Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)

This is not an image of me. Photo credit.

So back in June, I started my Body After Baby Project which was my mission to stop being obese (which, medically speaking, I am though I think I carry my weight pretty well). I failed miserably. I started this whole big project that I couldn’t carry through with. The weekly check-ins, the weekly blog posts and the fact that I was leading a group of other bloggers sharing in my goal was a little too much for me.

However, I am still fat. And before you try and comfort me and tell me that it’s probably “not that bad”, I am here to tell you:

It is that bad. I haven’t weighed myself in a while but the last time I did, about two months ago, I weighed over 200 pounds. I am 5’3″. And over 200 pounds. That, my friends, is fat. I wear a size 20 jeans which is the largest I’ve ever been in my life.. And the kicker?

My size 20s are feeling a little tight.

MOTHERFUCKER.

I got my hair cut yesterday and my cute, blonde stylist came over to me with her perfectly round 30-week baby belly, sat me down in the chair and said,
“Tell me what you don’t like about yourself.”

Ok, she didn’t really say that. She did really sit me down to ask me what I wanted, haircut-wise. She sat me down in a chair that was in front of a FULL LENGTH MIRROR. While I was sitting there watching her fluff my hair, my eyes drifted downward to the overstuffed sausages attached to my ass my thighs and I sighed inside.

I look at old pictures of myself and marvel at how fit I looked. How thin. How young. I remember feeling healthy. Feeling confident.  I want to feel like I’m in a healthy place again but it’s so damned hard to find time to exercise with a baby, a (nearly) full-time job and one car shared between my husband and myself. On days that Josh works, we don’t get home until 8 in the evening.. And by then we still haven’t eaten and have to get the baby to bed before we do anything else.

It’s very hard for me to find time to exercise and I’m not just making excuses. It’s damn difficult, because I’ve tried. I’m just so tired after driving all over creation, getting my kid to bed, eating, etc that I just want to veg. I want to veg, and go to sleep.

I want to take time for myself again. I want to get back to a healthy weight, and a healthy habit of eating. I’ve eaten pretty well the past two days and for right now, that’s honestly all I can find the energy and time to do. I can change my eating habits. Exercise will have to come later when I can carve out more minutes into my already-hectic day. But for now, I can change my eating habits.

I’ve already made one decision as far as change goes: no more soda. I don’t drink real soda anyway, but no more soda period. No Diet Cokes, no Coke Zeros.. I’m doing away with soda completely for the time being. I have to take small steps and change my habits. In the past it’s been relatively easy for me to change the way I eat my food & live my life but after being sedentary, pregnant, and then sedentary again it’s really hard to not eat those fried cheese sticks. Or to not have another Hershey’s Kiss. Or to choose the salad over the cheeseburger. It’s really hard, because I really like food.

It’s not going to be easy but I want to be healthy for my daughter and give her a good foundation of healthy eating.

I also have to get myself into the mindframe that my worth as a person does not lie within my pants size. Yeah, most of my mommy friends are looking fab a year after they have their kiddos. Sometimes I feel like the only mom in the world who is still so heavy one year postpartum. I have to learn to be kinder to myself and not be so self-depracating, because I have a baby girl who is going to pick up on that. I want her to learn that she is beautiful, regardless of how much she weighs or if her pants size is in the 20s one day. She is a unique, amazing soul with so much to offer the world and none of her fantastic qualities have anything to do with the number that pops up when she hops on the scale.

I want to teach her that, and I want to learn that for myself. I want to be healthy, yes, but I also want to finally beat into my skull that I’m beautiful and fat.

So here’s to changes in the New Year, ones that will hopefully stick for good this time.

Texting & Driving

I’m guilty.

I admit it.

I have done it, more than I care to think about. My focus taken away from the wheel, from the road, for a split second. How many of us text and drive, not even thinking twice about it?
I can totally do it, I don’t even have to look at my phone.
It’s just a second. How much can happen in a second?

A second can be the difference between living, and dying. Of making your parents childless. Your spouse a widow.

Your child an orphan.

Please, watch this video. It’s almost 11 minutes long and it spoke to me. It made me feel ridiculous, irresponsible, and like an asshole for even thinking about texting & driving, let alone doing it. Because I have.. And I’m willing to bet that a lot of you reading this right now have, too. So please take a few moments and think…

What if someone you loved lost their life because of an LOL?

For my daughter, for my husband, for my family, I vow: Never again. I will not ever, even for a second, text and drive. If I absolutely have to answer someone at that very second, I will find a place to pull over and answer them. No text is worth my life.

Surprise

Tonight while I was sitting at work near the end of my shift, I got a text from my husband who was set to pick me up at any second.

Here.
Can I come in?

I texted back:
Of course you can!

I shut down my computer, gathered up my things, and met him at our front door expecting him to have an armful of baby girl. To my surprise, he didn’t have an armful of baby at all, but a bouquet of flowers, which he handed to me with a smile.

“Thank you,” I said. “Where’s Nellie?”
“I left her in the car,” he joked.
With a smile, I asked him what was going on. He told me that he was taking me out on a date.

I was so excited! A surprise date. He told me that his parents were watching Nellie for a few hours, so we could get dinner and see a movie. I was absolutely thrilled! I wasn’t expecting it at all. A night out by itself is great, but a night out when you are absolutely unaware that it’s going to happen is even better.

We had dinner at Applebees and had a blast. We laughed a lot, and it was nice to spend time together without having to say, “No! Don’t touch that”, or “Don’t put that in your mouth, honey.” While we love to take Nellie out, it was nice to not have to play Cheerio Pickup while trying to shovel food into our mouths quickly enough to avoid a meltdown. There was a couple at the table beside us who also had a 1 year old (we asked) and what looked like a 5 year old. They looked happy, but they also had that frazzled “parent” look about them.

After dinner, Josh and I headed to the movie theater where we sat down to enjoy a movie that we’d both been looking forward to.

I’ve never seen the original, but I love the Coen Brothers. I will see anything they make without batting an eyelash. I’ve loved almost every single move they’ve put out with the exception of a few that I didn’t hate, but I wasn’t crazy about, either. It’s no secret that I’m a movie buff. We used to go see movies constantly before we became parents, and that’s definitely one of the things I’ve missed. We watch our share of movies thanks to Netflix but there’s just something about the experience of going to the theater that I adore.
The movie was amazing. Plain and simple. The acting was spectacular, the dialogue fantastic and the direction was just great. It was a wonderful film, one we will definitely own. It went by in a flash – had no dragging parts or slow scenes.

On the way to retrieve Nellie, we both commented on how nice it was to get a night to ourselves – but we both agreed wholeheartedly that we missed our lady. A lot. We talked about her, mostly, on the way home.

It was a great night and a great chance for us to have some quality time outside of being mama and dada. I have an amazingly thoughtful husband. It’s cool to be a little jealous. 😉

So This is Christmas

Josh had to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, (boo) so we got our Christmas celebrations done on Wednesday. Nellie got a lot of great things and looked adorable in her dress (which I had to take off pretty early in the afternoon. She couldn’t crawl around in it, heh heh). We had Christmas with just the three of us first..

Then later in the day, we headed to Gran and Pop’s for a family get-together.

Christmas Dress

Nellie & Uncle Tim

Nellie, Gran, & Pop

Presents!

It’s not a holiday until someone cries.

I think that Nellie was most excited about the gigantic stuffed monkey that her Uncle Tim gave her, whom we’ve named Dr. Zeus. She got a lot of great stuff, and promptly passed out when we got her home. I got some amazing news at work + a little bonus check, so Josh and I treated ourselves to a long-overdue new TV. There’s a story behind the TV, too and it’s pretty epic so stay tuned for that.

Now, on Christmas Day, I’m sitting typing this while my baby girl naps. She has a chest cold and is really congested. We had a rough night with her sleeping on my chest for the most of it, and when we woke up?

Snow. In Chattanooga, Tennessee. This never happens, and from what I hear from people who have lived here a long time, it hasn’t snowed on Christmas Day in 20 or so years. I’m staying warm and cozy inside with Nellie, missing Josh and the rest of my family. Nellie’s first Christmas is a White Christmas, which is pretty special, I think. I’ll be posting pictures later!

So, Merry Christmas from my family, to yours. Soon we will say goodbye to 2010, and hello to 2011.

Happy Holidays from the Greens!

Losing Green Bean – 3 Years Later

On this day 3 years ago, I had already received the news from my doctor.

It could just be cramping and bleeding but unfortunately, it sounds like the beginning stages of a miscarriage.

Miscarriage. That word echoed in my brain, bouncing off the walls of my skull until I thought it would shatter. The word I’d feared the entire 3 weeks of my pregnancy. And there it was, laid out before me.

On this day 3 years ago, my husband and I emerged from our apartment, our hearts heavy with what we knew was happening despite my doctor’s hopeful “could-be’s”. My bleeding was heavier and I was cramping. We made some phone calls and headed to Wal-Mart to get the makings for some comfort food: chili.

We came home. We slept. We cried. We gorged ourselves on chili. We watched some movies, the only one that I can remember being The Truman Show.

And then, later that evening, the actual loss. The moment I knew it was all over. The physical and emotional pain.

More tears. More pain. Three years ago today, we said goodbye.

And on this day, three years later I remember. I remember the little life, the little heart that beat inside me for such a short period of time. My little Green Bean. On this day, three years later, I have a child to hold and to love and I realize what a blessing this is. I cherish each day with my baby daughter, because I realize that things could have gone the same way with her that they did with Green Bean.. But they didn’t, and for that I am thankful.

But December 22nd will always hover over my head like a dark rain cloud. Each year the cloud gets a little smaller and the rain a little lighter, but I know that it will follow me until the end of my days. My baby daughter is the ray of sunshine peeking through that cloud, but it will remain with me always.

Rest in Peace, Green Bean. I loved you then, I love you now, and I will love you for always.

Mama

Nellie Rose – 11 Months

Oh, Nellie. My Nellie. As of 4:15 PM today, you are 11 months old. Where has the time gone? Every day you become less of a baby.

Every time I watch you sitting and drinking your milk from your sippy cup, I am in awe. I almost have a toddler.

What have you been up to? Oh lady, what haven’t you been up to? You are crawling on hands and knees (you were just army crawling) now and pulling up on everything. You’ve learned the joys of clapping, and anytime someone yells, “Yaaaay!” you start flailing your arms around and eventually slap your palms together in a victorious clap. Then you look around expectantly, waiting for everyone to join you in your joy.

You can say “dada” and “mama”, and we think that you are trying to say “puff” (meaning your cereal puffs) and maybe even “look” when you point to things you’re interested in. We have a book of nursery rhymes with pictures in them and you can point out “pig” and “cat” every single time. Just the other day, you began taking mommy’s old pink cell phone that we let you play with, holding it up to your head and going, ” ‘Loooo?” or “Heh-ooooo?”. Just today, mommy taught you when you’re asked, “How big is Nellie?” or “How big?” you throw your arms above your head and we declare, “Soooo big!”
You are completely off the bottle now, only drinking out of sippy cups and formula is also a thing of the past… You are drinking whole milk now. You get a bit of whatever we are eating, providing that it’s not spicy.. And still no peanut butter or honey. Your first Christmas is coming up soon and you have some toys wrapped under the tree.

You are so silly. One of your favorite things is when we take your stuffed wolf, Lon Chaney, and make him sniff your butt and go “Shoooo!”. You cackle, and laugh, and crack us up. You’re beginning to give really good hugs, and you like to lean on me and daddy when you’re happy. Your hair is so long, especially your bangs. I know I’m going to have to trim them soon but I just can’t bring myself to do it yet.

Little lady, you’ve been in our lives for almost a full year and sometimes I wonder what I ever did without you. Every day you learn something new, do something funnier, and each morning I can’t wait to see what the day will bring.

Nellie Rose, we love you more than words can express. Happy 11 months, my brilliant daughter.

The Gift of Surprise

SWAGG is a free mobile app (download here) that lets you shop smarter using your mobile phone. Buy, send or swap SWAGG GIFTS and organize your old school plastic gift cards.

For every download of the app between now and Dec. 31, 2010, SWAGG will donate $1 to Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) , up to $125,000.

Clever Girls Collective and SWAGG are sending a pair of movie fans to the Sundance Film Festival! Download the SWAGG app and then visit the Ultimate SWAGG Getaway Sweepstakes site to enter to win a trip for two to the Sundance Film Festival. Entry deadline is January 3, 2011, 11:59pm, PST.

The Gift of Surprise

In 2004, I began dating my husband. I was living in Tennessee at the time and my family was still in Illinois. My brother and mom lived in central Illinois while the rest of my family (dad, stepmom, extended family) was closer to Chicago, where I was raised.

In May of ’04, I decided it was time to introduce my new boyfriend to my family. I took a week off from my job waiting tables and planned a trip to central IL to see my mom and my brother the first half of the trip while the second would be spent in Chicago with my dad and rest of my family. There was just one thing about our trip up North:

My mom had zero idea that we were coming.

We coordinated to arrive in Central Illinois on Mother’s Day and with the help of my brother and his girlfriend, we decided to give my mom a Mother’s Day surprise. We had everything planned: we would arrive at my brother’s in the late afternoon where he and his girlfriend would be getting ready to meet our mom at Olive Garden for her Mother’s Day dinner. Josh and I would wait until everyone had gotten there and make our grand entrance a few minutes after everyone had arrived.

When we got into town, we hit a small snag: my mom was tired and didn’t feel like going out but with a bit of whining and coaxing on my brother’s part, he finally got her to go to dinner as planned. As Josh and I began walking through the doors to the restaurant, I got an idea. I snuck into the bathroom and called my mom.
“Hey mom,” I said. “I just wanted to call you and tell you Happy Mother’s Day. I can’t talk long because I’m at work,” I lied with a smile on my face. She thanked me and I began walking from the bathroom to where I knew she was sitting at the table with my brother, his girlfriend, and her friend. I kept her on the phone as Josh and I rounded the corner.
I stood at a distance, looking at her sitting unsuspectingly at her table.
“Mom,” I said. “Look to your left.”
“What?” she asked, confused. She looked over to her left, and promptly dropped her cell phone on the table. She yelled something and started to cry. With a smile, I hung up my phone, walked over and gave her a hug. She was completely and utterly taken by surprise! It was fantastic. I introduced her to Josh, and she gave him a hug. The rest of the dinner went off well, with everyone feeling great about how well the surprise went down!

My mom and I don’t have the greatest relationship but that memory is something that I still smile about. The gift of surprising my mom on Mother’s Day is the best gift I can think of that I’ve given someone.. Coming in a close second is yet another Mother’s Day surprise; on Mother’s Day 2009 Josh and I surprised both our moms with messages written inside their cards: P.S…. We’re pregnant!

Learn more about the coolest new app that revolutionizes the whole shopping, gifting, and gift card-organizing experience and Download the SWAGG app to your iPhone or Droid. I was selected for this sponsorship by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity.


DYAC Sunday

Once again, it’s time for my favorite DYACs from the week! Fair warning, you may get strange looks if you read this in public since you’ll probably be shrieking/snorting/crying from laughter. Also, you may piss yourself.

Consider yourself warned.

Happy Sunday!

Kalorik Kristmas Coffee Maker Giveaway Winner!

The winner of the Kalorik Kristmas 12 cup coffee maker is…

Grandma Bonnie!

Congratulations to her, and thank you to everyone who entered!

My Family is Elfing Hilarious.

Get it? Elfing? Instead of.. Whatever. Anyway, when Elf Yourself first came about a few years ago, I spent about two hours making various funny creations featuring the faces of people I knew and loved. Then I sat there giggling like a moron, because it’s funny.

I think I’ve outdone myself this year. I created a truly epic Christmas video starring me, my husband, and Nellie.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Want to make your own, and join a linky of other people making funny videos? Link up here:

Elf Off 2010

Happy holidays, from my strange family to yours!