Sunday, September 30, 2007

"The smaller my jeans got, the smaller my life got..."


There was a time in my life that being thin, meant everything to me. I went to the gym at least once every day, sometimes twice. It definitely wasn't out of the norm for me to go for a run in the morning and then hit the gym after work. I ran a minimum of 30 miles every week and some weeks as much as many as 70. If friends were getting together after work or on a weekend, I wouldn't join them until after I had worked out. I was on a strict, low fat, no fat diet. When I went out to eat, I ordered the healthiest thing on the menu rather than what sounded the best. I rarely ate desert and if I did, it was some form of fat free ice cream or a brownie made with apple sauce instead of oil (yuck...). I looked great. I was a size 2 or a 4 (which is probably like a double zero today because of vanity sizing...that's a whole nother blog entry...). I could walk into a store and buy whatever I wanted...the funny thing is, that at the time, it wasn't good enough for me. I didn't just want a flat stomach, I wanted a six pack. I thought my thighs and my butt were too big...it consumed me. My body was my life, and honestly, it was a small life.

Several years later, during a much healthier time in my life, I was talking to a good friend who had also struggled with an eating disorder and exercise obsession. She told me that one day she realized that "The smaller my jeans got, the smaller my life got." It rang true for me then and it still does.

After I had Sam, the baby weight fell off of me. I didn't exercise that much and by the time he turned one I was about as skinny as I had ever been. I wore a bikini that summer, and it looked good...I assumed that the same thing would happen again this time, but it hasn't. Although I'm pretty much back to my pre-baby weight I think that the pre-baby body may be gone for good. Surprisingly, I'm okay with that. My body carried and gave birth (without any drugs) to two beautiful and healthy children. Isn't that more important (and amazing) than being able to wear a bikini? Yes, Yes, Yes! My life is so big and full and I am so happy to be able to recognize that this is what truly matters.

That being said, I have to admit that I've become the polar opposite of the girl I used to be and I don't think that this is good either. I don't exercise, at all....I think about it a lot, but I don't do it. On Thursday, I put my running clothes on in the morning and then took them off at 8:00 p.m., when I finally showered...but I never went for a run. I always have an excuse. It's too hot, too cold or I'm too tired...Although I am glad that I am no longer the girl who HAD to run and did so whether it was 100 degrees out or snowing...I could use a little bit of her motivation (I think that no exercise is probably just as unhealthy as too much...).
Tomorrow is October 1, and I'm going to dust off my running shoes, put air in the tires of the double jogger, turn my iPod up high so that I can't hear Sam yelling, "Are we almost done yet?" and hit the road. For the first time in my life, my motivation will be that running is good for me, and not simply that it will make me thin. I am not going to beat myself up because I cannot run an eight minute mile while pushing 60 pounds of baby (I'm pretty certain that I cannot run an eight minute mile under any circumstance...maybe to save one of my children...maybe). I am going to run, because I know that although I feel too tired to do so, it will give me the energy that I need to chase my kids around. I am going to run because it clears my head and will give me more patience. I am going to run because it is good for me and because I can. I'm going to run because although I may never look like I did when I was 22, this mommy is not throwing in the towel just yet...I'm healthy and I want to stay that way....I've got a big beautiful life to live.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

100 posts!

My good friend Bethany lives in California. We rarely get to talk on the phone or even e-mail. In fact, I haven't seen her since she photographed our wedding almost five years ago. Despite this, I feel really close to her. I've never met her children, but I feel like I know them. I'm certain that if I am ever brave enough to get on a plane and go to LA with my two monkeys, they will have a great time together. All this, because she blogs.

Her blog has made it possible to laugh and cry with her. It's been a source of encouragement for me and also a way to encourage and know how to pray for her and her family. Ultimately, after reading her blog for about a year, her blog inspired me to start my own.

Blogging is a great way to keep in touch. My family in CT, NY and Georgia are all able to see what we've been up to. Most of them haven't figured out how to leave comments, but I get e-mails all of the time saying how much it is enjoyed. Even if no one else in the world read it, it's a great way for me to record my memories. I have two baby books in like new condition...and although I don't put every little thing on my blog, it's the best record I've got of the past ten months.

Keeping in touch and writing down memories were the two main reasons that I started blogging. They were obvious...an unexpected outcome is that I have made new friends. I use the word "friend" loosely, for I am not talking about people that I know or who know me. In fact, some of my new "friends" don't even know that I exist....none the less, I think of them as friends because I read their blogs regularly (and sometimes I think about them during the day and wonder how they are doing....is that odd?). Their blogs make me laugh and sometimes cry. The best thing though, is that I am always reminded that I am not alone in this mothering business. It's wonderful. It's hard. It's frustrating. It's exhausting. It can be lonely. Blogging is therapeutic...

Oh, if you love that onesie, you can buy it here (Rainbowswirlzkids on Etsy) !

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Grace is eleven months old today!

It's hard to believe that she's been with us for less than a year. I feel like I've known her forever. She is an amazing little girl...full of smiles and giggles. She loves her brother and cannot wait to get up and play with him. She's not walking yet, but I have a feeling it will be any day! She continues to be an incredible eater...we joke that she must have a hollow leg, because despite the fact that she eats more than her brother at any given meal, she really is pretty small. (I know she looks big in the pictures I post, but people who read my blog and then see her always comment that they expected her to be a lot bigger...wish they said that about me too:)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weekend "Getaway"...

If you double click the image it will become larger...





On Saturday morning I made a last minute decision to meet my mom, grandparents and two year old niece Caeden, in Rhode Island. The forecast was gorgeous and for the first summer in 28 years, I hadn't been to the cottage this year. Not to mention that Brad was planning to work on the house that we are currently renovating...Figured that the effort of getting there was worth the help I'd have...grandma and a set of great grandparents...I'd be sitting on the beach reading a book right? (I never actually thought that I'd get to read on the beach...I occasionally visit La La Land, but I'm not stupid.)

It took me three hours to pack...At 12:30 I stuck my kids in the car. It would have taken way to long to make them lunch...so I handed Sam a Power Bar and prayed that he wouldn't get too much chocolate all over my new car. When we got to Providence it was 82 degrees and sunny...thirty minutes later at the cottage is was 70 and overcast...We went to the beach in sweatshirts...the kids went swimming...it was nice.

That night, I had the pleasure of sleeping in the same room as my two night time terrorists, I mean children. I actually slept in the same double bed with Sam (and Grace from about 2:30 a.m on...) I went to bed at about 10:30. From 10:30 till about 1:30 Sam tossed and turned, talked, yelled and sang....

"I can do it myself!"

"That's mine"

"Go Lightening the Queen!"

"I'm building a house!" (as he clawed at my back)

"Mommy, hold my hand."

and my favorite, He sang, "Old McDonald had a farm....and on his farm he had a helicopter!" and then started cracking up and said, "No, that's silly, there's no helicopters on farms!"

Sam finally settled down. I fell asleep...and then at 2:00 Grace woke up and screamed till 5:00. I could not make her stop. It was so awful that I actually wondered how much trouble I would get in if I brought her out to the car, strapped her into her car seat and left her there. At 6:15, Sam woke up and yelled, "It's morning! I want to go upstairs!". This of course woke Grace up and that was it for sleep, an hour maybe...I felt physically ill.

Sunday was perfect though. The beach was beautiful, hot and sunny like July. We played in the sand, went swimming and just had a great time together. As I sat on the beach watching my kids play with my mom and my grandparents, I was flooded by memories past summers. I could almost hear the voices and see the people that I have spent so many happy times with. I felt like the luckiest mom in the world. How often do four generations of a family get to frolic on the beach? It was absolutely worth the bad night...in fact, I'd do it again.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

One year ago today...








I was about 35 weeks pregnant with Grace. My friend Tabitha took these prenatal portraits and one month later, she photographed Grace's birth.

"I'm meltin' down!"

said my crazy, irrational, screaming little boy as we drove home from the park at 4:45 yesterday afternoon. This no napping thing really sucks.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mod Podge Anyone?

A few weeks ago the Steering Team for my MOPS group got together for a planning meeting. I discovered that as the Hospitality Coordinator, part of my job was to create center pieces for each table that reflect the theme for the year. This years theme? "The Home Factor". If you know me, you know that I am not super crafty...probably lack of desire more than anything else...but anyway, where to begin? Popsicle stick houses were my first idea....

I had the brilliant idea of mod podging unfinished bird houses. I know, you are doubting my denial of craftiness, aren't you? How do I know about mod podge you ask? Ten years ago when I worked for DSS, our cheap state funded staff day included mod podging wooden trays...it's the only thing I know how to do, I swear.

Now, in case you are having the urge to mod podge something, I am going to share all of my knowledge and mod podging secrets...if you follow them closely, your project will be fabulous!

1. Do not think that you can mod podge eight birdhouses by yourself.

2. Do invite over a bunch of girl friends, provide snacks and wine and have a mod podge party.

3. When mod podging bird houses, pick box shaped ones. These can be done in less than an hour. Bird houses with picket fences, chimneys and dormers take about three hours.

4. Do not wear your favorite pants. You will get mod podge all over yourself and even though it looks like Elmer's glue, it does not wash off of fabric. It gets hard and crusty...like nail polish.

5. Do not leave your dining room table uncovered at your mod podge party. Even if your friends say, "It wipes right off!", cover the table. It does not wipe right off when it's dry. It will look like dried up nail polish...all over your dining room table.

6. Do not buy expensive scrap booking paper...the thinner the paper the better. Heavy papers, vellum and papers with glitter do not like to be mod podged...you will get very frustrated and drink more wine than you had planned. Use toilette paper, use newspaper...whatever you do, I repeat do not buy expensive designer paper!

7. Do not get a manicure before mod podging, the stuff does a number on your hands....think gunky bugary stuff all over your hands and under your nails...this is just a public service announcement...I haven't had a manicure since I was pregnant with Sam...

8. While mod podging, be sure to say "mod podge" a lot...it's a fun word...say it, "Mod Podge"! Fun, huh?

Eventhough I will never do it again, I think they're pretty cute!

In case you want to try it...this is what the stuff looks like.

Three hours...three hours!

Letting him "Win"

There is a day of absolute dread and horror in the life of every mother. No, it's not the day two weeks after your first child was born, that you went shopping by yourself. You were trying on bathing suits, because there was no way you were strutting all your stuff in a two piece...when suddenly your milk came down. You stood like a garden fountain and flooded the floor of the dressing room while looking at your new body in the mirror thinking, "You have got to be kidding me...is this really my life?". Then you snuck out without telling anyone because you were so embarrassed...I mean, you couldn't possibly tell the size 00 teenager that was working that you had just turned the floor of the third dressing room into Lake Tahoe....Nope, that was bad (it really happened) but it's not the day I'm talking about, I'm talking about the day that your child stops napping...

Naps have been getting later and later at our house. It's not uncommon for Sam to go down at say, 3:30 wake up at 5:30, eat dinner and go back to bed around 8:00. Some days, we just don't nap and then my little monster goes to bed at 7:00. Those days are awful from about 4:00 on...really awful, crazy, irrational, defiant, mean, evil, freaky behavior happens and so I'm just not ready to lose the nap!

Yesterday, Sam put up a fight, a kicking screaming, sobbing fight (a sure sign that he is exhausted). Very often I stick him in his room and let him scream till he goes to sleep. Yesterday, I had to make a choice though...Grace was asleep...it wasn't worth putting him down if it meant that she would wake up. Instead, I did what any good mother would have done. I parked Sam in front of PBS and went back to the laundry. This is what I found when I came in to check on him...all of fifteen minutes later.

Yeah, I guess he wasn't tired...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Look at me!

video

This isn't exactly a new trick....she's been doing it for a while. The gate is usually closed, but when she finds it open, she gets soooo excited! "Dahhh!"

video

Apple picking with Caeden

My sister Michelle and her family stopped by today on their way home from camping in Maine. It was so much fun to watch Sam play with Caeden. They get along really well and you can just see how much they love each other. Gil is applying to medical school this fall and I'm hoping and praying that they end up in the area...I haven't lived less than 2.5 hours from my sister since I was 18..I know that's not too far, but it's enough distance that getting together for lunch or a play date isn't really possible, and that would just be so nice!






Sunday, September 16, 2007

Five minutes ago...

As we were saying our prayers and saying good night Sam asked,

"Mommy, where does God live, up in heaven?"

"Yeah buddy, he lives in heaven, but he's everywhere, always watching over you."

"Oh, but how does he get back to heaven?"

"Hmm, He flies?"

"Oh, can we fly up there sometime and see Him?"

"No, we can't see God, but you can talk to God anytime you want."

"But I want to see Him in heaven. When I gonna go there?"

"Well, someday when we die (I really didn't want to talk about death, but I could see he wasn't letting this go...) we'll go to heaven."

I shouldn't have worried, because death didn't phase him..."Are there toys there?"

"Yes."

"Are there trains?"

"Yes."

"And beds and a kitchen?"

"Yes."

"How 'bout juice boxes?"

"Yes"

"What kind? It don't matter, I like all kinds of juice boxes, a lot. Good night Mommy."

A little reminder on a Sunday morning...

I've been reading and enjoying "Joy in Chaos" for a few weeks. I found her latest post to be inspiring and thought provoking and so I'm sharing it...Joy says it much better than I...read this, you'll be glad you did.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

"One of these things (ears) is not like the other..."

As I pulled up to Sam's classroom door on Thursday (they have curbside pickup), I noticed that his ear looked very red and LARGE. At first, I didn't say anything, but as I was putting him in his car seat I realized that if I didn't mention it, I would worry all evening that he has perhaps been hit in the head with a rock and no one mentioned it...Sam's explanation was "I dunno, nofin happened."

His teacher looked surprised when I asked and said she hadn't noticed it....I wanted to say "Are you oblivious or blind?" but I refrained....don't want to be on the "nasty mommy" list the first week....however, I no longer hold her in the same high regard...See for yourself...


He is looking straight ahead on this picture, and I am standing in front of him...it was not taken at angle!
Can you see it?
The pictures don't do it justice. Sam was playing outside and Brad saw it from the road as he was pulling up to the house.
At 3:00 I called the doctor...I was pretty sure that it was some sort of bite, but had that crazy mommy fear that maybe this is what happens when you get bit by a mosquito that's got Triple E...or perhaps an early sign of meningitis is swollen ears (Becoming a mommy has made we a little scary in the irrational worry department) A little Benadryl and a good nights sleep and everything seems okay...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Stone Zoo

Okay, so it honestly isn't much of a zoo...no lions or tigers or bears....there is a yak, some wolves a porcupine...and a cougar! The kids just ran and I'm pretty sure that that's what they would have done, even if there had been elephants and such...









"It's not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can't tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself." ~Joyce Maynard

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

First "Real" Day of School


Note to self: On Thursday, when Sam goes back to school, do not get him dressed until after he has eaten. Failure to do so will result in having to change him before you leave the house thereby creating laundry before 8:00 a.m...DUH!

We had a little "I don't want to go to school today." this morning, but overall, we did a pretty good job of getting out the door and to school, on time...8:00 a.m is early for us...really early...

On the way there, Sam said, "Mom, are you going to leave me there by myself, like a big boy this morning?"

"Yes, but I promise I'll come back to pick you up."

"What are you going to do when you leave me there?"

"I'm going to go to the grocery store and buy you a treat. What would you like?

"Cupcakes. And mommy, don't be gone for too long 'cause I'm gonna miss you very much."

My eyes welled up and I almost lost it. I'm gonna miss you too little buddy.

He did great. He barely noticed when I left and he was all smiles when I picked him up. He's walking around the house talking about his new friend Simon and singing a days of the week song, "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday..." He informed me that he doesn't like Thursday...(someday he will, I'm sure of it).

I got teary eyed a few times while he was gone. I know he's ready and I know it's good for him. I think I'm just having a hard time with what it represents...for us, pre school is the first time that we've been apart. He goes to Sunday School, and MOPS but those things don't represent becoming more independent, those things don't make me feel like my baby is growing up. For me, this is one of the hardest parts of mothering, being able to nurture his independence while letting him slowly move away from me. A big part of me wants to just hold him in my arms and protect him, keep him sweet, keep him small.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Michelle and Gilbert's Wedding


Where to begin? My little sister got married this weekend. Like her, the wedding was beautiful and unique. The reception took place at Warner Farm in East Banana Peel, I mean Cummington, MA...

The ceremony took place in Northampton (My sister insists that it is 20 minutes from Northampton to Cummington. If you're ever in the area, I would give yourself at least 35. Trust me on this, we missed our manicure appointment, were late for the rehearsal, late for our hair appointment and the wedding ceremony that was supposed to start at 1:30, started a touch after 2:00) It was 95 degrees and soooo humid....made my Spanx feel like a little slice of hell, but I kept them on...I'm so vain (fat). On the way back to the farm, the sky opened up and it poured. The temperature dropped 23 degrees and by the time we all go to the reception, the rain had stopped and it was much cooler and much more enjoyable.

After taking pictures, Gil's dad played bag pipes as the bridal party walked up a dirt road to join the celebration. It was still misty from the rain, and well, well it was really cool. The food was wonderful, the drink plentiful, and their was a live Irish Band that rocked! I heard that there was a bonfire after the band finished...but I was in bed...(Not drunk, not at all, who has time for drinking when you are carrying a baby in a mei hip and making sure that your three year old hasn't disappeared into the woods?) like I was saying, not drunk, just completely exhausted.

Sooo, Michelle and Gil I love you both very much. You are two of the most wonderful people that I know and I am confident that you will have a wonderful life together.
Miche, I know I told you about it, but if you want a sneak peek, you can check out your present here! More pics to follow...

Overheard...

"If you don't count the epidurals, I've had nothing stronger than Tylenol for five years."
Lainey Ham on why she does not plan on having a fourth child.
Elaine, if you read this, I want you to know that I am bringing a six pack or whatever you crave to the hospital as soon as this child is born...even if I'm preggers! You are so much better than I..who holds a baby in one arm and a drink in the other while nursing...if your kids turn out significantly brighter, we'll know why.

Friday, September 7, 2007

When will we sleep again?

Number of times that Grace wakes up during a typical night: two
Number of times that Sam wakes up during a typical night: zero

Number of times that Grace woke up last night: zero
Number of times that Sam woke up last night: three .

He was "scared" so each time I let him climb into bed next to me. After a half hour of tossing and turning, hitting me and talking in his sleep ( I think he was dreaming about the movie "Cars") I'd put him back in bed.... If I have a third am I pretty much guaranteed to never sleep again?


Off to sisters wedding...where I am sure we will have nothing but good nights sleep....This is about 2/3 of what we packed for two nights!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Having too much...

I've been trying to clean my house for over a month. "Clean" is actually a strong word for what I'm shooting for... Although I'd really like to, I've given up on ever getting down on my hands and knees and scrubbing the grout between my kitchen floor tiles. The soap scum in my bathtub, is probably gonna be there till both kids are in school...full day...maybe even till they go to college..I think about cleaning the inside of my fridge on a daily basis, but alas, this to will probably also have to wait...especially since nobody sees it but us. When I say clean, I'm just talking about finding a place for the piles of things that have overtaken every surface of my home...so I guess I'm really just trying to pick up.

While my kids were napping this afternoon, I tried again...I hit the playroom/family room first. For the 10,000th time in my life and career as mommy, I put books back on shelves. I completed wooden puzzles and stacked them neatly. I filled a grocery bag with toys that belong in Sam's room. When I finished, I looked around and felt discouraged...it's still not clean, not picked up...Like the rest of my house, it's filled to capacity with stuff.

My first thought was that I need a bigger house. For those of you who've never been here, I live in a three bedroom, two bath house with a kitchen, dining room, living room and family room...It's about 2,000 square feet...not huge, but adequate for a family of four. A bigger house in my little corner of suburbia...not to far from Boston would cost well over a half million dollars...so, I'm probably not getting one, not anytime soon...maybe if I found out I am pregnant with quadruplets...maybe Oprah will buy us one then...not sure if four babies is enough to get her attention, might have to have sextuplets...I digress...as I looked around I felt a tad convicted...I don't think the problem is about space, I think it's about stuff. Too much stuff, way too much stuff.

Do my kids need 200 books (I'm guessing, haven't counted)? How about thirty wooden puzzles? A bucket of cars that weighs fifteen pounds? How about vhs tapes and dvd's? I think there are close to 100 in the entertainment center...

I went into my room and looked at the mess. I never got around to putting all my summer stuff in my closet...there are plastic bins everywhere...do I need all that? Do I even know what's in them? Did I miss any of it this summer? Nope.

Dining room...you can't see the table. The hutch and armoire are full of things that don't belong in a dining room and a lot of stuff that does....like ten sets of cloth napkins. They're beautiful, all from Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma, but they don't match our new house and even when they did match, I never used them....

I could go on and on, from room to room...too much stuff everywhere...way too much stuff. So, I'm going to try to purge...I just stuck a bag of videos on Freecycle...so now, we only have ninety...is that still to many? Probably, but for a pack rat like me, it's a start.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Watch out Martha!


Actually, I think there is a far greater chance of Martha being sent back to jail than of me ever making a wreath again.
After three trips to AC Moore without actually buying anything because I was so completely overwhelmed...
Here is my attempt at being crafty...keep in mind, my sister's wedding is on a farm and this is for a barn door, not the Ritz Carlton...the lovely bows that you see, are the same as the ones that will grace the pews at the church...only half a dozen more to go....

First day of school, sort of.

Today Sam had orientation for pre-school. It was an informal, unstructured come in, see your class, meet your teachers, mommy stays with you sort of thing. He's been excited about school all summer, but for the past week it's been nothing but "I'm not going to school!" in that whiny Caillou sounding voice that I love so much (hate).

We were on the edge all morning, split personality bi-polar kind of stuff....

"I'm not going to school, you go by yourself. Will Miss Katie be there (his teacher)?"

"Fine Sam, we won't go. Let's just get dressed and then you can play in your room."


"Oh, in the blue room (his classroom)?"

"Ah, no I meant your bedroom. Does that mean you want to go now?"

"No, I'm not going to school. Where's my backpack?"

He went, he did great, he can't wait to go back. First day is next Tuesday...we'll see how it goes.


Oh, they have those miniature potties...We went to use them and I said, "Wow, you might be able to do poops on these.." Sam replied, "Hmmm...yeah, it's worth a try. Maybe not though Mommy." Will he ever poop on the potty? What will it take? I have tried everything, indifference, bribery, threatening...I'm so sick (literally) of changing this kid!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Fun with our cousins

My sister in law Cathy and her almost five year old twin boys, Benjamin and Steven, were visiting this week. We only see them once or twice a year and this was the first time that Sam was truly able to play with them. Last summer he had fun running after them, but he didn't have the language to be able to really hang out.

I'm the oldest of twenty-two (or maybe there are twenty-three of us?) grandchildren. Growing up, there were cousins everywhere and we spent a lot of time together. It makes me a little sad that my kids don't have that. My brother and sister have kids the same age as mine, but they are in CT and we don't get together nearly as much as we should. Brad's nieces and nephews are mostly a lot older and live far away...

Here are some highlights of our long weekend together. (Cathy, I'll send you everything later...I am currently nursing Grace and typing with my left hand...)