April 26, 2012

Losing Weight Without Actually Losing Weight

That about sums up the last week for me. My God, why do I have no self control? Oh that's right. Because I'm a blast. I'll try not to forget that again.

So as you've probably already guessed, my weight loss challenge has suffered yet another somewhat stagnant week. Except there's nothing somewhat about it, it's more like completely stagnant.

No weight loss. Boooo.

But also no weight gain. Yay!

I have decided that I would prefer to lose no weight at all rather than only like a tenth of a pound. That would feel more like taunting, and I do not appreciate being taunted. Take that, you piece of crap scale.

So even though I lost no weight, I am going to chalk this week up to a success. How is that a success, you ask? Because I say it is! Hooray! Cake for everyone!

The silver lining is that all of my big girl clothes still fit perfectly, which means I don't have to spend money on new small girl clothes, and in turn there is more money left to buy delicious food. How's that for logic?

I promise one of these weeks I will actually give it my 100% effort. I can't imagine that reading about weight loss is particularly exciting when the writer never actually loses any weight.

So here's the breakdown: 0.7 pounds lost in two weeks, or an average 0.35 pounds per week.

I'll take it!

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April 24, 2012

Nap Time Is The New Happy Hour

As a coach's wife I learned pretty quickly how to fill my alone time, especially during football season. Three and a half years of dating long distance taught me how to stay busy when Ricky wasn't around, so when we got married I wasn't intimidated by those long, husband-less Friday nights. In fact, I embraced them... happy hour, anyone?

It's no secret that I love happy hour.

Pre-motherhood, happy hour meant sitting on a patio at a Mexican restaurant, margarita in hand (rocks with salt), snacking on (okay, inhaling) chips and salsa, and giggling with my girlfriends. We would talk about our jobs, meaningless gossip, our husbands - don't worry, Ricky, only the good! - and anything else that happened to be on our minds.

And then I had children. Suddenly, my carefree Friday happy hours turned into nights at home alone with a baby... and then a baby and a toddler... and I would think to myself how I did not sign up for this. Oh but wait, yes I did.

Having just put my three munchkins down for their afternoon nap - and no, I did not spontaneously give birth overnight, I watch my nephew on weekdays along with my two - I have a few moments to reflect on my new happy hour.

Motherhood happy hour includes sitting in the recliner around 1 pm with the TV off (ahhh... silence), reheated coffee from this morning in hand, snacking on (okay, inhaling) Little Ricky's unfinished peanut butter sandwich from lunch, and giggling to myself because I've gone half crazy due to my lack of adult interaction.

(Did you know I speak two-year-old jibberish fluently? I also know all of the words to the stupid cookie song on Barney: "Looky, looky... it's a... cookie, cookie!" I hate that song.)

Please don't misunderstand this comparison as a complaint. I actually enjoy this new happy hour, and I see it as merely a season in my life. The patios will always be there, and I know there will come a day that I will be sitting at happy hour, margarita in hand, wishing for the days when my kids were still tiny and our days were filled with bubbles and diapers, Sesame Street and peanut butter.

And naps. Oh, how I wish someone would force me to get in my bed and sleep every afternoon. Nap time is usually when  you'll find me furiously cleaning house, doing laundry, blogging, and watching The View on my DVR. All of this while making sure the kidlets take a nice, long nap.

What's up? Multitasking, that's what's up.

So in these moments that are so gloriously uninterrupted by tiny people, I have the opportunity to get in a little me time. What do I do with that time? I learn how to become a better parent, of course! Go figure.

I am constantly seeing parenting articles and mommy blogs swirl around the internet. It seems they are pinned and liked and posted everywhere I turn. Confession: I read them all; I can't help it. I'm fascinated by what others think are the DOs and DON'Ts of parenting. Unfortunately, I sometimes find myself questioning my own parenting practices because of the all-knowing, sometimes accusatory tone many writers take. As a response, I  have decided to use today's nap time to share a few of my own D&D's about parenting. So without further ado...

1. DO feed your child.

That's it. It really is that simple. Do you want to breastfeed? Shake your ta-tas and go for it. Prefer formula? I recommend buying it at Sam's Club. Bulk = cheap.

There is a lot - seriously, a lot - of pressure on new mothers to breastfeed. Personally, I think if you can breastfeed and you want to do it that's great. I also think that if you can't or don't want to, that is perfectly okay, too. After growing another person in your body for 9 months and miraculously pushing the little angel out (I give equal credit to the old-fashioned way as well as the zipper), I believe you've already conquered the unimaginable as a new mother! Don't let someone else make you feel guilty or uncomfortable for however you decide to feed your child.

I've done it both ways. Breastfeeding Little Ricky landed me in the hospital for four days with mastitis when he was less than a month old. That sucked. I mean, really sucked. So I said to hell with it and gave him formula. I cried about it and felt guilty for awhile, but guess what? He's fine.

The Bulldog is six months old and we're still going strong with breastfeeding. It has been a wonderful experience, and guess what? She is also fine.

Just like everything else in parenting, there are pros and cons to both. I say do what is best for you and your child, and as long as your child gets to eat I'm happy.

2. DO let your child sleep.

I have a confession to make: "Hello, my name is Lucy, and I am a Nap Nazi."

It's true. If there's one thing I take very seriously about raising my children it's nap time and bedtime. I don't know why I'm so obsessed with my children's sleeping patterns, but I have always had very strong opinions about what healthy sleep looks like for my children.

But that's not the point of this DO. The point is that what healthy sleep looks like for my children may not be what it looks like for your children. And really, that is okay! Don't let someone else make you feel guilty or uncomfortable for however you decide to sleep your child.

Want to co-sleep? Great! Would you rather your baby sleep in a crib? Perfect! Again, I say do what is best for you and your child, and as long as your child gets to sleep I'm happy.

3. DO work hard.

Do I think staying home with your children is better than going to work? Not necessarily. It just depends on the situation. I think some mothers are fabulous at staying home all day and others are fabulous at working full time.

I've done both, and they are both hard. When Little Ricky was born I was teaching full-time. With the arrival of the Bulldog (and consequently the astronomical price of daycare for two children) I decided that staying home was right for me. They have both  been the right option for me, just at different times in my life. The bottom line: Don't let someone else make you feel guilty or uncomfortable about your decision to go back to work or stay at home.

4. DO love your child.

No explanation needed here. I'm positive you are doing this already. All day, every day, unconditionally. On the good days, the bad days, and the days that feel impossible. Make your decisions out of love, and you won't go wrong. I promise. And when you do make mistakes -we all do, it's inevitable - just think about the great stories your child will have as a dysfunctional adult. Because aren't we all dysfunctional, really?

5. DON'T judge.

This one is really hard, so at least try not to judge. We are all guilty of judging other parents. Yes, even me. I think making snap judgements about parents who do things differently is our way of justifying our own ideas. Justifying to who, though? Mainly ourselves. So rather than judging, let's practice thinking this simple mantra: To each their own. There are literally thousands of ways to parent! Your way, my way, and his way can all be the right way - even when they're different. And when you do have a judge-y thought, keep that negative juju to yourself. I promise to try harder if you will.

6. DO I really need to continue? I think you get the idea.

I hope you weren't looking for actual advice, because I haven't even really scratched the surface of how to parent. Oh yes, there are plenty more decisions left to negotiate. There are diapers, and discipline, and circumcision, oh my! And my oldest child is only two. I can't wait to see what parents of school-aged children are debating about.

While this post may come across as wishy washy, I want to be clear about something. I absolutely have strong opinions and ideas about the best ways to parent my children, however I will not sit here and write about how what I do as a mother is unquestionably right. That would seem to imply that if you don't do it my way you are inherently wrong. Sadly, that seems to be a common theme of many parenting blogs and articles lately, and I think we're all perfectly capable of making ourselves feel like shit without the help of the internet. I can feel inadequate all by myself if I so choose, thankyouverymuch.

And for what it's worth, you are doing a fabulous job, mama. Hang in there.

So will I continue to read these blogs and articles? Of course. Sometimes they make me think and give me ideas, and other times they are so ridiculous or judgmental that I laugh and move on. My last piece of advice is this: read the books and articles and listen to other mothers, but take it all in with a grain of salt. Preferably margarita salt.

And since I'm right and you're right, let's have a margarita and call it a day.

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April 23, 2012

Mac or Harry: A Love Story

Mac came into my life during the summer of 2007.

After spending four years committed to another, I needed a change. Something that made me feel young and excited again. That something was Mac.

Together we did it all. Our courtship began with watching movies late into the night. Then Mac introduced me to some of his favorite music. We even traveled around Europe together. I fondly recall riding the train together through Denmark, The Netherlands, Germany, and yes, even France! What a magical time that was.

But a few months ago, something happened. I can't quite put my finger on where things went wrong, but Mac suddenly stopped responding to me. After turning Mac on hundreds (hell, thousands) of times over the course of almost five years, I suddenly couldn't do it anymore.

I tried to give Mac time and space. I would give Mac hours, sometimes days, to recover from this new state of unreliability. I tried to connect. I tried to be patient. But Mac simply wasn't having it.

To say I was crushed was an understatement. How can you rely so heavily on another for so long, only to wake up one day to find that everything you know to be true has changed? The old adage is true... you really don't know what you have until it's gone.

Mac acted as though our past together was nothing. Those pictures of happier times? Mac refused to even look at them anymore.

One sad, lonely day I finally gave up. I had truly had enough. Don't toy with my emotions, Mac! Are you in or are you out? Apparently, Mac was out.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Mac.

So slender and smooth, seemingly perfect in every way.

And here is the unfortunate screen Mac greeted me with every time I tried to turn my old buddy on...

You only need to know that this is bad. Very bad.

When it comes to personal relationships, I'm no fool. I've been burned in the past, so yes... I backed up.

Thank God I backed up.

The last time this happened to me I had not backed up, and as a result I lost two years worth of pictures from college. Although I was upset at the time, hindsight tells me it was probably for the best as many of those pictures would undoubtedly be incriminating today. Ohhh college, you were fun. I love you.

Now as luck would have it, Mac had a twin.

Around the time that Mac came into my life, Mother Ethel also found companionship in a Mac.

In an exciting turn of events, she recently upgraded to Mac's faster, shinier cousin - Mac Pro. So when my dear Mac betrayed me, she offered to share his twin (let's call him Mac 2 for clarity) with me until my heart fully healed and I was ready to commit again.

So Mac 2 entered my life, and for a brief time things were beautiful. Mac 2 was just like Mac! Unfortunately, it wasn't long before Mac 2 also decided I wasn't worth the time, just like Mac. And lo and behold, one day last week my unsuspecting, ever trusting self tried to turn on Mac 2 and here's what I got...

Yes, again.

It was time to move on... start anew... find a new love...

But there was a problem. As you can imagine, cash flow for a stay-at-home mama is limited, and the entire Apple family is a pretentious member of the nouveau riche. So I went to work on Ricky.

I begged. I pleaded. After an incredibly large tax return from 2011 (thank you, U.S. government, for that if nothing else) I tried to convince Ricky that I needed Mac's cousin in my life and financially we could handle it! No dice.

Ricky, along with the Brother Freds three, insisted I could find a PC with the same capabilities as Mac for significantly less dinero. Blasphemy! Or was it?

I was hesitant. You know what they say... once you go Mac, you never go back. That might be a slight variation of what they say.

Could it happen? Would I find compatibility with a PC?

Not wanting to make any rash decisions, I tried one last ditch effort. I resurrected my original computer boyfriend and desperately tried to rekindle the flame.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Dell.

It was Dell that I left when I met Mac in 2007. Could it be that Dell would be the answer to my problems? After spending 30 minutes looking for an ethernet cord (remember those?) I decided no, Dell was definitely not the answer. Dell's inability to connect to our network wirelessly in conjunction with that bulky, unattractive body reminded me why I left Dell in the first place.

Furthermore, Dell is slow. I lack a kinder word.

For the record, I did eventually find the damn ethernet cord. It had been haphazardly thrown into a box labeled CORDS. I think I threw that puppy together one day in a fit of organization. I was probably watching Hoarders - that show always makes me want to clean.

So back to the drawing board went I. And then it happened. After throwing my hands in the air, proclaiming I would never love again... Ricky found it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Harry Potter.

Not only does Harry do everything I could possibly want, Harry was on sale. If you know Ricky and I, you know how we feel about sales. It felt like Christmas in April!

Harry Potter and I spent the weekend getting acquainted. We shared pictures and music, and I even transferred all of my beloved memories to Harry (followed by a back up, of course).

I can't deny it. I love Harry. That's right, I said it!

Have I done the unthinkable and converted back to PC? Yes, folks, I think I have.

And for the record, Harry Potter is kicking Mac's ass. Well played, Harry. Well played.

April 18, 2012

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

"Lucy Ricardo... Come on doooowwwn!"

On weigh-in days I like to imagine myself running down the aisle towards Bob Barker. Can't you just see it? Everyone is clapping as I reach The Price is Right podium wearing my giant yellow name tag and homemade family reunion shirt (because let's be honest, I'm not going on that show without a homemade t-shirt).

After last week's public declaration of my weight loss goals, I really felt the pressure as I walked to the scale this morning. Pressure is good, pressure is good, pressure is good...

And then I remembered how I celebrated this week. Sure, let's call it a celebration.

We went to a wedding in San Antonio over the weekend, so I decided to celebrate basically the entire weekend. Our celebration started on Friday with snacks at the gas station (God forbid we starve during the 4 hour car ride). We continued to celebrate with fast food for dinner... and a giant hotel breakfast on Saturday morning... you get the idea.

I will say, however, that our lunch celebration on Saturday at Mi Tierra in the San Antonio marketplace was well worth it. I enjoyed each and every calorie in that jumbo margarita.... I think it had at least a million of 'em and I don't even care.

Ever been to Joe T's? Because Mi Tierra margaritas taste exactly like the Joe T's margaritas that I may or may not have drank by the pitcher when I was in college. Stop judging.

Don't worry, the celebration continued at the wedding. How could it not? It was the actual celebration. And truly, is there anything I love more than an open bar and wedding cake? No. The answer is no.

Ricky and I are typically a blast at weddings. Now that we have children we have toned down our act quite a bit, much to my chagrin. I recall one wedding where I insisted on swing dancing the entire reception after celebrating the open bar first. When Ricky told me he needed a break, I ignored the sweat pouring down his face and vehemently insisted, "The people want to see us dance!"

Really? Do they?

Like I said - we're a blast. 

You know who was not a blast at the wedding on Saturday? Little Ricky. Suffice to say, he made an early exit after having a public meltdown over glow-in-the-dark necklaces.

Can you blame him? I mean, who doesn't love those necklaces?!

So I made a deal with Ricky. I would put the kidlets to bed and he could stay at the reception as long as he had a giant slice of wedding cake in hand upon his return. Yes, the celebration continued...

A quick note on wedding cake: part of the reason I married Ricky is because he doesn't eat wedding cake. As a result, I always get two pieces and pretend one is for him. And then I eat them both.

This behavior seemed a little more acceptable when I was pregnant - I was at a wedding two days before Little Ricky was born - but now that I am sans pregnant belly, you may find it questionable. Whatever. I told you stop judging.

 The celebration continued on Sunday....

And then I remembered that I was supposed to be tracking my Weight Watchers points and actually losing weight. Oops.

But then we had girls' night on Monday and I think I ate half a bag of Market Street seasoned tortilla chips. They are like crack; I dare you not to eat them. It's impossible.

You can think all day long that I lack will power and motivation, but the truth of the matter is I just love to celebrate. I'm a blast, and don't ever forget it. And stop judging.

 So considering my overabundance of celebratory opportunities this past week, I was a little nervous (or maybe a lot nervous) about jumping on the scale this morning.

So are you ready for it?

 I lost 0.7 pounds! HOORAY!!  

A loss is a loss is a loss... even if it's less than a pound. And logic tells me that I probably should have gained weight this week. I'm attributing the loss solely to breastfeeding and the craptillion calories it burns every day.

 So now I only have 14.3 pounds to go... let's hope my celebratory attitude subsides a little this week. But really, what can I say? I'm a blast.

 And for the record, if I ever go on The Price Is Right I will totally bid only $1 in the hopes that everyone else over bid. It's the only proven strategy.

 This could be me.

April 11, 2012

The Challenge. Ugh.

 I'm going to start out by saying that I  am not excited about this post. Not even a little bit.

Up to this point I have looked forward to writing new posts and I find myself thinking about the next one periodically throughout the day. In fact, I even have an ongoing note in my iPhone committed solely to potential blog ideas. You don't have to tell me that is really cool. I already know.

This is actually a post that I've thought about many times, and the only reason I'm writing it now is because I need a little outside motivation, i.e. pressure. I actually work really well under pressure. Por exemplo, when I was college I got into the habit of waiting until the very last minute to start working on assignments and papers.

Here's how it usually went down. At about 8 pm the night before something important was due, my roommate and I would head to Frog Bytes (if you went to TCU you know where this is going) to stock up on study snacks. More importantly than the study snacks, however, was the Red Bull. Lots and lots of Red Bull. Later on in my college career, study snacks may or may not have included Eskimo Hut. No judgement, please.

On a side note, I would like to give a shout out to the TCU athletic department for equipping my talented athletic friends with the most expensive meal plan available, which included purchases at Frog Bytes. My best friend and college roommate played soccer, therefore I became somewhat of a soccer groupie and benefited from the fabulous school-sponsored athletic meal plan quite often.

By the way, I don't think I've given a shout out since probably the 8th grade. And let me just say, it feels good.

Random thought: I used to pretend I was a soccer player at parties in college. Alternatively, I would tell people I hadn't met before that my official job was Soccer Stats and Video. Funny at the time, but now it sounds kind of sad. Furthermore, I would refuse to go to class when the soccer team was traveling. If they didn't have to go to class, why should I? Maybe because I wasn't on the team... but I digress.

(Don't worry, Dad. I only skipped class sometimes during the first semester of my freshman year. After the banner GPA I got as a result of that semester, I decided to take advantage of my incredibly reasonably priced private school education from that point forward and always go to class.)

So after loading up on snacks and energy drinks, we would head to the library. After spending time socializing (because that's why we really went to the library) I would crack the books and get started on my assignment. I would stay up all night, convincing myself I would never finish, and then somehow, miraculously, I would finish about 15 minutes before class started. I may have shown up to class all strung out on Red Bull and Corn Nuts, but I was always there, finished assignment in hand.

And herein lies the problem: After waiting until the very last minute, my professors would give me A's and tell me how great my work was! Thus, reinforcing my pressure-driven, procrastinating ways.

And for the record, I am not necessarily condoning procrastination. It is not necessarily a good idea... Unless you are really good at it like me. And if you are  like me, well, I salute you.

Once I even made up my own final exam. I studied all night for a History Before 1877 final comprised of three essays. That's right... no scantron, just that damn blue book that I could never remember to buy before the test. So I sat down to write my essays and I dominated the first two. And then I came to the third and I had absolutely no idea what the question was asking. I did not study that one! The pressure was on - what should I do?! I decided that instead of half assing a terrible response I would write my own essay question about something I did know about. At the end of the essay I wrote this note to my professor:

"I did not study this particular subject, so I have decided to write my own essay question instead. I hope you will take my revised question into consideration. And please... have mercy on me."

Guess what that professor gave me on that particular final exam? 100. Again, the reinforcement. Boo. Freaking. Yah.

So here's the deal. My creativity and ability to work under pressure has served me well in the past, so now I am hoping to apply these skills to my current endeavor.

I need to lose a few pounds. And I need some pressure, your pressure, to do it.

Ugh. I know. Losing weight sucks.

The only thing that sucks more than losing weight is listening to someone else talk about losing weight and then watching that person never actually lose it. As a result, you have to listen to this person talk about the same 15 pounds for years. And the weight never budges. That person is me.

I'm not going to lie and tell you I've tried everything. My problem is I have tried a lot of different things, and although I get off to a great start I usually get bored about two-and-a-half weeks in and quit. Sound familiar?

So on January 1st I set out to lose 30 pounds. Now I know what you're thinking: "But she is so tiny! Someone as waif-like as she couldn't possibly have 30 pounds to lose! She can't weigh more than 110 pounds soaking wet!" Right.

I settled on Weight Watchers, and somehow managed to lose the first 15 pounds in about 6 weeks. Jenny Hudson would be so proud. But then I got comfortable. I haven't gained it back (hooray!) but I've been stuck for the last few weeks.

I would not consider this a plateau, because that would imply that I was actually working out and tracking my points. Let's be clear - I have not been doing those things. I will say that foot surgery threw a wrench into my workout plans, but three weeks later I'm ready to get back on the horse. Or elliptical.

So why Weight Watchers? Because it's easy.

Not to mention I get 14 extra points a day while I'm nursing the Bulldog. 14! That's a lot of food. So much, in fact, that I'm considering breastfeeding until she's 12. Okay, not really, but it really does burn a lot of extra calories! Just saying.

Plus, creeping on the Weight Watchers message boards on a Wednesday night is nothing if not pure entertainment.

So here's the challenge. I want to finish losing the weight before the end of the school semester. And yes, as a 26-year-old woman I still measure time by the local school district calendar. I will forever be a product of public school.

That's 15 pounds in about 7 weeks. Definitely achievable, but only if I feel the pressure. I will be reporting here, on this blog, weekly to let you know about my progress. I hope that if I do well you will write nice comments complete with smiley emoticons and maybe even a heartfelt "Way to go!"

If I'm not successful, I invite you to put the pressure on. Perhaps the fear of a heckling blog audience (all three of you) will force me to get off my ass and go to the gym. Perhaps.

Yes, I want to lose weight to be healthier, have more energy, blah blah blah. I'm also honest enough to say that my vanity has taken over and I want to look good in a bathing suit this summer, damn it.

If only I was big enough to go on The Biggest Loser. That would be ideal. I love you, Bob Harper.