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Showing posts from March, 2009

Confessions of a marshmallow mommy

We have a few solid rules around here during the week that keep this ship smoothly sailing:
No TV on school days, especially in the morning.Children must nap after lunch so moms can work.Only one snack after naptime, preferably a fruit or veggie.There must be outdoor playtime on sunny days.These rules went out the window today. Sweet Boy -- who did not nap, which stressed me out because he turns into a total pest when he's tired so I had a hard time focusing on work -- finally wore me down. After about an hour of begging and whining, he cajoled me into putting on a DVD for him; he then used his charms to wrestle an early snack, too (and I know he will be whining for crackers well before dinnertime).

As I guiltily pushed play on the remote so I could guiltily get back to my laptop, he looked into my eyes, batted his luscious lashes, and started rubbing my back. Then came the words that just might define my marshmallow parenting style: "You're such a good mommy. You let me do…

Just say no...to chain restaurants

In our efforts to skinny down this year, Big Daddy and I have curbed our eating out and takeout habits. This list reinforces the Why.

Some of these are no-brainers -- Denny's, Dairy Queen, Baskin Robbins -- but others surprise me. Lemme just say ew gross! to Macaroni Grill for duping us all these years with their "salads." And Baja Fresh don't sound so fresh to me.

Sadly, the two places we have "dined" in (and I use the term loosely) recently are Chili's and Applebee's because they both have lower-calorie menu options (and because they're cheap and kid-friendly). Who knew that even Chili's "Guiltless Grill" should cause so much shame?

And why haven't Applebee's (home of the Weight Watchers partnership), Friday's, and Outback yet published their nutrition information? Whatever could they be hiding? (The last time we ate at Outback, easily five years ago, I ordered a medium steak and the waitress came out to tell me they wer…

Old friends new

I drank coffee with an old friend this morning -- someone I haven't seen since around June of 1993 when we graduated from high school. We hooked up on Facebook a few months ago, and I'm so glad we did. She's smart and fun and kind -- always has been -- in fact, she was one of the two girls who befriended me immediately when we moved to my new school at the start of seventh grade. (I know...you and I both shudder at the thought of starting new school in 7th grade!)

Friday I spent an hour chatting online with another high school friend who I hadn't spoken to in over 10 years. We chatted easily, laughed about shared memories, gushed about our spouses, even talked abut mundane daily stuff like what books we're reading and music we're listening to. He revealed some interesting, truthful impressions of me in high school that made me simultaneously smile and cringe. There are a couple other friends I've discovered now live right down the road and have kids the same…

How to get happy...or at least feel better

So...it's been a tough couple of days. Mentally, physically, emotionally draining. Big Daddy and I stayed home together both Monday and Tuesday, just to get our heads back on and to spend time healing our tender family. Here's what we learned is the best way to shake away the blues:
1) Crank up the oldies station. Play it louder than your parents ever did. Motown is therapeutic. As are the BeeGees, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond, Earth Wind & Fire, and Prince. Sure it's tough that some of the songs from our own childhood are now played on the oldies station. But we love those songs! So turn it up, man. And dance til your old knees hurt.
2) Go out to lunch at your favorite pub, for which you happen to have a gift card, and drink a beer in the middle of the day. Even though you're certainly of age and you have no obligations to stay sober on a mental health day, there's still a little thrill that comes with drinking beer at noon on a Tuesday (a la Cheryl Crow).
3) Nap with…

To the little light we lost today

I didn’t know that love could grow so quickly. Or so unexpectedly. You caught us by surprise—we were stunned, in fact—but you moved right into our hearts. You made me believe in miracles, to believe in the possibility of the impossible. You brought your father such happiness and hope at a time when we were both so unsure of anything but our love for each other. I’ve never seen him smile the way he smiled when I told him about you. It was hard for us to keep this secret.

You changed everything in just a few short weeks. We started to see our other child in such a different light: He was suddenly a big brother, no longer the baby, now the protector and the teacher and the grown-up boy. I started imagining how we’d rearrange furniture to accommodate a bassinet and a swing. We thought up cute ways to tell our families and friends, and we giggled over their reactions. We started thinking in terms of four, no longer three. You were going to complete the plan.

It was too good to be true—and to…

Reprioritizing and raging

Sunday morning, I visited my local Target store for the first time in over a month. Crazy, yes, that I've been away from my favorite store for so long; when we were in diapers, I was there at least once a week, dropping $50 or more each time on stuff we may or may not really have needed. I could always convince myself that the spending was ok -- after all, these are the lowest prices around! I've always been a frugal girl, not really a shopaholic, but something about Target made it easy to spend my money.

Three things have always struck me as amazing at Target: (1) The parking lot is ALWAYS full to capacity (especially between Halloween and mid-January when folks are in their holiday shopping frenzy); (2) You can always find folks with wild, gleeful eyes wheeling around carts full of mediocre-quality stuff for their homes; and (3) Even though the mark-downs on the little tags on the shelf show a price difference of only about 20 cents, the red-and-white sign in front of any pr…

Musa's good news

I got a call earlier today that brought me to tears. Great big happy tears of relief and gratitude.

Musa's second and final surgery took place today, a day ahead of schedule, because lab results from earlier this week determined that he was ready to go -- in fact, healthier than the doctors first realized. They don't even think his initial diagnosis of Hirschprung's Disease was correct. So, at 4pm today, Ghana time, he entered the operating room, and four hours later, his colon had been resectioned and the stoma removed. He will not need the colostomy bags anymore.

What good, good news.

Sleep is good for me

So you may have noticed that I'm not blogging as often. I've been trying to get more sleep, you see, which means going to bed earlier, which means logging off earlier...or most nights, not even logging on. Why more sleep, you ask? The answer will make you laugh: I'm sleeping more to help my weight loss efforts. And even more laughable: I started after reading an article in Glamour magazine.

I know. Glamour is not exactly known for it's research-based, science-backed writing. (And I'm a tiny bit embarrassed to even let on that I read it every month.) But what I read in this article makes sense. Sleep deprivation affects the hormones that control your appetite, and when you're tired you tend to crave fast-burning food (a.k.a. high sugar). On top of it, your body is programmed to reset while you sleep, so your metabolism needs that down time.

Results? In our house, since mid-January, low-carb/low-fat has been the name of the game. Big Daddy (who I should now call Dr…

Working mom extraordinaire

Most of you know I'm a full-time working mom who happens to be at home with my child two days a week. While I work. And most of you ask me, How the heck do you do that?

Truth be told, I'm not sure. I just do it. The best I can. And I have lots of help.

The bigger question, really, is how do any of us do it? Mothering is hard enough, but how in the world do so many of us mother AND work full-time outside the home. (And I know most women don't have nearly the flexibility in their work schedules that I have.) It's astounding, when you think about it. Juggle, juggle, juggle is the name of the game. We do what we have to do, and we give it our best shot.

When I tripped upon this particular article a few weeks ago (forgive me for being totally behind the headlines on this), I put it aside to share with you.

Pat Summitt, coach of the University of Tennessee women's basketball team, hit a career milestone a few weeks back that perhaps no other person, male or female, in her fi…

My boyfriend's back

Dear Diary,
I wanted to write briefly to tell you about my boyfriend: He looks a lot like my husband, only thinner and sprier and shinier in the eyes. He's the man I fell in love with, the man I longed for over the last two years, the man I brought home from the hospital in mid-January. That's right. My boyfriend's back, and he's better than before -- hey-la hey-la!

Every day I wake up and pinch myself. He has lost gobs of weight, has gained energy and vitality that I haven't seen in years. He changed his work schedule so he comes home earlier in the evenings to play with Sweet Boy while I get our low-fat, low-carb, super-veggie meals together. He wakes up early on the weekends so we can walk in the local parks. He bought me a bike for my birthday so we can ride together. He doesn't snore anymore (hallelujah!), but he kisses me goodnight and rolls over each morning to snuggle when the alarm goes off. It's almost too good to be true. My lover has returned!

I do…

Beat the winter blahs -- go on safari!

I'm enjoying a few rare, quiet moments on a Sunday afternoon, everyone but me snoozing in their respective nap spaces (Sweet Boy in his snuggy bed, Big Daddy in his snuggy recliner, SallyCat on my feet, Pitino on the sofa behind my head). We're hunkering down in wild anticipation of a big ol' end-of-winter snow storm. I'm hoping we get a whopper, frankly. Boy has been asking daily to build a snowman since about, oh, November and my heart breaks a little every time we get one of these piddly mid-Atlantic dustings and he begs to go out and build Frosty. Bring it on, Old Man Winter! We've been waiting for you!

As you probably know from experience or imagination, winter is hard when you're either the mom of a rambunctious 3-year old, or of course, the rambunctious 3-year-old himself. Add to the cold, harsh days that keep you cooped inside mom's work schedule that keeps her glued to the computer, and well, you get punchy...rude...whiny...ugly. This was the scene …