Well, this is a rarity: a night to myself. Claire and even Evan are asleep (thanks to the SwaddleMe blanket -- more on that in a minute), and Matt's watching the Duke game with the guys. I'm eating excellent soup that's been stewing since early afternoon -- Libba's recipe -- and actually blogging and, after a shower (in the bonus room, so Evan stays asleep), I'm going to dive into the book Matt gave me for Christmas. It's "Freedom," by Jonathan Franzen, and it's really good. Two years ago I would have read it in one good long weekend, but my free time lately is such that I'm only about one-fourth of the way through it.
After what felt like an extended period consisting of very few "regular" weeks -- due to Evan's birth, Thanksgiving and Christmas, visiting family in Atlanta, and then snow days -- it is nice to have some routine return to our days. (That felt familiar as I was typing it, and sure enough, I wrote almost the same thing a couple of weeks ago, but before the snow days threw things out of whack again.)
Evan is still not going to win any sleeping awards, but he is doing so much better. After witnessing his exhausted flailing Friday night, Meg gave me the SwaddleMe blanket that her own daughter was using -- literally, she removed it from a soundly sleeping Charli and handed it to me. Every night since then, Evan has actually gone to sleep for the night around 7 p.m., in his cradle (not the swing), and stayed asleep for three to five hours before waking up for the first night feeding. (After that he wakes up to eat every two hours, but this is still huge progress.)
What this means is that by the grace of God we've slipped into a wonderful pattern in which Claire and Evan are both in bed from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., give or take a few minutes -- and Matt and I have our nights back. I know Evan still has some rough nights ahead of him, probably a lot of them, but at least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The annoying part of this story is that Sonya offered me a SwaddleMe blanket of Belle's, like, six weeks ago, but I didn't take her up on it. Why not? Who can say? I could kick myself.
Two other things have been really nice about the past couple of weeks. One is that Matt and I both have gotten a lot of running in. We didn't make a specific New Year's resolution about it, but after all the sloth and gluttony of the holidays we were both ready to hit it hard. We've both run almost every day this month -- weekdays he runs before work, and I run after he gets home; weekends we go whenever we can -- and it feels SO good to be getting back in shape. I know I'm not a chunky girl, but the fact is that no matter your size, if you're five pounds too heavy to fit comfortably into the clothes in your closet, it's not a good feeling. And that's where I'm at right now. So I'll be glad to leave that feeling behind as soon as possible.
I've been running outside mostly, for a few reasons -- I go farther but the time passes faster; the scenery and daydreaming are better than TV; I feel more removed from and therefore less responsible for the possibly screaming children inside the house; and it just feels like a better, harder workout. Also, there's something about braving somewhat adverse conditions (cold weather/pregnancy/early mornings, etc.) to run that makes me feel mentally stronger, like a "real" runner, and always results in a better run for me. I haven't figured out exactly how that works yet, but I do know running on a treadmill under a ceiling fan while watching "The Millionaire Matchmaker" does not have the same effect.
The other thing I've really enjoyed lately is getting to reconnect with a bunch of friends we didn't get to see much in the blur that was November through early January. Between girls' nights and one-on-one lunches and couples' dinners and playdates, I've gotten to spend time with most of my favorites -- the locals, anyway -- with a couple of notable exceptions (LMG!). I -- make that we, because Matt's even worse than I am -- can be introverted and antisocial and lazy, but it's true that friendships are worth the effort, and I'm very thankful for our peeps.
And NOW I will go take a shower and read.
P.S. I almost forgot! Amanda inspired me, in this post, to call Time Warner Cable today and request a discount. They cut our monthly bill by $30, just for asking. Again, should have done it forever ago, but better late than never.