Time flies by

resized FacebookSo, this came up on my Facebook memories today. The date is ingrained in my memory, and I’ve commemorated it in some little way every year since… but it managed to escape my mind this year until this little reminder. It’s easy to forget things when your time and energy are generally consumed by a little person. These days, I’m a bit forgetful, but it’s okay… I guess these Facebook memories serve a purpose.

I remember that day – and the details – quite vividly. I was down 50 pounds at the time, but still quite overweight, and I went shopping with my sister-in-law at Lane Bryant the week before to pick out an outfit to meet him in. Eventually, the clothes became too big but I couldn’t bear to part with the shirt. Too many memories. Too much nostalgia. Luckily, my grandma was able to take it in for me so that I can wear it again. I’ll always treasure it.

I worked that day, and I remember feeling so antsy at my desk, with endless knots in my stomach all day long. His flight was a late arrival, and I remember lying on the couch watching “The Glee Project” all evening in an attempt to pass the time and distract myself, but nothing really worked. Finally, it was time to go. My brother and sister-in-law drove me to the airport. I saw him come in… and the rest is history.

The day after we met.

The day after we met.

We didn’t know what would happen or what our future would hold. All we had was that moment, that day, that week, with a return ticket for Jerry at the end of it. Almost instantly, we knew it would be nearly impossible for him to leave. So he didn’t.

In those three years, we’ve done a whole lot of living. We met, fell in love, got engaged, planned a wedding, got married, continued to lose weight, ran races, bought a house, found a new job for Jerry, and, of course, had a baby. We did a lot of growing up, and we did it together.

I never could have predicted, on that night in the airport three years ago, just where we’d be today.

But I’m glad, SO glad, we are here.

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Where we are.

 

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In defense of “boy moms”

I’m a little bit fired up at the moment.

Let me start by saying: there are a lot of ideas and assumptions regarding what being a “boy mom” is all about. Boys are dirty, messy, obnoxious, and loud. They wrestle, they’re rowdy, they’re muddy. Right? WRONG (possibly).

Last night, I read a piece called “10 Things Never to Say to a Mom Expecting Another Boy.” I loved it and thought it was spot on. No, I’m not at present expecting another boy (or expecting at all yet), but I do have a son and I love him fiercely. I also know that some people pity the pooooor boy moms. Oh how sad, right? How sad to have a little miracle, a tiny person to love and raise. Can you tell I’m being sarcastic?

What pissed me right off was not this article, but some of the ignorant comments I had the (dis)pleasure of subjecting my poor eyes to on Facebook. The one that fired me up was something along the lines of: “I feel so bad when I see moms of boys. I’m so glad I only have girls. Boys are dirty, messy, obnoxious, etc.”

Um, what?

Excuse me?

Hold up, lady.

First and foremost, those are a whole lot of generalizations about a species that happens to make up half of the human population. Secondly, sorry, but I don’t think gender dictates everything about a person. I think a lot of a child’s behavior is based on their environment and how they’re raised. I’ve seen plenty of messy, obnoxious girls, just as I’ve seen plenty of sweet-natured, quiet boys.

Secondly, WHY are mothers always pitted against one another? Why can’t we all just be MOMS? Why does it always have to be a fight, a competition?

Working moms vs. stay at home moms

Breastfeeders vs. bottle feeders

Co-sleepers vs. crib sleepers

Boy moms vs. girl moms

Please! Can we give it a rest and all just accept each other as mothers and move on? Why do we have to be defined as certain types of mothers?

At the end of the day, we all want what is best for our children. As mothers, we all share that common end goal. Can’t that be enough? Does it constantly have to be a competition? Must we always judge each other? I can’t even tell you the number of threads and comments I’ve read wherein breastfeeders bash bottle feeders. Don’t even get me started on that one. Only YOU know what is best for your child, just like I know what is best for MINE so let’s just leave it at that, shall we? Stop judging. Stop telling other mothers how to raise their children. Stop making assumptions.

I love my son more than the moon and the stars and everything in between. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I used to dream, all starry-eyed, about one day going wedding dress shopping with my daughter, and sharing with her my favorite “girly” books from childhood. But my son? My supposedly rowdy, obnoxious, messy son is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Now that he’s here and I’m smitten, I couldn’t imagine if he’d been a daughter instead. I wouldn’t want any other kid than the one that was given to me. Plain and simple, he is everything.

And yet… I also would have felt the exact same way had he a been a girl instead, and I guess that’s my point. It really doesn’t matter what your child is, does it? As long as they are yours.

So maybe one day I’ll have a daughter… but then again, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll have another son and I will love him just the same. In fact, I’d be lucky to have either, however messy and loud they become, whatever their gender may be. I’d love to have a daughter, but I’d also love to have another son just as much. I’ve learned rather quickly that it doesn’t much matter who or what your child is; what matters is only that they are yours for eternity.

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My beautiful, non-messy boy

 

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The juggle struggle

Things seemed impossibly difficult to manage from the moment I arrived home with my baby in January.

For more than two weeks, my mom did all of our laundry and dishes while Jerry and I struggled along and tried our best just to SURVIVE. Life with a newborn… yikes. My days back then consisted of being so exhausted I could barely function, and feeding the baby. Lots and lots of feeding. Not much else in between.

Now that the newborn days are long past us, I’m facing a whole new struggle, particularly since returning to work in April. I’m no longer a total zombie, but I am going through what I’d call the “juggle struggle.” Life has become a huge balancing act full of responsibilities and figuring out priorities and trying to do it all but knowing I simply cannot.

It’s a lot like juggling, trying to keep all the objects in the air, but some inevitably falling down and crashing to the ground at some point. You can’t really give 100% to 100 different things. Some things become priorities while other things do not. It means letting go of what’s not important and giving more to what is.

I’m realizing that I simply can’t do it all. I am not Superwoman or Supermom, though I’d like to be. I’m just ME, and that has to be enough. I want to be everything to everyone and be everywhere all at once, but I can’t. Who can?

At any given time, there are a million and one things that need to be done. I usually try and get two to three done at once, and even THAT’S overwhelming.

And exhausting.

I’ve had my Shutterfly book waiting to be finished and ordered for over a week now. I’ve had my coupons and ads to sort through since Sunday, and they’re still sitting there untouched. My DVR is always dangerously close to that 100% full mark. I have a bin of books that I’d LOVE to sort through that’s been calling my name from the living room floor since Saturday. I’m pretty sure I can hear crickets chirping around my blog here lately. I haven’t been to the gym since I can’t even remember when (I used to go 6 days a week!). As always, there are mountains of laundry and my husband needs clean socks.

The to-do list is never ending. In fact, it just keeps growing. I simply cannot keep all the objects in the air at all times. I need to drop some to the ground and BE OKAY with it. It’s a balancing act and I cannot balance it all, try as I might.

I know what is most important: my son, my husband, my family. They are number one and I need to remind myself of that when things get hard and I am being pulled in a million different directions all at once.

Some days I am so exhausted by the end of it that I simply choose to crash instead of picking up my book or writing a new post. I work, then I come home and take care of Caleb. It’s like working two shifts without a break in between. And it’s worth it, every single second, it’s worth it… but then the guilt sets in that I’m not doing enough. So then there are nights after Caleb’s gone to bed that I stay up way later than I should just to get stuff done. Then I am exhausted the next day and the cycle repeats itself.

I know this is all just part of motherhood and it’s a huge learning curve for me – growing pains, if you will. I know that one day, I may have it all figured out, or most of it at least. I’ll have discovered ways to balance it all, to keep my cool, to curb the anxiety and stress. Life will never be the same as before, but it’ll be a little easier than it is right this very second.

Motherhood! I’ll tell ya… it’s one hell of a ride. A chaotic, anxious, beautiful ride.

caleb and mama

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It’s goin’ down, down

I really don’t have anything compelling to say today. I have plenty of drafts started and things I want to say and write about, but am currently lacking the time and energy to see them to completion. It’s been a tiring couple of weeks, with Caleb waking up between 5 and 6:30 in his crib since last week, then coming back to our room to sleep a bit more. It’s no big deal, but I’m tired because I’m finding it hard to fall back asleep before having to get up and ready for work.

My second nephew was born in the early hours of the morning today. His name is Lucas James, and he marks the third little fella in our family! These boys will have a lot of fun together in a few years. I keep picturing Caleb and his two boy cousins running around at family functions and having a blast. I’m hoping to go meet him later today, or maybe tomorrow if his parents aren’t quite up to visitors yet.

There are a couple of other things that have been consuming my mind lately and they are: weight and finances. My weight is going down, our debt is going down, and I am feeling good and positive about both.

We’ve been dreaming of a major kitchen overhaul since moving into our home and we’re trying to make that a reality. I am NOT a fan of credit cards, but we did use one a teeny bit towards the end of my maternity leave. We also have a small Lowe’s balance from when we had to get a new refrigerator last year. I am focusing big time on getting those paid off in the next couple of months so that we can then pursue a kitchen remodel. I refuse to do it until we get those debts paid off plus Jerry’s car which will be paid off in July. After these debts are gone, I’ll feel more comfortable financing a new kitchen.

We have the “usual” debts that people have: a mortgage, student loans, and auto loans (mine will be the only one left after July when Jerry’s is paid for!), but I hate the thought of debt at all. I’ve just started reading some of Dave Ramsey’s work about becoming debt-free, but it’s not completely feasible for us. We simply don’t make enough to pay off the student loans and mortgage in full, but I am focusing in on our smaller loans by using his “snowball effect” of paying small debts first.

So. Our debt is goin’ down. Little by little, but we’re making progress.

My weight, too, has been going down. That’s also been slow and steady, but I’m seeing progress and that’s what matters. So far, I’ve lost 28.2 pounds of the 70 I gained during pregnancy. Honestly, it’s probably going to be another year before I’m back to where I started, but I’m working hard at it and seeing progress. It’s crazy to think I’ve been in weight loss mode for over three years now (since January 2012), with the only break being during my pregnancy.

It’s a lifelong battle; I’ve been learning that all along and I’ll just keep on keeping on.

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Caleb: Four Months!

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Caleb turned four months old yesterday!

He’s still a very big boy and we get a lot of shocked looks when people hear his age. My guess is that he’s around 18-19 pounds now. He wears size 3 diapers and is in 6-9 month clothing. He still gets five ounce bottles approximately every two hours, but none overnight.

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Caleb transitioned to his crib this month (May 5th) which proved to be a lot easier than expected. We were anticipating it taking awhile for him to adjust, but he only struggled the first two nights with a couple of wake ups, then his third night he started sleeping the whole night through. He did better than I did! The first night, it was so emotional and sad for me to look next to me and see his empty Rock and Play. We do use the video monitor though, and it helps. He usually sleeps from around 9:00 PM to 7:30 AM (he actually used to sleep in later before going to the crib). Just this past week though, he’s been waking up anywhere from 4:30-6:30 and I have to bring him in my room where he goes back to sleep for a couple more hours in his Rock and Play. This is odd since he WAS sleeping the whole night in his crib for weeks. I think it’s the famed “four month sleep regression,” and I’m hoping he’ll be back to his normal schedule sooner rather than later! He does manage to rotate himself exactly 90 degrees, in the same direction, every single night. I have no idea how/why but it cracks me up every morning when I go in there.

Crib boy after his nightly rotation!

Crib boy after his nightly rotation!

He also tried rice cereal for the first time this month (May 9th) and it didn’t go over too well. The doctor wanted us to spoon feed him and he basically screamed both times we tried. We’ll try it again soon but I don’t think he was ready just yet.

On May 10th, I celebrated my first Mother’s Day with Caleb, and on May 17th, he was baptized. His godparents are my brother, Nick, and my best friend, Taylor. He did pretty well for the one hour mass prior to the ceremony but cried through a lot of the actual baptism. Pretty sure he wasn’t overly fond of his silk one piece suit on such a warm day. Ah, well. The other big event of the month that turned out to be a non-event was his first concert (Zac Brown tribute band) that got rained out after we heard only a song or two. Totally lame. I saw them when I was pregnant with Caleb, so thought it would be only fitting that it be his first concert.

All of these pictures make my heart EXPLODE.

All of these pictures make my heart EXPLODE.

He’s been sitting up really well in his little baby chair, is starting to hold things pretty well, laughs like a maniac, loves being pant-less, and enjoys walks in his stroller. He still basically refuses to nap, but all in all… our baby is awesome. :)

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Guest Post & Giveaway: “Happily Ever After?” by Glynis Astie

I’m super excited to be hosting author Glynis Astie today! I don’t host a lot of guest posts on the blog, but I was thrilled to have Glynis share her own personal romance story since I could relate to it so much: whirlwind romance with a guy from far away? People thinking you’re crazy? Wondering yourself if you’re crazy (but never really doubting it)? Yup! Sounds a lot like Jerry and myself! Glynis also wrote an amazing trilogy of novels based on her romance. When you read it, you’ll know just why I asked her to share her love story here today!

Last year, I reviewed the first two books (French Twist and French Toast), and am looking forward to reviewing the final one (French Fry) soon since it just came out this week! If you’d like a chance to read the series yourself OR win a gift card, be sure to enter the giveaway below; you won’t regret it!

Without further ado, please welcome the lovely Glynis!

Happily Ever After?

Everybody loves a good love story, right? I have been lucky enough to have my very own whirlwind romance. The kind that makes your heart swell, your pulse race and your entire body swoon at the fantasy I have been able to live. (Or make you want to smack me across my beaming face, which I completely understand.) My husband and I have such a great story, I simply had to write a series of books about our adventures together. I often tell him that the books in my French Twist series are a kind of love letter to him, but I don’t think he believes me. Very few men have the capacity to appreciate such a romantic gesture. (And far fewer of them would admit it if they did.)

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But my future didn’t always seem so rosy. I began life as a wallflower and then proceeded to have the worst dating track record of anyone I know. While my friends were dating great guys, I worked my way through a series of jerks. (Cheating, indifference, strange…desires; take your pick!) Consequently, at the grand old age of twenty-seven, I decided I was destined to be a spinster. I even adopted my first cat! Enter my husband–the most charming Frenchman you’ll ever meet. He was (and still is) gorgeous, intelligent, funny and completely genuine. His sexy accent certainly didn’t hurt! He immediately swept me off my feet and we were married six months later.

The first year was particularly scary, since we were still getting to know each other. We had been living together (gasp!) for four months before we got married, so the initial stage of the stupid fights had passed. (You forgot to put the cap back on the toothpaste! Yeah? Well, you left your towel on the floor! You know the drill.) However, the speed with which we were married had everything to do with his sudden unemployment, so we had severe financial pressure to add to the mix. Not to mention the rampant green card rumors.

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Throughout these early days of marriage, I experienced twinges of doubt. There were moments when I thought I had made a hasty decision and there were definitely moments when I thought our relationship would never work, but I couldn’t bring myself to give up. The love we shared–no matter how new–was too strong for me to let him go. None of it was easy. We drove each other crazy as we tried to bend the other to our will. In fact, there were a number of juvenile moments which I will keep to myself because I cannot take the embarrassment of your reading them.

Despite all this, we found our romantic moments. We pushed through the difficult times and came out stronger. We somehow managed to be there for each other, even when we didn’t agree, and learned to compromise. Each time we diffused another time bomb I would think, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” I knew my Intro to Philosophy class would come in handy! You gotta love Friedrich Nietzsche. (Although, I must admit, whenever I think of this brilliant quote, I hear Olympia Dukakis’ southern accent as she delivers this line in Steel Magnolias. Don’t tell anyone!)

The biggest lesson I’ve taken away from my whirlwind romance is this: Happily ever after isn’t all moonlight and roses. It’s hard work. It’s taking the other person for better or worse–no matter how difficult the worse can be. It’s biting your tongue, learning to be patient and doing your best to embrace someone else’s point of view. It’s being willing to say, “I’m sorry” without resentment and being able to put someone else’s needs before your own. Will you experience your share of misery? Absolutely. But it’s worth it! Finding the love of your life is one of the greatest journeys you will ever take.

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About

Glynis never expected in her wildest dreams to be a writer. After thirteen years in the Human Resources Industry, Author Shot 2she decided to stay at home with her two amazing sons. Ever in search of a project, she was inspired to write the story of how she met and married her wonderfully romantic French husband, Sebastien, in six short months. The end result became her first novel, French Twist. As this was just the beginning of their epic love story, Glynis continued to chronicle their adventures in the sequel, French Toast and the final installment in the series, French Fry.

When Glynis is not writing, she is trying to keep the peace amongst the three men and two cats in her life, finding missing body parts (Lego pieces are small!), supervising a myriad of homework assignments and keeping a tenuous hold on her sanity by consuming whatever chocolate is in the vicinity.

Giveaway

Three lucky people will be winners! Please enter the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway will close on 5/20/15 at 11:59 PM and is open to US only.

1. $25 amazon gift card & ebook set of the French Twist series
2. 2 e-book sets of the French Twist series.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Five on Friday (9)

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s a happy one indeed! I’m getting out of work early today (1:00) since I worked last weekend and will be going to lunch with Jerry and Caleb. Yay! It’ll be nice since we have a big weekend planned including Caleb’s baptism on Sunday. He’ll be rocking a one-piece silk outfit, complete with fake attached vest and silk shoes. Don’t worry… pictures will be forthcoming.

ONE. I finally had a good loss this week! Since my pregnancy, my weekly losses average around 0.4 pounds (hey, I’ll take it), BUT I lost 1.2 pounds this week! WOOHOO! I’m now down 26 pounds total from my pregnancy. I’ve got 40-50 to go still to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I’m proud of that number so far. I exercised A LOT last week (a couple runs, a couple walks with friends and Caleb on the canal), so clearly I need to keep that up if I want to keep up with the big losses.

TWO. My first Mother’s Day was really nice. As soon as I woke up, Jerry brought a beautiful bouquet and heartfelt card to me in bed. Then, we had breakfast pizza with my family, followed by Jerry taking me shopping at my favorite craft/antique co-op to pick out some primitive decor, which I’m obsessed with. It was a special treat for me since we don’t have a lot of extra money for me to do that anymore. I also picked out a few running t-shirts the day before at Wal-mart. After shopping, Jerry watched the baby while I took a nap and then he cooked me my favorite dinner (alfredo) while we watched some “Impractical Jokers.” I loved spending the day with my two best guys. For my own mother’s gift, we planned a big surprise. In March, we took Caleb and my nephew Nico to get a little photo shoot done. It was an ordeal that we had to keep secret for months! They had matching shirts, we made prints, a photo album, etc.

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Caleb and I on Mother’s Day, gifts from Jerry, one of the shots of the boys from March.

THREE. My aunt and I saw the musical “Kinky Boots” on Tuesday and it was AMAZING! It’s definitely up there in my top three now (“Rent” will always be my number one, followed by “Wicked”). Like my other two favorites, it’s the kind of musical that can make you laugh AND cry. I’m noticing that pattern there amongst my favorites… both funny and touching.

FOUR. I received my first ever paycheck from writing this week so that makes me feel like a legit writer now, though I’ve been writing since I was old enough to. I’ll share more details and links once my writing goes live, but I was thrilled to sign an awesome freelance writing contract a little while back, and hope this will open up even more opportunities for me in my writing career. If you have any freelancing tips or tricks, like where to find work, please send them my way!

FIVE. When I was pregnant with Caleb last summer, we saw a Zac Brown tribute band who was AWESOME! They had a show this weekend at a local festival so we decided to go so Caleb I could hear them again. We left after three songs though because it started to pour. So that was a bummer, but we went to Insomnia Cookies on our way home which definitely made up for it. Yup, starting my blog post with weight loss and ending it with cookies… warm, delicious cookies. That’s just how I roll, friends. That’s just how I roll.

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Bout of Books Readathon!

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I’m a former book blogger turned personal blogger. I gave up book blogging NOT because I don’t still love books and reading (I do), but because I burned out a bit after years of book reviews and deadlines and pressure. I also love creative writing, and crafting personal essays for my blog has enabled me to pursue that passion of mine. My blog will still have a bookish touch or post on occasion, but for the most part, it’s more about my life now. I still love to read as much as ever, but I now have a 3.5 month old son and am also a working mother. My reading time has taken a nose dive as I now have little to no time or energy anymore after working all day and taking care of my boy all night. I still make a point to read as much as possible, but let’s just say I’ve only finished five books so far this year… Yikes!

So that’s where Bout of Books comes in! I’ve debated joining for years but I finally decided to just go for it for the first time ever in an attempt to push myself to read more and after being inspired by Brandie and Sarah who always seem to be having a blast with it! My life just doesn’t feel the same since I’ve had to severely cut back on my reading time. Let’s be honest… when I’m exhausted and my baby is crying, it is so much easier to turn on the TV. This week though, I’m going to pick up a book more often instead… if I can!

This post will serve as my master post for the week and will include all my daily progress and challenges I decide to partake in. I Tweet, Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads and all that jazz (see right sidebar for links), so let’s chat!

So what is Bout of Books? Here’s a brief introduction, followed by my daily posts and goals!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.”

My Goals

  • Read for at least 30 minutes every day.
  • Read at least 200 pages total.
  • Finish at least one of the books I’m currently reading.

My Plan of Attack!

I totally need one. Having a baby is hard, friends. This plan will help me fit in some reading time.

  • Read during breaks at work. I used to do this, but now social media basically always wins out. Time to get back to reading!
  • Read every night before bed. I try to do this anyway, but have been really struggling to do it every day since I’m pretty tired by bedtime.

Daily Progress

Monday
Total pages: 19 pages
Total time: 30 minutes
Books read from: Dance With the Devil by David Bagby
Thoughts: I’m off to a good start, but not a great start. Good because I met my goal of 30 minutes, but not great because I didn’t exceed it. Honestly though, I did read more than I would have if I wasn’t doing the readathon because I read for a few minutes on a break at work which I haven’t done in forever, and I forced myself to stay up and read at night until I reached the 30 minute mark. Normally, I would have just gone right to sleep or played around on my phone longer since I was so tired.

Tuesday
Total pages: 25 pages
Total time: 30 minutes
Books read from: Meant to Be by Terri Osbourn and Dance With the Devil by David Bagby
Thoughts: A similar day as yesterday. I went to see “Kinky Boots” at night and when I got home, I was exhausted, but made myself read anyway!

Wednesday
Total pages: 22 pages
Total time: 30 minutes
Books read from: Dance With the Devil by David Bagby
Thoughts: I can’t seem to get past that 30 minute mark! It’s okay though because I’ve just been so tired that I’ve made myself read 30 minutes each day to reach my goal. If I weren’t readathon-ing, I definitely wouldn’t have read for 30 minutes any of these days. It likely would have been ten minutes or not at all.

Thursday
Total pages: 28 pages
Total time: 35 minutes
Books read from: Dance With the Devil by David Bagby
Thoughts: Finally broke the 30 minute mark – woohoo! I’m going to struggle even more for the rest of the readathon though. Jerry works week nights, so weekends are our family time, plus Caleb’s baptism is on Sunday. I’m still going to try and squeeze in 30 minutes a day though… wish me luck!

Friday
Total pages: 28 pages
Total time: 35 minutes
Books read from: Dance With the Devil by David Bagby
Thoughts: Beat my goal again! Yay!

Saturday
Total pages: 28 pages
Total time: 36 minutes
Books read from: Dance With the Devil by David Bagby
Thoughts: Busy day today getting ready for Caleb’s baptism, but I managed to beat my goal again so I’m happy!

Sunday
Total pages: 27 pages
Total time: 33 minutes
Books read from: Dance With the Devil by David Bagby
Thoughts: I’m happy I met my goal considering Caleb’s baptism and party took up most of the day. I was tired by the end of it all, but I still took the time to read and meet my goal!

Final Totals
Total pages: 177 pages
Total time: 229 minutes
Final thoughts: I met my goal to read for at least 30 minutes every day (woohoo!) but didn’t quite meet my other goals of reading a total of 200 pages and to finish a book. I know my totals probably look tiny to some people, but I’m really proud of myself. I used to spend a lot more time reading, but it’s been a challenge to do so as a new mom, especially as a working mom. I really did read a lot more this week than I normally would have since having my son, and redeveloped some good habits I used to have like reading on breaks at work, and reading every night without fail. If I hadn’t been doing this readathon, there would have been a lot of nights where I just went right to sleep, but I chose to read instead. I also wouldn’t have been reading during my breaks at work… I would have been on my phone the whole time instead of just some of the time like I did this week. I honestly probably would have read only a couple of days instead of all seven because of how tired I’ve been so I’m extremely happy with how I did. I hope to keep up these habits now and dedicate more time to reading again! I am very stubborn when I set a goal, which is how and why I’ve been successful with weight loss. That’s also the reason I successfully met my 30 minute goal each day. I would have forced myself to reach the 200 page goal too if I’d been keeping track of my total but I didn’t add up my pages until just now… Bummer! I know if I set my goal higher next time, I’ll force myself to reach it again…. so next time I plan on bumping my goal up to an hour a day. I plan on participating in a lot more of these readathons. I had a fantastic time!

Challenges

Bookish Survey

1. How do you organize your shelves? I have one shelf that contains my favorites, one that’s all cozy mysteries, one that’s all non-fiction, but then the rest of my shelves… there is no rhyme or reason. I’d LIKE them to be alphabetized by author, but I have too many at the moment. Great problem to have, I know.
2. What is one of your favorite book that’s not in one of your favorite genres? My favorite genres are YA and chick lit/women’s fiction, so a favorite of mine that ISN’T in one of those two genres would be She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb.
3. What is the last 5 star book you read? The Sh!t No One Tells You by Dawn Dais.
4. What book are you most excited to read during the read-a-thon? Dance With the Devil by David Bagby. This is a true story about a very sad crime. I saw a documentary, Dear Zachary, on Netflix, and this book was written by the victim’s father. I’ve been wanting to read it for awhile, but none of the 30+ libraries in my system owned it, so I had to do an Interlibrary Loan instead of a regular hold. This book came to me in New York all the way from Vermont!
5. What book do you recommend the most? Jen Lancaster’s books!

Haiku

Girl likes two brothers.
And yet I know who she’ll choose.
Typical romance.

Cover Color Challenge

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Cutting the (first) cord

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Within minutes of Caleb’s life, Jerry cut the first cord… the REAL cord. You know the one.

I had to cut MY first cord, so to speak, on Tuesday night. At 14.5 weeks old, it was time: time for Caleb to spend the night in his crib, in his own room, away from me for the night for the very first time.

Cue the emotional mama.

Since the day he came home from the hospital, he’s slept directly beside my bed in a Rock and Play, but he’s recently gotten too long for the thing. The steadfast plan was to have him in his crib by the time I went back to work five weeks ago, but there were always excuses, and we were always skirting around the real issue: mama didn’t want to cut that cord.

When Jerry finally set up his video monitor last weekend, the biggest excuse went out the door and I had no choice. I pushed it off until Tuesday since I would be off work on Wednesday and predicted a rough night of little to no sleep. Things were… okay? I felt like I was missing a limb to be honest, looking beside me and seeing Caleb’s empty little “bed.” I felt strange, lonely, like a piece of me was missing (but really just a few feet from me across the hall). I obsessively checked his ghostly looking image on the monitor. I went to check on him at least twice before going to bed. I had a hard time falling asleep and jumped out of bed at the first sign of crying.

He made it just over three hours before waking up and being brought back to his Rock and Play. He typically sleeps 11 hours straight through the night with no wake ups (since he was a month and a half old – yes, we’re lucky!), but considering this was his first night in a large, flat crib (much different from what he’s accustomed to), three hours wasn’t so bad.

We both slept better when he came back to my room.

Moving Caleb to his own room was harder than I initially expected. Cutting that first cord? Not easy… not easy at all.

I need to get used to it, though. Mothers have to cut the cord SO many times. When he goes off to school. When he doesn’t hold my hand anymore. When he falls in love. When he gets married. When he moves out. When he doesn’t need me (though don’t we always need our mothers?). I need to prepare myself to cut the cord again and again and again. Tomorrow, we buy a high chair and feed him rice cereal for the first time. Yet another little cord this mama has to cut. And for the record, last night, his third night in the crib… he made it through the whole night. He also managed to rotate himself 90 degrees. Hey, thanks for telling me you were mobile, little one… I had no idea! Yikes.

My boy is growing up too fast. Don’t they always? And as mothers, we are powerless to stop it, both thrilled and terrified at the prospect. Excited to see his personality take shape and his spirit evolve, thrilled to see him learn new skills, but so sad at the same time that this once tiny baby is no longer that little newborn who needs us for every last thing.

Elizabeth Stone is credited with saying that to have a child “is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” I didn’t get it until now. He IS my heart, and one day soon he’ll be walking around the world, eventually even WITHOUT me… but he will have my heart with him. Always.

And all I can do is keep a pair of scissors handy and keep on cutting that cord.

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Slow and steady (baby weight)

When I first started losing weight in 2012, the weight felt like it was melting off. Most weeks, I’d lose somewhere around two pounds and even remember losing five pounds one week.

It was glorious. And those days are long gone.

I was able to lose 118 pounds in the span of a year and a half. It was fast and frantic. I felt great. I worked out six days a week for an hour or more. Now? Not so much.

“Mom” weight loss has been… slow and steady. It’s been hard. Since giving birth in late January, I’ve managed to lose 25 pounds… but I still have 45 pounds of pregnancy weight to lose. It’s a start though, and we all have to start somewhere.

These days, I manage to lose anywhere from 0.2 – 0.6 pounds a week. I’m only losing about a pound or two a MONTH, where I used to lose two pounds a WEEK. Is it frustrating? Kind of. Is it okay? Yes. My body, post-baby, is not what it once was (but it will be again in time!).

I think part of the reason I managed to gain 70 pounds during my pregnancy was because my initial weight loss was not slow and steady at all. I thought it was at the time, but looking back, I realize now how fast it all was. I was very hard on myself, very unforgiving, forgoing experiences and dinners out in pursuit and in favor of a slim body. No more.

This time, I’m going the slow route. Yep, that means I’ll be stuck with this larger, post-baby body for a longer time, but I do believe that in the long run, I’ll be able to succeed and maintain my weight loss for a lifetime. I am easier on myself. I don’t pass up opportunities going out to eat with friends and family. I don’t say “no” to birthday cake anymore… it is to celebrate, after all.

It’s slow and steady this time around for a number of reasons, including not going hungry. I used to eat just 1,200 calories a day when I was starting out. I was pretty miserable and hungry. I still log my calories, which I credit for my weight loss, but I’m currently at 1,590 calories a day. This is much more manageable. As mentioned above, I’m also not quite so hard on myself. Life is for living, not for weight loss (though that is important to me). I also simply don’t have as much time and energy to work out like I once did, but I’m seizing any opportunity I can, and am about to head out on a brief 30 minute walk momentarily. Motherhood is tiring, friends!

Jerry and I still enjoy a weekly cheat day, as we always have, and I firmly believe this has contributed to our success. We can be “good” most of the week knowing that on Saturday, we can enjoy a day of treats without counting calories. Some people think cheat days are counter-productive, but Jerry and I are living proof that it works. I also allow myself to still eat the things I like even on non-cheat days, but I eat them in moderation and hold myself accountable for them by logging the calories. I am, at the moment, about halfway between my highest weight (270 pounds) and my lowest weight (152) at 207. I am working my way back down the scales. That number is a bit scary, but it’s not as scary as 270… yikes!

It’s going to be a long and difficult journey back to my pre-pregnancy weight… but that’s okay. I am making regular, consistent progress and I’m seeing the scale go down, no matter how slowly. Some days I don’t like what I see in the mirror, but I know I am perfect in my son’s eyes and that he loves me just the way I am. When he smiles at me, I know that’s what matters most. I will get healthy and fit again (AM getting healthy and fit again), and he is all the motivation I need.

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