Thursday, April 30, 2009


Today I will cut myself some slack. I won't freak out that my house is a disaster again, and I won't beat myself up for the fact that I haven't exercised at all this week.

Today I will open up all the windows in my house, let the fresh air in, and listen to the birds chirping while I thank God for all the amazing things he's done for me.

Today I will eat a piece of birthday cake for lunch, and I will let my daughter do the same.

Today I will put aside the laundry, forget about the 2 sinks of dirty dishes, the counter top covered in junk, and the countless Cheerios that have been stomped into the carpet, and I will cuddle with my daughter. For as long as she will let me.

Today I'll leave my computer off for a few hours.

Today I'll skip the shower, put my hair in a ponytail and call it good, because sleeping in is a fabulous luxury, and it's even greater when you've got a 1-year-old next to you talking with her hands - in her sleep.

Today I will look in the mirror and I will like what I see instead of choosing to focus on my flaws.

Today I've realized that I need to make an effort to have more days just like this.

Today is good.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I did it. I survived. And I'm all in one piece.

Today we're celebrating Kaylee's very first birthday, and I'm not even a total basket case. She's been so cuddly and silly with me today, and she took a nap for nearly 2 hours - must be her present to me.

I'm so proud of her. SO proud. She's so beautiful, and I just love her to pieces.

4:24 p.m. At this exact moment one year ago, she made her way into this world. Amazing. Just amazing...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Thank you just doesn't quite seem to cut it.

So...I'm throwing in a bunch of cookies and some hand made cards.

Tomorrow's my sweet baby's birthday. So, in these days and weeks leading up to the big day, Dennis and I have done a fair amount of reminiscing about the pregnancy and the day Kaylee was born.

We were so incredibly blessed to have such amazing people taking care of us. So, tomorrow, I'm getting Kaylee all dressed up in her cute little birthday dress (with matching bow, of course), and we're delivering some cards and some cookies to 4 of the people who made such a difference to us.

Let's start with my OB doctor. Here's her card.

I work in a hospital, so I know full well that there are plenty of doctors out there who really don't take the time to make their patients feel like they matter. They just rush, rush, rush, and they don't take time to answer questions and make patients feel like their concerns are significant at all. It's as if everyone is "just another patient."

Not my OB doctor. Even though I showed up to every appointment for the first 3/4 of my pregnancy with a list of questions 3 miles long, she'd just sit there and patiently answer each of my questions, never acting as if any of them were stupid or silly. And when I finished asking questions, she'd say - "Okay, what else? What other questions do you have?" And she wasn't even being sarcastic - she really meant it! She's been so kind and laid back, and when I worried about things, she had a way of bringing me back down to reality and calming me down. Then, 3 months after Kaylee was born, it was her that helped me get back to being me again when I was going through postpartum depression. She's awesome. I'm hoping and praying that she's not on maternity leave herself when it comes time for me to have another baby someday. I'm just so selfish, aren't I?

Next, the doctor who actually delivered my baby because my doctor's round of on-call duty ended a few hours before Kaylee was born. Here's his card, with a significant amount of green - because he's a guy.

I was never at all crazy about the idea of a man delivering my baby. But, I got over that real quick as soon as I felt the first contraction. I didn't care who delivered that kid as long as she got OUT.

So, I think this doctor went between the hospital and the doctor's office a minimum of 3 or 4 times the day Kaylee was born. Her heart was doing some funny things, so he'd rush over and check it out, keeping a real close eye on us, and almost taking us for a c-section 2 different times, until Kaylee decided to start behaving again. I remember getting really scared right before it was time to push - I was just terrified that something might happen, and so I was talking to my nurse about it. He jumped right in there and gave me an awesome pep talk, restoring my confidence in myself, and in the team of people there in the delivery room with me. In between contractions he told funny stories about his own little girl, and he was constantly reassuring me through the whole process.

Ultimately, I know that God was in control that whole day, and it was God that kept us safe, but he sure knew what he was doing when he gave us this doctor. It was that doctor who called the shots all day about what needed to be done in order to ensure that Kaylee and I were safe. He was the one who quickly untangled the cord that was around her neck twice and her belly once, and he was the first person to ever lay eyes on my beautiful baby girl. A few days later, he happened to be on call when I had my first panic attack, and he talked me through it, every step of the way, and never made me feel like it was anything to be ashamed of. I remember hearing his own kids in the background as he talked me through it.

Honestly, how can you ever possibly thank someone for all those things?

Next, is my labor nurse - Melinda. She. was. my. ANGEL. And she gets my favorite card.

I work in the OB on the weekends, and before I had Kaylee, I remember thinking that if I could have my pick of any of the nurses to be my labor nurse, it would have been this amazing lady. She was by my side all day long, giving Dennis ideas about how he could help me cope with the pain, letting me squeeze her hand until it was completely white while I battled contractions, helping me breathe, and rescuing me from the wretched Nurse Ratchett who took care of me for a couple hours before Melinda was on duty. Nurse Ratchett had the nerve to see how far I was dilated DURING a contraction and when I winced in pain and said, "OUCH!" that bizatch looked at me and said, "You need to learn to relax." Had Melinda not shown up when she did, I think there would have been a hole in the wall in the shape of Nurse Ratchett's head. I don't know what I would have done without Melinda. She was always calm, always gentle and kind, and genuinely shared our excitement as we welcomed Kaylee into the world.

And, because I am not a machine, I stopped making cards at 4. This last one goes to my lactation consultant (LC for short).

If you've been a reader for a while, you know that Kaylee decided not to latch on for the first 8 weeks of her life. We needed some help, and my LC was there every step of the way. She'd make time for us whenever we needed it, and she'd even talk me through stuff on the phone. She was there with me through the tears, the disappointment, the frustration, the clogs and infections, and finally - she was there with me for the success. She never gave up on me, and she was a constant source of encouragement and optimism during a time when I felt like a helpless failure. She has absolutely adored Kaylee from day one, and I think I'd have given up if it weren't for her.

I know this was a long post, so if you made it to the end, go reward yourself with a cookie, a new purse, a pedicure, or whatever it is you like to be rewarded with.

It's posts like this one that I have to remind myself of why I blog. Yes, I blog for you. But, I also blog for me. Someday, I want to remember these little details about why these 4 people meant so much to me, and since I've become a mother, my brain cells are diminishing with each passing day, so I need to get these thoughts out there while they're still relatively fresh. They've survived in my swiss cheese brain for a year, but I'm not sure how much longer I'll remember things so vividly. So, thanks for bearing with me.

And now, it's time for me to go to bed. Tomorrow, I'll have a 1 year old to shower with hugs and kisses. :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Astonishing Contraption of Silliness

It's starting to get to me. I'm beginning to lose control. The talking vegetables are taking over my brain.

The Veggie Tales Silly Songs countdown (the top songs were determined by the Astonishing Contraption of Silliness) is magic in this house.

Turn on Dora, Sesame Street, Bob the Builder, and Kaylee lasts but a few minutes. But, turn on the Silly Songs countdown, and she is good. to. GO. for an entire hour.

She watches it in the mornings while we get ready for work, and I've also been known to bust it out when she pushes me to the brink of a nervous breakdown.

This morning I realized just how much it's taking over my head. I'm standing in the kitchen making my morning cereal, and I begin to sing...

"Barbara manatee (manatee, manatee!), you are the ONE for me (one for me, one for me). You are the ONE I love (one I love, the one I love!)."

I'd sung nearly the entire song out loud before I even realize what I was doing.

Sad. I know.

I can hear it in the background as I type. I think we're at the point in the countdown where it's about time to hear about how one of the talking veggies landed in lip rehab for 6 weeks because he got his lip stuck in a gate, met a new friend in lip rehab (who ended up in lip rehab because a bee stung him - right in the lip!), and learned to speak Polish, but only after telling his therapist about his Aunt Ruth's beard.

"It felt weird, she had a beard, what could he do?"

God help me...

It's time for the song of the saboo. It's a song about a sick saboo, a sad saboo, and a mother who was ever-so-thankful for this ridiculous video that guarantees an hour of sanity each day.

Ok, sometimes two hours. Three if it's a really bad day.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tell me I'm normal. Please.

Ok, it's been creeping up on me. And it's finally just around the corner. And I'm not sure how I'm going to handle it.

My baby's turning 1 next week, and I'm having some mixed feelings about it.

Of course I'm excited to celebrate and party and watch her open presents and dive into her cake.

But, I'm also a bit sad.

My baby is growing up. So fast. I just can't believe it was almost a year ago that she was born.

I keep recalling memories of the day she was born. So, next week on her birthday, I'm loading her up in the car, all dressed up in her birthday dress, and we're taking cookies to the nurses at the OB department at the hospital, and to my OB doctor's office.

I'm not quite sure if I'm going to have a miniature breakdown on that day or not. I'm definitely expecting a few tears, but hopefully they'll fall when I'm home with her by myself.

In the grand scheme of things, I realize it's all about my attitude. Sure, it's fine to get sentimental and a little teary that she's growing up and changing so much. I'm her mom. It's my job to feel that way.

But, I don't want to focus on that. I want to celebrate that she is a healthy, vibrant, spunky little girl, and I want to celebrate the fact that Dennis and I survived our first year as parents. We survived works of art created by poop and baby toes, sleepless nights, teething, postpartum depression, 18 days of mysterious hives, a nasty flu bug, and all the other stuff first-time parents struggle with in that first year.

We've done good.

So, mamas, what about you? How did you feel on your baby's first birthday?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Screaming babies, crazy mamas, big butts, and my recent absence

By screaming babies, I mean Kaylee.

By crazy mamas, I mean me.

And, by big butts I mean "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mixalot.

I love that song. The words are crazy and ridiculous, but I know I can't be the only one who just belts it out loudly while driving. Come on, you know you've done it.

So, I'm sure you've noticed I've been a little absent from the blog lately. I mean, I know your day starts by hoping and praying that I've published a new blog post, and I'm sure some of you have landed in therapy because you are sad when you don't see something new each and every morning.

But, worry not. I'm not going anywhere.

Last week, Kaylee and I took a ride on the Crazy Train, but rest assured - we have returned safe and sound, with no battle scars to show. She was going through the worst episode of teething to date. And I was trying with all my might not to lose my mind completely. I'm pretty sure part of it is gone, but let's just say it was a miracle I didn't take up drinking.

And by the way, can I just say that I've never, ever considered taking up drinking more times in my life than I have since I became a mom? I just had to get that out there...

So, anyway, we had 3 days in a row of pretty much non-stop screaming, crying, and whining. From both of us. Except I didn't do screaming. Just crying and whining. So, thank God for my sister-in-law who spoiled Kaylee on the 4th day so I didn't lose my mind entirely.

I know my blog was neglected, but life just happens. Something's gotta give some days, and last week, it was my blog. I sure did miss it because it definitely has a way of helping me deal with the craziness of my life.

Thanks, my lovely readers, for sticking with me, even when I don't post regularly. You are the best.

And, now I'm going to bed, because who knows whether or not I'll be getting a middle of the night wake-up call from my almost one-year-old.

*This post is a part of Thursday Writer's Workshop at Mama Kat's Losin' It.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute - To fresh air

Ahhhhh...fresh air. Don't you love it?

I grew up in small towns in the Midwest, and some of my fondest childhood memories were of times when I was outside.

A few favorite fresh air memories...

Waiting until the sun was shining on my grandma's swing set so we could go outside and play on it.

Catching frogs.


Learning how to skip rocks from my Gramps.

Playing in the rock forts behind my grandparents' house with my cousins.

Swimming in the plastic kiddie pool in the backyard.

Running through sprinklers in the summer.

Jumping rope.

Playing jacks.

Building sand castles and volcanoes in the sand box.

Building snowmen and sledding.

Going camping and hunting.

The list goes on and on.

I suppose since it was such a huge part of my childhood, my love for the outdoors is just stuck with me for life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

To me, there is just something so peaceful about getting away from the hustle and bustle. Getting away from sirens, honking horns, all the sounds of the city, and going to a place where you can't hear much of anything.

My favorite places to go are places where it's so quiet I can hear the wind rustling the leaves on the trees, I can hear the birds chirping, and where I can hear streams of water. The air is crisp, and clean, and just so darn refreshing.

I still love fishing, hiking, swinging at the park, camping (in a tent, not a camper) going for walks, skipping rocks...just being outside in general.

Oftentimes, when I start to realize that I'm losing my patience and feeling cooped up, Kaylee and I go outside. The fresh air hits her face and she just opens her mouth wide like she's trying to capture it. Just like this.

There really is nothing like a breath of fresh air.

So, when I heard about the Fresh Air Fund, I could hardly wait to tell you about it.

The Fresh Air fund provides upwards of 5,000 kids from New York City's roughest neighborhoods the chance to spend a couple weeks in the country or the suburbs during the summer months.

I can't imagine what my childhood would have been like had I not been able to be outside so much. I think every kid deserves to have an opportunity to enjoy the fresh air without having to worry about all the stuff that kids in the inner-city have to worry about.

The Fresh Air Fund needs volunteer families to host kiddos for a couple weeks this summer. If you can't do that, or if you don't live in an area that needs host families, you can help by donating to this awesome organization. Click here to find out if host families are needed in your area, and click here to learn more about this organization that's all about helping kids get the most out of childhood.

This post is a part of Tuesdays' Tribute hosted by Angie at Seven Clown Circus.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Don't mind me. I'm just using my imagination.

It's that time again. Time for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, and this week I am so excited about the prompt because I get to imagine what I would do if I had $400 to spend. That's pretty amazing, considering my monthly allowance is about 20 bucks.

Of course, Mama Kat's prompt said I had to talk about ONE (and it was in all caps) thing that I would spend the money on. But, that's just not how I roll. If I've got a big wad of cash, I see how many things I can get with it. Plus, I can't really think of a $400 product that I want at the moment.

So, join me as I happily pretend that I could actually have all of these things. All at once.

Alright - so, I've got myself $400.

First, I would hit the mall. Duh.

I waltz into The Buckle, and I buy myself a pair of Lucky brand jeans. Because they always fit just right, and I haven't been able to wear a pair since I was 16 and no other brand of jeans fit my short legs. They are insanely expensive, but so well constructed. I've missed my Lucky jeans, so that's my first purchase.

$400 - $99 = $301

Since I'm at the mall, I think I'll head on down to Barnes and Noble. I shall order a Chai Latte made with soy milk.

$301 - $3.15 = $297.85

Gosh darn it, now I'm hungry. Guess I'll take a piece of crumble coffee cake, too.

$297.85 - $1.85 = $296

Well, would you look at the time, it's still before 6 p.m. I think I'll go catch a matinee. So, one ticket to see I Love You, Man - $5. Can of soda - $0. Kit Kat from home $0. Having a purse big enough to smuggle in movie treats - Priceless. :)

$296 - $5 = $291

Ok, well. There just happens to be a salon in the same complex as the theeatah, so I think I need to stop in and treat myself...

About 3 years ago I received a gift certificate for an Aveda botanical skin resurfacing (natural alternative to microdermabrasion) facial, and it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. SO. I'll take one of those...

And, my feet deserve some royal treatment since I trekked around the mall and wore them out. Plus, they look horrendous, and I want them to look beautiful. So, I'll take one of these, too, please. Spa style, with a parrafin wax dip, salt scrub, THE WORKS.

Ahhhh....I feel relaxed just talking about it. So, let's tally up the remaining cash money.

$291 - $85 facial = $206 - $65 pedicure = $141

By this time, I'm so relaxed I probably shouldn't be driving, so I head home to do some online shopping.

First purchase? A case of these puppies. Hey, I need to restock my at-home stash, and there have been many times I wish I had a six pack around, but I didn't, so now all will be well with the world...

$141 - $26.99 = $114.01

Next, I head to But, this next purchase needs an explanation. First off, these shoes are on sale. Second, in real life, I would never buy these shoes because I know I would twist my ankle and quite possibly even break it. But, I love these shoes, I've always wanted a pair, and this thing is all pretend anyway, so back off. I'm buying these shoes, dammit.

$114.01 - $32.99 = $81.02

And, I need a dress to go with the shoes...

$81.02 - $67.50 = $13.52

These beauties should top off the outfit.

$13.52 - $20 on etsy = negative $6.48

Hey, what my husband doesn't know won't hurt him. ;)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

And...there's another Duggar baby on the way.

Well, at least this time it's not Michelle who's knocked up...

So, a few weeks ago I told you I was going to give the Duggars a break, and I chose to lay my weekly Duggar posts to rest. UNLESS any one of the following things happened:

1. Michelle got pregnant again.
2. Michelle got a new haircut.
3. The children started setting fire to things around the property.
4. Anna Duggar (Josh Duggar's new wife) got pregnant.

Well, apparently the sex ed lesson that Jim Bob gave to Josh on his wedding day in which he described sex as "kind of like Legos" somehow worked. Wow. Nice job, Josh. You did it, buddy!

So, Anna is pregnant and the Duggar's show on TLC, 18 Kids and Counting, is documenting her pregnancy. Looks like I'll have to add a new show to my DVR.

You can read all about the news straight from the horse's mouth here.

And.....I'm BACK in the game!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute - To being beautiful, dammit.

In my recent quest to become more healthy, Summer's recent Blogversations video about a lady named Rachel Caplin and her book entitled, "I'm Beautiful, Dammit!" could not have come at a more perfect time.

I've already talked about my struggle with weight before having Kaylee and how I successfully changed my habits, became more active, and started eating healthier. I used the Weight Watchers method, only weighed myself once per week, as the program recommends for weigh ins, and I learned to have a totally different way of thinking about food.

I could enjoy food that wasn't made just of sugar and carbs. I could be full, satisfied, and healthy. I could have fun at the gym. I could feel good about myself, and I could go about it in a healthy way.

Then I had a baby.

Nothing on my body is the same or will ever be the same. Ever. Again. It's been a huge struggle for me.

I get sad that I no longer have the body I used to have.

Really, though - it's the same body, it's just been through a considerable amount of wear and tear. Unfortunately, so has my mind. I can deal with my body. I can buy clothes that fit. I can go to the gym. I can eat healthy food and smart portions, but what in tarnation can I do to get my mind to shift gears?

What can I do to start realizing that I am fine just the way I am? That my body is not ugly. That I should quit criticizing myself for not being an ideal size or shape.

For starters, I'm joining Summer in getting rid of the scale. It's moving to the garage where I no longer have to stare at it every morning. The garage floor is cold and has bits of gravel brought in by the car tires. And bugs. I hate bugs. So, I won't be going out to the garage to weigh myself.

Next, I've ordered myself this book.

I've recently discovered Rachel Caplin's blog "Oh my God, I'm a Mom" as well as her newest blog, "I'm Beatiful, Dammit," and I am just waiting for the delivery guy to knock on my door so I can crack the book open and dive right in. I know that reading a book won't change anything overnight, but Rachel really has a way with words, and she really makes me think. She helps me see things in a realistic perspective, and I think a lot of what she has to say will help me jumpstart my mind to thinking in a way that is not so harsh.

So this week, my Tuesday's Tribute is to Rachel, her book and her blogs. Please go check her out. You will love her honesty (hello - she talks about pooping on the delivery table without any shame), her humor, and her insightful thoughts about surving motherhood.

Unless you think you are a perfect mother who never struggles and never screws up, I know you'll be able to relate to so much of what she has to say. Here's how you can check out what Rachel has to say...

Click here to check out Rachel's book.

Click here to read Rachel's blog, "Oh my God I'm a Mom."

Click here to read her other blog, "I'm Beautiful, Dammit."

Tuesday's Tribute
A Jay and Deb Production.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


As women I think we struggle with body image for most of our lives, and having a kid only compounded those lovely issues for me. Almost a year has gone by since Kaylee was born, and this is still a big struggle for me, one that I struggle with some days more than others.

But, thanks to a video that Summer posted this weekend, I'm hoping that I can really start to shift my way of thinking as I work toward becoming a more healthy me. I'm already trying to exercise more and eat healthier, but it doesn't matter how many times I go to the gym, or how many smart food choices I make. If I don't try and work on my own ideas about my body image, everything else is just a waste of my time.

And let me tell's a heck of a lot harder to make changes in your mind than it is in your body. Ever since I got to really thinking about this topic this weekend, this song keeps popping up in my head.

It's an absolutely beautiful song, and it's got such a strong message. So watch it. Listen to it. Believe what she sings. Because it's true. You ARE beautiful. No matter what.

Stop by tomorrow for more thoughts on this topic.

Musical Monday

(I did the post before I realized there was a specific prompt for today's Musical Monday. Hope I don't get kicked out. I just had to post this one...)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Random thoughts from my exhausted little mind

I exercised tremendous restraint today by eating one FOURTH of a maple frosted donut with sprinkles at work.

I survived one of the most mentally draining and sad weeks I've had at work in a long time.

I compensated for only eating 1/4 of the donut by eating, oh, FOUR, rolls with cinnamon butter at Texas Roadhouse. Plus potatoes. And steak, and a salad covered in Ranch dressing.

Did you know Sunday is my baby's first Easter outside of the uterus? Isn't that exciting?

I love different opinions, and I love it when grown adults can have civil conversations about said different opinions.

New comments and followers on my blog make me wanna party like it's 1999.

Even though I haven't blogged about the Duggars for a while, they still cross my mind at least once a day (ridiculous, I know...) and I remain baffled. I hope they do something that's blog worthy soon because I'm starting to feel withdrawls from not blogging about them.


I loved every stinking bite of those delectable rolls. Eating so many was one of the smartest things I did all day. And I'm not being sarcastic.

Just in case you didn't know, Will Ferrell rocks my face off.

Choosing not to engage in silly arguments about things that don't matter is not bad etiquette. It's called healthy boundaries and being a mature grown-up who wears big girl panties.

I have 6 days in a ROW off from work, starting tomorrow, and I couldn't be happier about it. What, WHAT!!!

My feet stink.

If I don't respond to your comments on my blog, don't feel blue. Half the time I don't even remember to respond to emails from my own family, so don't take it personal. I promise that I still read every single comment that you write.

Blog drama is for the birds - you won't find that here.

Book 2 in the Twilight series is calling my name, so I'm signing off for the night.

You stay classy, San Diego.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Food - it's a love/hate thang

It's once again time for Writer's Workshop over at Mama Kat's Losin' It.

So, here's the question I've chosen to go with this week:

What is an unpleasant experience you had eating?

I'd rather not tell you about specific times I've had unpleasant experiences eating, like the time I realized I'd suddenly developed an allergy to bananas as an adult. Not lovely. Not lovely at all.

I won't tell you about the time I went picking raspberries in the woods with my family as a child and ate a *few* too many and had to lollygag behind everyone, telling them to go on ahead because I had to "pee."

Those things are none of your business.

SO. Let me tell you about my current love/hate relationship with food, and why it's been, in some ways, rather unpleasant lately.

Let me first start off by telling you that I LOVE food. Always have, always will.

I love carbs and I have a killer sweet tooth. I also like some healthy foods, but let's be real - it's way more fun (and therapeutic) to eat things that are bad. Come on - spear of celery or Krispy Kreme donut? Yeah...

In high school, I was 110 lbs. - it didn't matter what type of physical activity I did or did not do. It didn't matter what kind of food I did or did not eat. I could do whatever my little heart desired, and I didn't gain a pound.

The day I turned 18 something terrible happened.

I guess since I was technically a "grown-up" my body decided to start behaving like one. That meant that I could no longer eat anything and everything that sounded good, and I could't expect to stay small by sitting on my butt watching I Love Lucy marathons while eating pepperoni pizza dipped in Ranch dressing.

Sure, my metabolism was changing, but I did alright, I guess. I didn't weigh myself all that much, and I was basically okay with my weight. I took a fitness class each semester in college, and I was being more intentional about choosing healthier foods.

Then I got a miserable job straight out of college. I was on the road the majority of the time, and I was dealing with some really heavy situations that were pretty horific. Add that to the fact that I had ZERO support from my bosses, no way of really dealing with all the stress and sadness I was seeing day in and day out, and I was putting in a good 50 hours/week, but getting no overtime. I was basically volunteering to be an even more miserable person.

You bet your booty I was always helping myself to the donuts, pastries, cakes, and breads that were in the break room.

If I had to sit in my cooped up little office with no windows writing about how children were being abused, I felt absolutely entitled to enjoy a sweet treat whenever I wanted to. They tasted good, and they made me happy, and there was not much else at work to be happy about.

After nearly a year of torturing myself and realizing it was literally going to be the job or my sanity that would have to go, I quit. And I've never regretted that decision. Not for one SECOND.

During my time at that stupid ass job, I gained a lovely amount of weight. I had to buy new clothes because I could not fit into mine anymore. At all. Couldn't even fake it. Quitting did wonders for my mental well-being, and I decided it was time to do something about my physical well-being, too.

I got online, checked out Weight Watchers online (I knew people that had success with the in-person WW in the past, and it seemed like a realistic and healthy way to lose weight), and discovered that I had a pretty wide range of what was considered to be a healthy weight for my age, gender, and height. I was 13 pounds heavier than the heaviest recommended weight.

That might not seem like a lot, but it was to me. I'd never been so unhealthy and felt so crappy about myself. I hated having to buy bigger clothes, and I knew that I was eating as a way to deal with stress.

So, I did the Weight Watchers thing, and it worked tremendously. I loved it. I lost 18 pounds.

By the time I was done, I was actually 2 sizes smaller than the size I'd been happy with before I started gaining weight. I was fit, I was energized, and I felt great about myself.

The Thursday after I hit my final goal weight, I hit up Old Navy and bought the smallest size pants I'd ever worn (well, since I started wearing women's sizes and not girl's sizes anyway). I was ecstatic!

The very next day I found out I was pregnant with Kaylee. Nice joke, huh?!?! I haven't seen the likes of those pants SINCE. :) I thought it was pretty funny.

It was like God said, "Hey! Great job! You're totally skinny now, and now that you've proved to yourself that you can do it, you can just go right ahead and pack those cute capris away in a box in the garage because you probably won't be seeing them again. Uh, EVER."

(Just for the record - Kaylee's totally worth it. She's way cooler than those pants.)

So, all that to say that lately, I've been getting concerned about the numbers rising on the scale, yet again.

I got to my pre-baby weight real fast after having Kaylee, and I think a lot of that can be attributed to breastfeeding - apparently it's supposed to burn a butt-load of calories. But, I was SO over breastfeeding when Kaylee hit 9 months old, and that's when I began to ride the weight roller coaster again.

I know it's not out of control at this point, and realistically, I've just got a few pounds to eliminate. In my book, I am happy with my body when my clothes fit, and the number on the scale doesn't matter quite as much (although, of course, it still matters a little bit), as long as I am confident in my clothes, and as long as I feel healthy and fit.

That has NOT been the case lately. Pants - oh, how I've missed my favorite pants. The pile-on of extra poundage happens so quietly - one day you just wake up and it's like, "DANG. When did THAT happen."

So, I've decided to do something about it, and I'm really taking it seriously. Last week I went to the gym 5 times - did some Mommy and Me classes, aerobics, and just some basic cardio stuff followed by some light weight training. It felt fabulous. I felt skinnier when I left (even thought I wasn't), and I felt really good about myself. Just knowing that I'm consciously choosing to do something to have a healthier self makes a huge difference.

So, last week I jumped back on the exercise bandwagon, but even for that whole week, my hang up continued to be with food. I didn't want to say no to the three dinner rolls and lemon cheesecake at my mother-in-laws (along with a few other side dishes and the main dish). I was willing to work out, but I wasn't willing to give up the decision to eating anything that tasted good, and however much of it that I wanted.

But - finally, my stubborn self has come around, and I'm going to be eating healthier, too.

No more "grazing" on snacks all day. No more "just one Hershey's kiss" that turns into 17 Hershey's kisses (seriously - 17). No failure to plan healthy lunches. No more. NO. MORE.

Today I ate a salad with leafy green lettuce (not the non-nutritive iceberg crap), sliced turkey (97% fat free, thankyouverymuch), and dried cranberries, with that sweet spritzer salad dressing that has 1 calorie per squirt.

It was GOOD. It was full of flavor, and it even satisfied my sweet tooth. I was still hungry when it was gone, so I ate an apple, and I was good. to. GO. until dinner time.

I can DO this. I've done it before, and I can do it again. I know I can.

Let's just hope I don't get knocked up after I hit my goal weight and get back into my skinny pants this time...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute - To the hurting

I've tried real hard not to make a habit of writing my blog posts at midnight.

I mean, although Kaylee knows how to sleep through the night, she hasn't exactly made a habit out of it, so I like to get to bed at a decent hour so I'm all ready to fight the battle of poopy diapers or old ladies with walkers (working at home, or working at the hospital), depending on the day.

But today - today I'm writing my post at midnight. Because tonight is different.

In case you're new around here, I work part-time as a hospital social worker. This week just so happens to be my week on call.

It's 5:30 p.m. and I've got a pot of spaghetti noodles and a skillet with meat sauce bubbling away on the stove. I'm in my comfy pajamas, and that dag blasted friggin' pager goes off. Two more minutes and I'd have been on the couch enjoying some Italiano and watching Sunday's episode of Celebrity Apprentice.

From time to time, I whine and complain about my struggle with balancing work and home. I've even been known to complain about having to go in to work at all (or, God forbid, having to work a whopping four days in a row *gasp*).

But, the truth is, in such a time as this, I should keep my yapper shut. I'm very thankful to have a job when there are so many out there looking and looking, but not finding.

My job gives me the flexibility to stay home part of the time and be with my baby while she's still a baby. But, my job also means there are a lot of messed up people out there, and it's my job to try and help them.

Tonight I saw a lady who tried to end her own life. Thankfully, she didn't, and she ended up agreeing to go and get some help. So, tonight I can't just come home and go to sleep. I'm wide awake, and I need to do something to get my mind off of her problems.

Sometimes I wonder why I chose the job I did.

I see some really terrible things. Moms who smoke crack while they drive to the hospital to deliver their babies (no joke), people who commit such despicable crimes that they are cuffed to the bed rails, people who come in over and over again after being beat up by their boyfriends, babies who are covered in bruises, people who ruin their own lives (and the lives of everyone who loves them) with alcohol and drugs. It just goes on and on and on.

Why, oh WHY would I choose a job where I'm surrounded by these things?

Fairly regularly, I ask myself this very question, but I don't contemplate it for long, because from the moment I chose to be a social worker, I knew I was right where I needed to be. Even if, some days, I feel like I'm learning to ride a bike for the first time.

To be completely honest with you, on my way into the hospital tonight, I was afraid I might get the doodies. I was so nervous. I've been trained, I've dealt with really complicated patients before, I know what I'm doing, but I still get scared. I just never know what to expect.

Well, I didn't crap my pants (I always try to find the positive side of things...). I did just fine, but I think it's been a while since I've said so many prayers in one day.

So, about 6 hours later, a lady who was ready to end it all is probably still ready to end it all, but at least she's safe for the time being. She's getting help. And I'm praying that she will accept it and that she'll realize she needs to help herself.

This week, my tribute is to my patients - everyone from the 87-year-olds who trip over rugs in the bathroom, fracture their hips and need rehab, to the 16-year-olds who are high on meth and need a whole different kind of rehab.

You are the reason I have a job. Believe it or not, you're the reason I have a job that I LOVE. Many of you piss me off to no end, and I have no patience for you.

Then, there are others of you that I can only have compassion for, that I can only hope the very best for you, those of you who I truly, truly hope will someday be okay...

Tuesday's Tribute
A Jay and Deb Production.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Forgetting how to be a grown-up

So, last night our Mommy and Me exercise group (of about 30 women) went out to a wine bar. It was yet another reminder that becoming a mother has caused me to forget how to be a grown-up.

A couple months ago, I went out shopping with a dear friend of mine for the afternoon. It had been quite a while since I'd been out in public with a friend.

She picked me up, I got in the car, and I was at a loss for words (and when my dad and my husband read that I was at a loss for words, their jaws will simultaneously crash to the ground). It was like I forgot how to communicate.

I couldn't think of anything to say, and when I did say things I either stuttered or rambled on with such nonsensical words as, "Kaylee I she pooped six times yesterday spaghetti I made for dinner need oil change."

The words would just come out and there was no logic to them at all. And I've been friends with this girl for about 10 years. I felt like such a moron.

I just had to look at her and tell her it had been a while since I'd actually gotten to hang out with a friend and not have the baby with me - it was like I forgot how to be. It was so bizarre.

It took me a good 20 minutes to get back in my groove, to where I could actually form sentences that normal people understand. It was like I needed to thaw out or something. It was crazy.

So, we finally pull up to our destination, I put the car in park, and we are still just gabbing away (we both love to talk). Finally, it hits me that we can continue the conversation inside the store, so I look at my friend, without actually thinking this through, and say in an excited Mom voice, "Ya wanna go outside?!" Just as if I was asking the question to my child, or to a puppy.

We got lost in our laughter, and eventually made our way into the store. She's got 2 kids, so she'd been in my shoes before. She totally got me, and it was no big deal.

Still, it made me wonder why, along with my once-skinny waist, my size 6 shoes, my perky boobs, and a living room floor that didn't used to be covered in crushed Cheerios - WHY did my ability to socialize like a normal human being have to disappear, too?

By nature, I'm an outgoing woman - I love to talk to people, meet new people, listen to people, but ever since becoming a mom, it's like some switch got flipped in my brain, and from time to time I revert back to my shy, nerdy high school girl persona.

So, back to last night's outing. I show up in JEANS (with a cute top and cute shoes, though) at a wine bar - what was I thinking?! And then I start comparing myself to all these moms who are just made up all gorgeous in their cute, trendy clothes. I felt like such a frumpalumpagous.

And I froze.

I didn't say much. I smiled or laughed when someone said something funny, I nodded at the appropriate times, I chimed in here or there with a comment, but I still didn't feel entirely comfortable.

Sure, it was nice to be out of the house and spend time with some other women, but it was just another reminder to me that somewhere in this past year, I've lost a little bit of myself, and I really, really hope I can find it again.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's such a travesty

There is not a single piece of chocolate in this house right now.

How did that EVER happen?

Never again...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The budding cleptomaniac, the dreaded unfollower, and some vodka

So, this week, Mama Kat's got a fantastic smorgasbord of writing prompts for Thursday Writer's Workshop, and I can't pick just one. So, here are the ones I've chosen.

Why did you do it?

Well, this is what I would ask today's "unfollower" of my blog. Was it the picture of my kid hanging off the dryer that did it? Unfollowers make me sad. But, then I get over it. I also notice that people have a tendency to follow my blog in order to get an extra entry in a giveaway, and as soon as they lose, they unfollow. LAME. In the words of Mama Kat, "Don't hate me 'cause you ain't me."

What is a common misconception about you?

Well, lots of people think I'm younger than I am. Let's back up in time for a moment, shall we?

When I was in high school, our family would go to restaurants and the servers would ask if I wanted a kid's menu. Uh, no thanks. And I happen to be nearly 6 years older than my brother, who did not get asked for a kid's menu.

I've also been carded for rated R movies. BUT, when I bought vodka once for an Italian sauce I was making, the cashier told me she didn't need my ID because she noticed the wrinkles by my eyes. Yowch.

People said I'd appreciate these comments (aside from the wrinkle one) when I hit 40. Well, I'm only 25, but let me tell you. I am loving these comments right now.

Describe a moment when you felt afraid.

Well, today I was afraid twice, so you get to hear about both times.

First scary moment of the day: So, I totally tripped over my own two feet and landed on my booty in aerobics class today. In the front row, no less. I twisted my ankle, which hurt at the moment it happened. I was so afraid I hurt it and someone would have to carry me to the hospital across the street, because no WAY was I going to pay for an ambulance to transport me less than a block away. But, lo and behold - it was all just fine and dandy.

Second scary moment of the day: I was so scared because I thought that for sure I'd be having my first encounter with one of the pot bellied 80-year-old security guards at the mall. In fact, the only thing keeping me from having a major freak out right there was knowing that I could outrun the old geezers. So anyway, back to the point...

Kaylee and I went to the mall and took a gander through The Children's Place. I had her in the Snugli carrier so I didn't have to maneuver a stroller through the racks of clothing. Well, we were just window shopping. I left the store and didn't buy a thing (which takes an amazing amount of restraint in such a store). We get to the exit of the mall, and I look down to see Kaylee playing with a pair of pink baby crocs (which, by the way, she already has a pair of at home). I high tailed it back to the store and put them on the rack. No one said a word.

Are you always right?

Well, if we're talking about all general matters of my life, such as arguments with my husband, ideas I have about what we should spend money on, and basically everything that does not have to with American Idol, then yes. I am always right. My darn American Idol predictions about who's getting the boot have, unfortunately, ruined my perfect record of always being right. Except tonight - I was spot on for tonight, so I guess you could say that 99.972 % of the time I am absolutely, positively always right.

But please don't ask my husband to answer that.