people in the car. That means no ear buds, texting, cell phones, or DVD players. Everyone shares car time – talking, listening or singing together to music on the radio.
7.) Snow shoveling, leaf raking and lawn mowing. You have to do these chores anyway, so involve your kids and make it fun! Think fresh air, snowball fights, jumping in piles of leaves, and laying on the freshly cut lawn.
8.) Share a hobby. Involve your kids in your current hobby, or develop a new hobby together. Playing tennis, collecting baseball cards, sewing, fishing…the possibilities are endless.
9.) Learn a new language. Language on tape is a great way to share car time or waiting room time with your kids.
10.) Start a family business. From lemonade stands to babysitting gigs, teach your kids all aspects of “running a business.”

Although some quality time is spent teaching life lessons or addressing crises, most quality time is unscripted and spontaneous. As you can see from the examples above, quality time doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, the best experiences with your kids are usually free.

Go here to learn more about Children’s Colorado.

How do you spend quality time with your kids?

Top 10 Things That Smell Better Than Your Teenaged Son’s Body Spray

I don’t know what Santa was thinking. Maybe he had sleigh-lag resulting in a lapse of judgment? He gave our 13-year-old son a gift set featuring a very popular body spray. Our son was bestowed with body wash, deodorant, and spray in a scent called Dark Temptation. He was happy with the gift, but seemed to forget about it until school started after winter break. We had to remind him, a regretful error we will mourn.

On school mornings, he’d emerge from his bedroom lair in the basement smelling of spicy swaggering confidence. At first, he controlled himself and applied the mist sensibly. Over time, however, it seemed like he wrapped himself in it like a mummy bundled in bandages. I began to smell him before I saw him. Opening the basement door meant being pummeled in the face by Dark Temptation. More than one morning, I had the dark temptation to meet him at the top of the stairs with the garden hose outfitted with power sprayer set on 10. You know, the setting that will chip paint off the side of your house.

It worsened when I discovered I was pregnant.

Mama Drama: Direction Following Folly

Dear Mama Drama:

My three-year-old son struggles with following directions and becomes stiff and unresponsive when he doesn’t want to do what is asked of him. We end up either letting him get away with not following directions or having to physically force him to follow them. Neither strategy is really working and he tends to fight back when we try to force him.

(photo credit)

The behavior usually happens when he is being asked to stop something more interesting or fun (like playing) and switch to a task that is less interesting to him (like cleaning up or washing his hands for dinner). I think it may be a learned behavior as his dad also shuts down and won’t talk when frustrated.

I am struggling to support him and have no idea what to do.

~Stumped Mama

Dear Stumped:

It is fairly common for

Becoming Mothers: A Journey Begins With Purplish-Blue

A bag was packed and ready, but not in any specific vehicle. After all, who knew which car would feel like the “right” car once the time came. It was 1 a.m. C was just arriving home from a dragging day that turned into an extended night of work. He was exhausted and only looking forward to laying his body down in the warmth of heavy covers only a January night can hold. Nestling his cold limbs against the heat of the woman who carried his child, who would one day be his wife, sleep met him.

C was unaware of the stirring. His baby boy was coming to greet him. Knocking on the walls that held him, preparing his mother for his arrival; she timed him. There had been false knocks before, too soon that medication needed to quiet them. This time was different. The knocks came, rhythmically. The timing was right now…not too soon. His anxiously excited mother measured the minutes, for she knew his father had just laid down his weary body.

She rocks C lightly, his sleep is not deep. “It’s time,” she softly says.

“For what?” the grogginess

Becoming Mothers: A Halloween Homebirth

At 3:05 a.m., after five hours of contracting every 10 minutes, I finally called my midwife to tell her how I was progressing. By 7 a.m., gap times shortened to six minutes, and by 8 a.m., DeAna and her assistant had arrived.

My husband Steve and I were supposed to have set up the birthing tub in our bedroom during early labor, but we had been so convinced this was not the real deal – until it was too late for me to be of any help at all. Candles were lit by the far side of the tub and a collection of my favorite music played softly across the room. I had the space I needed to focus and breathe. I lived within each contraction, forgetting the previous one, unconcerned with the next, losing all track of time.

I remember the moment I wanted to give up.

Mothers who wear it well: Three Colorado women dish on how they stay stylish while juggling careers, marriage and parenthood

In advance of Sunday’s celebration of mothers, we visited with three Colorado women to find out how they manage to stay stylish while juggling the demands of parenting, work and marriage.

Morning-show mom: TaRhonda Thomas

TaRhonda Thomas, 33, has three children, Mickey, 5, Claire, 3, and Ruby Dee, 9 months. Her husband, Mike McKee, is associate head coach of men’s basketball at the University of Denver.

Thomas has been at 9News in Denver for five years, recently joining the morning show. She says she likes the challenge of covering a range of topics and going from reporting to editing to anchoring the news.

She admits to

Becoming Mothers: My World Was Turned Upside Down and Then I Was “Mom”

I remember quite clearly when I conceived her, seeing the two lines on the pregnancy test, watching her foot draw circles in my belly, how smelling dirty dishes would make me nauseated, that my husband called in the troops (grandma) and bought a dishwasher because he had to do all the dishes when I was pregnant.

I remember that I didn’t have any cravings, but that I did drink a liter of strawberry milk every day on my way to work and haven’t before or after (yes, my husband has pointed out this is the definition of a craving).

I remember putting on make-up and asking my husband to take my picture before we left for the hospital because I wanted to document the absolute biggest I ever got (which is 30 lbs less than I currently weigh).

I remember the midwives telling us

Becoming Mothers: A Surrogate Mom’s Journey

On “Black Friday,” I went in to my OB to be checked and to see if the twins had decided to turn head down yet. Of course, they hadn’t; it would be a c-section for me. The doctor told me to go home, get bags packed, gather my party and come back at 5:30 p.m. to get prepped. I did as he instructed, my mom drove me back to the hospital that evening and my husband and our friends met us there. They wheeled me into the surgical room and three familiar faces met me there, people whom I love and adore, friends I considered family at this point. Smiling, reassuring me, holding my hand and making sure I was comfortable.

Sounds pretty standard, right? It was anything but.

You see, my husband was there, but alongside of him were the parents of the twin girls who were about to enter the world. I am a gestational surrogate,