Home Chapter One Our Vegan Lifestyle Likes Comment-Free

They're Out to Get Us

Friday, July 31, 2009

Baby Feet Taking Over the World...

An outfit flashback

Thursday, July 30, 2009

After the babies went to sleep tonight, Christopher and I went out into the garage to go through the very last of our treasure boxes. I was anxious to get out there and finish (we've been working on this for days) sorting through junk, he was anxious to sit his butt down on the couch and watch some TV. I don't blame him though, he took the week off partially to relax, and I've been making him go go go go go. Maybe I'll bake him some cookies tomorrow to ease his anxiety. Or maybe...


I'm almost positive that I wore that exact same outfit to a Christmas party in 2005. Minus the belt, flat hair, and flip flops. I'm sure I would have done myself up (I clearly wasn't ready for a photo shoot tonight) with lips that sparkle like Dorothy's shoes, and hair as high as the empire state building.

Among the pile of clothes that I brought into the house, 2 Alkaline Trio hoodies, a red gingham dress, size 12 pants that I actually was able to button (but boy was it dangerously ulgy) , and a bunch of Christopher's old t shirts that are too small for him, but now perfect for me.

"Rawr" is what I was saying, by the way (so ridiculous, haha). How can Christopher be mad at me for making him go outside instead of staying in and watching Sahara, when he had that hot lady to look at? Totally worth it, right?

Another photo flashback

This picture was taken just days before I met my husband. I was barely 20 years old, with so much hairspray settled on top of my head that it would take an electric kitchen knife to saw through the black tangles underneath the perfectly formed shell like exterior. Back then, I smoked, I drank, I wore clothes that were too tight and too revealing.

I keep scrolling up and looking at the picture, to try to describe accurately what life was like for me back then, but I just keep laughing and burying my face in my hands.


I still have that Marilyn Monroe poster in my room. Only now its framed. If you look at it from a certain angle, it looks like there is a demon face hidden in her curls. Really.

edit: no, *ahem* that is not a bong. Would you believe me if I told you I was allergic to the stuff? ...probably, since it seems I'm allergic to everything. Its one of those tall fancy plastic glasses that you find yourself holding as you're exiting Six Flags. My roommate had like 10, and I liked to fill them with PBR. I considered myself high class.

Team Mike?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A couple of days ago, I wrote about the end of Twilight, and mentioned how Christopher claimed to be on "Team Mike". Somebody, the most amazing anonymous somebody ever, took my request to make Christopher a "Team Mike" shirt quite literally.

The UPS man pulled up in front of our house, and when greeted at the door, handed me a small bag from Cafe Press. "I didn't order anything, did you?" I asked Christopher. He shook his head no, I tore through the plastic envelope, and in seconds we were both submerged in astonishment.

Are you kidding me? This is too freakin' funny. Who sent this? We have to know. Anyone? Fess up! Come forward and let us bow down to your amazing sense of humor. You really made our day. We kind of owe you big time.

Love Spun Blankets

Both Christopher and I come from very crafty backgrounds. Christopher's Nana, Mother, and two sisters, could easily take on Martha Stewart, with good chances of survival. My dad can turn a single piece of wood into an entire house. My Grammy and my Aunt Peg have thread literally running through their veins. I wasn't born with the craft gene. I mean, I guess I can do some pretty neat things with paper and glue, but my talents stick mostly to my writing.


Lots, and lots, and lots... of blankets.

As we were starting our family, everyone made us blankets. Everyone made us beautiful blankets. No two blankets alike. Traditional blankets, blankets more "our style", lop sided blankets (OK maybe that one was me). Scratchy blankets, soft blankets, itchy blankets, snugly blankets. Blankets.

So here we are, 3 years after the birth of our first child, 7 months after the birth of our second, living in one of the hottest states in the US, with a closet filled, with blankets. We literally have to hold the volcano of fabric with one hand, and quickly throw our body against the closet door to shut it with sweat dripping force, in order to prevent a cotton rimmed eruption. We have, roughly, 44 blankets in our house.

No matter how much we love some of the gifts that have been given to us, and appreciate the time and effort that went into them, its not fair for us to keep them locked up inside a cubby hole, gasping for a cold breath to warm. We have a tendency (and I'm sure its not just us, right) to hang onto things that we don't use, because of their origin. I'd even go as far to say that I'm a gift hoarder. I know I'll never use it, but I love that someone loved me enough to give it to me, so I keep it, and play out a scene in my imagination in which I use the item until its worn and weathered. In reality, I know it will most likely sit in a collapsed box in the garage (not all gifts, I'm making it sound worse than it is), or like the blankets, locked up in the closet. The gift hoarder in me has always been opposed to "re gifting", thinking it was rude and offensive. But now, with a family of 4, I've had to reevaluate my mindset.

What are we going to do with 44 blankets? We're going to go through them, and donate some of them to an excellent cause, so that they can get the love that they so desperately deserve. I'm sorry, friends and family. I know a few people are reading this, maybe with a tinge of anger behind their type focusing eyes, but... really, these blankets need to give warmth, rather than be trapped absorbing it under our neglected watch.

And just to ease the gnawing guilt of my reluctant re gifting, this picture will surely dance flatly behind a glass shield hung on the wall, set neatly in place on top of a nail upstairs between the children's rooms. These blankets came together to make the perfect piece of memorabilia.

A Photo Flashback

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

While going through the garage today, we came across an old box of mine overflowing with memories. The box itself, was given to me by my Aunt years ago. I called it my "unicorn" box". More like a trunk, than a box, but it kept its nickname no matter the difference. Inside the trunk, photographs and rolls of film, handwritten letters and postcards, diaries and dolls... all things that made both my cheeks and my heart flush, at the same time.

There aren't very many pictures of me as a baby. I don't know if its that my parents didn't like to take pictures, or if it was more that they were maybe... distracted? Either way, I wish I had a baby book to look back on. Or an old outfit that I wore. All I have left is a tattered teddy bear that I still sleep with at night (Christopher threatened to lock him up in a shadow box, but I couldn't handle it). This is the exact reasoning behind my hobby (some might call it an obsession) of capturing my children on film. Everyday. One hundred times a day.

I don't know exactly how old I am in this picture. I was born almost 7 weeks premature, weighing in at around 5 lbs. Isn't my Grams beautiful? I miss her. She used to watch me and my cousin during the days, while my parents worked. I went to Kindergarten down the street from her house, in the Hayward hills. We moved away from her when I was 6, but she flew me back to visit her every summer. She past away when I was 12. Its almost heartbreaking to look at this picture, but reminds me of how much she loved me, and of course, how much I still love her. My daughter sometimes says things that only my Grams used to say, like the word "kee kee", when something is yucky. One day she said it out of nowhere, and it knocked the wind out of me. I asked her to repeat herself, just to make sure I heard her right. Where had that come from? And one time a friend of mine came over, who holds a strong resemblance to my Gram's basic features, despite the drastic age difference, and Eleanore called her "Grandma". I didn't think much of it, until the first time Eleanore saw a picture of my Grams, and pointed to her and said "Grandma", without my properly introducing her to the woman in the photograph. My heart skipped a beat. ...But I'll save Eleanore's eerie ghost whisperings for another night. Right now I need to show you an amazing picture of my dad...

This picture was taken when I was 3. We went horseback riding while visiting friends in Oklahoma over the 4th of July. I remember flying in my very first plane, holding my very first sparkler, and seeing my very first scorpion. I remember being afraid of snakes that swam in the water while we went boating, being jealous of the amazing play kitchen that belonged to the little girl that we were staying with, and thinking I was the luckiest child on earth to have such a heroic father. There are more pictures from that same trip, somewhere, of me wearing his cowboy hat (seen in the above picture), opposite my favorite purple dinosaur night gown. I'm really lucky that these photos were saved. As you can see, this picture has been through a lot. My family and I lost nearly everything we owned when our house flooded in 1996. I'll save that for another night, too. Tonight I'd just like to stare at these pictures, and remember over and over again, until they're etched onto the inner most walls of my brain, kept safe from natural disasters and swimming snakes, just how important my family is to me.

Thank you, but-

Monday, July 27, 2009

Our living room is filled with clusters of brown paper bags, some half full, some overflowing, with baby clothes and unwanted Herman junk. We're gearing up for a big garage sale this next weekend. Christopher is on leave, and we've got 4 days to organize all of our things into the most hypnotic of ways, sending strong enough vibes out to lure in strangers from the street, and pull them up into our driveway. I've gotten a head start by posting a few things on craigslist, and a local yahoo yard sales group, doing what I can to get rid of these things. This morning a woman came over to look at little girls shoes for her baby. While she was browsing, I was reading "Bear Snores On" to Eleanore. The woman didn't seem to be very interested in making small talk with me, and Eleanore was bouncing off the walls from her brown sugar and maple syrup pancakes from earlier, so I thought I'd kill the awkwardness before it had a chance to fog up the whole room. When I was finished, the woman gave me a compliment. A really great compliment, actually. She told me that I had a great story telling voice.


Thank you.

...but no. Pffft. I couldn't just say "thank you" in return, could I? I had to say "Thank you", and then quickly bury it with a heavy disclaimer. I always have to spit out a speedy "but, but-" at any sincerely spoken rocket headed my way, stopping it before it strikes. By the time I realized how ridiculous I sounded, counteracting with something about dyslexia and how my "nice story telling voice" usually trips over words with an axe and tends to butcher children's stories like deli meat, it was too late. The woman was gone. Long gone. Would have jumped out the window if she couldn't get to the door to escape fast enough, gone. And I don't blame her. I totally wrecked her compliment, and then threw it back into her face. Why couldn't I just have said "thank you"?

Something else that has been brought to my attention recently, is the example that I'm setting (or not setting) for my children. How will they ever learn how to accept and enjoy a compliment, if I can't? Ugh.

From now on I'm going to make a conscious effort, to just say "thank you". Not "thank you, but-", because nobody wants to hear the "but". From now its going to be just... "thank you".

And that reminds me. I have an invisible stack of thank you notes piling up that need to be sent out. They're probably not going to be able to hold a stamp until their invisibility fades backwards into matter. Translation, I need to sit down and put the pen to the paper already.

A few (cute) ways to say thank you:

1) "Wise Old Owl Handmade Stamped Thank You Note Cards - set of 6", by PrettyHairClippies, $5.00.

2) "Enchanted Unicorn Greeting Card - Recycled Paper", by superfumi, $3.30.

3) "Thank You Cards, set of 3", by sickfeet, $8.00.

First kisses

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I'm trying to remember my first kiss. I think it was in the first grade, a boy named Ryan. A quick little peck on the lips that probably disgusted us both. My second first kiss, the one that I actually remember (since the memory of my first kiss is really more of an idea than a memory), was in the 3rd grade, with Roy Singer. He was my "boyfriend" for at least a week. The 3rd longest relationship I've ever had. The second longest was shared with a Ryan Adams (not the Ryan Adams you're thinking of), and then the absolute longest, and final, of course, has been with Christopher. He makes my heart flutter like no other.

But why are we talking about first kisses??

Charlie, my darling boy, experienced his first kiss today. It was love at first sight. With her eyes closed like a sleeping beauty, he couldn't resist. Her pale plastic skin, her stylish pink vest and onesie combo... he got caught up in the moment. I won't give him too hard of a time for missing the target, because face it, we've all been there. Baby doll is one lucky gal.

Care to put on your jammies, put your hair in a side ponytail, and tell us the story of your first kiss?

The Lovely Package Exchange

Yesterday after receiving my surprise letter from Miss JessicaJaneHandmade, I decided I had to sign up for the "Lovely Package Exchange". I was reluctant at first, overwhelmed by the idea of my being obligated to send something to someone that I've never talked to, hoping that they'll find my attempt at being artistic "lovely". Ugh.

...but really, doesn't it sound like so much fun?

I have to involve myself. I love getting pretty things in my mailbox too much not to. At one point, I played around with the idea of starting a blog called "pretty things in my mailbox", you've probably heard me use that phrase more than once, but came to the conclusion that it would be too much work for me. So here, somebody else has organized the very package exchange that I've been craving. How could I pass this up.

The cutoff date for the sign up appears to be tomorrow, July 27th, so its not too late for you to fill out your type form and start dreaming up ways of how you're going to decorate your mailbox bound treasures. I only signed up to exchange one package, but you can sign up to exchange up to 3. One package will be plenty on my plate, and will allow me to concentrate on making it all that it should be, rather than trying to spread myself too thin and ending up with holes in the perfection that I'll be trying so hard to create. Its asked that you spend $20-30 on putting your lovely package together, with a strong emphasis on effort. Partners will be assigned on July 28th, and your packages need to be sent out by August 14th.

Just spreadin' the word.

I can't wait to see who I'm paired up with. But mostly, I can't wait to see something pretty in my mailbox.

Eleanore Goes to the Library

Yesterday we took Eleanore and Charlie to the base library for the first time. I shouldn't say the "first time", since we had taken Eleanore a few years ago while she was still in car seat/diaper mode, but I feel like I can't really count that, since we didn't actually read any books to her. We just set her carseat down on the floor behind us while we used the computers to buy airline tickets home for a Christmas vacation. So, yesterday we took the kids to the base library for the first time.

I remember getting my very first library card. I remember the magic that it held. I remember how every story, every picture, every adventure in the entire place, could be mine, aaaalllll mine. With the single handed motion of handing the librarian my thin laminated green colored card, I could bring 7 new hardbound, or floppy back books home with me, lock myself in my bedroom, and scan the pages until my eyes couldn't blink anymore.

I was sad to hear that children at the base library don't need library cards. They use Mommy or Daddy's account. BOOOOO, I say. The volunteers at the desk looked taken back when I asked if they had supplies to make one by hand. I think I had to repeat myself multiples times, before just grabbing a business card, flipping it over, and writing "LIBRARY" and "ELEANORE SUE" in breaking black ink on the back.

Isn't a library card one of the stepping stones of childhood? Really though.

I had plans to come home and make her a better one. Maybe using pink construction paper and glitter, a rhinestone or two, and a soft puffy kitten sticker? But while we were in line at the commissary, Daddy reached into his wallet and pulled out a trick of his own. He had other plans. His old library card from a TDY assignment to South Dakota. How could I compete with a picture of an airplane? Anything that flies up in the sky, and anything that Daddy works on, beats a little bit of sparkly glitter, I hate to say it. I had a brief moment of sadness, but quickly recovered after seeing the excitement on her face.

She was excited about having a library card. It didn't matter who had given it to her, or whre it came from, it just mattered that she loved it. The reaction that I knew she needed to have in order to fill in that blank space that soon would close up on its own, but would be better off having never existed .

A surprise package

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I haven't gotten any real mail in a long time. I got quite a few cards and packages around the time of my birthday, almost 3 months ago. Mostly from family, but a couple from friends (I love you guys). I've been ordering things online a lot more lately. I consider Amazon a close friend. But other than random orders of gluten free baking mix and rain forest themed high chairs coming to my door, I haven't seen many envelopes with my name on it. Bills don't count (or do they?).

This really brightened my day. It helped that I wasn't expecting it. One of my best friends, Jessica, bought this card for me at the Renegade craft fair in LA. I can always count on her to send me a smile wrapped up inside a well decorated envelope. Shes good at that. I know that her and some of her friends are doing a sort of "lovely package exchange", that I'm kind of interested in joining in on, but, I'm not sure I'd have anything to actually put inside of my lovely packages? And I don't want to dissapoint. It sure would be nice to get more pretty things in my mailbox though. Hmm, we'll see.

Thanks Jessica. Miss you, dear.

I reached the end of Twilight

I finally finished the Twilight series. Two nights ago, I think? I went from reading a few pages here and there, to a few chapters when I could find five minutes to myself, to taking my book with me to the gym and reading while walking/riding, to staying up until 1am talking outloud to characters that were sure to ignore me.

I haven't been to Etsy in what seems like a half a century, mostly because I don't have any money to spend on all of the amazing things that I find, and also because I've let both of my shops dwindle down to nothing. I went last night, just to kill time while Christopher was reading "Breaking Dawn" (try not to give him too much crap for reading the series, he been really competitive lately, and my reading it without him is an instant win for the Tia half of us, which makes him crazy), and I stumbled on (OK, I was looking for it) this locket by FallenHearts.

Really? I want this.

I'm a cross teamer, 70% Jacob, 30% Edward. Christopher claims to be Team Mike, for those of you who were wondering. If somebody could make him a Team Mike shirt, it'd be greatly appreciated, haha. I won't do a detailed review on the series, because I don't think that anyone wants to sit through my complaining about the annoyance of the name "Renesmee", or how dull Bella and Edward became in the end (or maybe all along). Steph Meyers gave the fans what they wanted. I wish she would have written things a little bit differently, leaving me wanting more, but I'll settle for the words that were printed on the pages, and maybe try to re read the series again with a different point of view in the future.

I don't wear necklaces these days, or jewelry at all, other than stud earrings when I can remember to, thanks to tiny chubby grabby hands McGee. But that locket is too lovely to say no to. Plus I've always wanted a locket.


Caw, Caw!

Friday, July 24, 2009

When browsing for a Twitter button to add to my sidebar, I remembered this picture that I had taken awhile back. It would make more sense for me to use one of my own photos, then a computer animated picture of a blue bird, wouldn't it? Of course you are all, obviously, welcome to use this button as well, if you're at all interested in doing so. I think it turned out kind of cute, right? My linking to Twitter is long overdue.

And I'm almost positive that this has unleashed the blog makeover beast...

Mmm. Green Ice Cubes.

Nooo, I'm not making Mountain Dew slushies...

An Autumn Day in July

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Texas is hot. Always hot. Too hot. Even in the winter, December, there are 90 degree days. For those native to the south, it makes no difference, its what they're used to. For those of us thatdon't eat sleep and breathe fire, its exhausting.

The past two days have been refreshing. Cloudy skies, moist grounds, skin tingling breezes. A dream come true really. So out of the ordinary, for July, that the leaves on some of the surrounding trees have jumped from their branches as if tumbling from a diving board, to swim in the puddled pools of rain water below.

This morning the kids and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. I thought I'd see more mothers taking their kids to stomp in puddles, but we had all of the streets and parks to ourselves. Eleanore stomped up what was left of a quickly evaporating street side stream, and stopped under a large tree by the toddler park. She bent over, picked up a leaf, threw it up into the air, and then watched it fall.

"Which one can I have Mommy? Which leaf can I have?"
"Pick any one you want Elie"
...long pause, she looks around.
"But there are so many!"

Every person in every car that passed us had a smile on their face. Its hard not to fall in love with the idea of wonder and the freedom that comes along with it.

As an adult, I think about things like how cold I'll be after my clothes have gotten wet from sitting my butt down in the small lake that formed in the dip in the road. I think about how my feet will slide around uncomfortably on my flip flops if I walk through the puddle without rain boots. I think about how many bugs and germs are hidden and crawling all over the leaf that my daughter just picked up out of the muck and rubbed on her face. Its all in the back of my head, but its still there.

As a child, she wonders what kind of sound her feet will make when they stomp down through the top layer of the liquid glass resting on the concrete. She asks herself how many leaves she can pick up at once, and then demonstrates her ability to count, laugh, and trip all at the same time. She hears nothing around her other than crunches and splashes. Time stands still for her.

Tomorrow if the rain is still here, I full intend on practicing the thought patterns of a 3 year old. I think it could do me some good.

My 30 Day Shred, Results

Monday, July 20, 2009

So I did it you guys. I finished the 30 Day Shred. Actually, I finished a week ago, but haven't gotten around to taking before and after pictures. I say "haven't gotten around to it", like I've been soooo busy, and there wasn't a single second that I could have set up the tripod, but really... I just didn't want to.

You may or may not have read about the peanut fiasco (sorry, I'm not letting it go so easily, and will probably bring it up every day for the next month). If you don't feel like going and reading the original post, the overview is, my husband sabotaged my weight loss (unintentionally, he claims) by hiding an extra 600 calories in my would be healthy late night snack. This making my weight loss for the most part, a fail.

By now you've probably skipped over these past few paragraphs, and gone straight to the pictures. I had to up the antie on the dramatic visual effects, just like they would in one of those awful infomercials for various weight loss products that you see at 3am while feeding your should be sleeping through the night by now baby.

Sorry for the run on sentences today, I'm multi tasking. Between trying to write this blog entry' and trying to start my week, Monday is surely winning.

Lets talk about the Shred for a minute. Some of you found my blog by googling "30 Day Shred before and after", or "30 Day Shred results", maybe something similar. You're wanting to know how skinny it will make you. Right? I hate to break it to you, but miracles in the weight loss department, don't happen in 30 days. Unless you actually go on the show, The Biggest Loser, or land yourself in the hospital with some awful body eating disease, you're not going to lose the weight that you're probably looking to lose, in just one month. Who am I to tell you that, though? Hopefully you already know that, and you probably just going to google for reassurance that doing this workout routine will give you some kind of results. Hoping to find inspiration in somebody else who has already gone through it. You don't want to commit yourself to do something that isn't going to work. I know. I've been there. I think I even did those same google searches before I started the program myself. And what I learned is, your body isn't going to change, unless you want it to change.

The 30 Day Shred is not easy. It kicked my ass (was going to use the word butt, to make this rated "G", but butt doesn't sound as intense as ass does).

Did the 30 Day Shred change my body? Yes. Did I lose weight? Yes. "How much, how much?!?!" ...Ugh. I promised everyone I'd do this, so lets get it over with before my bravery dissolves into embarrassment.

After I posted those pictures, I buried my face in my hands, and peeked out through a crack in my fingers. As if you could see my cheeks flush? I hated posting these pictures. Hated. Hate hate hated. But I promised so many of you that I would, so I had to.

As you can see, not much of a difference. Because my total weight loss, throughout the entire 30 workouts, only added up to 4 pounds. But if you look closely enough, (which I hope you won't, because then you'll be able to see my wicked wedgie that makes these pictures that much more embarrassing. Even so, I wasn't about to retake them) you can see that things tightened up. In the first picture, with my back turned to you, my arm tattoos have a little less skin under them afterwards. Less fat, really. 30 days ago I could barely get down on my knees and do a girlie push up, and now I can hop down and do man push ups next to my husband. Not a lot of them, but its a start. Jillian gave me arm strength. In the middle pictures, the profiles, you can see that I carry a little less double chin, and... well that's about it. When I look at those pictures, I don't see much of a change at all. I don't see the change, and you probably can't either, but my measuring tape does. Thank god for my measuring tape. And in the last picture, the front view, I look fatter. Yep. Maybe because its that time of the month, or maybe because this time I took the pictures before working out, so my shirt isn't stretched in the least like it was after the first picture was taken. Either way... awesome *bangs head on desk*.

When I run into people at the store, or at the park, they all tell me how great I look, without me having to mention my constant workouts or fish for a compliment. Its flattering, and I really need to hear it, because after seeing these pictures, I feel like a failure. And did I mentioned I was sabotaged with a half a cup of peanuts a night? ...sorry. I told you I couldn't let it go. Along side the handful of people that have given me compliments, I have my trusty measuring tape to strangle me with sanity. I wrap it around my skin, pull it tightly, and it sings sweet melodies at me.

-bust: 44 ...44 (no change, I'm breastfeeding)
-bra Band: 36 ...35 (1 inch)
-waist (above belly button): 39 ...35 (4 inches)
-hips: 44 ...42 (2 inches)
-upper thigh: 23.5 ...22.5 (1 inch)
-lower thigh: 19 ...16 (3 inches)
-calf: 15.5 ...15 (.5 inches)
-upper arm: 12.5 ...12 (.5 inches)
-bicep flexed: 13 ...12 (1 inch)

So there you have it. I lost some serious inches.

My personal opinion of the 30 Day Shred, is that its a perfect jump start into a healthy lifestyle. Its given me the strength and endurance to challenge myself with new workout routines, and now I don't have to wear SPANX to get my pants buttoned. When I first started it, I didn't think I'd be able to get through an entire routine without throwing up, but turns out I could, and I did it 29 times after that. I graduated from level 1, to level 2, and eventually took on level 3. And if I can do it, anyone can do it.

The Sasquatch cake was born...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I took more than a few bullets to make sure that my husband had the best birthday possible. The big two-five. He deserved to enjoy it, against my angered will from the peanut incident. While he was browsing for new clothes, his gift card in hand, I corralled the kids as best I could. I huddled inside a dressing room to breast feed the baby, and lied to the toddler about the "broken vacuum" under the bench. I took a bath in hot vomit, and then got down on my hands and knees while balancing 25 pounds of screaming child in my weak arm, and scrubbed the dirty carpet as hard as I could with a disintegrating paper towel that of course, broke the canister when I reached for it. While Christopher was off looking at "man stuff", I ran back and forth to the bathroom playing "I have to go potty mommy!" with a fibbing 2 year old who had heaps of giggles choosing which stall she would use this time, and this time, just happened to put my face about 2 inches away from an unknown substance that lined the backside of the public restroom toilet, causing my stomach to go into convulsions. I forgot, or really, didn't have time to eat, letting my hypoglycemia punch me in the face. It didn't help that the one meal I had eaten, didn't stick with me. I didn't get a chance to color my hair, which was OK, since I had already tried to do it but run out of time for the previous 4 days. There simply isn't enough of me to go around. But the icing on the cake (oh god, how funny am I), was when the supposed-to-be best birthday cake of all time, fell apart due to lack of proper freezing, overcooked eggs that were in the way, and needy children that just don't understand that I was not put on this planet strictly for their personal needs, although it may seem that way, and rightly should to them. So while Christopher got a striking new outfit, spent a decent amount of time drooling over tools and electronics, feasted on delicious potato salad and mounds of meat, and scarfed down enough fudgy sugary goodness to pack on that extra 5 pounds that the Texas heat has taken off of him in the last week... I'm sure glad July 18th is over.

From now on, every year, I'm going to make him a Sasquatch cake. Its a new tradition thats just too good to pass up.

Edit: It was brought to my attention in a comment from the lovely Amy, that I didn't exactly explain what a Sasquatch cake, is. For my long time readers, its probably a no brainer. I toss around the nickname "Sasquatch" like I toss around dirty diapers (my daughter always has to chime in with "No Mommy, we don't throw diapers! We throw balls, and we hit balls"), but for those of you that are new to skimming through my ramblings hoping to hurry up and get to the good parts, Sasquatch is what I frequently refer to my husband as. Tall, hairy, breaks things simply by picking them up. Hes horribly unaware of his size, making limb control that much more difficult. The Sasquatch cake was very much the same. Large, lumpy, messy, but oh so delicious (tee hee).

How I love my family.

Friday, July 17, 2009

They all look so innocent, don't they? Playing there in the pool, watering the lawn with the leftovers. "Tra la la", they're probably thinking. Well don't be fooled. The people up there in that picture, are the cause of my recent claim of insanity. Them and the cat, who 2 days ago decided to run away (quick Spooky, get out while you still can!) and is probably never coming back. One down. Three to go.

Hold on. Gotta switch out the laundry.

Let me pull and each and every one of them aside for a second, to give you a better idea of what they're capable of.

Miss Eleanore. Miss, I'm almost three years old and I don't have to listen to anyone, Eleanore. Shes the worst. Yesterday, while putting together a package for her new Canadian pen pal, she pushed me past my limits. I could have easily strangled her, but instead- wait, let me back up. Starting over now... ahem. Recently, I've put up with her carelessness, I've put up with her hitting, I've put up with her screaming. I've punished her by putting her in time out, I've sent her to her room with no lunch, I've dragged her in the house kicking and screaming. And just when I thought she was finally getting the point, that I'm the boss, and shes the kid, she gave me a great big shove, into a messy pit of motherhood rage. Responding to a polite request to please pick up her crayons, she screamed no at me. I politely asked her again. She repeated the scream of no, and threw the crayons of which I was speaking of. I calmly (the scary kind of calm) explained to her (for the millionth time) how we pick up after ourselves after we make a mess. I asked her if she understood. She said yes. I asked her, one more time, to please pick up her crayons, and rather than learning and following directions like a good little girl, she looked me directly in the eyes and mimicked the same scary-calm voice that I was using with her, and said "No".

And what happened to that little girl, you wonder? Did she make it out alive? ...Yes. Shes alive alright. Rather than flipping my crazy switch, I kept it cool. I went and grabbed a chair from the dining room, put it in front of the window, and gave her her options. She could a) pick up the *#&@ing crayons, or b) sit in the chair facing the window for the next two days. Sitting in the chair would mean no toys, no movies, no friends, and no fun other than the fun she could provide herself with her over active imagination and the hours in which to use it. She chose option b. And as for the heap of toys that are sitting unplayed with? I'm selling them. Well, not all of them. Some of them I'm going to set aside and wrap up for her baby brothers birthday in December. Yep. I'm really doing that.

Moving on now...

To Charlie. The baby. The 6 month old with a plan to bring down his Mama. How could someone so squishy looking, cause such a ruckus? Oh it comes naturally for him. As you can see, Charlie isn't anywhere near starved. Quite the opposite, actually. Most 6 months old by now, sleep through the night. Their parents lay them down in their cribs at night, and don't hear a peep until the sun comes up. OK maybe they hear a toss and a turn, maybe they have to go in for a midnight soothing, but generally, babies at this age sleep through the night.

Well not my baby. Not Charlie. Charlie seems to think that his body requires food every 2-3 hours. And not just food, but Mommy's food. This doesn't apply to just the daytime hours, its in effect around the clock. So just as we're getting to sleep, finally settling down and drifting off to sleepy land, Charlie makes his needs heard, loud and clear. It starts with a quiet whimper. Christopher goes into his room, tries to soothe him, rocks him, sings to him, cuddles him. The whimper soon turns into a whining. The whining into a cry. The cry into a scream. Everyone in the house is now wide awake, the baby's face is bright red, and I'm leaking milk all over the place like a water bed attacked by an army of poorly made pin cushions. We can only take so much of this, before Charlie, the cute chubby baby that everyone ooh's and aaah's over, gets his way.

During the daytime, he refuses to take his nap. Correction; he refuses to take a nap anywhere other than my arms and lap. I put him down in his bed, and it works for about 10 minutes, until he realizes that hes not in my arms and starts up with the purple faced wailing. In fact, hes currently in the pack n play, behind me as I type this, going off like a freakin' fire alarm at a no smoking prom (haha, what?). And guess who gives in? Me or him? ...Me, obviously. I end up sitting on the couch in the most uncomfortable of positions, while hes fast asleep in my arms. Well not today Mister, you can scream until your lungs explode, I am not picking you up. You are making me crazy!

And lastly...

My husband.


The man that I married (yeah he might look good with his shirt off, but beware).

I've been working out hard, these past couple of weeks. Really hard. Every week I push and push, but my weight loss results have been less than I hoped for. Yesterday I weighed in, after a week of extreme dedication, only to find out that in the past two weeks, I've only lost 1 pound. I'll take what I can get, but, things just weren't adding up. With the way that I've been eating, and the way that I've been going at it physically, somethings gotta give. Well last night, after a 2 mile walk on the track at the gym under 102 degree skies, I sat back and relaxed on the couch to my nightly bowl of stevia sweetened berry sorbet. My reward for working so hard. Every night Christopher makes it for me, and every night I eat a bowl the size of my head. I gobble it up, suck it down, toss it back and absorb the vitamins as if I'd die without it.

Last night as I was going on and on about how good it was, the topic of ingredients came into play. How many calories was I eating, I wondered? Since it was only berries, ice, tofu, and a no calorie sweetener, 300... 400, max? So I ask my loving husband to add it up for me, just for giggles. As hes writing down the components, hes saying them aloud. "One cup frozen strawberries... a half a cup frozen blueberries... a half a cup peanuts"- WAIT, WHAT?! Back up. Did you just say, a HALF A CUP OF PEANUTS?! He was joking. He had to be joking. A half a cup of peanuts was enough to feed a small country, and he wouldn't do that to me. Everyone knows that peanuts, are high in calories and fat. The good kind of fat, but still. And I knew that he knew this, because he had individually packaged bags of nuts to eat while he was at work, and in need of a calorie boost to counteract the ridiculous sweaty days that hes been working around.

Silence. Complete, silence. When it gets silent like that, I know that he isn't kidding. I know that hes serious. The thought of consuming an additional meals worth of calories started sinking into my head, just in time for him to announce the grand total to me. "Do you really want to know?" he asks me.

No. But...

..."950 calories" he spits out.

Now, its common knowledge to me, that if you want to lose a pound a week, you cut out 500 calories a day. I've heard it from several people, doctors, websites, experts, whatever. I've been keeping serious track of my food intake, eating the right amount of the right foods, evenly spaced out throughout the day. Its been a huge pain in my butt. I feel like I'm eating constantly. Either I'm eating, or I'm preparing food. And all while watching my calories, to make sure that I don't fall under, or go over, I've been making sure that my husband, dear Christopher, has been getting more than enough to maintain his needs. I bake him cookies that I can't eat. Cookies that are full of brown sugar and chocolate chips and walnuts. I cook him giant pots of spaghetti that smell so good I could dive in and do laps in the tomato base. I sit in the shadows and eat my dip sized bowl full of protein packed salad, while he eats his delicious home cooked meal followed by home baked cookies. None of this bothered me, it actually made me feel good. I like taking care of my husband. I like taking care of my family. And then I find out that all of my efforts that I've been putting towards myself have been a waste, because of my husbands sabotage?

He claims he didn't know peanuts were high in calories, even though that's what he takes to work to fill up when he needs a calorie boost. He says he didn't do it on purpose, which I partially believe. But the smile that he got on his face when responding to my dramatic reaction, was enough to stop my heart. The last thing I wanted to see on his face, was a smile. He has been overfeeding me 5-600 calories a night, and then smiled about it? No sir, you're not crawling into bed next to this lady tonight. Go find some peanuts to cuddle with.

Ah, my family... how I love my family.

*This ridiculously long moment has been brought to you by Ibuprofen and swear words*

2 years in the making

Monday, July 13, 2009

After a long weekend of triple digit temperatures, endless yard work, and shred after shred, I got the chance to take a nice long hot shower. The dirt washed off me in seconds, as if it was screaming to jump away from my skin and dive down the drain. Good, because I really didn't feel comfortable with it hijacking the space on my neck anyways. As always, when I got out of the shower my cat was waiting for me on the floor mat, thinking that I was going to immediately bend down and start petting her, even though she knows I'm soaking wet and will just drip all over her. She doesn't learn. I stepped over her, and went to the bathroom sink, where my husband had so nicely piled up clean underwear, a clean bra, and clean breast pads (I prefer Johnson and Johnson. I tried cloth, but I soak right through them. All 5 layers of them). I looked up to pin my hair into place, and... who in the heck is that?

I didn't recognize myself

I started pawing at my face. Is that a jaw bone? I turned my head left then right, and back again. Up then down, and back again. I turned to the right side, examined myself from a different angle. Turned to the left. Did the same from behind. Turned to the front again. This went on until the new image of me burned into my brain.

I've been so overweight for so long. The pounds started sneaking on around the same time I met my husband. Right after our very first pregnancy (we had a pregnancy before Miss Eleanore), actually. The pounds just kept coming, and coming, and before I knew it, things were out of control. I always thought about losing weight, but didn't know what to do about it. I had a million excuses as to why I couldn't eat healthy or exercise. I guess in my head, I kept telling myself that the pounds would just melt away on their own.

I had a 3.5 pounds weight loss last week, bringing my total thus far close to 50. I have 3 days remaining on my 30 Day Shred. I think I finally feel like I'm on the right track. Like the days of dieting and workout failures are behind me.

This is my new healthy life.
(Hopefully soon I can find something other than weight loss and the insane heat to blog about, sorry folks, hang in there)

Its my day at the Mama Dramalogues.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I know I said I wouldn't do this. Post here every time I post there, but really... I was brave enough to take a very realistic picture of myself and share my opposite of sexy style secrets with everyone, so will you please flatter me and read "The unspoken Motherhood dress code"? Please?

*Ahem* and tell your friends *cough*.

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Surprise

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I call this "Cheesecake Surprise", because I made it out of whatever was in the fridge. Its not actual cheesecake, of course, its made with a tofu base. It came out much better than expected, for just throwing a few random ingredients into the Vita Mix. So without further procrastination, I offer y'all the recipe to my "Cheesecake Surprise". Feel free to alter as you please...

-1 package soft tofu
-1 cup sour cream (we don't usually have this in our house, but it just so happened we bought this for potato salad on the 4th, and had some left over)
-6 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
-2 eggs
-2 tablespoons stevia (I use NuStevia brand)
-1/4 cup sugar
-2 medium limes

-1 cup almonds ground
-1/4 cup peanuts ground


-Preheat oven to 350.
-Melt chocolate.
-Press ground nuts into bottom of spring form.
-Combine all of the remaining ingredients, in no particular order, in a blender or with a hand mixer. I prefer my vita-mix, but I'm a total blender snob.
-Poor into spring form, and bake for 40-50 minutes.
-Let cool, refrigerate, and enjoy!

This cheesecake is extremely low cal, low fat, and DELISH. As you can tell by the above picture, I've already eaten half of it. No shame in that!

My 30 Day Shred, day 22

Monday, July 6, 2009

Yesterday was a Shred fail. I took the day off due to yet another injury. Some of you might remember a few months back when I sprained my knee doing sprints at the track (yeah, my husband has some awesome ideas)? Well this time I'm pretty sure I pulled something during a post workout stretch. The pain had been tolerable, but after carrying a kicking and screaming 40 pound toddler up the stairs mid tantrum, my right ankle (and the muscle right behind it) got an attitude and decided it was done with compromise. Jumping was absolutely out of the question by this point, and if you've ever shredded, then you understand how you can't really do the workout without thrusting your entire body up off of the ground and into the air at least 100 times. So I took the day off. So what.

I made up for it today.

Oh boy did I make up for it today.

For my 22nd workout, I kicked it up to level 3. And just like when I started level 1, and level 2, I felt defeated. I really struggled to keep up. Level 3 is full of all sorts of crazy jumping moves (that's what I get for not jumping yesterday). Something like, do a lunge, and then jump, and then land in a lunge. Stuff like that. Also, when doing level 3, you have to do everything with your hand weights. Jumping jacks... with your hand weights. Punches... with your hand weights. I didn't think I'd be able to do it, but some insane force of nature came out of nowhere and lifted my arms against their will. By the end of the routine I thought I was dead. I looked down at my chest and saw that I was still breathing, so I just layed there for a few seconds until my voice found its way back to my mouth. Reaching for my glass of water made me question how thirsty I really was. My arm was wobbling and my fingers were dripping sweat. Oh, and did I mention I made my husband do it with me? He obviously loves me.

After about half an hour of recovery, we headed outside to do some yard work. I say "some", but it turned into 7 hours of hard labor. The plan was to mow the lawn, and pull some weeds. Well, I mowed the lawn alright. Our front yard, my neighbors front yard (her husband is deployed), our side yard, and our neighbors side yard. Not only that, but to get the mower, I had to walk down to the self help store (kind of like a library full of stuff for housing maintenance), and push the gas powered beast all the way back. It might not have been so bad, had it not been 90 degrees outside. While I mowed, hubby pulled weeds and removed unwanted aloe-wannabe plants that should have never been planted in the first place. Eventually the kids had to go inside, and someone had to go in with them. I wish I could say that was me, but I was too motivated to give up on the projects that I had started. In place of the freshly discarded weeds, I put down 2 layers of weed guard, and covered the entire space in mulch (hubby came out to help towards the end). Now our house and our neighbors house match, which is kind of important (actually, really silly) since we're connected in an awesome duplex kind of way. How did mowing the yard and laying down mulch take 7 hours, you ask? I have 2 kids, and it was a billion degrees out, that's how. The most relaxing part of the day though, was when I watered the lawn. Rather than setting up the sprinkler, I stayed outside and watered it by hand like my Dad used to do. Not like, watering can by hand, but by holding a hose, by hand. The mist felt excellent on my sun burnt skin (Christopher is never allowed to apply sunblock on my back ever again), and the silence let me clear my head and prepare myself for the end of the 4 day weekend.

And as for the amazing picture seen above? I'm rockin' my husbands socks (don't wanna get bitten by bugs!) and dollar store sunglasses (my real ones broke yesterday). I work with what I've got, haha.

The Great Sippy Standoff of '09

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Recently I joined up with a team of rockin' Mama's over at a new blog called The Mama Dramalogues. Yesterday I sat down in the middle of one of the most chaotic days in Herman family history, to write up my first article, and somehow managed to publish it after only 45 minutes. Don't worry, I won't flood this here blog with links every time I post over there, but since this is my first piece of writing, and kind of a funny one (whatever, I toot my own horn all the time, haha) I thought maybe y'all would like to take a peek at "The Great Sippy Standoff of '09". And if you haven't already, please feel free to add The Mama Dramalogues to your blog links, favorites, blog feed, whatever. We'd love to have you as a follower.

Smile lines.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Over the past few months, my smile lines have doubled in depth. Obviously its because I smile way more these days. Not because I'm getting older. Or maybe because of my recent weight loss. It couldn't be that second option at all, right?

After taking this picture, my eyes immediately darted to my smile lines. To me, they take up my entire face. They stand out like a Unicorn in a field of pigs (hahah, what?!). Christopher says they're "cute". What kind of response is that anyways? Well whatever they are, they're probably here to stay, and I should get used to them.

Today I had to step on a scale. Not just a scale, but a real scale, of the working variety, with accuracy and history. I had a doctors appointment (my very favorite kind, with cold metal objects and backless gowns), where I had no choice but to step onto the digital beast and face my doom. The scale there has always been neck and neck with the scale at the gym, so I knew it would read accurately. I was praying for 189. Please, 189, be there. 189, 189, 189. Come on, come on, come on. I've been doing my shred for nearly 3 weeks now, with incredible results in the muscle department. I've adjusted my diet in ways only crazy people would. I just knew, without knowing at all, that I had to weigh 189.

Yes, I'm about to post my actual weight (I can't believe I'm doing this).







193. Stop.

....Oh. 193. Thats definately not 189. Thats... I've only lost 3 lbs.

Heartbreak. Failure. Denial. Disappointment. Blaaaaaaaaaaaah.

I spent the entire afternoon fighting with the once-was-determination in my head. I've been working so hard. I expected so much more. Where are the results I've been chasing? Christopher reminded me that I've lost a load of inches in the fat department (theres no nice way to put it), and pointed to the area on my arm where a pool of blubber once lived, but is now being leased by a loyal tenant that I picked up at the gun show (totally lame, but I crack myself up). I did some texting, re weighed myself on the scale at the gym, went for a drive, and eventually my head cleared and I came to a realization.

3 pounds, is better than no pounds.

Maybe I've been trying too hard. I've kind of got a lot going against me, with breastfeeding, and my dietary restrictions, and my busy schedule. Every day I push myself as far as I can. I want to wake up sore in the morning, so that I know I couldn't possibly have pushed myself any harder. And I think because of that, I've put too much stress on my body. I've hit my plateau. I've heard people talk about weight loss plateaus before, but never really understood how your body could just stop responding. Well I understand now. Unfortunately.

I'm not going to stop my 30 Day Shred. I committed myself to it, and I'm going to finish it. Its transformed my unwanted jiggle spots into tightened functional body parts, and for that I'm thankful. Instead of doing it every day though, no. I'm going to start taking a day of rest in between my workouts. Even when I'm finished with the shred. Every other day, until I can get back on track.

So just like I have to accept my smile lines. I have to accept that my body is not going to change overnight, no matter how hard I push it.

Get out of the house. Its stuffy in here.

This. This is where I like to keep my son. Nestled in my lap. That look on his face isn't one of annoyance, I assure you. Its one of "Wow, I love my Mom. My Mom is the best. Shes not overprotective at all. I don't want to be out running around in the sprinkler with Daddy and big Sister, I'd much rather just sit here on the porch like a lump on Mommy's log of a lap. Yes. I love my Mom". Really.

I read recently, or, was reminded recently, that kids need an hour of exercise a day, just like adults do. Exercise being, up and moving. In the summers here, Texas, this being our 4th round, as I've mentioned every other day (no I'm not bitter at all, the Military is super awesome)... its just too hot for that. We either have to go out at 7am, or wait until the sun goes down. Or, if we're really lucky, once in a purple moon, we'll have a cold front come in and cool us off into the 80's, at which time we'll spend the entire day outside because the world might be coming to an end tomorrow. I can't see any other reason for it to be below 100.

Well this got me thinking. Again. I'm always thinking about whats best for my kids. Whats best for them, and me, and my husband, and the cats (one of them needs a new home and it breaks my heart), and... it never stops (the cat needs a new home I meant, not my husband or the kids, I think I'll keep them). My brain goes until a headache shuts it down. I used to lay awake at night thinking about things. I had insomnia bad. Now I pass out as soon as my face hits the pillow, thank you Charlie. So I've been thinking about how I have to make it a priority to get the kids outside every day. We recently bought a porch set, a glass table with 4 cushioned chairs, from the BX (base exchange, kind of like a kmart on base, tax free). I love it. Every chance I get, I bug the entire family and drag them outside so I don't have to sit alone. This way, everyone is getting fresh air, even if its so thick with humidity it clogs our lungs. Eleanore is stretching her legs, even if we're yelling at her to stay out of the street. Charlie is banging his fists down on the table (hey, hes moving, so its exercise, right). Christopher is chasing after Eleanore. And I'm... well usually I'm just sitting there relaxing, but... that's not the point. The point is, I'm making a conscious effort to get, and keep, my family outside for extended lengths of time during the day, every day, no matter what the day is like. No matter how many vicious man eating spiders I have to smack off of my arm and kill with my flip flop.
(wow I really get off track sometimes)

And, exercise exercise exercise.

Um... End.