Weighty issues

I’m getting a little nervous about my Team Beef photo shoot this weekend. I have run for Team Beef since spring 2010, and they sponsor many of the races I run. I’m seriously beyond flattered that I was one of only 4 team members selected to be highlighted by the magazine. After I read the copy of “my” story, had I not known it was about me I would have totally been inspired by it. I would have read the story and thought, wow, that could be about any mom who let her weight get out of control while taking care of back to back to back children. That could be any woman who just quit working out and quit focusing on her health. I would have seen myself in the story like I do in the stories I see on the Atkins site, People Magazine, and Nutri-system commercials. It’s like a series of events occurs over a decade or more and suddenly you have gone from size 6 to size 22, and you have a “Come to Jesus” moment and realize you have to do something. I can relate to that story…I guess that’s why this time around I AM the story. But I’m a little embarrassed by it.

When I got out of the Army i was pregnant and had quit smoking, I stopped all forms of exercise. On Friday I went to step aerobics for an hour, then to PT, then ran a couple miles. On Monday, I went to college classes and that was it. I didn’t run, not even to the fridge for another 11 years. So, from August 1998 – October 2009 I lived a sedentary life. I was busy raising kids, getting divorced & remarried, working at an office, starting my own business, cooking, cleaning, but spending a lot of time holding down a couch, eating comfort food. At first, i just never lost the 65+ pounds I gained during my first pregnancy, then I was pregnant again and gained back the minimal amount I’d lost. I delivered both of my first two children at about 217lbs. That’s a lot considering I’m only 5’2.

I somehow convinced myself that size 14, then 16, then 18, then 20 was just fine. It’s just a number, right? I’m still me. Well, the problem was that somewhere in there “ME” got a little lost. Two more babies, both pregnancies riddled with insulin dependence, zoloft, and depression led me to where? I don’t know. I tried to do everything to be the best mom in the world, but I wasn’t taking care of myself at all. I went to a 1 year postpartum check up and I weighed 215, had an A1C of 6.5 – this is considered the first number that indicates diabetes, and my cholesterol was 242. That’s when I started walking, that’s when I started taking control of my health, and that’s the moment I realized that I had to take care of me in order to take care of everyone else.

I shouldn’t be embarrassed to have lost 75 lbs, to have maintained the loss, or to continue working towards an even healthier me. I should be proud of this, and the fact that despite having started at morbid obesity I was able to dig my way out to a healthy (barely) weight, and pick up running along the way. I think the reason I hang my medals prominently in our dining room is to remind me of my accomplishments. All of these things should make me proud, but then the self-doubter creeps in and tells me that I should have never, ever gotten to that point. I’m still not where I completely want to be. I’m training for my 11 & 12th half marathons right now and the logical me says that had I stayed the course, had I not gained all that weight, I probably would have never really gotten serious about my health, but who knows.

So this coming Sunday, I am going to have my picture taken next to an elite marathoner, an ultra marathoner, and another team member who has an awesome story to tell as well (I don’t know who she is). I’m seriously worried i’m going to look fat.

I don’t know how to stop hating myself. I don’t know how to forgive myself.

Until then, I’ll just stay the course and keep running because it makes me feel good.

This is how we do it

There is nothing quite as exciting as a house full of people in quick motion because somehow Mom & Dad slept through the alarm. We woke up this morning with exactly 10 minutes to spare before Dustin’s ride would be at our house and my first daycare kid would arrive. Yup, 6:53 a.m. I jumped out bed, ran to Dustin’s room threw on the light and tell him to move, we seriously overslept, then I quietly tell Dorothy so i won’t wake Maggie. Down the hall to Liam’s room – normally Daddy wakes him up and dresses him because he is a lolly-gagger in a major way, but not today i tell him he must get up and get dressed, like NOW.

Down the stairs I fly with a toothbrush in my mouth, still wearing my workout clothes from my run last night. I had intended to shower, but a clean shirt will have to do. I pre-prep as much of the kid lunches & John’s lunches every night while I’m cleaning up dinner & getting the coffee ready for the next day. This morning I am tossing pre-cut fruit, boiled eggs, pkgs of fruities, pepperoni, sandwiches, salads, dressing, bottles of water into bags while pushing the levers on the toaster down to cook toaster strudels (a very rare treat that I just bought impulsively last night). Meanwhile the iron was heating and I was spraying the pants with Bounce ironing spray. I love that stuff, it’s like starch, but doesn’t flake. Dorothy comes down and I’m giving instructions to please put lunches & snacks into backpacks, get her breakfast, hand Liam his breakfast and to hurry up with all of the abovve. My door opens and two kids walk in, Dustin walks out with his breakfast in hand at 7:03. Ten minutes. The next 9 minutes are pretty calm considering the first 10. I give my daycare kids some food, Dorothy and Liam eat and John is somewhere spraying down with Axe because of course there was no time to shower and I try to not scald myself with my lifeblood – I of course mean coffee. 7:12, we have been awake less than 20 minutes and Dorothy & John head out the door for the day.

Wow. I feel like I ran a marathon, and because of my clothes I smell like it too, though I actually only ran 3.5 miles last night. Guess perfume to the rescue! Now I smell great, and look well, like I just woke up. The only person exempt from the crazy this morning was Maggie who somehow slept through it all.

So today is January 10th or 11th and it is suppose to be about 70 degrees, we expect snow in 2 days. I am running a 5 mile race tomorrow morning and I’m pretty sure it won’t be a PR kind of day. I have a great playlist and I’m doing it with some great girls that pretend to like me and enjoy my company. I think they like me, I’m pretty sure they do, but they like to talk and run, I usually pop my earbuds in and enjoy the safety of pack running. We usually don’t socialize during the week. I do like these girls though and I’m glad I have similarly paced people to run with.

Our last family camping weekend

It has been in the 70’s all week long, and we are taking this final opportunity to go camping with the kids. We bought a new to us hybrid bunkhouse! I already see major advantages. We parked it in the driveway, I loaded the fridge, the freezer and put our stuff in closets & drawers. No more suitcases, totes, or ice-ruined food. No more trampling over the tops of each other to move, no more bed-sharing, and wait for it….no more midnight runs to the potty house down the road!

…and I’m back

I think I’m going to try to blog more often again. I used to really enjoy jotting down my thoughts, but somehow everything in the world became more important. Liam is in kindergarten, and the other day he brought home a picture and story that he made. It says “My Dad makes me happy.” He illustrated his story with a picture of himself smiling and Daddy reaching into *THE STASH* of candy to get Liam a piece. Liam is a serious candy addict. Maggie is working on the potty. I have been diapering a kid for 12 years, and I’m looking forward to not carrying a diaper in my purse sometime in the near future. Dustin is thriving socially, academically & athletically this year and it is so nice to see him. Yes, I wrote that correctly, he is gone a lot between practices, intramurals, and friends. Heck, this weekend we are going camping and he will not be joining us on the first night because it is his best friend’s birthday sleepover. Dorothy is as sweet as ever, though she is becoming increasinglly more and more concerned over her clothing and hair. She is alsoa a HUGE Justin Bieber fan, just the other night she told me when his birtday was. He was born in the year I graduated high school.

I’m still running. I still love it.

Gems I can’t forgive if I forget – Dustin Edition

I know there are all of these moments, sayings, feelings and events that I say to myself, “I will always remember this,” but the older I get and the more of these things I add to the mental archive, the less sure I am that I will actually remember them all.

Dustin is full of knowledge. He is quick on his feet and always has a comment. Always. Even if there is something that doesn’t need said, he will say it. Several months ago I was reviewing the Angel Food menu and Dustin grabbed it and started reading, “Chicken breasts, ground beef, pork roast, frozen lasagna dinner…” I ask if everything sounds good. He says, “Yes, except this one thing.” I say, “What.” He says, “Chicken FU-GIII-TUHS.” I grab the menu to see what on earth he is saying because it sounds nasty. Chicken Fajitas. Delicious. I’d all but forgotten this until yesterday when he and I went to Aldi. I was grabbing some pepperocinis and in the same area was something Dustin had never heard of. “Ju-lop-noes.” He says it a couple of times and asks what they are. I say, “You put them on fajitas.” Only, I used his pronunciation for both fajita and jalapenos.

Dustin bit his lip. He said it was bleeding. I said, “Oh no, are you going to die?” He says, “I always do from this sort of thing.”

The wheel is in motion

I thought it would be hard to part with certain baby items when they were no longer needed. My mom says I fail when it comes to the sentimental value of items, but that’s not true. There are some things that I will never part with. I don’t frequent diapering forums much anymore, but people used to save cloth diapers and put them in shadow boxes for display. I didn’t think I would ever do something that crazy, but there are definately diapers I had made for both Maggie and Liam that I wondered if I would part with when the time came. I wondered the same when acquired a much coveted Beco Butterfly carrier last year and though I can’t imagine why I would keep it around, I never pictured myself selling it.

Well, the time has come. I sold the carrier today to a nice girl named Amelia for her 10 month old baby. SHe and her husband are just getting started on having children and hope to have a few more. The carrier will work well for her and I was glad to have sold it to someone who really wanted one. The diapers are also for sale. I have several packaged and ready to go to the post office. It feels good. I don’t feel sad about selling our little baby items. The truth is, we can use the space for all of the toys, shoes and clothing that seem to be growing in volume by the day.

The tides have turned…a new season

I can measure much of my life in seasons. Without elaborating in too much detail, the first season I remember in life is probably when I was 4, before my mom and dad divorced, the next season I remember is when I was in grade school and my siblings were my best friends, moving into adulthood there was the college season, then the season where I learned a bit about who I was in the Army, marriage, kids, divorce, remarriage, more kids. Seasons change and sometimes there isn’t really a defining moment, I just realize that something has changed and we have moved forward. Another season in life has recently passed and noticing Elmo on my Suburban DVD player brought it to my attention.

When we got the DVD player the movies were enjoyable for both Dorothy and Liam, poor Dustin has been shafted since the get-go. SpongeBob, Labryinth (yes, the cheese David Bowie muppets on heroin variety), and Nemo graced the screen so that the kids would ride in silence from point A to point B. Gradually Dorothy began to lose interest in the movies and they were specifically catered to Liam. If the DVD wasn’t on, Kidz Bop blasted from the speakers because Dustin, Dorothy and Liam liked to sing along. Maggie had no interest in the movies or the music, and everyone was happy.

Now that I think about it, I think the change was set in motion after a trip to visit friends when they loaned us a Baby Einstein video to help Maggie out on the ride home. It wasn’t immediate, Liam’s movies still took up most of the screen time, but since that point Maggie’s billing on the screen increased rapidly. Music has ended. Now, when we get in the car Maggie becomes anxious pointing at the drop-down screen, waving frantically and shouting *MELMO* until his little red body and irritating high pitched voice appears. Liam kind of watches, but Elmo is definately not his choice and he watches primarily when the batteries on his Leapster or Gameboy have died.

We have passed the season of “Anything to keep Liam happy” to the new season of “Anything to keep Maggie happy.” To an outsider, these may seem very much the same, but to me, there is so much more. My seasons of life have been dominated by babies and little bitty kids for a long time. The kids are becoming more independant every day. Dustin is growing into a young man and will turn 11 in March. Just a short time ago he was pushing a popcorn popper across the floor squealing in delight as he chased the dog, now he is trustworthy enough to leave home alone for a bit and asking for a cell phone. He had a girlfriend for a couple of days and the girls are starting to notice his big smile and deep dimples. I think that the next decade will be filled with the season of teenagers….

I don’t think I’ll jinx it…

Maggie started wearing big girl panties on Monday. No pull ups, just panties. She had 2 accidents on Monday, one on Tuesday. Today is Friday. She has not had another accident since Tuesday. I’m going to officially go on the record and say we are day-time trained. My biggest problem hasn’t been the training, it has been finding undies small enough for my 20 month old girl.

My mom swears I was trained at 18 months, and that I wasn’t exceptional or anything, that most kids were trained around that time frame 30-odd years ago. What has changed? As parents, are we so terrified that we are going to scar our children’s little psyche’s or that we want it to be *their accomplishment*? Are we just out of tune with our little ones because there are so many other distractions ranging from 2-parent working families, to internet, iphones, and satelitte television? Is it too inconvient to stay home for a few days or a weekend to accomplish the task? I really do wonder why the mindset seems to have changed, why 3 – 3.5 is the norm age and not the exception.

As a daycare provider I’ve told most of my parents that there are 2 big windows of opportunity for potty training. The first occurs sometime around 18-21 months. This is the time where a child truly is trained to use the potty. They go when mom goes, go when dad goes, when big brother or sister goes and they are mimicking behavior. If you miss this first window, most parents will wait because any further attempts are met with much resisistance. When this first chance passes, it can be like pulling teeth trying to convince your child to use the potty because most of them are into a very negative stage of life, fairly normal. It is when you frequently hear “I DO IT MYSELF”. Then, the magic window reopens a little more than a year later and the child wants to be big and you teach them to use the potty so they can be a big kid. Most people hit this second window and make a big production out of picking special panties/underwear and so on. I guess this is when potty learning, potty bribing and potty forcing comes in.

So even in my wondering where we as parents have gone wrong, I am guilty of missing the first window with both of my boys. I tried earlier training with both of them, but things came up in life and I failed to follow through, finding diapers for another year easier than the struggle. My girls were trained prior to age two, both boys right around their 3rd birthdays.

Enough analysis, check out my big girl!

Did that just happen?

One of my New Year resolves was to spend more time with the kids, not in front of a television. Last night I made good on my promise to them and took them to the library. The library can be a really great place to relax and spend time with children. Ours has a nice children’s area where you can sit and read, little kids can play or look at board books, and even a small screen for a puppet show. I let my children each pick a book and a movie. Then we all went to the seats, I sat down and read a story that Liam, Maggie and Dorothy enjoyed, while Dustin leafed through his new book.

Before I knew it, several children had gathered round the chair where I was reading to hear the story. The book took about ten minutes to read and all of the children, mine included begged for another story, but it was time for us to go. I felt somewhat uncomfortable leaving, though, because I didn’t see who these children were with, and they were not together. I asked who they were with and each told me either a mom or a dad. I’m not normally one to over-parent, or hover even, but these kids were no older than 3 and 4, who lets their child just wander the library?

We gathered our things, and headed to the check out. I saw a stand next to our checkout that was filled with “Hot Demand” movies and books. These items are new, only available for 3 days and carry a $1 a day fine. I ask if we can get G-Force, not sure if they were on hold since they were right next to the counter. The library lady says sure, so I reach out for the movie, my hand was no more than 5 inches from the movie. Suddenly, a 14 or 15 year old boy snatches the movie. I looked at the library worker, and THE BOY HID IT BEHIND HIS BACK. WHAT??? Really??? Did he really snatch my movie??? His mom just watched and said nothing. If this is how he acts in front of her, I wonder how he acts away from her! I bet she is the type of parent who would just let her 3 year old wander the library and sit with a stranger to hear a story.

Shopping with Dorothy

Yesterday, Dorothy and I went to Old Navy to get me some new jeans. Of course, I did get jeans, but Dorothy helped me buy something for her and the other kids as well. First of all, let me talk about ON jeans….The Diva, The Flirt, Boyfriend Jeans, The Sweetheart, these all have rises that are so short I can’t believe anyone who has ever had a child can wear. All of them showed both the front and back of my undies which made Dorothy laugh. I don’t mean kind of laugh, I mean a full belly laugh in the dressing room. One pair, I put on, zipped up and Dorothy said, “It looks like the top of the jeans is missing, Mom.” Yeah, I’ll say. So, ON has a new jean, I guess trying to capture the 30+ crowd. These are called “The Dreamer”. Clever. The Dreamer jeans are for those of us who miss our pre-baby bodies, who dream of a day where the pile of jeans we saved from high school will fit again, and who dream of the desire and time to do P90X. The people at ON are smart, they knew these jeans would have a market, and a big one at that. Capitalizing on the group who might normally be relegated to MOM jeans, they price these jeans at $34.50, about $15.00 more than their normal jeans, I guess the extra material and butt support panel costs more, but I think that they just know that people will pay more to look decent and still somewhat stylish.

I could have used 2, maybe 3 pairs of these great Dreamer jeans, but shopping with a budget, and my 8 year old didn’t yield more pants for me. Instead, we got some cute jeans for Maggie for next year – and they are PINK on the inside! Dustin got some normal boy jeans in a 12Slim, wow he has gotten tall recently. Dorothy just knew he would love them because they were a dark color, she picked. Liam got a Wolverine hoodie, I don’t know that he knows who Wolverine is, but Dorothy just knew he would love this. Finally, she got a shirt. She pawed over dozens, but ultimately decided on one with the Valentines Day Sweetheart candy. Of course. She is a sweetheart for sure!

I think our shopping trip was good. It was full of smiles and laughter, mostly at my expense….and I didn’t even mention how Dorothy was certain that a smaller size would fit me, and how she laughed when I nearly fell over trying to pull them up and how they wouldn’t go past my thighs….and it was a great time with my oldest daughter.