Thursday, June 30, 2011


Last night was weigh-in night at Weight Watchers.  I wasn't sure what I was going to see when I stepped on the scale because I had a bit of a rough spot in the middle of the week.  I had two days in a row where I was fighting the constant urge to devour everything in sight.  I didn't fall completely off the wagon but I didn't do my very best either.

But after those two days, I climbed back up, dusted my willpower off, and started again.  I had three days until weigh in and I had to make those three days count.

And make them count, I did.  I lost 2.2 pounds this week.

That makes a total of 11.3 pounds since I started doing this with the online program and a full 8 pounds since I started back to meetings two weeks ago.

My pants fit so much better.  I'm almost completely into a smaller size at this point.  I still wear the larger size when I'm feeling frumpy or lazy and want comfort over style.  But that larger size is pretty loose now and getting progressively more so.

I'm trying not to look too far ahead of myself at this point.  I know what I WANT to be able to wear come fall but I don't want to think very hard about it because if I don't get there, I don't want to disappoint myself.  I just want to be happy with my current success and build on that.

But it's awfully nice not to feel so disgusting when I'm at the pool with my kids.  It might not show to other people but I can tell I look different and that difference gives me confidence.  Vive le diffĂ©rence!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


That one word sums up the last several days.  I've wanted to blog more but we've been so busy I can barely get from one thing to the next on time.

Here's how today went, to give you an idea.  Let me preface it with the fact that Scot's car refused to start on Sunday so we had to have it towed on Monday and it's been in the shop ever since.

6:30 - get up with Jamie.  Get dressed and presentable to leave the house.
7:00 - Liam gets up, wake Scot.  Spend next 30 min prepping to leave.
7:30 - load up the family and leave.  Take Scot to work stopping on the way to get coffee for him.
7:45 - drop off Scot and head to Jamie's daycare.
8:00 - drop off Jamie at daycare and head to the grocery store with Liam.
8:15-9 - grocery shop then go home.
9 - 9:45 - unload the groceries, put them away, sit down to breathe and have breakfast.  Get Liam changed for swim lessons.
9:45 - leave for swim.
10 - 11 - swim lesson for Liam.
11:15 arrive home and have a dang break.
11:15 - 4:00 pm.  Hang out at home.  Get lunch, do cleaning, work on laundry, try to nap to no avail, make cupcakes.
4:00 pm - pick up Jamie.
4:15- 5:30 home long enough to feed the kids and myself.  Scot still at work.
5:30 - leave for Tae Kwon-do with both kids.  Jamie NEVER goes with us as it runs past his bath and bed time but one car, one parent, no choice.  He went with.
5:45 - 6:45 -TKD for Liam.  Managed to pick up Scot at work while Liam was in class.
7:00 - arrive home.  Scot eats, I throw children in the tub.  Jamie is now late for bed.
7:15 - Jamie in bed.
7:40 - Liam in bed.

After the kids were down, I made buttercream frosting and frosted the cupcakes I made.  Then I sat down to write an email to a friend that was waiting on my reply.  Tomorrow is speech therapy for Jamie and I still have to finish picking up the house.

I know that working parents do this sort of thing pretty much every day so I shouldn't complain.  And, really, I'm not.  But I'm not used to this kind of schedule AT. ALL.  This is what my life has been like for the last several days - hence the lack of blogging.

Swim lessons run all week this week and next.  After they are done things calm down a little bit.  I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, I admitted to being a big fat failure.  Fat being the operative word because I had failed at Weight Watchers online.  So, I bit the bullet and signed back up for meetings.

Last week was my first meeting.  I wasn't happy with the number on their scale - weighing at the end of the day is a pain in the ass.  But, while I wasn't happy, I wasn't too shocked either so I tried not to let it get me down.

The meeting was exactly what I expected it to be and it was actually really good.  Instead of feeling stupid that I'd failed and had to go back, I felt like I was back among my people - the ones that understood my struggles and were there for support.  I walked out feeling like I had a plan and I could face the week.

I set some goals for myself: track everything I ate, be meticulous about portion sizes, and make the best choices I could while still leaving a tiny bit of wiggle room.  To these ends, I made an effort to read through and organize my materials from Weight Watchers, I purchased a journal for tracking and a notebook to take notes at meetings.  I was ready to tackle the week.  What can I say?  I'm a nerd, office supplies motivate me.

I managed to meet my goals.  I tracked everything I put in my mouth and if I didn't want to track it, I usually didn't put it in my mouth.  I admit a stray piece of cheese or two might have snuck through but that's about it.  On Father's Day, I made steaks, broccoli, salad, roasted potatoes, and my mother-in-law brought brownies and ice cream for dessert.  In indulged in all of those foods - being careful to limit portions where appropriate - and I *still* had points left over at the end of the day.  I even managed to get a little exercise in here and there over the course of the week.

Tonight I had my second meeting and my first weigh-in after starting the program.  I lost six pounds.

Let me repeat that:  I lost SIX pounds.  In one week.

To give you some perspective, the only other time in my life that I've lost that much weight in a single week, it involved birthing 8 lb babies.

I have now lost 10 pounds over all and weigh the same as what I did when I started Weight Watchers 4 years ago.  I put on shorts today that were a smaller size and I didn't just manage to squeeze into them - they actually fit comfortably.  Some of my clothes look big on me now (not many, but a few!).  Scot told me one day earlier this week, "You look skinny today."

So I know what works and I know how to make the program work for me.  Not every week will be this successful but it's a great boost to my confidence.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Floodgates Have Opened

Language is suddenly pouring out of Jamie in a torrent.  When he said five new words in the space of an hour, I decided to start writing them down so I wouldn't forget them by the time his next therapy session rolled around.

That list took up half the white board on my refrigerator.

Since I started keeping track (on FRIDAY) he has said all of the following:

one more
Perry (as in, the platypus)
beep (for beeping noses)
ting (for clinking glasses together)
oh yeah
blue bowl
thank you, Mama
Roary (the name of a toy)
Toodles (from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse)
french toast

"French toast" happened just this morning.  "What do you want for breakfast, Jamie?" I asked him.

"French toast!" (not clear or distinct but intelligible)

"French toast?" I clarified.


Easiest. mealtime. interaction. EVER.  It hasn't been that easy since he was nursing full time and there was only one choice to begin with.

Our next step is to start working on two and three words phrases to teach him how words can go together.  He's starting to pick it up already.

LEGO KidsFest!

LEGO KidsFest rolled into town over the weekend and took up residence at the "Invention Center," as Liam calls it.  When we looked into it, we thought it might not be entirely suitable for Jamie given the session times and Jamie's nap time so we got tickets for Liam and Granddad.

Saturday morning they headed out to the convention center armed with tickets and my old digital camera, ready for a day of fun.

People, handing a digital camera to a 6 year old can have some spotty results.  Here is a sampling of the kind of pictures Liam took.

Luckily it got better once they actually got to KidFest.  Apparently they had a great time (once they FINALLY got in - lots of crowds, little parking).  They built stuff, they took pictures with the Lego statuary, and, of course, Liam wheedled Legos out of Granddad at the gift shop.  When they came home Liam said "Mom, they had a gift shop.  And it had ONLY LEGOS!  Can you believe that?"

He had a great time.  Afterward, they went back to Grandma and Granddad's house where Liam promptly put together his Jedi ship on his own without any help at all.  

If KidsFest comes back, we'll definitely go back!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Family Fun

Yesterday morning when we woke up, Scot rolled over and said, "What would you think about me staying home and having a day with you and the boys?"

What did I think?  Bring it on!

We decided to take the boys down to the Natural History Museum since it had been some time since we'd visited.  We got there just a few minutes before they opened so the boys played on the steps outside while we waited.

Art you can climb on!

Look Ma!  I can do the steps all by myself!

After getting inside, we made a beeline for the dinos - a perennial favorite.  The kids wandered around and played with the interactive parts of the displays.  Jamie did his best T-Rex impression and ran straight to the Triceratops as soon as he caught sight of it.  As always, it was a big hit.

"That's my dead dino!"  "No, it's MINE!"

We tried to see other parts of the museum, but Jamie was having none of it.  He was in a bit of a mood and was doing his best to cause mayhem.  I tried to get the obligatory picture of me and the boys by the stuffed bear but Jamie was refusing to cooperate.  So, I got one with Spud.

We finally decided that things weren't working out and we needed to leave.  We opted to head over to Schenley Plaza to ride the carousel.  It was a gorgeous day so it was a great day to be on the plaza.

On our way over, we stopped to see Dippy and take a few pictures.

"Look!  I can hold up Dippy!"

Once we got to the plaza, we got tokens for the carousel and hopped on to ride.

Don't ask.  I don't know, either.

We came home after that, had some lunch, and put Jamie down for a nap.  While he was sleeping, I went outside and set up our castle play tent, our regular camping tent, and the soccer goals so that the kids could play outside.  Liam came out about half way through set up and started playing with the neighbors.  For most of the afternoon the kids ranged back and forth across our lawn and the neighbor's.  When Jamie woke up, he came out to join us.  We spent hours out there and the kids had a great time.  Eventually, Jamie tired of being outside so I came in with him while Liam stayed out.  I got dinner cooking and we all sat down to eat as a family.

It was a great day filled with quality family time.  I'll take a dozen more like it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer Fun

As summer approached this year, I made a promise to myself.  I had this little problem and it boiled down to jealousy and guilt.  I would read about all the awesome things people did with their kids and I would get jealous and feel guilty.  Jealous because I wanted to have all that fun and guilty because I wasn't making the time with my kids to go out and do it.

There were reasons - Jamie was little and we were tied to a nap schedule that was limiting in a lot of ways, wrangling a small toddler and a 5 year old in public by myself was difficult for me, and I was always fretting about the chores that were being neglected at home.

That last one was the biggie.  That was the ass kicker.  I felt (and many, many days still do feel) like a failure that the house wasn't ALWAYS tidy; the laundry done, folded neatly, and put away; the dishes washed; the meals cooked; the gardens beautiful.

But this year I vowed it would be different.  I promised myself that we would have fun, we would go places and see things, and I would just stop worrying so much about the state of the house.  I promised to let go and have a little fun.  I promised to push my boundaries and comfort zones for the sake of enjoying time with my kids and to accept that in doing so, we might sometimes have a messy house.

So summer is finally here, Liam has been out of school for two weeks, and Jamie is old enough to have just one nap a day in the afternoon.  Freedom!

In the two weeks since Liam has been done with school, we have been so insanely busy I feel like I can barely keep up.  We seem to be moving at a breakneck pace, as though we have just a couple of weeks to pack in a whole summer's worth of activities.  I've let go of a lot of my self-loathing for my lack of perfection when it comes to the house and it has made time with the kids much more enjoyable.

Earlier this week we met good friends of ours at My Little Outback in Squirrel Hill for some play time shenanigans.  The kids had a blast and I got to hang out with Jennifer.

As always, Jamie gravitates toward the vacuum.

Liam enjoyed the kiddie habitrail.

Liam and Beatrix, attached at the hip, shoot down the slide together.

After the kids had played themselves out, we grabbed some lunch together.  We arrived home just at Jamie's nap time and he was already sacked out in the car.  I scooped him up and deposited him in his bed for his nap - a long one thanks to playing hard.

Since then we've done other fun things (more posts coming on that!) and it has proven to be well worth my while to ignore the toys on the floor and the dishes in the sink to spend just a few more hours having fun with my kids.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Smallest Words Can Mean The Most

"Ja-mie," the speech therapist said as she tapped Jamie's hand to his chest.

"May-mie!!" he shouted in return, tapping his hand to his chest.

"Good job!" replied the therapist.

"May-mie!" he shouted again.

I sat watching this exchange and I was torn between wanting to melt into a puddle and total astonishment.  Jamie has never had any kind of word that he used to identify himself.  Of course he knows his name and he responds to it but he wouldn't even attempt saying it.  He keeps shocking me with the things he's suddenly willing to try saying.  It's like he's finally figuring out how much easier life is when he can communicate with us.

And then there's the melted puddle part.  His evident glee at being able to say his own name is both heartwarming and heartbreaking.  I'm so glad he can do it and so glad he is so proud of himself for it.  In the same breath, there were definite overtones of "Ahhh! Finally!" to his newfound ability, as though he's wanted to do it for a long time and just couldn't.  I feel bad that he's been locked away in his own head for all this time.

He's consistently built up his vocabulary since we started therapy but this one word meant so much more than the others.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Jamie Cooks

One must always wear protective glasses.

Be sure they look adorable.

"Now, get out of my kitchen.  Oot, oot, ye wee divils!"

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Green Belt In The House!

Today Liam attended his first all-school belt test at Tae Kwon-Do.  Until now he has attended belt tests run on Friday afternoons for the youngest kids in the school at the lowest levels.  There's usually only 5 or 6 kids at these tests so this was our first experience with the full school test.

It was different and very fun to watch.

The table prepared for the Masters.

The Masters seated and getting testing underway.

Students lined up to begin.

As you can see there was a range of ages from 5 years old up to adult and a range of belts from white with one stripe to red with two black stripes.  I didn't count but there had to be close to 50 students testing today.

When it came time to do patterns, they separated everyone out by belt level and had each level come up and do the pattern en masse.

Getting lined up for pattern.

You'll have to forgive the video quality.  I had other kids in the way.  I did the best I could.

After all the students had done their patterns and the adult students had demonstrated their sparring combinations (which was cool; they were throwing the masters around the dojang), it was time for sparring with pads.

Spud is the one on the left.

Liam sparred twice, once with a yellow belt and once with a blue belt.  They paired the kids up based on height and one of the blue belts is a shorter Korean boy so Liam got paired with him.  I expected the kid to make mince meat of Liam because he's three belts ahead of Liam.  Liam proved me wrong.  I watched him bust out a crescent kick on the blue belt and he landed it, too.  Proud Mama.

After all of that, they lined the kids up by belt level and the masters walked through and started asking them questions.  I asked Liam what he was asked and he said he has to recite the Tenets of Tae Kwon-Do and count to 10 in Korean.  I asked him if he was able to and he responded, "That's way easy, Mom."

Then, Grandmaster Kong gathered them around to give them a talk about how he's there to teach them and give them constructive criticism.  How he's not going to pass them just to pass them and that he's like a parent, he's going to tell them right from wrong.

Grandmaster Kong imparts his wisdom.

Finally, they passed out belts, stripes, and certificates and testing was over.

Our new green belt!

It's been almost exactly one year since he started in Tae Kwon-Do.  He's come so far since he started and he's doing really, really well.  Way to go, kiddo!

One Week

It has been one hell of a week.

Liam finished kindergarten.
Summer vacation started and we're all trying to adjust to the new schedule.
Scot and I got to have a dinner out. (woohoo!)
Jamie is working on molars something fierce.
I had Hen Night with friends.
Liam tested for his green belt in Tae Kwon-Do. (A separate post on that is coming.)
Liam got grounded for the first time in his life.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Liam got grounded.

The sweet, loving little boy I once knew has turned into a cesspit of sass and attitude.  He fights me over absolutely everything, from getting dressed to brushing his teeth to what game we're going to play.  Nothing is easy.  Almost every word that comes out of his mouth is flavored with a large measure of sass.  He's rude for the sake of being rude.  I feel like a total failure; I feel like I'm raising a brat.

We've tried talking to him.  We've tried lecturing him.  We've tried cajoling him.  We've taken toys away.  All of these tactics have worked in the past with him.  They don't work anymore.  He listens to us, he says "Ok, Mommy and Daddy," and then he turns right around and repeats bad behavior.  It is maddening.

One day this week, he was over playing at the neighbor's house.  I went over to bring him home because I needed to go pick up Jamie at daycare.  Liam gave me the usual 'tude, I told him I didn't care what he wanted, it was time to come home.

And he tried to kick me.

Well, he got hauled home while I berated his behavior the whole way and then he got grounded for a week.

What a trying week it has been.  He has continued to be nasty and rude to me when I'm only trying to help him and when I haul him up short on his attitude he turns on the tears for sympathy.  I look at him and say "You won't gain my sympathy with your tears.  It was YOUR choice to act as you have been and if you don't want to feel what you're feeling right now, don't make those choices again."  I'm not proud of this, but I've been wielding guilt and disappointment like a club.  It seems to be the only thing that will get through to him.

We're nearing the end of his week of being grounded.  He beginning to improve but it is a constant battle with him.  I hesitate to say it for fear of jinxing it, but today has been a lot better than the last few.  I pray it continues.

I love him so much but I hate the way he's treating us these days.  I feel like these boundaries were set years ago and I don't understand why he's testing them again all of the sudden.  I'm assured by other parents that this is not unusual for the age, but man alive, it's hard!  I feel like every word out of my mouth is correction or criticism and what I really want is to be able to use words of love and praise.

I'm praying for a better week this week.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Diet: Week 12

I am in my last week of the online membership to Weight Watchers that I purchased.  In my original post three months ago, I said that I would give the online thing a whirl and if it didn't work, I'd go back to meetings. (Or maybe I didn't say that, having just reread the post.  Well, it was the intent, anyway.)

I really thought it was going to work out since I started to lose right away.  I felt like I could conquer this weight thing.  Yes, I can!

But I didn't.  I'm 12 weeks in and I've lost 8 lbs.  Now, that's 8 more pounds than I was able to lose OFF of Weight Watchers but I really, really hoped to be 15 pounds down by this point.

I'm not.  It's pool season, Liam is BEGGING me on a daily basis to go, and the last thing I want to do is appear in public in a swimsuit.*

I'm feeling very much like a failure today.  I committed to this and I just didn't follow through.  AGAIN.  What is wrong with me?  Why am I so lame?  When I read my first post about this process, I couldn't believe who upbeat and happy I sounded.  What the heck happened?

So, today I signed up to go back to meetings.  I don't like it and I don't really want to give up that time in my schedule.  I especially don't want to do it if I'm just going to be a giant failure again.  Yeah, yeah positive attitude and all that but I'm just not feeling very positive.  I've failed enough times at this that I'm starting to think I can't succeed.

The battle of the bulge rages on.

*Yes, I am aware that community pools are havens for people who just really shouldn't wear THAT in public so my cottage cheese contained in a tank suit isn't a big deal.  Except that my community pool ALSO has a bunch of women who are stick thin with big boobs and tiny bikinis.  They are a silent rebuke to me.  It's very hard for me to overlook all that and pay attention to having fun with my kids because I'm so uncomfortable.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Say Goodbye To Kindergarten

Today was Liam's last day of school but there was no schooling going on because today was Kindergarten Carnival day.

In our school, on the last day of Kindergarten we hold a carnival.  It's organized by the parents and everything we use for it, from game supplies to refreshments, is donated by the parents.  It's a chance for the kids to blow off some steam and celebrate the end of a successful year.

And celebrate we did.

All of the kids were given t-shirts with the school name and year on it.  We also got one for the teacher and had all the kids sign it before we gave it to her.

There was a short ceremony where the principal and the teacher handed out certificates of completion to the class and then we all headed outside to enjoy carnival day.

We played with a parachute...

And painted faces (or arms in this case).

They played silly relay games with balls between their knees.

We had story time with a snack (a welcome break in the shade)...

And blew bubbles during free play.

There was an obstacle course (Liam's favorite)...

And bobbing for marshmallows.

By that time we were just about worn out so we packed up all of Liam's stuff and headed out.  I felt like I'd lived 4 days in the space of 3 hours.

So, summer is officially here.  Liam has passed kindergarten and is a first grader come fall.  He'll get to ride the bus in the morning AND the afternoon - a fact he's relishing.  And that incoming class of kindergarteners?  They are tiny.  They look like babies to me.  I am not a single day older than I was when Liam started kindergarten (shush, you!) but he's so much bigger than he used to be.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Big Boys

These kids, they just keep growing up.

Liam is currently at his very last day of kindergarten.  He has excelled this year and learned so, so much.  I'm really proud of him, proud of how hard he's worked, and proud of how much he enjoys learning.  Some days I turn around and I can't believe there's this big kid standing in front of me.  Who let that happen!?  And how can he be so old when I'm still so young?

Clearly, he is a time traveller.

And Jamie?  Well, he has suddenly decided that he needs no help climbing into the car and into his car seat and then climbing back out again when we arrive wherever we're going.  In fact, he'll screech at you if you don't let him do it himself.  Mr. Independent, that one.  He carries his own lunch into daycare when he goes and wants to walk in on his own two feet instead of being carried.

I wouldn't be surprised if his next full sentence is "I do it, Mama!"

You're probably thinking that I'm going to wax philosophical about missing my kids as babies.  Well, there's no chance of that because I don't miss it.  Not one bit.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the baby stage, too, but I'm glad to have left it behind.  Babies are great but they sure are confining and I'm tired of being a recluse.

With the kids getting bigger, we suddenly get to do more things with them and enjoy their enjoyment of exploring new things.  We're not so tied down by twice-a-day nap schedules and when the baby HAS to eat and needing a suitcase full of stuff just to leave the house for 30 minutes.  I'm really looking forward to summer vacation this year and I'm hoping to create some really fantastic memories with my kids.

It's not all sunshine and rainbows, the kids drive me bats, too.  But the fact that they're getting older, more independent, less constantly needy of me - that's a wonderful and welcome development.  Bring on the big boys!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fedora II: Toddler Boogaloo

Sometime this summer, I am determined to get a picture of the boys in these outfits together.  Then, I have a WMD in my possession made entirely of cute rays.