Thursday, October 27, 2011

Still Baby Weight, or Just Fat?

There are MILLIONS of women across the United States that have given birth. And of those MILLIONS, there are still MILLIONS of us that are unhappy with our bodies. It’s no joke, growing a baby wreaks havoc on your body. I gained anywhere from fifteen to forty pounds every time I was pregnant.
So here is the question I pose: When does baby weight become just plain fat? 
I love and adore my daughters. They are truly my sunshine--most days, anyway ... After every birth, I’ve lost some of the weight. Usually not ALL of it, though. And, I still have yet to lose the weight gained from carrying my youngest.
I’m not gonna lie, I’m a weak-minded person. I don’t have much as far as willpower and self-discipline. (Hello? Can’t say no to my husband, remember?) If I want a piece of chocolate cake with double fudge frosting, odds are, I’m gonna eat it.
I try to exercise everyday, on top of my normal physical activity chasing kids and dogs around. So, while I’m not LOSING weight, at least I’m not GAINING any, either. As of my last weigh in, I am about forty-five pounds overweight. That’s obese, people! Yikes!
Seeing as my youngest daughter is three, has too much time passed for me to call it baby weight? I know, I’m pulling at some pretty flimsy strings trying to blame this on pregnancy. But come on, if I say it was the baby, then it can’t be MY fault, right?
I ask, because (1) I really wish I could still call it baby weight, and (2) I know someone that was incredibly overweight at the age of sixteen and tried to convince everyone that she was still heavy from when she actually WAS a baby. I think they made a saying for her: “That’s not baby fat, that’s just FAT BABY.”
That was harsh, sorry, but while I’m just being silly, she was serious.
Losing weight on my own is hard! Kudos to everyone that is able to do it. I have so much admiration and respect for people that can lose weight by eating right and exercising. I think about not having chips and soda, and I have a physical reaction. My heart starts racing and I begin to panic. Yes, the idea of not having junk food gives me anxiety.
And here we are, back at willpower again. I wish it were that easy for me to cut out sugar and carbs. I would be SO much smaller if it were. But, alas, it’s not. (I’m the fatty on the couch watching The Biggest Loser, while chowing on buttery popcorn. Sad face ... ) I learned about this new concept that seems to be working for me, though: Portion sizes.
Did you know there are certain AMOUNTS of food that you’re supposed to eat? And crazy enough, 16 ounces of Ribeye steak is too much. Dang. No, seriously, I’ve started watching my portions. I’m weighing and measuring, and putting food on a smaller plate. I’ve been doing it so long that my stomach has stopped complaining about not being constantly stretched to the limit. That huge steak? Now it’s two meals-SCORE!
But I digress. I guess they say that it took about nine months to put on the weight, so you should count on about that long to take all the weight off. Since my nine months was over two years ago, I think I might be pushing the baby weight claim.
This is my story, though; I’m gonna stick to it. At least until someone calls, “Shenanigans!” And after that, I guess I will have to start making dates with Tony Horton. I hope that’s still a ways down the road ... I’m not in the mood to “bring it” any time soon. (another sad face ...) 

Just Say No

There are times when I like to pretend that I am Superwoman. Why not? I am a stay at home mom. I take care of all the kids, the animals, my husband, and the house. I run errands for family members. I try to help my friends with their businesses whenever I can. And my favorite thing to do (aside from writing) is to volunteer.
But just like Superman (and probably Superwoman, I don’t remember exactly) I have a kryptonite. An almost debilitating weakness. I cannot say no to my husband. I do what I can, and what it takes to keep my family healthy and happy. But, when it comes to that man, no matter how ridiculous the request, I just can’t say no.
He could ask me to ride a water buffalo bareback, naked, backwards and eating a dill pickle and I would probably say yes. If he winked when he asked, it wouldn’t even be a question. I am retarded when it comes to my husband.
But, people do all sorts of crazy things when they fall in love, you say? Consider then, the fact that my husband and I met almost eight years ago. We’ve been married for over five years. We have two daughters together. We are not even close to still being in that starry-eyed honeymoon phase.
Then how does he still get me to answer his every beck and call? I honestly can’t tell you. Maybe it’s that goofy smile he puts on when he asks me for something silly (“Since you’re already up, would you get me a pop? Pretty puh-leeze?”). Maybe it’s the random bear hug he’ll give me while I’m cooking his dinner (Yes, I make his plate for him. No, I don’t cut his meat into tiny pieces.). Maybe it’s the knowledge that, after so many years together, he still has to snuggle when we go to bed or he won’t sleep well.
I spoil the man rotten. I really do. I can’t seem to stop myself.
But then again, he spoils me just the same. I almost always have a nicer vehicle to drive (he says it’s because I drive with the kids more often, but I know it’s MY safety he worries about). I buy whatever I want when grocery shopping, and we always eat what I want to cook for supper.
The house is decorated solely in my taste. I got the smartphone and cell plan that I wanted (so superficial, I know). I got the high efficiency washer and dryer set I liked. And when I park at Starbucks, to pick up Angela from her dad, he knows good and well that I’m going to buy a drink for the ride home.
Then when I get back home, all hopped up on Frappuccino, if he asks me if I want to buy a pistol, I find myself saying, “Yes.” Budget be damned, I tell the man yes. In my caffeine haze, I forget to realize that buying a pistol doesn’t just mean the price of the pistol. It means, of course, a case of rounds and sales tax. Somehow, “I only need about sixty dollars,” turned into $100.
Here I am, kicking myself in the ass, experiencing a horrible case of buyer’s remorse. Dang him and his boyish grin.
How did I get sucked into the thought that I need it for protection? We live in tiny town Iowa! Who the heck is going to break into our house? And for that matter, how the heck are they going to get into our house? Bella growls when she hears a car door slam down the block. And it’s not like Jesse isn’t going to be here. He’s not likely to deploy any time soon. Last I heard, 1st CIV DIV doesn’t see too much action.
The darn butterflies in my belly have gotten me into trouble more than once ... they got me to say, “of course I’ll marry you,” and “go ahead, babe, enlist in the Marine Corps,” not to forget, “sure buy that fixer-upper, you can do all the work yourself. It’ll save us so much money.”
Oh, and the puppies. The dear, sweet puppies. “Solomon found a pregnant pit bull wandering his neighborhood,” and “Let’s buy a purebred dog. We can breed her and sell the puppies.” If I remember correctly, I was the one sitting in the whelping box both times. I swear, the man could sell me the Brooklyn Bridge.
No more. This is it. I will learn to Just Say No to my husband. I will think before I say yes. I’ll install a filter between my heart and my mouth. I will tell him I’ll think about it. I’ll tell him that I have to check my calendar. I will say, “No!”
Well ... maybe once I’m done painting the house I told him he could buy ...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When Do You Stop Having Babies?

Lately, a lot of my friends have been having babies. It’s a fairly common occurrence, especially in the military community.  But with all these little ones popping out, I’ve started asking myself, “Are Jesse and I done having kids? And, how do you REALLY know when you’re done?”
Honestly, the biggest reason that I decided to stop having kids was very selfish. My kids had just started to sleep through the night. I was waking up in the morning actually feeling rested. I had gone more than four years without a decent night of sleep. If I have another baby, it’ll probably be another two years before I get my nights back again. It sounds awful when you say that out loud, but it’s how I feel. I can’t apologize for that.
Another reason that I’m ready to step off of the baby train? In a word, Diapers. Again, having two girls about two years apart is a large part of this decision, but I also provided childcare in my home for the last couple years. All my charges were under eighteen months old. That’s A LOT of smelly diapers to change in one day! When I start thinking that I might want another little bundle in our home, I remember the days when either one of my children or charges would have a bellyache and I shudder at the memory. I prefer not to be elbow deep in poo, and my dogs already provide me with plenty to clean up. Ew.
I hate to sound like all I’m doing is complaining and being selfish, but I’m an adult, I think I’m entitled to that. I’ve been a mother for over ten years, and a stay at home mom for the last eight. I’ve devoted my entire last years to my children, husband, pets, and home. Other stay at home moms will (secretly) agree that there are times when you start to lose your sense of self. You start to forget that you’re not just a mom and a wife, but also a woman. You have hopes and dreams and aspirations. Some of us have college degrees that we feel guilty for not putting to use. Some of us haven’t even been to college, but wish that we could.
My youngest are approaching school age. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t looking forward to it. I have no plans to go out and find a job. I plan to stay at home still. Maybe take some online classes? But most importantly, I look forward to having time for myself. I look forward to having uninterrupted time to  sit and write. Blog. Tweet. Whatever. I am lucky enough to be blessed with a husband that still thinks that a woman’s place is in the home. Whether there are still ankle biters running around or not.
Now, not ALL of my reasons for not continuing to reproduce are hoggish. I know, it really seems like it though, doesn’t it? Well, they’re not! When I was pregnant with our youngest one, we learned that my body was producing an antibody that, if counts got too high, was harmful (and potentially deadly) to the baby. My body had apparently produced this with every pregnancy, and started producing higher amounts with each subsequent child. I endured weekly ultrasounds, and biweekly blood tests. At one of our checkups, the specialist told us that we would be tempting fate if we had another child after Abby. Now, how can you knowingly get pregnant when you have been given THAT warning?
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore babies. Really, I love all things itty-bitty. Jesse and I decided, together, that I would have an IUD inserted to give us time to decide whether we are actually done or not. It’s a question we’ve been tossing back and forth for three years now. I still feel a tug in my uterus every time I see a baby, or hear that another one of my girlfriends has given birth. My internal clock is slowly ticking. I’m fully aware that I’m not getting any younger, and soon mother nature will decide for me that I’m done making little ones.
But, I have three gorgeous daughters. They are happy, healthy and the center of my world. They each have their own dynamic personality. Soon all of them will be in school, and it will be my turn to discover my own person, again. I look forward to coffee in the morning with my dogs. Chaperoning field trips. Cleaning the house, and having it remain that way for more than twenty minutes. Helping out at class parties. Typing away on my laptop, without someone asking for a cup of juice. And when my husband decides to fully retire, spending time alone with him during the day. That is how I knew I was done having kids.

Monday, October 24, 2011


 Interpersonal relationships are very important for women. You love your kids, and you adore your husband. But I would have to say some of the most important relationships we women have are the ones with our girlfriends. Otherwise, who else would we complain to about our husband and kids?
 Your girls are the ones that you call when you first start dating the man who will become your husband. They’re the ones that share champagne with you after he pops the question. They also stand next to you as you take your vows. And when it’s their turn down the aisle, you are right there for them.
 Aside from your parents, who are the first people that you call when you find out you’re pregnant? Your girls, of course. They throw your baby shower. Listen to you complain about being the size of a whale. And they bring you cheeseburgers in the hospital.
 My girlfriends have helped me through some of the toughest times in my life. They’ve provided me with brutal honesty when I’ve made dumb decisions, and also lifted me up when my confidence was wavering. They are my sounding off board when I need help making decisions, and they are my biggest cheerleaders when I’m trying something new.
 There is no greater test of friendship than a stressful situation. My husband is a Marine. He is no longer active duty, but the experience of being a Marine wife is something I’d never want to take back. Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is where I met the women I now call my best friends.
 I take that back, I was still living in Iowa when I “met” Mary Louise. She had posted the same question on two different Marine Corps support discussion boards that I log on to. I answered her question (hopefully I was helpful) on both boards, not knowing which one she was more likely to see it on. We ended up exchanging private messages, then exchanged emails, and then finally phone numbers.
 I remember that first phone call. I didn’t know what to expect, it had been years since I’d made a new friend. And, Mary Louise is eight years younger than me. She was still in high school. I was already married and had two children. But we were united by a very strong common bond. We love our Marines (her Recruit at the time).
 Mary Louise ended up being smart, sarcastic, and above all, a sweetheart. We learned that friendship doesn’t discriminate. You don’t have to have everything in common to best friends, but we had enough.
 Janna actually knew my husband before we became friends. She is a female Marine, and she and Jesse were in the same Unit before both being TAD out to other companies. She and I met when she started dating, and later married, one of Jesse’s buddies. (But that’s a WHOLE other story ...)
 In Janna, I found another sarcastic, take no crap, strong woman. Just the fact that she made it through Boot Camp is a testimony of her strength. But, she again, ended up being a fellow Marine wife when her husband deployed with mine. We leaned on each other when one or the other’s husband didn’t call. We shared ideas for care packages. We called each other when we were our loneliest, because we knew what the other was going through.
 Janna and I also share a love for baking, she has become my partner in Cooking Crime. We both have a problem eating the things that we make. Janna and I solved the problem by sharing our goodies with each other. But it’s okay, because Janna is also a kick-ass trainer, and about the only other person that could keep up with me during P90X.
 Probably my favorite “how did you meet?” story has to be shared with Tiffanie. I love being involved. Volunteering is one of my favorite things to do. It’s also high on Tiffanie’s to-do list.
 One day, my FRO (Family Readiness Officer) emailed me an opportunity to take part in a panel discussing the controversial “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy. The other wife of my husband’s unit wasn’t able to make it, so there I sat on the bleachers all alone. Tiffanie walked in, late, and sat beside me. When everyone was asked to move in to a smaller group, she moved with me. We shared a lot of the same views on the policy, and I learned that she was, also, a very outspoken personality. Tiff and I walked out of the panel together, exchanged phone numbers, and the rest is pretty much history.
 Tiffanie knew more about the Marine Corps in general, and I knew more about Camp Lejeune. (Tiffanie had just moved to the area.) I was a stay at home mom in need of adult conversation, and she needed a place to hang out while her husband was at work. It was a great match.
 Our first family portraits were taken by Mary Louise. She needed us to help build her photography portfolio. To this day, she is the only one that can get my husband to really smile for a picture. She (and Vincent) have become like family to us. If you’ve ever heard her and Jesse argue, you would think that we were family. (I would love to hear what people think when we all go out in public together ...)
 Janna is my Starbucks buddy. Sometimes it seems like she’s my Starbucks Bitch. I whine that I need some coffee, and half an hour later she magically appears at my door with a Venti Mocha Frappe. Explain that one. Starbucks just isn’t the same without her. Not that there’s one within an hour of my house, anyway. (sad face ... )
 Tiffanie is my favorite wine-o. She always brings a good time with her. Not that we ever get out of hand, mind you, but we definitely know how to relax and enjoy ourselves. Tiffanie is like an open book, some of our conversations can even make me blush! I cherish those honest talks with her.
 I would probably say that I’m the big sister. Seeing as I’m older than everyone, was married before the Marine Corps, and already have three kids, it kind of came naturally. But I’m okay with that. Like I’ve told all the Marine wives I’ve talked with throughout the years:  If I can save someone the hassle/worry/headache that I went through, I am more than happy to share my knowledge.
 Jesse and I didn’t meet until we were twenty-two, I already had a daughter by then. We didn’t marry until I was twenty-five. A year later, Jesse enlisted. I’ve got plenty of life experience under my belt. We’ve been through just about every relationship peak, valley, and plateau there is. One thing’s for sure, the support of my sisters has helped me through most of those darkest times.
 We’ve all changed in our time as friends. Some of us have moved on from the Marine Corps. Some of us have moved on from relationships. But one thing has never changed, I still talk to at least one of my girlfriends every single day. They listen to me rave and rant about my new life back in Iowa, and I do the same for them. I still share my hopes and dreams with them, and I support them in all of their endeavors.
 We are not sorority sisters, but sisters in silent arms (Once a Marine wife, always a Marine wife). These friendships were forged later in life, for me, but they are ties that I hope to keep until the end. I love you dearly Mary Louise, Janna & Tiffanie.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's Almost Time for NaNoWriMo!

I keep telling myself that I’m going to write a novel this year. And I have written some, at least parts of some. To kick myself in the butt and finally finish one by Christmas, I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo.
National Novel Writing Month happens in November. It’s a month long concentration to get that pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. I figure with the constant encouragement, and a looming deadline, I’ll stay motivated enough to finish. It’s only 50,000 words for the month, which comes to just over 1,600 words a day. Do-able, right?
My obstacles are going to be Facebook and Pinterest. All the drama, and shiny crafts are going to be hard to avoid for a whole month. Do I allow myself time on those sites as a reward, or do I avoid them both completely until NaNoWriMo is over? I don’t think I can stay away cold turkey. Facebook has turned into a train wreck that I just can’t take my eyes off of.
Oh, and the housework and kids. It’s a good thing that I’ve started doing the Flylady system again. I can do anything for 15 minutes. Be it housework or writing or a tea party. I’m going to have to make sure that my sink is shiny before Halloween comes around. I’m almost there, PMS really knocked me off my feet this month. (TMI, I know, but if you don’t like it, stop reading!)
The novel I’ve set aside for next month’s project is a piece of chick lit based on a bundle of love letters that two sisters find in their grandmother’s attic. It’s an idea that I got from a great friend of mine. I’m so lucky that she’s given me the opportunity to write it. It looks like it’s got some great potential. It’s got coming of age, sister-sister relationship revelations, a new perspective on why some people are distant, and learning to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. I hope that I can do her story idea justice. I am still a novice, after all.
I’m also trying to recruit more people to join me in the challenge. The more the merrier, and I’ve always been one that works better in a group support setting. I’ve found a few people in Iowa that are also taking the challenge, but this IS the NW corner of the state, where people are few and far between sometimes. Especially ones that think like me.
So, I’m sending out a smoke signal to others in the Cherokee/Storm Lake area. If you’ve always wanted to write a novel, sign up for National Novel Writing Month with me! If I can do it, so can you!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...