Friday, January 28, 2011

Julia's Princess Room

My firstborn baby girl just turned five a couple of weeks ago.  As if that didn't feel bittersweet enough, her request for a new "big girl" room did.

The conversation went a little something like this:
"Mommy, I want a new big girl room for my birthday."

"Oh, you don't like your fun butterflies and dragonflies?  You're room is so pretty now!"

: : blank stare : : "Mom, this room is for babies.  I am not a baby."

{Insert my realization of that fact and subsequent emotional breakdown here.}

She's right.  She's definitely not the baby who wanted bugga buggas to decorate her room three years ago.  Her butterfly bedding was fraying from washing it constantly.  Those pastel curtains were starting to fade.  And five year olds apparently do not need mobiles hanging in the corner.  Silly mommy.

What kind of room does a big girl like Julia need?  A Disney Princess room, it seems.  That's grown-up??  She assured me that all cool kids have Disney Princesses.
Now, I love those princesses as much as the next Disney addict, but plastering Cinderellas as big as my child all over the place is not really my thing.  I discussed this with her and we decided to go a more subtle route, just having touches of princessy things here and there.
By subtle, I mean she chose purple walls and pink bedding.  I have proclaimed since I was I was pregnant with her that I would NOT be a mom who would turn her daughter into a girly-girl, surrounded by girly-girl colors and dressing up in tutus and dresses all the time.  But you know what?  I didn't turn her into this.  She has chosen this.  And I just gave in big time.

We're tight on cash (who isn't?), but I was determined to give her the room of her dreams.  We bought her purple paint for her birthday, and her grandmother bought her pink bedding.  We reused the pink curtains from our upstairs playroom (it will be turned into a room for Sawyer eventually, and I doubt he wants pink never know, though...).  I took the castle decal from the upstairs playroom and slapped it on the wall in Julia's room.  For artwork, I turned her existing decorative frames into Princess art using scrapbooking paper and more decals.  It is all very girly, and she loves it.  Here it is, in all its pastel glory:
Pink and purple Princess room (butterflies above bed stayed).  Night when I took this, so sorry it's dark.

Lamp also stayed...she couldn't part with it.  Cinderella's Castle wall decal and toy.

Her armoire.  Disney snow globes.  Stolen towel animal from Pop Century (he's a hitchhiker).

Wall art I crafted out of scrapbook paper, old frames, and wall decals.

Her stuffed animals.  I want to remember this forever.

Another view of the room.  Note the 80s Barbie house, which is AWESOME.  Also, her memories board and messy toy bins.

Princess tin we got at Walt Disney World.  First thing you see upon entering.

Princess throw pillow.  And, yes, she still sleeps on her converted toddler bed.  She refuses to allow us to turn it into a full bed as of now.  She could grow a foot or two and still fit.
 So, all in all, we spent $30 for paint and supplies, and her grandma gifted her sheets and a comforter.  We owned or created all the decorations, and her sentimentality (or mine?) allowed us to keep a couple of things from her old room.

Is it overwhelmingly purple and pink?  You bet.  I totally failed at preventing that.  But even I have to say that it doesn't just SCREAM tacky princess decorations, though it does speak it loudly.  She got enough of the characters to make her happy, but there are few enough of them to keep me sane.

It comes down to this: it's her room, not mine.  While a color like that would lead me into some sleepless nights, she loves it.  She picked the theme, and she owns it.  As if she weren't a princess enough already, now she has a room fit for her royal status.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I've Got uff da! Love

I'm a stay-at-home mom.  My kid list consists of a preschooler, a toddler, and a baby.  That's right, there are three of them.
Needless to say, I don't get out much.  And honestly?  I don't always have the time or energy to fix my hair when I DO get out.
(Shhh...I don't always get to wash it, either.  Stand back at least three feet if you don't want a whiff of spit-up and breast milk on one of those days.)

So imagine my excitement when I won a giveaway over at Last Train to Pooksville in December!!  The lovely @emilybilbrey (follow her on won't regret it) has an amazing blog AND an amazing shop, uff da! designs, and she was giving away a couple of her beautiful, handmade, fashionable headbands.

I don't have much luck, usually, so I was jumping up and down and probably way more excited than a normal person would be, but look at these!  Wouldn't you be??

hydrangea bloom headband

perfect poppy headband

I got to choose not only which headband design I wanted, but also the color.  That?  Was hard.  I mean, seriously.  Look at how many colors she uses.
I know, the suspense is killing you.
I chose....drum roll, please...a teal hydrangea bloom headband!

Something you must know about Emily is that not only does she take great care at being a mom, but also puts love into each thing she crafts.  My headband arrived and looked FABULOUS.  Not only that, but she enclosed a handwritten note and a sticker for her store.  That's thoughtfulness for ya, folks. 

Right away, I knew this headband would become part of my go-to hair supplies, right up there with the elastic band I use to put my mane in a knot safely on top of my head and out of reach of Sawyer.  One of his favorite games these days is seeing how loudly he can make me scream when he pulls my hair, so I haven't worn it down in a while.  My style (can it be called that?), though necessary, is kind of boring.
Or it WAS boring.  Until this:

Boring mom style, all dressed up!!  Fancy!

Plus, it's a dual purpose--looks great, and keeps those wispy hairs out of my face.

I am grabbing this cute accessory all the time now, and I adore it.  You will, too.  Promise.

Visit Emily's online store, uff da! designs, where she sells not only these spectacular headbands, but also handmade magic wands, upcycled sweater hats, hair clips and holders, and more.

And to Emily--THANK YOU so much for introducing me to your fabulous creations!

**Fine Print: I am not being paid for endorsing these products.  I get no money and no free products besides what I've won.  I just wanted to write this post because I am in love with my headband in a crazy kind of way.  And you will be  as well, so I suggest you get your booty in gear and beautify your hair with these fantastic designs!  Or you can send me some of them.  That's totally cool, too.**

The Day Our Lives Began

Dear Julia,

Today you turned five years old.  You are so excited to be five, but already you've told us you just want to stay five forever.  Trust me, sweet girl, I wish I could freeze this moment, too.

Five years ago at this time, I was sitting in the hospital room, nursing you constantly, and staring at you for hours on end.  I could not believe that you had just come out of me.  You were so perfect and so beautiful.  I watched your daddy change your first diaper and saw you try to hold your head up right from the start.  You've always been precocious.

I had never known love like I felt the moment I first saw you.  You were a surprise baby, and you were the best surprise your daddy and I have ever had.  The moment we became parents was the moment that we became a family instead of just a couple.  The bond that your birth started has just gotten stronger as we've added more siblings, but you started it all.  Before you were born, life had no real purpose; as soon as we met, I knew my purpose in life was to be the best mommy I could be and give you back all the love you make me feel.

I was so nervous when I was learning to be a mom.  I laugh now thinking about how scared I was to give you a bath, how I anguished over dressing you, and whether you were getting enough food.  Or sleep.  Or tummy time.  I must have done something right, because you are simply wonderful.

I want to remember forever that you were just like this at age five:

As a big five year old, you love to read.  You started reading small books when you were three, and now you're up to chapter books.  The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is what you're reading to us at night right now, and we've decided to throw a Pooh party when you finish it.  I love that you take the time to read to your sister and brother, and books are constantly scattered around our house because you read so many of them a day!

Your favorite movies are any of the Disney Princess movies (sing-a-longs or films), Gumby: The Movie, Muzzy, and all Strawberry Shortcake films.  You watch "Yo Gabba Gabba!" with Brynn and you sing and dance together.  You also enjoy any of the shows on PBS Kids ("Dinosaur Train," "Sid the Science Kid," "Word World").

At night, you listen to The Magic Tree House books on CD, and you have about a million of them!

Playtime for you usually includes Princess figures and your toy Cinderella's Castle.  You come up with elaborate stories for them, and you shout, "Dreams come true!  Dreams come true!," just like you saw them do at Disney World.  One of your scenarios includes every character bringing a gift to the one having a birthday or getting married.  And there are hundreds of them.  You are very dedicated and will not allow us to clean up the mess until you are finished, which sometimes takes days.  Most of my time is spent trying to pick up your figures so I don't step on them.

For Christmas, you got a pink Barbie house, which is another toy getting thrown into the rotation.  You have decided to name your Ken dolls Speeder, John Handsome, and Nickel.  I've only heard one Barbie have a name, and that was Sylvia.

You play Wii games with your dad, and you both yell at the screen, though you have no idea what you're yelling or what it means--you just want to be like him.  Games are some of your favorite things.  We've played Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Pretty Pretty Princess, Tic-Tac-Toe, and more.  However, you're infamous for scattering pieces all over the house, so we rarely have all the parts we need to play!  Recently, you've started playing Scrabble with us in a modified way.  And you win, because you're definitely a better speller than we are.  Or at least better than your dad, for sure.

I keep thinking that you're growing out of the dress-up phase, but then you see Brynn dressing up and your interest is high again.  The two of you play together and fight together.  I enjoy watching you girls play your made-up games (like "Gifts" and "Princess Party") that have rules only the two of you understand.  And you love your baby brother so much, too.  You're constantly telling him, "I'm right here, buddy.  It's okay, I'm right here."  He calms down when you talk to him or rub his head.  Since he was born, you've spent hours reading him books and giving him toys.  You're such a big help to me.

When you grow up, you say you want to be a chef, a nature photographer, a veterinarian, a doctor, a teacher, a scientist, and a dancer.  You spend lots of time cooking, taking pictures, exploring, experimenting, and dancing, so I have no doubt that you could do all of those things.

You're in a phase of making up jokes, too...except that the punchline is almost always, "Because he was eating beans!!!"  And then, there's your famous one of, "Why did the flower die in the spring?  Because he wasn't a flower at all; he was candy!" might might want to work on those.  Not sure you're quite getting the concept of a joke.  And you're funny enough without trying.
You give us so much joy and make us laugh all the time. 
"Reach for the stars, but watch your head!"
"God said, 'Wake up and eat marshmallows.' And we woke up and ate them.  And it was good."
"Oh, really?  I just moved here  from Botswana!"

Pineapple pizza, celery, carrots, apples, peanut butter sandwiches, and chicken nuggets are foods I can always get you to eat. I still water down your juice, but you remind me that you don't want to drink much of it because it has sugar...though you don't seem to mind sugar in the form of candy or cake.

You're a wonderful artist, and your various drawings (especially of rainbows) cover our fridge, art display board, and walls.

I want to remember you as you are at this moment, but I am also excited to watch you grow and accomplish all the things I know you will.  You are kind, funny, thoughtful, compassionate, creative, and determined.  You are the most precious five year old I know.

When all this ice and snow melts, we'll have a Strawberry Shortcake birthday party for you on Sunday, and everyone there will love you and tell you that these five years with us has been the best five years of their lives, just like they have been for your daddy and me.  May you have many, many more years of living life to the fullest.  I am proud to have given birth to you, and I will spend my life in awe of all that you are.

I love you more than you'll ever know.


Monday, January 10, 2011

I'm Hurt--and Not Just My Ego

One week into this, and already I'm afraid I may have a big problem. 
It's not the diet.  Mostly because that hasn't yet started. Tomorrow, I promise...or soon, at least...
It's not that I don't like to exercise.  I really do!  I've actually had fun running on the treadmill in the garage and have made it through week one of Couch to 5k.  I feel great when I'm done with a session.
Most of me feels great.
And then there's my knees.

Why, oh, why did you runner-type people not warn me that my knees could easily go from perfectly normal, if a little knobbly, to extremely painful in just seven days!?!  I'm talking can't-make-it-up-the-stairs painful after tonight's run.  Not good.
I thought I was doing everything right.  I stretch before and after exercise.  I do a warm up and a cool down.  I alternate jogging and walking, just like C25K yells for me to do into the earbuds of my iPod.
Do I need new shoes?  Did I overextend my knees?  Are they inflamed?  Is this my fibromyalgia?  Am I just getting trail-worn?  Does the universe just want me to stay unhealthy?!?

Already I can see my dreams of running at Disney World going down the drain with my sweaty bathwater, and I am getting really discouraged with each aching moment.  That was my carrot, people.  I was inspired.  And because of one silly race, I was more determined than ever to build endurance and muscle and lose flab and self-doubt.  Now that might not be feasible.

If you have any clue about why my knees are hot and painful, more so with each run, please let me know.  And if you have any ideas about how to make it better, please let me know that, too.  All my frozen veggies are thawing from icing my knees, and they'd be much better in my belly than as a first aid device.

I guess I also need to start considering the fact that my knees might not allow me to run (please, NO), and I also need ideas for other types of low-impact exercise that can still help me achieve my other goal--beach body by May.  So, help. 
And also tell me that things will get better or some other lie along those lines. 

In more McFatty news, my weight is at 138.2 lbs (down 1.8 lbs), but I look absolutely the same.  In fact, the weight loss is probably due to the fact that I didn't get enough groceries before this snowstorm thing hit the south.  Or it might be because I shaved my legs.  I fully expect the weight to return by next week when our cabinets are stocked, though by then they'll be only stocked with healthy items.  And next week my husband will be on board and I'll have extra encouragement, which, let's face it, I need right now.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Letter to My Son at 6 Months Old

**The main reason I started this blog a couple of months ago was so it could act as a written account of the lives of my children.  It's a baby book of sorts, and I hope that one day they can sit and read about the things they used to say and do and see pictures of their cuteness.  Most of all, I want them to know their mom loves them.
This is an entry for Sawyer to document his life at six months old.**

Dear Sawyer,

I knew as soon as I found out I was pregnant with you that you were a boy.  I'm not sure if it was a gut feeling, a mother's intuition, or just a sincere longing, but I knew.  We kept your pregnancy a secret for three months, and I spent hours of that time rubbing my belly and talking to the baby I knew would be my "Mommy's Boy."  In February 2010, we went for an ultrasound that confirmed what I already knew--you'd be our first boy.  While we were in the midwife's office, it started snowing.  Since it hardly ever snows here, I took it as a sign that something soft and pure, perfect and unique would soon be coming into our lives.  I knew I'd never forget that moment.

Your birth in July was so calm and full of so much love.  It's almost as if you didn't want to make much trouble for me, and I went through most of labor with only a bad tummyache and pushed you out within two minutes.  I reached down and delivered you myself, pulling you up onto my chest.  Perfection.

Going to be weighed. 8lbs 8 oz

My Old Soul, 1 Day Old

That's still your personality--calm, not wanting to make much of a fuss.
You began to nurse immediately, and you really haven't stopped since.  You turned six months old yesterday, and all 21 pounds of you has been grown only with breastfeeding.  I am proud of you for that.  I'm proud of both of us.  No bottles, no solid food, just Mommy.  You're bigger than lots of babies and have been wearing 9 month sized clothing for a month now.   You wear Blueberry cloth diapers on the largest setting and FuzziBunz in size medium.

Sweet boy, you have had us smiling from the beginning.  When you were first born, you whimpered like a puppy when you were sleeping, and we'd watch you and listen to you instead of sleeping ourselves.  At first, you would nap in a Pack-n-Play cradle and sleep at night with us.  You started rolling over from your back to your belly at about two months old, so the cradle had to go.  From then on, it was just our big bed for you, until a few days ago.  We decided that leaving you on the bed is now too dangerous because you're so roly-poly, so we bought you a crib and placed it beside our bed.  Now you nap there, and sleep at night in our bed with us.  I love cuddling with you all night.  You always want to be touching me in some way, whether it's nursing or curling up your feet and putting them on my leg.  And honestly?  I want that, too.
One day you'll have a room of your own, I promise.  But for now, I nurse you and rock you to sleep every single time.  I know that the time you'll allow me to do this is fleeting, and I love watching your still-baby-grey eyes getting heavy as you drift off, then gently placing you next to me to rest.

At half a year old, you already love to play.  Taggie blankets are a favorite, mostly because you love anything you can put in your mouth!  You love to chew on the one my friend Miranda made for you, as well as one shaped like a starfish that your sisters didn't enjoy and passed on to you.  We have to keep a supply of cold teethers ("colds," as your sisters call them) for you to gnaw on, too.  So far, no teeth.  And I'm pretty grateful for that.  So far, no sickness, either, unless you count the runny nose you had on Christmas, and I don't count that since it was gone in a day and didn't bother you.
As far as other toys, you've got a fascination with Tiggers (Is it the bold colors?  Or the tail?) and dressed as Tigger for Halloween, along with both of your sisters.

If it has lights and makes music, chances are it's a toy you love.  For Christmas, Santa brought you a tool bench that does both things; he must have known that our house is filled with princess toys and that you needed something a little more manly.  We had our first white Christmas in decades, and I just knew it was for you.  Again, it made me realize how pure and perfect you are, and as I'm writing this to mark six months of your life, I'm waiting for it to start snowing again.
We put you on a blanket in the floor with several toys, and immediately you flip onto your belly, where you raise yourself up high on your hands and look around.  You can flip back over to your back, but you hate to do it (too fast a motion, maybe) and will fuss until I turn you over or until you give up and just do it yourself.
You are the third baby to use the toy chair that you adore, even though it's lost lots of the toys through the years.  You're so curious about how everything works, and you love getting to stand up in it.

You're so curious about the world, in fact, that you have always wanted to face outward when in a baby carrier so you can see what's going on.
If I'm rocking you in a chair, you want to sit facing outward, as well.  The only time you want to be cradled like a baby is when you're nursing; otherwise, I think you are afraid you'll fall asleep and miss something.  And as for sitting?  You learned to do that on your own this week.  You can sit for about 30 seconds to a minute before toppling over and moving on to play some more.

You're growing up so fast.  Sometimes I swear it sounds like you're saying, "Yeah," and "Hey."  You can chatter away with everyone, and smile and laugh like you're following every conversation.  Peek-a-Boo makes you laugh because you giggle every time you get scared.  And then you try to scare people with your grunting and blowing raspberries!   I am usually covered in your slobbery kisses, drool, and spit-up, and I don't mind one bit.  Your sisters adore you and will sing to you and play games with you often.  Julia wants to take care of you and make you happy.  When you fuss, she says, "It's okay, Sawyer, I'm right here," and you calm down.  She reads you books and will sing your favorite song, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," which almost always makes you relaxed.  Brynn is only two, so she can't do as much for you, but she constantly brings me blankets that she says are yours and wants me to give them to you.  She'll rub your almost-bald head (which Julia says looks "just like a peach") and is very interested in what you're all about.
I've never met such a content baby.  And that's not just me being a proud mom--it's what everyone says.  Your grandparents are all especially smitten. You have everyone you meet wrapped around your chubby little finger and people comment to me often about how sweet and calm and happy you are.
And you ARE all those things.
People can pass you around and carry you like a sack of potatoes, and you just enjoy the ride.  And I enjoy that no matter how much fun you're having with someone else, you always look for me and give me a big slobbery grin when you realize I haven't gone anywhere.  I'm right there with you.  Always.

I know that people think babies can't do much in the first six months after being born, but they are wrong.
You're the first grandson and great-grandson in our huge family to carry on the family name.
You've helped my heart grow even bigger to make room for enough love for three kids, and each time I see you smile, it grows even more.
In six short months, you've managed to fill the hole of what was missing in our family and make us more complete.  We all love you more than we could have ever imagined, and we can feel your love for us.

Thank you for blessing us.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Load of Crock...Pot Recipes

It is no secret that my cooking skills are rudimentary, at best.  However, there is a comfort zone, a cushion of confidence, if you will, for me in the kitchen.  What is it, you ask?

It's the blessed CROCK POT.
: : Angels singing. : :

So imagine my shock and even disgust as @thenextmartha (Jen at The Martha Project) declared loud and proud on Twitter, and later on her blog, that she does not have the Crock Pot love.

Immediately, Twitter was abuzz (aTwitter?) with a huge ruckus of supporters and naysayers yelling their opinions as loudly as 140 characters will allow.

I think I might have shed a tear that night.

Being the sane (???) people we are, @notsuperjustmom, @ksluiter, and I (@middlemommyhood, if you're not yet following me on Twitter) decided to defend our dear appliance's honor in the one way we know how.
It's a blog hop, people.

You are more than welcome to link up on this blog hop and share your recipes, and we'll be doing the same.  You can have one post with several recipes, or you can write several posts and link them individually.  The hop will be ending on Wednesday, January 12, 2011, so you've got a week to dig out those recipes.

For those of you who are still taking @thenextmartha's side, please do us all a favor and try out these simple and yummy recipes before casting judgement on the Crock Pot.  Now, let's get down to business.

By far my favorite recipe, the one I want to make and eat leftovers of constantly, is my Chicken Taco Soup.  It's a thick and hearty soup that I actually like to scoop up with tortilla chips instead of using a spoon, and not just because I have no's actually delicious that way.  Also?  My husband loves it, and I once saw @notsuperjustmom go back for seconds at my house, so it must be pretty tasty.  Even I can't screw this up, so you know right off the bat that you're going to be a success.

Chicken Taco Soup
1 chopped onion

1 (16 oz) can kidney beans (drained)

1 (15 oz) can black beans (drained)

1 (15 oz) bag of whole kernel frozen corn

2 (29 oz) cans of tomato sauce

1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes with green chilies (undrained)

1 (1.25 oz) package taco seasoning

1-1.5 lbs whole skinless boneless chicken breasts (can be frozen)

1 package ranch dressing mix (optional, but yummy)

Mix all ingredients well in a crock pot, add chicken breasts, making sure they are completely covered. Set for low heat, and cook all day (if cooking on high, you'll probably need about 6 hours, but keep checking it).  You'll know it's ready when the chicken is starting to fall apart.
Remove chicken from soup and shred into pieces, and return the chicken to the soup.
Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips, if desired.
And this is even better the next day as leftovers as the flavors have even more time to mingle.  Mmmmm.
Next up, possibly the easiest pot roast recipe EVER.  That's why I call it...
The Easiest Pot Roast Ever
1 Chuck Roast (4-5 lbs...and it's going to shrink by about half while cooking, so keep that in mind when shopping)
2 cans Campbell's Golden Mushroom Soup
1 onion, cut into large chunks
2 cans whole white potatoes (or 3 or so potatoes cut into large pieces)
1 can carrots (we prefer baby carrots to sliced)
Some water
Put both cans of soup and the onion into the Crock Pot, and mix in a little bit of water.  Plop the meat in there.  That's the technical term.  (*If you're putting in fresh potatoes, you can put them in now.  Otherwise, you're done adding ingredients for now.*)  You'll need to make sure the roast is just about covered with the liquid, so add water if you need to. 
Put the lid on it, turn it on low, and walk away.  At suppertime (why, yes, I AM Southern, thanks!), drain the cans of potatoes and carrots, and put them into the yummy meat and gravy that's been bubbling away.  Cook about 30 minutes more, just enough time to pop some bread in the oven to sop up all that gravy.
This will be tender and juicy and flavorful.  Promise.  You can't NOT like this.
Since I've done two meat dishes, I'm going to give you a recipe for a veggie.  Or a gourd.
In my experience, everybody, including picky kids, will love this.  It's so sweet that it's almost a dessert, but it's packed with vitamins, as well.  Even babies love to nom this, and it's a great food for them once they're mushing up solid food well.
Cinnamon Brown Sugar Butternut Squash
1 butternut squash
1 cup of apple juice
1/4 cup of brown sugar (y'all know you're supposed to pack it down when measuring brown sugar, right?)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.  Or more.  I like more.
4-5 tablespoons melted butter
Chop off the stem of the squash, cut it into quarters, and take out all the seeds.  Yucky part done.
Pour the apple juice into the bottom of the Crock Pot.  Mix the brown sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon.  Put two of the butternut squash pieces (the inside facing up) into the Crock Pot, and pour half the butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture on it.  Put the other two pieces in, inside part facing up, and pour the rest of the mixture over those pieces.  Put a lid on it, and cook it on low for 6-8 hours...just like most things in this appliance.
The hard part about this one?  Smelling it!  I don't bake, but it smells like I can when I cook this!
These are the only recipes I'm posting today, but I'm pretty sure I'll be back later this week with more.
Now it's your turn.  What recipes do you have for this glorious kitchen contraption?  Link up!  We have to prove that the doubters are wrong!  Plus, my family needs to eat, so I want your ideas of how best to not let them starve.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday--Top Ten Goals for 2011

It's that time again, folks--time for another Top Ten Tuesday list.  This week, it's Top Ten Resolutions...but I'm just going to call them "goals."  Let's face it, I don't have much resolve, so this is more like a list of things I hope to accomplish, but I definitely won't beat myself up if it doesn't happen.
Doesn't sound like I'm setting myself up for success, huh?'re probably right.  Nonetheless, my top ten goals are:
1. Be able to run a 5k, minimum.  Running has previously been, as my friend Miranda would say, something I only do if chased.  This year?  It's something I'm doing for my health and for a healthy self-esteem.  I'm determined not only to get to the Disney Princess Half-Marathon/5k Weekend, but also to lower my risk of heart disease by improving my cardiovascular health.  And also, I don't mind if my saggy booty gets a little pick-me-up.
2. Learn to knit.  I know that immediately you thought, "That is one boring old lady."  And I am.  Boring, not old.  I like to be able to sit and do things in bed (oh, so your mind went there...), although I'm already preparing myself for leaving a knitting needle on my pillow out of sheer absentmindedness and having it poke through my ear or something. 
So maybe knitting isn't for me.  Or it's for a more responsible me (maybe that should be a goal?).  Katie wants to knit, too, but I'm willing to bet she doesn't get stabbed by her knitting supplies.
3. Keep my house somewhat tidy.  I want people to be able to drop by unexpectedly and only be shocked to see how wrecked I look, not how wrecked my house looks.  I've already done a huge toy clean-out downstairs and in my kids' rooms, and now I'm working on the upstairs playroom, which will eventually be Sawyer's room when he decides he doesn't like bunking in with his parents.  My carpets have been shampooed, and I'm doing my best to actually hang up the laundry that I get clean.  I'm making a valiant effort to get the dishes into the dishwasher immediately since we no longer have pets to lick them clean for us.  (Joking.  Kind of.)

4. Get that freakin' leak fixed.  We have a leak of some sort.  It started in the kids' bathroom, and now it has spread to include the upstairs playroom/Sawyer's future bedroom.  It just keeps getting worse, and I'm tired of clumps of sheet rock falling on my kids while they're bathing.  Plus, I can't decorate and paint the room for Sawyer until that wall is fixed, and that means his toys and clothes and furniture will be perpetually stuck in my room until we fix this (Sawyer can sleep with us for as long as he wants,  but the million baby items need a home).  And by we, I mean Brandon's dad.  I have no shame in admitting that my husband and I have pretty much no handyman skills.

5. Pay off those medical bills.  They don't seem to be disappearing on their own.  Sigh...

6. Get some sleep.  I really could go to bed much earlier than I do now.  I have a tendency to stay awake "just until Sawyer nurses the next time."  That's my excuse for staying up, but the truth is that I really just enjoy the quiet time when all three kids are resting.  I want to soak up enough quiet to get me through the next day when chaos inevitably ensues.  And I want to watch television with adult humor and talk to my husband about his day and eat snacks without them being stolen by little grubby hands.  The problem is, I am a person who NEEDS sleep.  Lots of sleep.  Add two or three night feedings to my late bedtime, factor in my kids all waking with the sun, and you've got one grumpy mommy.  Coffee helps some, but not much.  Something's gotta give, and it can't be Sawyer's food.

7. Keep on breastfeeding!  I think it's always wise to have breastfeeding goals, not just when it's resolution time.  I always start out with small goals--get a latch, get my milk to come in well--and then they get bigger-- nurse a week, six weeks, 3 months, 6 months, a year, two years.  Three days from now, we'll be hitting our goal of 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding.  I love knowing that my chunky baby has been grown only on mommy milk thus far.  Soon we'll be introducing solids, and I want to make sure to keep it up through that.  He'll be turning one in July, and I want to keep on going through that.  We made it 16 months with Julia and two years with Brynn, and I'm hoping to make it that long with Sawyer.  My boobs are pretty awesome, and my goal is for them to keep up that level of awesomeness through at least the next year.

8. Get some blog followers.  Lots of people visit, and many keep coming back.  But only a few are following, and I don't know how to change that.  So I guess I should do some research.  You know, in my "free" time...

9. Learn to take a picture that doesn't suck.  Sawyer learned to sit up today, and my picture of it?  Kind of sucked.  My husband is great at photography, but he's not here during the day to capture all those moments.  I can do the point-and-shoot route, but I'd rather take a photo I'm proud to display.  I guess I'll learn in all that free time people think I have...

10. Tell my family that I love them every. single. day.  And then tell them again.  And then show them.  This one, I think I can accomplish.

Monday, January 3, 2011

My First McFatty Monday

Ohhhhkay.  I'm at this point now.  This is the point I swore I'd never reach.  It has taken three pregnancies and births, but I belong here now.

I need to lose weight, or at least lose inches.

Now, those of you who have known me for years are going to be shocked by this revelation.  That is, unless you've seen me lately.  In that case, you completely understand why I'm here.

And for those of you who don't know me, let me put it to you this way...I'm "that skinny girl."  My dad threw a party for me when I finally hit 100 lbs.  I had abs without trying and my dancer body stuck around even through becoming a mommy.
At least, I was able to keep it up through TWO of my pregnancies.
And then came Sawyer, and my toned days flew out the window.  I'm not sure if my metabolism has changed, or if I'm just getting older, or if (gulp) this is my destiny, but whatever the reason, the flab has got to go.  And soon.  Why?

Because in May, I'm going to the beach.  FOUR MONTHS.  And this jiggle?  It doesn't need to be seen by anyone.

We almost always go to the beach, and I have proof that, without even trying, I always got my body back:
2007, after ONE kid

2009, after TWO kids

Impressive, right?  BUT this is what I looked like last year:
2010, pregnant w/ 3rd kid

And now?  I DON'T LOOK MUCH DIFFERENT THAN THE PREGNANT PICTURE.  I can show you this photo without any embarrassment because I can pretend that the belly is all baby.  But clearly it wasn't, because after 8 lbs. 8 oz. Sawyer was born, the belly didn't shrink much. Where baby once was, there now sits this pocket of flub that makes every pair of pants I own look ill-fitting.  Dangit, third baby!
This is an issue, and not only for my self-esteem (let's face it, that's a huge part of the problem), but for my health.

Because I've never really had to try to keep weight off before now, I really don't know where to begin.  Though I've always been skinny (until now, and I have thus far shied away from documenting the pudge with photographs), I have never been what I would consider healthy.
I don't eat well.  I live off bread, cheese, and pasta.
I don't exercise.  Sometimes I run to the kitchen to get a snack, if that counts.

Now I have three children who need me to be healthy.  And I have a four month deadline before it's time to brave the beach again.

I went searching for some extra inspiration to help me want to exercise, because, if I'm being honest, I truly HATE to exercise.  And I came up with...

The Disney Princess Half-Marathon and 5k!

I have a full year to prepare for it, and if I'm able to run it, I get an extra trip to Disney, according to my wonderfully supportive (or perhaps nostalgic for my old body) husband.  I did a little digging and found that many people like me are using a program called Couch to 5k.  It is supposed to literally take a lazy lump like myself and have me running a 5k in a matter of months.  I like the idea of easing myself into running, and I like the idea of being toned again even more.

Food is going to be harder for me to control.  I love to eat, and pretty much everything I eat has some form of carbs, dairy, or a combo of the two.  I'm also a nursing mom, so I have to make sure I'm getting enough calories.  While I'm going to try to eat better, I'm not going to let myself be hungry, because my son doesn't need to be hungry!

Weight doesn't matter much to me.  Inches matter, and that pudgy patch on my belly and my jiggly thighs matter.  Would I like my weight to be lower?  Absolutely.  But muscles weighs more than fat, and I realize that my weight might not change much, though (hopefully) my physique will.  This is for my health and for a healthy self-esteem.

But I won't complain if the scale shows a lower number soon ;-).
(For the record, I'm starting this journey at 140 lbs.  And it's a very unhealthy 140 lbs., so don't bother telling me I don't need to lose weight, cause I most certainly do.  Yay, heart health!  Belly fat, be gone!)