Friday, October 29, 2010

Feel Good Friday: Family Photos

It started with me buying polos for each member of the family- bright pink for Teagan, aqua for me, forest green for Zach, navy for Jeff. The day of, I actually curled my hair in an attempt to somewhat tame it. I put on make up for the first time in more months than I can acknowledge. And we showed up to get our family pictures taken.
The pictures we chose:
The Real Family Photos:

A Few Of The Pictures We Suffered Through To Get The Ones We Like:

We are getting a new church directory. A young woman in our congregation has started a photography business (JMS Photography). We hadn't had pictures done in a long, long, long time. I like our silly pictures the best. Family photos- especially silly ones- are definitely something that leave me feeling good! Photobucket

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I have been thinking about the update I need to give on my Healthier Me initiative. I keep rolling thoughts around in my head of what I want to tell you but my challenge is trying to figure out how I'm feeling or what I'm doing or why. Back in April- just 6 weeks into this healthier way of living- I blogged about the Stages of Change. At the time, I was firmly in the Action stage. I was gung ho and sticking to my plan for activity and for food. I remember writing the bit about the Maintenance phase- you reach it after 6 months of consistent activity. I remember thinking "6 months? That means doing this through August... I'm really not sure I'll make it." Well, I've made it. The good thing about the Stages of Change is that they are fluid and you move through them and back and forth and in and out of them. In some ways, I am in the Maintenance phase. I am getting exercise regularly. I haven't quit running and I'm not back to just lounging around at any given chance. In some ways, I've slid back to Contemplation. I'm doing a lot of thinking about the things I'm not doing right and trying to figure out why. My struggles: - Eating. My diet is not as awesome as it once was. I miss it but not enough to get right back into it. I'm doing ok. I'm not binging. I'm not going back to junk and fast food. I've not indulged in a Big Mac or anything. But I am eating mindlessly and I am snacking as an emotional response and I am eating for the wrong reasons. And when I do those things, I end up down a path that ends with junky, crappy, processed foods a good percentage of the time. - Running. My schedule has been a bit hectic lately and it threw me off my goals. Ashli's 500 Mile Challenge is keeping me going but I'm not hitting my goals. More than that, I'm not thrilled with my running ability or performance. I have no idea what the issue is or what challenge I'm not overcoming. I was doing so well before that knee thing hit before my 5K back in June. I don't think I'm scared of injury now. But I'm having a hard time getting back to where I was. In addition, my motivation has changed. I had been gunning for the goal of running a 5K with no walking intervals. Now... I'm really ok with running as much as I can and walking when I need to walk. I know I can finish a 5K and my time just isn't much of a concern to me. I'll be honest- I think I need to find a running partner more at my level. It's hard when my running partner is constantly achieving more and I'm plodding along. We hit the treadmill and my mile is her 1.5 miles and my 1.5 miles is her 2.5 miles and when I quit after 2 miles, she does 3. When we run together in a neighborhood or on a path, even if we start together, she is quickly gone and (sometimes literally) running laps around me. I love that she is succeeding and overcoming her obstacles. It's just hard being left behind. - Cross training. Isn't happening as much as it should. I've been a lot more focused on running and haven't been doing my strength training as much as I should. My successes: - Those jeans that I wore for 1 day and then had to go back for the smaller size. Major success! And that isn't unusual. I'm not gaining any fat as I slack off. My weight on the scale has gone back up a bit. But my clothes are fitting the same or better. My first pair of running pants are about to be too big and I love noticing how loose they feel every time I pull them on. because of how my clothes continue to fit and continue to feel more and more loose, I'd say that the focus I had on cross training and strength traing in July, August, and September led to muscle gain. - I haven't flat out quit any part of this. While part of me is sometimes tempted to throw in the towel and grab that gallon of ice cream and chocolate syrup and put on some old fat pants and sit on the couch... while part of me is tempted to take my lunch hour and run errands or go out to eat with friends or just sit on my booty at my computer... while part of me wants to skip the salad and go for a juicy double cheeseburger at Wendy's... the better part of me is still making mostly good choices. The thing about living a healthy lifestyle is that it has to be a long term commitment. This was never about losing a certain number of pounds or getting to a certain size and then quitting my efforts. This isn't a sprint or a race or a short jog around the block. This is a marathon and I have the entire race course to myself. Others might intersect on my marathon course from time to time as they stride towards their own goals. But I have to make the choices that keep me on course. There will be water breaks and potty stops and times that I stop to stretch or massage my muscles. But that doesn't mean I've reached the finish line. Here are my goals. I am doing a 5K on November 6. I am running a virtual 5K on the weekend of Dec 4 as part of the 500 Mile Challenge we started on DailyMile. In January, I will train to run a 10K. I haven't selected a race yet but I'm thinking I'll do one in March. After the 10K, I will start training to run a half marathon. I plan to run the Mini Marathon (part of the 500 Festival- a car racing thing here in Indy) at the end of May. I'm not ready to set any food goals right now. Once I hit that preparation stage again, I'll be sure to share it here. I'm searching for my motivation, my spark. I want to get back to that crazy healthy eating that was loaded with fruits and veggies. I'm not back to that point just yet and I'm working on figuring out why. And just to show you how much I'm still getting something positive from my workouts... here is a picture of me right after getting off the treadmill after my lunch hour workout. Photobucket

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fat TV

Since the previews for the fall season started up, I've had something on my mind but haven't been able to find the words to get it out on the blog. Then I read a CNN article and a Marie Claire post. And I decided it was time to share those thoughts. As I watched the ads for "Mike & Molly," one thought kept sticking with me. What would happen if one of those actors lost a lot of weight very rapidly? I thought back to "Roseanne" and Roseanne and Dan were overweight characters. Jokes were made about their size. Health issues came up because of their weight and bad eating habits. I don't think the characters had to be obese actors but it was almost refreshing to see real people in real bodies on TV. The thing that has bothered me about "Mike & Molly" is that part of the entire premise of the show is that they are fat. They meet at Overeaters Anonymous. There are scenes of Molly on an elliptical or treadmill. Trying to be healthy but obviously struggling. What would happen if one of those actors truly put effort into losing weight? What if one of those actors dropped 50 pounds in 2 months while reruns were airing? Are we paying for these people to be obese? Is that how they are earning their salaries? I get that we want to see all body shapes and sizes on TV. We all want to feel like we are represented. In a world of skinny model reality shows and plasticized faces and bodies... so many of us want to see ourselves in the characters on TV. But why does being fat have to be the main plot point for the fat characters? Why can't they just be people who happen to be fat? And why do there have to be extremes? Why do women on TV have to either be a size 2 or a size 20? Why aren't we seeing more actresses / characters that are normal sizes like 8 or 10 or 12? Even the ABC Family show "Huge," which received praise for having a cast of plus sized characters, was based on those characters being fat. As for "Mike & Molly," are the actors being paid a bonus to stay in a certain weight range? Do they have to sit on a couch a certain number of hours each day? Are there dietary requirements with calorie counts as high as Michael Phelps on a high intensity training day? Is it possible that their jobs are forcing them to stay fat and unhealthy? Maybe "Mike & Molly" will have a different premise. Maybe the actors will start to truly be healthy and that gets written into the show. Maybe the plan is that Overeaters Anon is successful for the characters. Maybe.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The New Rooms

For Zach's birthday present from us, we did some major revamping of our living space. We combined the kids' bedrooms. We took the other room and made a play room. While I took the kids to Ohio to visit Grandma, Jeff spent the evening and morning moving stuff from one room to the other, giving the combined bedroom a good vaccuuming, getting a new bed for Teagan (her full size bed won't fit in Zach's room). When he finished, the bedroom looked like this:
Still a few finishing touches to add- moving some more of Teagan's butterflies from her old room to this new combined bedroom, hanging some other framed art. The play room was mine to tackle. Jeff had moved toys from Zach's room into the space and left them disorganized so I could go through them fully. The kids then played in the playroom most of the day on Sunday and left it completely trashed. I worked most of the day on that mess. I sorted and tossed and set aside for donation. I thought and planned the layout of the room. And I think it turned out nicely! I decided to do the room in play centers (kind of). We have a home living type area with the kitchen and dollhouse (ignore the fan- that was just for me while I was working): A reading area with a cozy cushion and this fun tent that the kids love to sit in and read together: There is the basketball hoop with a bucket of balls and then another single reading area with a green bin of books that Teagan can read by herself with no assistance (or minimal assistance) from us: The shelves are stacked with toys in reachable spaces. The other shelves are storage. The toys are organized so blocks and legos are in one place, action figures and little people are in another, a bin for cars, a drawer for musical instruments, a basket for dress up, and more! And the last shot- a little workbench for important construction projects and a hanging laundry bag that we use to store stuffed animal friends. A day well spent! The kids have a sleep space that is set up to give them each their own area. The kids have a play area- a room that I can shut the door on if needed. I was able to move the play kitchen from the living room back to the play room, giving us better access to the front windows and giving us more space in the living room. I'm proud of the hard work that Jeff and I both did! I also managed to put together a bin and trash bag full of toys and books to donate, found a home for a toy crib that wasn't touched in our house, and found a few things to donate to the children's ministry at church. How about you? Have you tackled any big projects lately? Share your accomplishments! Photobucket

Monday, October 25, 2010

Feeding the Hungry

My mom and I struggled when I was a kid. She was a single parent. She was trying to support us while going through dental school so she could provide us a solid future. She was making the best choices she could and sometimes there was struggle due to financial difficulties.

I don't know all the details of our finances- I was raised that money is the concern of adults and kids shouldn't have to be concerned with or shouldn't be privvy to the financial situation of the adults. Of course, kids easily pick up on the financial situation.

My friends wore new clothes. I wore homemade clothes or hand me downs. My friends had pantries and cabinets and fridges filled with food- our food supply didn't compare. My friends lived in houses with backyards and fences and dogs. I lived in an apartment- just me and my mom. We struggled and we had a church family that helped us out from time to time.

As an adult, I am sometimes amazed at how much my life has been blessed. I am in a place where I have security for my family and can help others. I can pay forward what was given to us.

Last week, I learned that the food pantry that I donate to was struggling. In the past 3 weeks, they had served over 100 families each week. This pantry, The Come to Me Food Pantry of Fishers United Methodist Church, is open once a week (Wednesdays from 1:00 - 7:00) to serve families. On an initial visit, there is some paperwork to fill out and the family meets with an advocate volunteer who talks to them about their situation, their food needs, their food likes and dislikes, and offers to pray with them. The pantry's goal is to supply 3 meals, snacks, and personal items to last for the week ahead. They give both dry goods and also meat, bread, and other perishables.

I put out a call to my friends on Facebook. 3 women came up right away as wanting to donate food. I met up with one of the 3 yesterday afternoon. We had lunch and then loaded up my car with the donations she had collected. I was amazed at the amount of food they were donating! Cases of vegetables, bags and bags of food. The back end of my van was stacked and loaded- and weighted down. And that was the donations of only 3 women (I added my own 4 bags of food as well so it was from 4 women). I took the donation to the pantry this morning. After unloading everything into the dumbwaiter (which we filled), got a tour of the pantry and how it works.

And I was moved to tears.

There are wooden shelves built to hold the cans of food. There are 4 chest freezers and 3 or 4 fridges. The pantry gets donations from Frito Lay, Marsh (grocery store), and Panera Bread (and other companies, I'm sure). There is a freezer for hot dogs and buns, a freezer for hamburger. There is a special shelf set aside with food items for families with special dietary needs- I saw the labels "Gluten Free" and "Muslim" and "Organic." They've served Jewish families, single parent families, Muslim families, and more. Here's what I loved best of all: planned meals. Instead of just giving cans and boxes of food, the volunteers take donations and put together little meals with instructions on how to make it. 2 boxes of mac n cheese with cans of tuna. Chicken flavored rice with cans of chicken. A box of mashed potatoes, a can of peas, a can of corn, hamburger from the freezer, and instructions on making shepherd's pie.

This inspired me. I want to specifically collect donations and make these meal kits. For my local peeps, I'd love to work on collecting up donations from you for this effort. For far away peeps, if you feel so moved (and trust me enough) to participate, e-mail me (see tab above) and we can make arrangements. I'm going to be getting a list of the meal kits they make and what's needed for each one. One of the other kits they make that I just love are the birthday bags- a gift bag with a small wrapped gift inside, decorations, cake mix, icing, and so on. Something I'm going to do with my kids this Halloween is to ask each home we visit to donate a canned or boxed item for the food pantry. My friends and I did this in college and we collected a lot of food. I'm going to borrow a wagon to collect the food in and am eager to see how we do. Maybe you can do the same in your neighborhood and donate to your local pantry?

I think the thing I like about this small pantry in my neighborhood is that it is a pantry that is helping the families that are struggling to make ends meet. This isn't one of the big pantries that have lots of corporate sponsorships and are helping families in more dire straits in the inner city. The bigger pantries tend to get more attention, I think. This is a small pantry and is run only by volunteers from this church. The gentleman that helped me unload my van and who gave me the tour shared a story with me. One Wednesday night, a woman sat in her car outside the food pantry. A few times, she got out of the car and walked towards the doors but would then turn around and get back in the car. She finally found the courage to go inside and she met with a wonderful advocate. She had lost her job a month ago and was starting to really struggle and couldn't feed her family. She prayed with the advocate and took her food and personal items and left. She didn't come back the next week or the week after. About 3 months later, she walked back in the doors. The same advocate happened to be working that evening again and rushed up to her, hugged her, and started talking about getting her food. The woman stopped her. She wasn't there to get food. She was there because she had found a job soon after taking food from the pantry those months ago. Her life had changed because of the help she received. She was there because she had bags of groceries in her car that she wanted to donate. She paid it back and, in so doing, paid it forward at the same time.

I'm going to keep paying it forward, too.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy 3rd Birthday, Zach!

(If the video doesn't work, here is the link to YouTube)

The kids had an awesome, awesome day with Grandma yesterday. They were apparently exhausted by bedtime and went right to sleep without a fight. They got to hammer and drill and make cupcakes and picked up at least 100 black walnuts in the yard and went for a walk. They had cupcakes for dessert, sang Happy Birthday to Zach (at his request) and he got to open his present from Grandma. They slept until... not even 6:30 this morning. Yawn.
I have taken full advantage of the kids wanting all this time with Grandma. Yesterday, I got out for a run in my mom's neighborhood. Lots of hills here, not at all like at home. I got in almost 2 miles in 25 minutes. I came back to the house and enjoyed a long, hot shower. I watched some dopey afternoon TV. I took a nap on the couch. The kids were in heaven with Grandma and I took every minute that I could. I headed out of the house and hit the mall. Walked around for an hour- kind of in culture shock since I don't do malls or mall stores. Some of those places are ridiculous!! Then I headed to a friend's house and enjoyed an evening out with them- Indian food for dinner followed by Graeter's ice cream.
Today, we drive back home. We head to a picnic and then dinner with family. It will be a busy and exciting day!
Most of all, I hope to get a few moments today to remember Zach's birth and what he was like as a baby and how big he's gotten. His smile, his sense of humor and timing, his affectionate hugs and kisses, his smarts, and all his little quirks.
When we had Teagan, we had decided that she would be an only child. We knew with our schedules and what we thought we wanted out of life that having one child that we could focus our attention on was important. Then Zach came along. And our lives improved tenfold. Teagan taught us to love. Zach taught us joy. And all that stuff people say about the relationship between a boy and his mother? I totally get it.
Happy 3rd birthday to my little boy. I love you and am so excited to see the year ahead of us unfold!

Friday, October 22, 2010

You Know The Drill!

Mommy's Idea

Busy weekend- and an important weekend!! On Saturday, my baby boy turns 3!! To celebrate, I am taking the kids to Cincinnati to spend the day (and night) with Grandma (and Grandpa and Uncle Daniel). I will drive back Saturday morning. While we are gone, there is a chance that Daddy is going to do all the furniture moving so we have a bedroom and a playroom as our big gift for Zach's birthday. Saturday afternoon is our previous daycare provider's annual picnic for past and present families in her care. Sasturday evening we are having dinner with friends and family in celebration of Zach's birthday at one of our family fave restaurants- Scotty's Lakehouse.

I posted this week about The Magic Jeans. Demands were made that pictures be shared. If you're a Facebook fan, you were treated to these fun pics yesterday. I've got a post brewing in my head about this journey I'm on to be healthy. About goals and buddies and gauges of success. I'm struggling a bit right now but still seeing what should be considered success. The mental game of going from unhealthy to healthy is frustrating at times. I wrote about my best friend, Jim, earlier this week. Part of why I love him so much? Because after he read it, he called me. And he said, "You were at that party with me because I carried you there in my heart. Not just in my back pocket. I love you!" *sniff, sniff* I love you, too! The training I was in last week was intense. One of the tools used to implement the learning was The Boat Game. Some of you might have heard of this before- but each person on the team has a different job and you have to make the process of taking orders, building boats, and delivering to the customer work most efficiently. The training was a type of problem solving process. The game goes for 8 rounds and is played over the course of the 5 days- as you learn a new step or tool, you apply it to a round of the game. After the first round, the leader of the other team pipes up with "Let's make it a competition!" Several of us on my team... didn't want that. At all. For several reasons. It makes it a game and not a learning process. It makes us competitive types have that competitive side come out and that can make things get ugly. For others, competition is a reason to withdraw from the process. Long story short... the team that didn't want it to be a competition.. won! That's all for now- things that I'm feeling good about, things that are little fragments... all out in the blogosphere now! Photobucket

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Poopity Poop Poopity

From time to time, I like to share thoughts on discipline and parenting.

Recently, my kids have discovered the, uh, joy of bathroom humor. It is beyond hilarious to say things like fart or poop or pee or underwear. One word and they both fall apart in giggle fits.

I hesitated on how to handle the potty talk. And what we've decided on is that we won't ban the words from the family lingo. Instead, we set limits on where we can use those words.

See, I never want my kids to think there is a topic that is off limits to talk about in our family.

So we can have potty talk when it is just us at home or when it is just us in the car. Never at dinner- at least not so others can hear you. We're feeling this all out as we go but it is working fairly well so far.

Sunday evening, Christy and I were heading to Target with my kids. We were potty talking away in an effort to get all the poops and farts and pee giggles over and done with. Earlier in the day, we'd enjoyed making up our own lyrics to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle" or the WonderPets theme song... anything to do with underwear was a favorite theme. (Underwear is under there, Underwear is what we wear, Underwear oh underwear, I love you, my underwear, etc)

While at Target, the time quickly approached bedtime and Zach was getting close to being very done with the day. He and Teagan were having a great time in the purse section with Christy- until he discovered the umbrellas and was trying to manage 2 large umbrellas at once and refused to put them down and was actually endangering those around him. As I forced him to put the umbrellas back, he threw himself into the rack, folded his arms across his chest, looked down with a furrowed brow and harumphed himself into a little pout.

Normally, I ignore him. Or I get down on his level and talk about choices and opportunities and responsibilities and all that. But I was tired, too. I just didn't want to go all Mommy on him.

So I bent down to his ear, put up one single nagging finger, and whispered in my best Mom voice so only he could hear me...

"Poopity, poop, poopity, poop poop. Poopity! Poopity!"

His posture changed immediately. His face changed immediately. It wasn't an instant fix but it got him back on a happy track and got us out of the store without a major incident.

I used it on Teagan at dinner the next night. She was whining and complaining and tossing out some major attitude. I started to go into my typical Mom Mode of choices and opportunities and stern voice and "don't make me, young lady!"

Instead, I leaned over and whispered in her ear, "poop and pee and farts and underwear!"

Suddenly, she shifted from her complaints to showing us how hard she was working on NOT laughing.

So what do you think? Can I write a book on Potty Mouth Discipline and sell millions??


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Missing Out

Sometimes, being a parent means missing out on other things in life. For the most part, I handle this pretty well because I know how blessed I am. There are times, though, that I feel like the missing out is a little bigger and it's a little harder to reconcile that I am where I'm supposed to be. Or maybe it's that I miss the excitement of previously being caught up and important to people and now, because of my life choices, I am no longer in that role. Right now, big things are happening to one of my dearest and bestest friends- Jim. Life is truly amazing for him right now. When you were a kid, did you have dreams of what you would be when you grew up? I'm betting most of us are unfulfilled in that department. I wanted to be a horse trainer or a teacher. Neither one happened for me. And I'm ok with that- life has me where I am supposed to be. Jim grew up wanting to be a writer. And he became one. He moved to New York City and got a job at Marvel- you know, the comics people. I believe he started out in a support position at Marvel and then moved up into Marketing. He was attending all the conventions and meeting some famous people. It was a dream. But not complete fulfillment... he wanted to write for Marvel. He was given a chance at a couple of books- wrote a few different things like... well, I don't speak comic so just go to his Wikipedia page and you can read all about his accomplishments. Pretty amazing stuff, right? Here's the part I'm having this huge swirl-storm of emotions about right now... he wrote a graphic novel called Return of the Dapper Men. It's coming out this November. It had an early release at the NYC ComicCon a couple of weekends ago. It's getting amazing write ups in some big media outlets. Google it to learn more (and there just might be a special giveaway coming soon to this blog!!). Here's the thing. I am beyond proud of him. It took some personal struggle to get to where he is. There was a bad relationship, there was a period of time when he wasn't making the best choices because of that relationship, there was some serious angst and some conversations I didn't want to have about those bad choices... because I knew he was more than that, greater than that. Eventually, bad choices and relationship went away. And good things and people started to happen. He is in an amazing relationship now (seriously- his fiance is gorgeous and supports him like nothing I've seen before). And he's about to publish a book of his own creative genious, his own unique story that is being heralded as an instant classic with uniquely spun moral lessons for kids and adults alike. And the forward was written by Tim Gunn- mostly because he believes in the project and also because he's a friend of Jim's. It has been a long road to get to where he is. There have been hurdles and struggles and patience and risks along the way. For some of that foundation, I was by Jim's side. For some of the formative stuff, I was his main cheerleader. I got to be part of the creativity and excitement that is Jim McCann. Then life happened and choices were made and things changed- the way they were supposed to change. I got married, had kids. I love my life but the life I've chosen means that I can't jet off to NYC anytime I want to... like for the recent launch party for Dapper Men. Jim posted pics from the event and to see all these people and to see Jim's beaming grin and to know that there are people in those pictures who have been there at his side as he has gone through this creative process and who have been able to support him and celebrate with him... it kind of breaks my heart. Because I can't be there. I'm in his back pocket and I'm here in any capacity that he calls upon me for but I can't physically be with him every day or even on a regular basis. Maybe that's how it feels when parents send their kids off to college and they are approaching graduation and about to start fully living their own lives without needing you in that same way that they did before. Even though they've been away from home for 4 years and living in a dorm and figuring out time scheduling and relationships and food without you, graduation and real life feel different. Jim's been off at college and now he's about to graduate and has this amazing job and life ahead of him. He won't ever forget me, I know that. He loves me and I love him. Our friendship has a special depth to it that I haven't experienced with anyone else. it doesn't matter how long it has been since we last talked- we can get right back to where we always were within 5 minutes or less. He calls me when he needs to work through anxiety or to share fantastic news. He called me before he proposed and after. The big moments define when we communicate and the little moments quickly fall into place. But as he continues to grow and bloom and become... I feel a little left behind, I guess. Like I'm missing out on the fun and excitement and wow-ness of it all. I've made my choices and am blessed to live a life of normalcy that I've always wanted to live. One of those blessings is to call Jim my friend and to have him bless me with the same title in return. What have you found yourself missing out on because of your choices? Specifically, you've made choices that you wouldn't change for the world because the results are too precious. But from time to time, something from that pre-choice time pops up and reminds you of who you used to be...


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Magic Jeans

About a year ago, I wrote a post about my frustration in shopping for jeans.

Back in May, I wrote about the magic jeans given to me as hand me downs from Ashli. The jeans are about done. The fabric is actually starting to wear through. I know I need to replace them. I have a pair of black jeans and a pair of dark denim that Ashli gave me. They are heavier denim so I don't feel like they go with every look. With the magic jeans starting to show signs of wear and thining in the inner thigh area, I knew I was going to have to start the search.

I was scared.

Last time I went shopping for jeans, I literally tried on a dozen or more pairs and hated every time I stepped into that leg of pants in the dressing room. No style, no size, no design was right. Size 16 was too tight. Size 18 was too big. Some had stretchy material that made me look like a sausage. Some were hard denim that stood on its own around my flesh. I reached a point of such desperation that I even tried on men's jeans. It was depressing and frustrating. I knew this would be another venture into territory that would take time and patience. I also knew I needed jeans.

Friday evening, we went to Target. It wasn't were I intended to start my project. I was trying to find a day to go to a shopping center or mall and visit a variety of stores and department stores. I knew that my body had changed enough that it should be a more normal experience- less frustrating and depressing but still a hard task.

I was wrong.

I picked out 3 pairs of jeans in 3 different styles, all size 14. I stepped into the dressing room, took a deep breath, and took off my magic jeans. I stepped into the first pair. It was a standard pair of boot cut jeans. They were too big. Specifically too big in the waist. When I sat down, they would gap out in the back. The other pairs had wide elastic sewn into the waist to prevent that from happening. I'd found a similar waistband in pairs of capris this summer so I knew I liked that fit. I pulled on the 2nd pair of jeans. I'd found them. They fit exactly right. They fit in the legs, the waist, and the butt. My body was a size 14 normal body. There was no weird gaping or rolls of sausage. I didn't even try on the 3rd pair because I loved the 2nd pair so much.

I wore them Friday evening. I wore them Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Turns out, those size 14 jeans in a trouser, boot cut style with the elastic sewn into the waist band... are too big.

I went back to Target Sunday evening after dinner. I grabbed a size 12 from the rack and headed for the dressing room. They fit. Like magic. I have new magic jeans.

And now I have a pair of size 14 jeans that I can't return and can't wear. They cost $25. Anyone want to buy them? On sale for $20!


Monday, October 18, 2010

The 7 Year Itch?

Happy 7th Anniversary to me and my husband... 7 years ago today, Jeff and I traveled to Gatlinburg, TN to become man and wife. Last year, I finally compiled all my notes and journaling into some blog entires- detailing our entire weekend. I love going back and reliving it. I look forward to someday spending an anniversary back there, maybe even in our same cabin.

The Drive Down- Adventures in Marriage Licensure

It's funny to go back and read this post and remember the people who came down to TN to be with us when we got married. Some are people we rarely see anymore (due to taking time off from our theatre involvement) like the Murello-Todd Family. Some are people we have cut out of our lives since having children like Jeff's mother. Some are people no longer attached to us (and we continue to be very thankful for that) like the person who is now Jim's ex-boyfriend.

Our Wedding Day

The preparations, the pictures, the adorable little chapel...

The Reception and Our Night Out

The reception at our cabin and an evening out with friends and family at Sweet Fanny Adams.

The Day After and The Long Hike

Sunday was a day in Gatlinburg spent with friends. And Monday was a day that will be forever known as "The Day Liz and Christy Decided to Torture Themselves."


As of Sunday evening, we haven't done anything to celebrate. We aren't big celebrators, I suppose. We would have made plans to go out Saturday night. We had a sitter (Christy, of course). But it was Jeff's 25th high school reunion and there were weird things going on and he ended up being a major part of the whole thing running smoothly- he provided equipment, music, took on a photo project at the last minute. So I basically didn't see him from Friday evening until Saturday evening. I did go to the reunion- I drove separately and only stayed 2 hours. Jeff's focus was on his responsibilities at the reunion and not on keeping his wife entertained or introduced. Which is fine- neither of us were thrilled about the reunion in the first place. I do think he had a great time- I just think I didn't need to be there. Which is kind of sad, I guess. I kind of thought my "appearance" was so that he could introduce me to people. But that didn't seem to be on the list of priorities. The only compliments I got on how I looked were from a photographer, Christy, and my kids. I wore make up, did my hair, wore a dress, heels, earrings, pantyhose- I never, ever do that. I wanted to look nice for my husband. I wanted him to be proud to have me by his side. I didn't feel any of that when I decided to leave.

Wow, I'm getting whiney. This isn't something I'm upset about, really. This is just not how I'd wanted the "date night" for our anniversary to go. Hard to reschedule it- next weekend is Zach's birthday and the weekend after is Halloween. So this will be a more "down home" kind of celebration and recognition of the day. And I'm fine with that because that is who we are and how we are. The best part of this anniversary is that I like where we are. Sure, we disagree and sometimes we even fight. But most of the time, we are a team, we are on the same page.

Bottom line is- we love each other, we trust each other, and we laugh together. What more could I ask for?


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Crazy Week

Gotta say... this week is kicking my booty. Training starts at 8 a.m. each day. Breaks and lunch don't give you time on your own and are too brief. The subject matter is brain intense. I'm not bored- but am sometimes overwhelmed. This training is all week long and is squeezed into a week long training from a curriculum that was originally 3 weeks long. And it could easily take 3 weeks to master this stuff. So I'm tired. I'm brain dead. I don't have much to give to anyone once we get the kids in bed. Good chance the blog will be quite the rest of the week because my time doesn't slow down until Sunday evening. Anyone wanna guest blog? E-mail me a post to gentlemomlc (at) gmail and I will schedule up posts. I only have access before 6:45 am and after 7:30 pm. G'nighty-night.... Zzzzzzz..... Photobucket

I Was Wrong

Jeff and I both had a rough morning yesterday. We were frustrated and it led to anger and we weren't very nice to each other. The details are unimportant. What is important is that I was wrong. Not in my argument. But in how I let my anger impact my kids. I was mad and frustrated and angry and I let all of that be first. My kids wanted hugs and kisses- which I gave them as they were getting strapped in to go to school. But because of the anger and stress playing out for about 3-4 minutes in front of them... they needed more physical reassurance that things were ok and that they were still loved. I failed them because I stayed focused on my being mad instead of giving them what they were seeking. I tried... but Jeff and I both failed as a team. We're better now. We've made up and I fixed my part of things with the kids. I have a plan in place to make the morning go smoother and reduce the frustration and avoid boiling down to anger. I'm human. We all have times when we make choices we aren't proud of and I definitely had my moment yesterday morning as my kids were crying for hugs and kisses and my husband was racing off with them strapped in carseats. The important thing is what we learn from it and how we work to make it right. I think it's good for kids to see parents argue and disagree and even fight. But most important is for kids to see how parents make up and compromise and get along again. Most important is making things right again between each other and between the family as an entire unit. Negativity flowing from one person impacts all in the family unit. And it can be an ugly and fast spreading disease. Figuring out how to stop it when it's flowing is a challenge and not something I can do by myself. I was wrong. And I'm working to do better. Photobucket

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sharing A Room?

For more than a week now, Zach and Teagan have been sharing a room. It started last week when they were bestest friends for an afternoon and then Zach was just heartbroken to go to sleep by himself. We have a thick camping mat and we put that on the floor in Teagan's room with a sheet on it, Zach's pillow, and Zach's comforter. They have slept that way every night since. Part of me is fine with the chaos of the room being taken over by this mat on the floor. Part of me desperately wants to go clean up the bedrooms. I've scheduled some time off in a couple of weeks. I'm going to have 1 day to do major home projects. I'm thinking about creating a big change. I want input from parents who have been there, done that. I'm thinking about taking everything out of both rooms. Then, one room would be 2 beds, 2 dressers, bookshelf. The other room would be a play room. Shelves, play tent, dollhouse, basketball hoop. Is there an issue if the kids share a room for a year? For 6 months? Is this too much work for a short term situation? At what age is it really important for a child to have their own space? At what age is it important for opposite sex kids to be in a separate space? Right now, privacy isn't much of an issue in our house. The kids still bathe together 90% of the time. They get dressed in the same area pretty regularly. One will use the toilet while the other brushes teeth. There isn't much discussion about private parts- they are far more focused on farts and saying "poop" in weird voices. The adults get privacy for the most part. Jeff has always had complete privacy- he has his own bathroom, shower uninterrupted, uses the toilet without kids walking in. I share a bathroom with the kids. I sometimes have a kid come in while I'm showering if there is an urgent potty need or... well, just because they need to tell me that Sesame Street is on TV. I often have company with me in the bathroom, too. They don't see my private parts. So there is privacy in our home but it isn't something we make an issue out of. I really want to hear a variety of opinions. Do you think you wait until you see signs from your kids to institute privacy measures? Do you think there is a specific age? Do you have (or did you have) opposite sex kids who shared intimate living spaces? Photobucket

Monday, October 11, 2010

Add It To The Thumbs Up Menu List!

I made meatloaf for dinner and it was a hit!! I loosely followed the Classic Meatloaf recipe in The Joy of Cooking. I used 2 lb of ground beef, 1 box of stove top (classic sage), 1/2 a chopped onion, 2/3 c ketchup, 3 eggs. The recipe calls for a variety of spices and using oats. I used the Stove Top in place of all that. I mixed all ingredients by hand (which was really gross) and smooshed the mixture into a loaf pan. Baked at 350 for an hour and then took it out and added a "drizzle" of ketchup on top and then cooked it another 15 minutes (until the loaf reached an internal temp of 160). I think I actually overcooked it a smidge because it fell apart a bit when I served it. But it was darn tasty. I had mine with A1. Jeff and kids had ketchup. Brian was here to hang out and enjoyed it as well with no added sauce. Zach ate a few bites and liked it fine. Teagan ate every bite. I enjoyed all of mine. Jeff declared it "good." Brian had 2 pieces. Jeff went back and had more after the kids were in bed. So I'd say we have a hit on our hands! Simple, classic and home cooked! Photobucket