Skinny pants

My friends, today is a monumental day in this treadmill addict’s life. Brace yourself. Wait for it. Just a little longer. Okay, today I am wearing my skinny pants. This is not to say that I should be wearing my skinny pants, but I am anyway. I’ve been slowly losing weight since the beginning of the year. I’ve been loosely following my own little twisted version of Weight Watchers just for the fun of it, and it has worked. I am not yet down to my ultimate goal weight, but I am inching closer every week.

Every so often I pull out my skinny pants and use them to see how much progress I’ve made, and typically they go right back into the drawer. The last time I tried them on, I was giddy because I could button and zip them with little effort, but as they are fairly low rise pants the love handle hang-over issue was keeping me from wearing them in public. This morning on a whim, I tried them on, zipped them up and decided the hang-over factor wasn’t bad enough to keep me from wearing them! Of course I’m wearing a zip up hoodie sweatshirt over a fitted tee so as to minimize the effect. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that I can now wear these pants. I don’t think I have worn them since before The Boy was conceived, although there might have been a brief stint centered around my training for the marathon I ran between The Boy and The Girl when they fit. Of course you now have to realize that it has been nearly 5 years since I was wearing these pants often, and maybe 7 years since they were purchased. Do you think they are still in style? Not likely. Oh well, it is not that I have ever been in style anyway. At least I am out of style and happy about it.


Which part did you like again?

I have been on a baby-step paced quest to improve my life lately. There have been little improvements that have already had a great impact on my life: the great no TV before daycare experiment has been a tremendous success, and the 9 PM internet cutoff time is making me more interactive with my DH. I feel more connected to him than I have in a long time, which is very nice. I still keep losing my cool with the kids too often, but as I said, this is a baby-step paced campaign. I know I cannot change everything overnight, because frankly I have far too many quirks to focus on at once. I am focusing on the things I know I can impact in short order. I went to the doctor last week to finally have a suspicious mole evaluated, so I could put the negativity and fear of skin cancer out of my mind. I arranged a trip to see my Mom because seeing her more often is important to me. You get the drift.

I feel like I need to preface this with the fact that my life is already pretty damn good. I am not trying to struggle through difficult circumstances at the moment. I am simply trying to make a life I am very happy with, a life that I am grateful for, a life that has been blessed in many ways just a little bit better. I have two tremendous kids, a husband I love dearly, supportive parents who are still living, a great network of friends, and enough money to live comfortably without worrying how bills will be paid. I’m just making little tweaks.

The one big area of my life I feel needs to change is my professional life. I was describing my job to a group of runner friends this weekend, and heard myself saying I like my job, but I don’t like X aspect, oh and I don’t like Y aspect, oh and I forgot about Z. One of the women asked me which part it was that I liked. I was silenced. I did come up with a few things I like, but it put my job, which I claim to enjoy, into focus. You’ve heard me complain about work travel before, so I think that topic has been covered. Truthfully there aren’t any terrible downsides to my job (well *ahem* travel is one), but there are some issues. Issues that I don’t really want to discuss here because I do want to keep the job for the foreseeable future. I think it comes down to the fact that I want to be excited about work. I don’t necessarily need to be in bliss all day at work, but I want work to give me a sense of accomplishment, a sense that I am good at what I do. I do not want to simply put in time to fill a quota of hours per week. Truthfully, that is what I am doing most of the time. What exactly is my ideal job? I might be able to keep my current position and achieve much of what I want, but I don’t know yet. I need to think about it for a while. I know if I put the right focus towards it, I’ll find my answers…I just need to give it some time and a lot of thought.


Save Studio 60, or something like that

Okay, so I highly doubt that this makes much of a difference at all, but given my love for the doomed Studio 60, I had to at least post a link. Vote here to save Studio 60. I confess that it was really hard for me not vote for Gilmore Girls, but that is more guilty pleasure than good show...and we've had it for so many seasons already. I mean Rory is graduating from Yale this year, how much more can we ask for?


Slow down there sweetie

A few weeks ago I was getting dressed in the morning and The Girl woke up (she was in our bed) to find me in the process of getting dressed. I was wearing pants but hadn’t yet decided on a shirt so I was roaming around with just a bra on top. The Girl was fascinated. She pointed at my bra and asked “Wha zat?” I told her what it was, and she begged to be picked up so she could have a closer look. She touched it, she peered inside and asked me what the contents were, and just generally became very familiar with the concept. Then she tried to get it away from me. I explained that this was in fact, Mommy’s bra, which she didn’t seem to like but eventually accepted. She then asked “Where my ba?” Well who am I to resist her little head tilt and arms raised up in question, so I riffled through my drawer and handed her one of my old worn out bras. She didn’t want it though. I suspect it was because the one I gave her wasn’t formed at all, and just wasn’t as interesting to play with. She persisted, so I found the bra I’d worn the previous day and handed it to her. She was thrilled. She then asked me to help her put it on. I didn’t want to help her, but I just couldn’t stop myself. Of course the bra was far too big around on her, but she still walked around for a good 2 minutes saying “My ba.” DH rolled his eyes at me, but I know he thought it was funny.

Now I have to hurry every time I change clothes so I can keep her from seeing my bra. If she sees mine she gets very pissy when I don’t produce the “My ba” for her again. We tested her knowledge at Target the other day. We were walking past the lingerie department and she went nuts when we past the bras. She got very excited and started pointing and saying “ba, ba, ba!” Thankfully other people probably just presume she is doing her fabulous sheep imitation.

The last time she modeled her “My ba” around for me I pulled her aside and informed her that she has a good 8 years before she really needs one, and perhaps she could just forget about them for now. She just smiled at me. I don’t even want to think about my baby being old enough to need a bra. Slow down there sweetie, and play with my shoes instead, that doesn’t give me the same heart stopping reaction.


Cutting myself off

I am addicted to mindlessly surfing the web after my children go to sleep. I read up on the three message boards I frequent, then I rotate through them again in search of more new posts, then I search through them again, etc., then I read a few blogs, then I check my home email account which only ever gets spam, just to have the pleasure of deleting it. I've recently come to the conclusion that this adds little value to my life. I'm not saying that I'm going to stop doing it, just that I have come up with a cut-off time for internet usage each night.

Last week I tried implementing a 9 PM cutoff time, and it works pretty well. DH and I actually had a good conversation one of those nights because I wasn't off in the office while he was in the living room (on his laptop). Of course the conversation resulted in me saying that I would help more with the great basement remodel projects. He has been pressing me each and every day since then, and it turns out that I just don't want to help with those projects. I always assumed he liked doing them, but it turns out he would rather do almost anything else instead too. Strange. Perhaps this internet cutoff plan is bad. I could have lived in bliss that he enjoyed sanding and staining doors, but now I have to live with the knowledge that he is suffering for our family's future basement enjoying pleasure. I suppose I could suck it up and help sand and stain. Best case, he mocks my skills and I get to go back into my slacker domain, worst case is that I get stuck helping indefinitely. Have I mentioned that I do all of the laundry for the family every Sunday? Yes, that is 6-7 loads of laundry every Sunday. I just had to throw that in there, in case you were feeling sorry for my DH.

Yes, I realize this was posted after 9 PM.


Not a shoe girl

I have a horrible confession to make. It turns out that I am not “into shoes.” I don’t know how many episodes of Sex and the City I’ve watched and been completely dumbfounded by Carrie’s ability to spend all of her money on Manolo Blahniks (in case you are wondering I had to google that in order to spell it correctly!). When I see expensive shoes I typically think that they look uncomfortable, and can’t imagine spending so much money on them. I have three pairs of shoes that I alternate between for every day wear (not including my running shoes). I have a pair of brown loafers made by Timberland, which were less than $40. I’ve had them for at least the past 3 years. I wear them to work with everything except black pants. I also have a pair of black loafers made by Dockers, also in the neighborhood of $40, and they are older than the tan shoes. They have a bit of a heel so I like that they make me feel somewhat taller than normal, but otherwise they are very plain. I wear them with black pants, and occasionally with tan pants (especially on business trips when I don’t want to pack more than one pair of shoes in my carry-on…because you know I always have to pack my running shoes). The third pair is sort of a running shoe/mule hybrid. They are New Balance shoes, and fit the bill for weekend wear, or when running errands after work. They go well with shorts, yoga pants, and wind pants (my “play clothes”). I think I spent closer to $50 on them.

I do have more than just those shoes, I have a collection of dressy shoes that I purchased to wear with specific dresses, but they just collect dust in my closet. Most of them are horribly out of style, and extremely uncomfortable. I also have a small spattering of sandals that I’ll drag out in the summer if I don’t feel like wearing my running shoe/mule hybrids. The kids like to pull my “dressy” shoes out to play with, and I never object because someone might as well get some use out of them. Running shoes are an entirely different subject, but I am also pretty no-nonsense about them. I wait until my knees start to ache a bit and then replace the shoes with the exact same model or perhaps the upgraded version if the old one is no longer available. Repeat. I buy 3-4 pairs of running shoes a year depending on my mileage, and at nearly $100 a pop, I suppose I’m fulfilling my shoe quota that way.

I’m not sure what the point of this post is, mostly I’m wondering if I am the only non-shoe girl out there. Am I? If you do have a love affair with shoes, can you tell me why? I am clearly missing something. Oh, I almost forgot about purses, I cannot even be bothered to carry one. My wallet fits fine in my jacket pocket, as does my cell phone and the lip gloss I carry. I do love my current diaper bag though (the Kecci Shanghai Mommy bag), and often get comments about how pretty it is in Azalea (which doesn’t seem to be available anymore). Perhaps that is the hook; a few comments about a diaper bag might just lead me to a purse habit down the road. I guess only time will tell.


An Ode to my Treadmill

You occupy a small portion of the basement family room, your humble little spot right in front of the never used wood burning fireplace. You consume 15 amps of current when operational, but never seem to blow the fuse. You have nice little nooks for storing television remotes, and random things like Kleenex and cell phones. You have a nice bar to hang a towel from, and a nice display that tells me how close I am to completing each ¼ mile lap. You can wirelessly read Polar heart rate monitor strap signals, though I confess to not using one in years. You have a nice soft but sturdy belt to absorb my foot strikes. Okay, truthfully I’m really struggling to come up with more compliments for you. The best thing about you is that you allow me to stay in decent running shape throughout the long cold winter. I can rely on you to be there no matter what the weather is like. I trust that I can step onto you and have basically the same experience every single time. Sure I play around with speed and incline to spice things up, but you and me, and the fan placed strategically behind us are the key ingredients. Thank you for being there for me.

You deserve the credit for my two awesome outdoor runs this week. The hilly mile of Tuesday’s run (a mile that is almost entirely uphill) was done in just 10:08, and my quads weren’t even screaming. The last time I’d run that route was in December and that mile was much closer to 12:00 back then. Some non-runners won’t understand the significance of just two measly minutes, but we know what that means. It means all of those Thursday speedwork sessions, where you happily increased my pace for 400 meter or 800 meter intervals had a great impact. I was used to losing speed in the spring, when I first ventured outdoors again, but not this year. This year, I decided to increase my mileage indoors, and incorporate speedwork to allay boredom, and it worked. I am not completely done with you for the season; your convenience still keeps you on my list of running options. However we won’t be spending nearly as much time together. I know you will be there for me on rainy days, and on sweltering hot days, and just days when I can’t fit in a run in the daylight.

Just remember that as I am running outdoors you have some duties to fulfill. You need to keep the recumbent bike company; he is certainly very lonely since nobody uses him with any regularity. Perhaps you can give the free weights and bench a pep talk, because eventually they will find their way back into my favor. Soon enough there will be a new room for you in the basement, an exercise room all for you. Oh, it doesn’t have anywhere near the ambiance of the family room, nor the nice natural lighting that comes in from the walk-out side of the house. It will, however, keep you from having little children climb all over you in ways that were never intended. You will also have your own dedicated 20 amp circuit to protect you from the possibility of blowing fuses. It is for your own protection you see. Never let anyone tell you that you have been hidden away so we had room in the basement for more practical things. You, my friend, are the most practical thing in the basement.


Real Moms get sat upon

I was actually going to post something about the fact that I actually ran outdoors yesterday for the first time since Christmas Day, but since Meena tagged me I’ll play along. Really that was about the extent of my running post anyway, well I might have mentioned the fact that I had to wade through some pretty deep and nasty looking puddles along the way, and came home with mud caked on my calves, but aside from that I would have been done. I think. Oh except I would have had to start by saying that I started my run on the treadmill, got about 1.5 miles into it, and decided I was insane for wasting a 60 degree early March day by running on the treadmill. I knew there would be puddles you see, and I was right, but it was still worth it.

Okay, onto the Real Moms challenge. This is a little tricky since a photo is required. I had to pick from one of the many (you know all 5 of them) photos of me that are loaded into my Photobucket account. It seems there is a theme though, as more than one of the photos was of me with two children sitting on me in some manner or another. So I guess my entry will have to be this:

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Real Moms. Making pretty darn good furniture of themselves.

So since I was tagged by Meena (who was tagged by FairlyOddMother), I am tagging Jennifer, Kate, Dineen, and Nancy (is it totally unfair to tag someone who’s blog you read, but highly doubt they even know about your own?). I’m going to say that 4 is the new 5 and call it even.

The "how to": write a post "Real Moms [insert what you do here]", followed by an explanation, a picture, and a "Real Moms. Making ....". Then tag five people.


And somebody else put it much better than I could have

I've been thinking for a while about how destructive it is for Moms to beat each other up over petty little things. I can't count how many "debates" I've read on message boards over the years, that were little more than one group of Moms trying to justify their choices at the expense of another group of Moms choices. Surely, I am better Mom than someone else who fed her babies rat poison (formula), and better for not letting my children CIO right? Well, perhaps if I can find another group of Moms who made the same choices I did, then we can gang up on another group to make sure we are right! There is a small caveat though because my kids did have formula, but shhh don't tell the other Moms that. I felt guilty about it so that should count for something right?

I've been trying to come up with a blog post to address this issue for quite some time, but just couldn't do it without fumbling over myself in the process. Whenever this happens I usually find that someone else has already put it much better than I could have. Without further ado: Good Vs. Bad Mothering, from Sabrina Porterfield.


Some personal growth

It seems to me that when you have to struggle to find the right words for a blog post that perhaps you should just give up and wait until something feels more natural. It is just a blog after all; I have no deadlines to complete an entry here. However I do sometimes get caught up in a cycle where I feel like I need to post something in order to keep my readers interested. A new person commenting on the blog is often a spur for me to write more. It is crazy of course, normally I don’t really care if people comment or not (at least that is what I tell myself when posts get no comments). It makes just as much sense as getting all excited when a complete stranger tells me that The Girl is absolutely beautiful, or that she could model does. Why is it that comments from complete strangers mean more to me, than comments from people close to me do? I seem to have an uncanny ability to deny compliments from my inner circle, to assume they are “just being nice.” A comment from a relative stranger means more to me because I don’t feel like they have to “just be nice.” It is crazy, but there it is; a window into my neurosis.

I have decided that this cracked behavior has to stop. From now on I am going to accept all compliments as they were intended, with no second guessing or negative self-talk thrown in for good measure. I started my blog as a way to document some of my thoughts; not to attract hordes of readers. I have to stop myself from logging into my web stats tracking account more than once a week. I’m only tracking for my own entertainment purposes anyway. It is funny that my post about the Backyardigans and another rant about Johnny and the Sprites seem to garner the most attention. The posts that are the least about me, find the greatest audience. I’m not sure what that says, and I don’t really care. I’ll keep writing things I want to write, and let the other bloggers cover the important topics of this world. This is my reality, and I’ll make it what I want it to be. I know that occasionally someone will read here and think what I said was true, or witty, or interesting in some regard, and that my friends is just gravy!

Thanks for reading, I'll keep treadmilling around but don't expect any fancy
Choreographed dance moves around here. I just run on my treadmill, boring as I am.

They should be in pictures

I realize that I haven't shared many pictures of my children on this blog. In the beginning that was mainly because I figured most of my readers knew me from the message boards I frequented, and saw enough of my kids in signature pictures. There was also a bit of laziness at play. Anyway these are my favorite recent pictures of the kids:
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The Boy looking thoughtfully at the snow
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
The Girl begging me to help her fix her mittens

I swear sometimes I just have to look at their pictures and my heart feels like it might explode with love. This motherhood thing is amazing.


Divide and Conquer

Monday evenings can be somewhat tricky in our house. The Boy is generally a little more tired than normal after playing all day with his daycare buddies, and he often takes out his frustrations on the rest of us. After about the 10th whine of “but she is taking it,” or “but she isn’t playing it right” directed to us about The Girl we decided it was time to intervene. I offered to bring one of The Boy’s basement toys up to his bedroom while we kept The Girl downstairs with us. He excitedly agreed to this arrangement, went upstairs, and played happily until nearly bed time. DH later commented that this must be known as the “divide and conquer” parenting technique. It is definitely a technique we will keep up our sleeves to use again. It is amazing how much of parenting is just done by trial and error, and how strongly we cling onto the things that actually work.