Wednesday, April 14, 2010


My mother in law, who watches Alice while I am at work, and her sister and seemingly everyone in our family is sick. They have some awful fluish bug that causes high temps, throwing up, and other nasty stuff. Ick. So, since there is no one well enough to watch Alice, I have been at home with her the last couple of days. I really shouldn't admit to this, but these last two days are the only days that I have ever been at home alone with her all day since she was a newborn. Usually, the other two kids are here, or my husband is here, or she and I are going somewhere.

And I'll admit--I have absolutely loved being with her. She seems calmer with me here by herself, doing her own thing. We have played a lot and I have snuggled with her a lot. I don't think we've been more than a foot away from each other except when she is asleep. Very AP up in here right now. We took a bath together this morning, which is the first time we have done that. She loved it, but seemed very confused at the beginning. She especially loved the velcro rollers I had in my hair.

But...I am Type A, and I am running out of things to do. Yesterday I did all the laundry, proofread my mom's dissertation, washed the bedding, prepared a meal out of this month's Cooking Light and plated it so that it looked like the picture, and found my son's lost library book. When my husband got home, he asked why I hadn't called him much (he was on the road, and I think wanted some company). I told him it was because I was so busy, and he rolled his eyes. This morning I woke up, looked at the empty laundry basket, and thought...Now what? I got up and did some picking up and made my kid's lunches. Then I literally started looking for stuff to do. I decided to dress us both up today--yesterday Alice just bummed around in a BabyGap t-shirt with Babylegs during the first part of the day, and I just wore a J. Crew boyfriend tissue tee and an Old Navy running skort. Today, she has on a Gymboree romper with a crocheted neckline (so cute!) and I am wearing a white skirt and a ruffle neck t-shirt from Old Navy. I have decided that I will clean out the fridge today, but I can't do it while Alice is asleep because the kitchen is close to the bedroom, and I'm betting I'll make some noise with the dishes (I always do...). The lawn guy is supposed to be here soon, and I am tempted to go outside and clean out a flower bed before then. Hmmm. Or Alice and I could just go sit in our swing and watch him work, plantation style.

But for the time being, I am sitting here, updating a blog that no one reads, eating Triscuits with Laughing Cow cheese and online shopping. I have bought Alice three gently used Hanna Andersson rompers and a ruffled blouse from Spain. I have located a J. Crew cardigan that I missed out on last fall and am waiting for the Paypal address so I can buy it. Something tells me that my frugal husband would be in complete misery if I were a SAHM.

Some people are just not cut out to be SAHMs and I am one of them. I have thought about it a lot the last two days--Alice and I are truly having a great time together, and I wish we could do it everyday. I love her little routine, I love watching her learn and grow. But I think that I could easily drive myself crazy. I am going to be a SAHM this summer once school is out, but then I will have three kids to deal with, and I'll have the school's garden to work on (more on that later), so it will be a little different. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll be crazy then as well.

And ha! I just thought of something I can do. I am making chicken-feta tabbouleh for supper tonight, and I can go ahead and cook the chicken! This will keep me from stopping to buy a rotisserie chicken this afternoon, and just use up some stuff from the freezer. And this will offset some of the purchases I have made! Matt will be very proud of me.

So I am off to do that. And I might make some brownies. Or a loaf of bread. Or all three...

Someday, I am going to teach myself how to do nothing.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kids Say the Damnedest Things

On Sunday, we decided to go out for tacos and a bit of shopping. I wore this dress:
I got it at Old Navy for like $15 a while ago. It is cute and simple and easy to wear with sandals and simple jewelry. Plus, right now, I am really hurting for clothes. Last summer I was pregnant with Alice and the summer before that I was a good 3-4 sizes larger than I am now. So I literally have nothing in my summer wardrobe--even basics like tanks and t-shirts are miles too big. And the even worse thing is that I am still struggling to dress this new body. Styles that I used to rely on no longer flatter me and I am still a little unsure about the fit on other things. This makes ordering online a bit of a challenge. Plus, with having to buy everything from basics on up, I have to supplement with a lot of affordable, cheap things. This was a big reason why we were going out--my husband was tired of hearing me complain and was hauling me off to Target and Old Navy to shut me up.

Anyway, I was wearing the dress and thought I looked super cute. While we were getting our tacos, though, I started thinking that maybe the dress was a bit too short. I had worn it a couple of times and washed it, and I noticed that it was hard to bend without showing the goodies. So I was doing my best to crouch and move gracefully. However, as we were leaving and I was gathering the free taco coupons we had gotten for coming out on a Sunday, my son grabbed my butt. It was through my dress, but it scared me a bit. I yelped and took him outside and told him not to do that. We had quite a detailed conversation about it, but I didn't think a lot about it because, well, he is a 6 year old boy and they do weird things. Plus, Sam is going through a potty humor phase right now (which will probably last until he is 30), so anything about butts or anything like that is hi-freakin'-larious to him. So he got a lecture, but a bit of understanding on our part.

So we drove to Target and were getting out of the car, I was popping up Alice's stroller so that I could go into Old Navy and try stuff on (we usually use the Maya or the Oh Snap! in these circumstances, but with trying stuff on, I opted for the stroller) and Sam ran behind me and this time pulled up my dress! I yelped (louder this time) and told my husband what he had done. This time we talked to him a lot sterner. It was a bit hard because by this point, both he and Gabby were cracking up. They had been a bit wild all day, so, again, we were understanding, but told him he wouldn't be able to play his DS on the way home as a punishment. We walked on in to Target.

Sam waited until we got in the door and was standing in the middle of the store and then proceeded to grace the shoppers of Target with this gem:

"Mommy, you should really get some underwear that covers your butt cheeks. I have some, Gabby has some, Daddy has some, and Alice has some. You should get some too. Go to the mommy's underwear section and get some."

And it was at that moment that I realized that indeed, I was wearing a thong. If Sam had seen the matching bra that I was wearing with hopes that the kids would go to bed early that night, he would have had much more to say, I'm sure.

So yes, my son saw my thong underwear. I am starting to see why a lot of moms wear nothing but high waisted jeans, granny panties and their husband's t-shirts.

And yes, my spring/summer wardrobe budget has been further slashed because now I need to be saving up for his therapy bills. Awesome.

In addition, if you are interested, Old Navy has their Weekend Jeans on sale for $17 this week, which is like half price. I pink puffy heart these jeans--they are a boyfriend style, but actually fit. I tried Loft's boyfriend jeans, but a) they are $80 and b) they are freakin' huge. As in, I was wearing jeans that were two sizes smaller than my normal size, and they were still a bit loose and slouchy in a bad way. The 00's were even too big for my mom. So for $17 (reg price is $34), you can get the same look and it fits relatively TTS. Also, the ruffled jacket from Old Navy featured in this month's Real Simple is pretty cute on. I wore it yesterday and got a lot of comments. Just a thought if you are a thong-wearing-non-Mom-jeans-wearing-therapy-inducing Mama such as myself.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Can You Be Both Fat and Happy?

Last weekend, my husband and I were lucky enough to get to spend a couple of uninhibited hours at the book store while my father took my two oldest children to a play. Alice decided be the best baby EVAH and sleep in the Maclaren, so we both went to the magazine section, got ourselves a huge stack, purchased a steaming cup of coffee and a muffin and went to it. I was intrigued by an article I read in Self magazine--an article where a woman talked about her struggle with weight gain while taking anti-depressants and whether the weight gain outweighed the benefits from actually taking the pills. In the end, she decides that yes, the 80 pounds she has gained makes her more unhappy than ever and decides to stop taking the pills (that she knows work, aside from the side effects) and go in search of another chemical combination to combat her depression.

I have thought about the article a lot over the past week, and even more when last night, I was enjoying myself on the computer and catching up on blogs that I haven't read in a while (once again, Alice was sleeping like a champ), and I read the blog of a woman who had just gotten breast reduction surgery and liposuction on her arms. I have read the blog only sporadically, but the news still surprised me greatly. This is a woman who lives very frugally (in fact, that is why I started reading her blog in the first place) and majored in women's studies in college--a feminist who often discussed body issues with eloquence and knowledge. The blogger was a solid size 12-14, which is around what I was before I lost weight. It amazed me that she would feel such a surgery is warranted and would spend the money on it. But, the more I thought about it, the more I respected her decision. I have often thought about such surgeries myself, and even now, post weight loss, would love to have liposuction on my stomach where there is still loose skin (yeah, gross, I know). The only thing that keeps me from it is the cost and an inability to stop my life long enough to actually get and recover from such a procedure--hell, I can barely find the time to update this blog once a month! As I finished reading, I realized that her decision to have the surgery was guided by wanting to be at her best, and yes, looking for that elusive happiness that we all yearn for.

All this has made me think about my own life. Am I really happier now that I have lost weight? Is it a bad reflection on me (and my vanity) if I am? The truth is, I am just at a better place in my life now in lots of ways--my family is complete, I have a job that does not pay well (at all) but is very, very rewarding both to me and my community and still affords me time to spend with my kids, my husband has a job that provides well and that he enjoys (most of the time!), we have a fun, loving marriage and he is still the only person that I would ever want to go on a long car ride with. Being smaller is really just the cherry on top of that sundae. And it is not that I was unhappy before. There were many times when I was bigger that I would catch glimpses of myself in a mirror and feel very pleased with myself and my look--I dressed well and did my best to flatter the extra poundage. But, looking back, I realize all the tiny, often subconscious, things that I did because of the weight. There were many times that I didn't participate in things because I felt too big or was afraid that I couldn't keep up becuase of the weight. Some of these tiny decisions affected my children, and that is not something that I am proud of. Plus, there were the many, many times I would catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror--at my double chin, or the extra rolls in my stomach, and be just totally grossed out by what I saw. No one should be grossed out by looking in the mirror.

I will say, relatedly, that I am much more aware of my body now, and maybe even a bit harder on myself. There are days now that I wake up and feel like an absolute whale--when the love handles that haven't totally disappeared yet seem huge and when my calves (which I have worked on incessantly, and ladies and gentleman, that shit ain't fun) seem like tree trunks. This is probably slightly insane, but I almost feel like I have a reverse body dysmorphia thing going on. When I was bigger, I would look at myself and think that I looked amazing, and then see pictures later and not even be able to recognize myself. Where did that double chin come from? Are my arms seriously ham hock-esque? Now that I am thinner, I get that feeling a lot, but it is more when I am just looking, not in pictures. Weird, huh? I was talking about it to my mom, and she said it is just because I am not used to myself yet. I think that is a fair assumption.

So can you be both fat and happy? The answer is, I'm not sure. For me, I don't think I could ever be fat again and be happy with myself. Mostly because, at this point, I know what kind of health issues could be related to the extra weight. That line is different for everybody though. Just as I don't think there are any hard and fast rules for fashion or raising your children, there are no guidelines for one's feelings about his or her weight. But it is interesting to think about.