It’s 2014! Looking Back, Looking Forward to the New Year

IMG_0025Last year we talked about the power of a New Year’s resolution to serve as a reset button – a chance to focus on what’s important. So what became of our resolutions? Great question! Let’s look back at 2013 and forward to 2014.

Craig Valency, MA, CSCS

Looking Back
Looking back at last year’s post, I was struck by the fact that I still need to fulfill several of last year’s resolutions.  Just to review, I resolved to:

  1. Make fewer excuses.
  2. Take more responsibility.
  3. Procrastinate less.
  4. Plan ahead.
  5. Be present.
  6. Remember that my life is NOW!

1. Make fewer excuses.
2013 was quite a year for us. Christa got pregnant and gave birth to our beautiful son. I was in my last semester of graduate school. All the while, I was flying back and forth to Wisconsin to continue my work revamping the PE program in the Steven’s Point School District. I had a boatload of ready-made excuses. Here is a sample for your reading pleasure:

  • “I can’t write a blog post! I’m in grad school!”
  • “I can’t clean the house/ do the dishes/ acknowledge the existence of my wife! I’m in grad school!”
  • “I can’t workout! I’m sleep deprived! We just had a baby! And did I mention that I’m in grad school?”
  • “I can’t read a fiction book/ go to a movie/ go the park/ smell the roses…!”

First resolution: NOT FULFILLED

IMG_01722. Take more responsibility.
I did man up and finally have a baby, finish grad school, and keep things going with the Wisconsin PE project.
Second resolution: FULFILLED

3. Procrastinate less.
My middle name is Marc, but it should have been Procrastinator. Even though I eventually got things done in 2013, wow, was it a nail biter!
Third resolution:  NOT FULFILLED

…Which takes us nicely to my next resolution…

4. Plan ahead.
I have been ricocheting from one event to the next in this whirlwind of a year. I could have gotten more done with less stress if I had planned ahead. I have come to realize that since I am now a husband and a father, my stress is my family’s stress. That is not good for any relationship. So…
Fourth resolution: NOT FULFILLED

5. Be present.
This resolution represents my never-ending quest to be more mindful and in the moment. Throughout my life, I have attempted not to worry about the past, which is gone and unchangeable; or about the future, which is just a fantasy. Be in the moment. Ommm. This is sage advice. I am constantly second guessing everything I have ever done or said since the second grade, and I am in a perpetual state of anxiety about what tomorrow will hold.
Fifth resolution: NOT FULFILLED

6. Remember that my life is NOW!
I’m not sure what I was thinking, but this resolution sure sounds a lot like the last resolution.
Sixth resolution: NOT FULFILLED

Looking Forward
What a difference a year makes. A year ago, we were making beef bourguignon, taking pictures, and blogging like crazy. Now we’re lucky if we have time to microwave salmon and boil frozen vegetables. (Really. Did you know you can microwave salmon in a little water for three minutes, and it actually turns out? We should really do a post about that.) Perspective is something that can sometimes only come with experience. The experience of having a child has made me realize that life is not always easy to control; so being flexible and going with the flow is imperative. I am not going to be as foolish about making grandiose resolutions. Little Baby Boy and life itself have many twists and turns that I cannot anticipate. I will strive to be very reflective and think more about how what I do affects those around me; as now there are more ramifications to my actions as a family man. So, in the hopes of doing better than 1 for 6, here are my two resolutions for 2014:

  1. Simplify
    My major problem is that I seem to always figure out ways to complicate my life and make things harder than they have to be. I am a perfectionist, and nothing is ever perfect enough! I seem to think that more is always better. But of course, better is better.
  2. No Excuses!
    I’ve used up my lifetime allotment of excuses. Now I’m resolving to focus on what’s important and get those things done. I will be more like my three month old son and focus on what’s important: pooping, sleeping, eating, and spending time with Christa…

Christa Crawford

Looking Back

Last year I resolved to conquer the pull-up. Though most of 2013 is a vague, nauseous memory, I believe I did manage to do one full pull-up last January. Shortly thereafter, I became preoccupied with more pressing issues, such as keeping my breakfast down whilst pregnant at work. Speaking of pregnancy, what a trip. (If posts about pregnancy bother you, feel free to skip this section.) My pregnancy defined my year, so here goes.

SAMSUNGMy first trimester was a blurry haze of nauseous starvation. It’s all a fuzzy memory now, but I know that I ate a lot of string cheese. I slept a lot. I think I still went to the gym, but I’m sure I wasn’t getting much accomplished.

I ended up on partial bed rest in my second trimester. So much for exercise. I passed the time watching Mad Men and eating string cheese chugging gallons and gallons of water. No, seriously. That’s all I did. Any leftover time was spent freaking out about premature labor and counting the days to my third trimester, when Baby Boy Valency would be considered “viable.”

IMG_0095Things improved in my third trimester. I was allowed to move again and decided to return to work. In what felt like a whirlwind of events, I made the decision to move to a new school and grade level. It’s been a challenge adjusting to a new grade level, especially because this is the first year that we are fully implementing the new Common Core State Standards. I’m working with some amazing people and couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.

Of course the climax of 2013 came on September 23 at 3:14 AM. I was in labor for a total of 45 hours. 38 of those hours were sans pain medication. No, it’s not that I am into all natural childbirth (Actually, I’m really not.) It was because my baby was moving at such a leisurely pace that I didn’t even qualify for an epidural until that point. At one point I was seeing monkeys in the trees and wasps in my bedroom. Thank God for epidurals and hospitals.

Our baby was born.
IMG_0153
The last few months have been a rollercoaster. Baby Boy Valency definitely qualifies as a fussy newborn. (Well, technically, he isn’t a newborn anymore; but he is still colicky  fussy high needs as all get-out.) I’m about 13 pounds and 2 sizes larger than I was a year ago. My haircut is not as chic. There’s no way I could squeeze into that classic blue vintage dress, and I can’t do a pull-up. I can’t even hang on the pull-up bar for longer than 10 seconds.

So what. He is amazing and wonderful and yummy. I am so lucky to have overcome daunting odds to have my baby. Do I really care that I didn’t conquer the pull-up in 2013? Not really. And although my fitness has declined, I have become an expert at babyjacking every social media network!

Looking Forward
I’m totally out of shape. A year ago, I could do 35 pushups. Now, I can barely do one. While I used to easily run several miles at a decent pace, now I can hardly make it a half mile without feeling like I’m having a coronary event. My 13 pound baby feels twice as heavy to me. It’s pretty bad. Breastfeeding has done absolutely nothing to aid in my weight loss efforts. While many women tout its magical powers, I haven’t lost a single pound since I left the hospital (and no, I’m not exactly scarfing down donuts). Needless to say, I’d prefer to be a size tiny again, but I’m more concerned with feeding my baby than I am with fitting into my teal pencil skirt again.

While I can explain away my fitness deterioration and stubborn weight, that does nothing to help me regain full health. In 2014, my goals are threefold and totally cliché.

  1. Tighten up my food intake.
    Though I can’t cut calories or carbs too much without risking a food shortage for my baby, I will stop eating unnecessary sugar.
  2. Find a way to exercise at least 3 days per week.
    Impossible. Difficult, but not impossible. I need to regain my strength, agility, balance, and overall fitness. Because of our childcare situation, I won’t always have my personal trainer husband or his world class gym at my disposal. I’m going to have to learn to exercise at home. And then I’m going to actually do it.
  3. Enjoy the ride.
    It’s a challenge to work full time when I’m only getting an average of 4 –5 hours of sleep per night. It’s also extremely fulfilling to teach a group of incredible fifth graders and come home to a beautiful baby –one I never thought I’d have. As much as possible, I want to embrace my situation and enjoy the ride.

Stay tuned for more details about my postpartum fitness nightmare journey in the New Year. And feel free to hop on board the New Year’s fitness resolution bandwagon with me and the rest of the country.

Happy New Year!

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12 Responses to It’s 2014! Looking Back, Looking Forward to the New Year

  1. Linda Sommer says:

    Happy New Year to all 3 of you! Wotta year! My friend, Claudia’s firstborn was just like your baby; her second one was a breeze; the 3rd one gave her hell in middle school! All three are wonderful adults!! There is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not a train!!! Really appreciate your article! Looking forward to taking you out for dinner this new year!

  2. Cathy Gross says:

    This was great! You two are so fun & I’m so glad to know you. He is soooo cute! I love the tuxedo pic! Happy & Blessed New Year!
    Cathy

  3. Nike Schwartz says:

    Loved the honest self reflections and the intimacy you both share. What a BOUBA! He has grown so much and is so cute. You see him every day but he is so filled out, I hardly see the little peanut in there. Great pictures. Award for best Selfie of the year, Christa!
    Love you all.

  4. Christa and Craig, I love this article. It is a testament to the importance of perseverance and resiliency!

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