Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Vegas Baby!

Imagine walking into a casino and hitting the jackpot the first time. Wow! You'd think you had the magic touch and that everyone else were losers. Being a parent is sort of like a slot machine. You may come up a winner in the sleep and eating category but your baby has poop issues. Or if you have a good pooper, I bet you had trouble potting training. Or if your baby doesn't have any issues yet, hold on because you will hate the toddler years. Still none? Good luck with the teenage years.

You get lucky once and awhile. Elle is a great sleeper most of the time. Thank goodness. This mama is too tired for anything like Ryan threw at me as a baby (or even sometimes now). I am not a better mother as you may have said in your mind. I have done nothing at all different. SHE is different.

When you only have one child and your child is a good sleeper, you think you are the master of all things sleep. If you have an eater, you think the parents of the bad eater are wimps. And if you are parent of a child that hates the vacuum, you Google. Yep, you Google to find out that you are not alone.

Elle is DEATHLY AFRAID of anything that makes white noise. Yes, sensory issues the experts would say. I have tried a bunch of solutions that I found online. I hit rock bottom yesterday when a surprise guest showed up at 9 am at my TRASHED, and I mean TRASHED house. Floors unvacuumed for a least a month. Breakfast and lunch stuff everywhere. I wanted to die. If you know me, you know there is nothing worse than people seeing our house a mess. Yes, the spoiled life of a housewife in Ohio. Such troubles. But really, it makes me absolutely crazy.

I hit rock bottom with the mess. I introduced Elle to the evil sweeper. I let her touch it. We covered our ears to show it would be loud. I told her I was plugging it in. And we vacuumed the front room together quickly while holding her and singing. And I gave her four M & M's to bribe her to do it again. And guess what? It worked. And mama is much happier. She didn't even cry. So today, we are onto the living room and tomorrow, my bedroom. One room a day until she is used to it.

So I write this so that other mothers with 15 month old babies will find this online. You can vacuum your house with a baby that hates vacuums. Just try. And for the mothers out there with other kid and baby issues. Please know that experienced mothers know that we all struggle with something. My husband and I always try to remind ourselves that this is a stage. It will pass. They won't go to college in diapers. Well, at least we hope.

Friday, October 29, 2010

It Gets Better

I love that so many people are speaking out in this country. We have celebrities like Ellen, Anderson Cooper and so many more making statements against bullying. Regular people are also speaking out. I found this clip today and I just love it. I hope you will too. Spread the word. Beautiful like a Rainbow.

Visit this link to watch a video clip that will make your heart smile and cry all at the same time.

Watch for more than the first minute! I love when everyone joins in at the end.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Something Different

Time with little children can go painfully slow on a lazy Saturday or Sunday. We like to get out of the house and do something. For us, it is having lunch or dinner out. We eat out quite a bit for a family with three kids. I have had enough of the usual. I used to like bar food. But after 8 years of taking the kids to a fast, noisy kind of restaurant, I am getting tired of it.

Recently, we had a friend in from Cinci. He is the person that got us saying "I am not talking about it, I am just saying." We took a gamble and decided to try a newer restaurant. I am so glad that we did. You MUST visit Brewsters in Twinsburg.

When we first moved here, they were located next to Giant Eagle and it was called Arabica. Then, they changed their name. They then moved next to Gander Mountain down by the China Buffet and the highway. They took the Beef O'Brady restaurant and made it cozy with booths and better decor.

Why is it worth the trip (especially for you Solon people who don't like to drive ten minutes South into Twinsburg)? Their food is amazing. They take bar food and they kick it up a notch (or three notches). I was so shocked that I think my husband wanted to tell me to quit talking about how surprised I was. I ordered the turkey pesto panini and the chili combo. Awesome. The kids loved their food. Husband loved the sports on the TV's and our guest loved the beer. This past weekend, I saw on Twitter (You can follow them to see their specials) that they had a Browns burger, fries and beer combo during the Browns game for $5.00. Got to love Twinsburg prices.

The quality of the food is fantastic. And for all of you party animals, they have music on the weekends and great prices on wine and martinis. Prices are perfect and you will be pleasantly surprised. You must try Brewsters.

I have received nothing for this post. I just wanted to share the love. And if you have kids, ask your server to let you know what they have on their "kids menu." For some reason, they don't have it printed out. Totally kid friendly but for some reason, they are missing the paper version.

The Universe is Still Speaking to Me

OK. This past weekend, I wrote about feeling good about who I am. I have received a lot of feedback from my readers. I like to write and it shocks me that anyone likes to read my posts. So thank you to everyone that reached out through Facebook and email to let me know how much they enjoyed reading my post.

I was watching the news last night. I love Diane Sawyer almost as much as Oprah. She had on a great news clip from Sesame Street. You must see it. Click here to see a new character they just added. I apologize for the horrible toilet paper commercial you have to sit through to see the clip. The commercial is really awful and I might write about that another day. That is the best they can do for moms? And the moms are so frumpy. You'll see.

And here is the Sesame Street song without the news report. I loved the story that went with it. So, I think both clips are worth seeing.

The universe is still speaking to us. I am enough. You are enough. We are enough. Exactly how we are. Right now. We are enough.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Getting Closer

"She is so weird." I heard a dear friend say about me in college. At the time, it broke my heart. I was crushed. Back then, I didn't realize we are all weird. Only as I have grown up do I realize that we are all weird in some way or another. My friend T says we all have our "thing." For some it may be a lifelong fight with body image, a medical condition, family relations or a strong dislike of veggies. We all have our thing. She is so right.

Tonight I was reading "The Mixed-Up Chamelon" by Eric Carle chosen by Kyle. And Ryan picked out "A Bad Case of Stripes" by David Shannon. Both books deal with self-image and being true to yourself. For those of you without children, imagine "Closer to Fine" by the Indigo Girls in child book format. I thought it was strange that both children picked out books with the same message and on the same night. Then I started to get paranoid and wondered what message the universe was sending me tonight.
I am 38 and I am still working on being closer to fine. It is a constant struggle to ignore the self doubt, the negative messages that I say to myself and be who I am. Doesn't it sometimes seem like the rest of the world doesn't feel the same way? Does Heidi Klum wake up and feel ugly sometimes? Does Hillary Clinton ever forget the essential grocery item to complete a recipe? Does Oprah ever feel unfulfilled in her life? I am sure all have our insecurities and struggle. It just doesn't feel that way sometimes.

So you know, tonight, I am throwing my "things" out into the universe. I struggle with the following in no particular order: old acne scars, a tummy that is never flat enough, I don't eat healthy enough, I should go to church more, I am bad about calling friends, I spend too much time on the internet, my junk drawers in my kitchen are a mess, my kids toys are a real mess, their rooms are too, my room is a mess too right now, I can't get clothes put away after I wash my laundry, I miss some old friends, I wish I had more money, I sometimes want to work, I like when the kids get on the bus and I am home with just the baby, I drink too much tea, I eat too much sugar, I wish I could go to Las Vegas every other month, I love dancing at clubs, I drink too much when out dancing, I laugh too loud, I watch too much TV, I love crappy Real Housewives crummy TV, I don't like books that Oprah recommends, I listen to almost everything Oprah says, I am critical of people, I wonder about God and the starving people in the world, I wish I was a better person that volunteered with the poor, I color my hair too often, I can't stand clutter, I have a tooth that needs bleached and it drives me crazy, I dress like an old lady sometimes...

See how crazy this all is? It is the negative self-talk that I could come up with in only three minutes. Nuts. It is and I know we all do it. So, yes, I am weird dear friends. We all are. And I am OK with it. I am getting there. Slowly. And that is OK with me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Peace My Friends

About 20 years ago, I was in a peace project called the Ulster Project. They bring Catholic and Protestant teenagers to America, pair them up with American teenagers and plan a month of really fun activities. I was paired with Emily and soon began a wonderful friendship that has lasted twenty years.

A couple of months ago, I received an invite to Emily's wedding. It sat. And sat. I just couldn't send back the reply. I knew that I wanted to go but how could I? It would be expensive and crazy to try. And then one day, I found a super cheap flight. Called my husband and begged. It would be over Labor Day and I would be gone only two work days. I could cover it so that it would somehow work. Then I called dad and he said he'd come too. Then my sister said she had to come and my little sister said she couldn't stay at home if we were in Ireland.

So, this weekend, Indy's family will journey on some crazy timed cheapo flights and land in Dublin where we will be greeted by two of the nicest women we know. We will then stay with them and take in a wonderful small town near Belfast. We will meet up with Ulster Project friends and show Dad the wonderful place he has sent us so many times. And he will stay for a couple of weeks and get to know Ireland.

I am so grateful that I have this chance to go. After losing my mom two years ago, I am more aware that this is a once in a lifetime chance to get to travel to Ireland with my dad. So a huge thank you to my husband for making this dream trip a reality. It means more to me than anyone would ever know. And to my friends in Ireland who are letting us stay with them, thank you. We could never pay to stay somewhere for all of the days. You are blessing us with your company and hospitality. In the Ulster Project, we had a song called "Friends and Friends Forever." I remember crying when Emily left and feeling a huge void that I thought would never be filled. We have truly made our friendships last. I am so blessed.

My family and one of our Irish teens back in the late 80's. I am the goofy one with plaid shorts.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Weird. Kind Cool & Spooky.

I think I may be the last person to know this. We'll see.

I went to Google Maps yesterday to find a friend's house in Ireland. I had heard that you can see it but I didn't realize how well. I then typed in my home address (in the box at the top of the page) and of course found it on the map. I used my mouse button and as I scrolled down, my house came into focus from an aerial view. Then, a picture of my house popped up. A real picture of my house! Our garage door was even open and I could see my old van. At first I thought it was cool and then it kind of freaked me out. And to make it a little spookier, one of my children is in the photo. Very blurry but it is my oldest, I think.

So, go to Google and check out the maps. Look up the house you grew up in. Look at your street on the map. You will be amazed at the technology. Now, am I the last person to know this?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Best Restaurant You've Never Heard Of

There is a little secret in Twinsburg. Some big name restaurants in Cleveland get all of the press. I have eaten at them and you know, I think a lot of it is just talk. People like to like to drop names and eat where everyone else is eating. I like to eat where the food is good.

Most people that live in Twinsburg and around it have probably driven past Bongiorno's. It is on Ravenna Road where it intersects Route 82. You've seen the brick building and probably wondered about it. You might have read something about it but have you been in? If not, you are missing one of the best kept secrets in the Cleveland area.

Bongiorno's is a locally owned Italian restaurant. It is super small. If it was downtown, we'd call it quaint to make it seem more chic. You can see the whole place from the front door and there is small bar. What it lacks in ambiance, it makes up for one of my favorite meals. My husband and I order the same thing each time we go. I order the chicken Milanese and he orders the veal Milanese. I have tried to order something else but I just can't make myself do it.

With the meal, you get a salad and bread. The butter is herb flavored and super yummy. They also give you a plate of pasta with the meal. The marinara is not my favorite. I usually take it home and enjoy every last bit of the Milanese. And if you order wine, you get a generous glass that is more than the standard downtown glass of wine.

So go get yourself a babysitter. Make a reservation*. It fills up quickly on the weekends. And surprise your loved one with a trip to Bongiorno's. Save yourself the trip downtown to Cleveland. And with the extra time, you can squeeze in a movie in Macedonia.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What Do You Do All Day?

I have had some friends ask me what I do all day with just Elle at home.

Well after the maid comes, I sit back and just have a cup of tea.

Really? Are you kidding me? I bust my butt. OK. I do for about 15 minutes and then I check Facebook. I then go to my list of things to do and do at least one thing. Then I take a little break and keep going until the baby wakes up. I am constantly moving and trying to keep up with everything.

I have a friend who reads tons of books and she works too. I don't know how she keeps up with everything. We spent the weekend at her house and everything was in its place. Everything. I have asked how she does it but I don't think she understands why I wonder. I still don't know how she does it. Another friend volunteers a lot. She asked me if I was volunteering this year. I smiled and blamed the baby but inside I am thinking that I don't want to add anything else to my list of things to do.

The kids started school yesterday. And it is all coming back into line. The litter box is changed. The RSVP's have been contacted. My email is somewhat checked. And I am writing. I am getting back into synch. And back I go to my list of things to do for the day. In case you are wondering, it reads:

Send thank you to aunt for baby gift.
RSVP for Labor Day picnic.
Figure out dinner for sister-in-law that just had a baby
Clean bathroom in bedroom
Change the litterbox
Find old soccer water bottles in garage (don't ask)
Buy a yellow folder for Kyle

I have about 1/2 done and about two hours before Kyle comes home. Not bad. I am off to cross off two or three before Elle wakes up from her nap. So that's what I do with myself all day.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Promised

A couple of days ago, I sat down and wrote the most boring post ever about everything I learned at my reunion. Lucky for you, I did not hit "publish." Most of you don't care to hear how content I feel in my life and how I am relieved I am no longer 18. You don't care where everyone stood or who I talked to for most of the night. And you don't care how many margaritas I had that night. Although some late night photos would have been fun.

What you probably care about is what I wore since I was a mess trying to figure it out. Jeans were on the bottom with some cool heals. Here it is. I had a friend take the photo (thank you Dave Z.)

So, I survived. I even enjoyed myself. And I walked away with a huge feeling of being content. Life is good.

Don't my teeth look great? Ha!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

White Teeth Will Solve Everything

I am sitting here with Crest White Strips on my teeth. Why? I am not one of those people that obsess about having the whitest smile. I drink TONS of tea and drink red wine so I don't really worry about it too much. But, I broke out the strips this week because I am freaking out. Freaking out. Ask my husband. My sisters. My Dad. My friends. Ask strangers at my Weight Watchers meeting. I have my 20 year high school reunion on Saturday.

So, I have an outfit picked out. I was talking with some friends and they asked what I was wearing. I casually mentioned that I picked out a blouse and I am wearing it with jeans and heels. "You can't wear that." "You must wear a dress." "Go to Marshall's." As I sat there with a million thoughts in my head, I simply blurted out "I don't have time to find THE dress." With three kiddos at home, I am simply out of time. I can't run all over Cleveland to find something. Let alone the shoes and the jewelry. There is no time to start over. And deep down in my heart, I just know that I don't want be so overdressed that will look at say "Boy, she is trying really hard to look good."

The reunion is at a Mexican restaurant called "Pancho's." It is casual. It is in Alliance. It is not a place where jeans will look funny. And I will feel good in the smallest size of jeans I have owned since at least college, maybe even high school. And I will walk into that reunion with my head held high. And walk straight to the bar and make it a double of something. And I will survive my high school reunion. Everyone does. And I promise I will post a picture of it next week.

And until then, I have to keep my hands off of my face so no new eruptions (I had bad acne in high school) take place and keep up the white strips. And I need to remember what my Dad has told me for twenty years. He said I will be shocked at how everyone looks. Men will be bald and some of the skinny girls will be fat. I won't recognize some of the people and some of the popular people will sit with the unpopular. At least that is what I am counting on. Nothing like a high school reunion to bring back all of the anxieties of my youth. So much has changed and so much hasn't. My white strips have more to do about my confidence level and less to do about my teeth. And with a big deep breath and large exhale, I will get through it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Not Very Simple

I love the magazine Real Simple. I just sat down for lunch and read an article where readers chime in on various topics. This month's topic was "What is your FAVORITE pantry staple." You wouldn't believe the answers. Here are some that made me think "Really?"

Saffron strands
Ancient Harvest quinoa pasta
Pine nuts
Hoisin sauce
Blue-cheese stuffed olives
Casina Rossa truffle and salt

Where are the real people? What about paprika? That is an answer I would expect. Sugar. Salt. Oregano. Thyme. Ketchup if you have kids.

As I continued to eat my egg, I wondered how do people get to this level of sophistication? I am lucky to get my egg made and eat it before the baby wakes up. Who are these people? Where do they live? Do they have jobs? And do they have chefs, nannies and a life?

I have staples. They are tea, milk, English muffins, ketchup, Kraft mac and cheese for the kids, fresh basil, salt, pepper, eggs and wine. I get fancy now and then but mostly, I am lucky to serve my family a hot meal on most nights.

So real people of the world, what are your pantry staples? Make me feel better. And don't you dare say Carina Rossa truffle and salt.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Making Us All Silly

Do you remember friendship beads? They were popular when I was in the fifth grade. I remember a boy Derek made me one and it had a red bead in the middle of some white ones. I took that as a sign of love. He would have used a more neutral color if he wasn't sending me a message of love. I was convinced. But, I was mistaken. Derek had his eyes on Nicola and I was just a good friend in the neighborhood.

The other day, Ryan got off of the bus and said he had to have Silly Bandz. What? What are they? He showed me his arm. On it was a rubbery bracelet that stretches into a shape. He was wearing an animal. A friend from the bus gave him one. He had to have them. Kids were trading them on the bus. He listed off the stores that had them and they were cheap. Surely, we could afford Silly Bandz.

So, like any sucker mother, I stopped into CVS, Walgreens and Borders. I had no luck. What would the package ever look like for a rubbery little bracelet? I tried to look cool and collected as I raced around every store breaking a sweat. No luck.

All of the moms on Facebook were helping each other find these all over town. One mom even had three extra packs and offered to share. That is mommy love. What a friend!

I eventually found ours online. With the baby, I was done visiting every store in town looking like a fool. I let the boys pick out some packages from the website. They were so excited. I remember sticker books, the jelly bracelets from the eighties and of course the friendship pins. I had to help them find the bracelets so they could remember trading them with their friends and creating memories.

So if your child has not mentioned Silly Bandz, get ready. They are coming to your school. I have included two pictures so you know what you are looking for. I know it is silly. But the kids were so excited. It was probably the best $5 I have spent in a long time.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Wake Up in the Morning Feeling Like P Diddy

Up all night.
Getting by on caffeine
Alcohol to soften the ages.
More sleepless nights.
Girls trip?

No. Another boring week in the life of a mommy with a baby.

But this schedule prepared me for my Vegas trip for 2010. I was really ready to get out. I needed to dance. I needed to let loose and I needed to have a great time. And we did.
In Vegas, I realized that I was in training for Vegas all year. I can get by with no sleep. I can stay up all night. No sleep in Vegas, no problem.

(In this photo: Sister, Sister, neighbor and me. This is before the orange dragons and martinis at Tao. It was a very calm dinner. Until the orange dragons kicked in.)

And here is a photo of me getting crazy at Lavo. We had the best time dancing the night away. Wouldn't change a bit of this trip.

We are going to party like ROCK STARS!

That was our anthem in Vegas. We were dead serious. It had been three years since our last girls trip to Vegas. My sisters and I meet our childhood neighbors there every year. We've added extra girls and some years we have a bunch of people. This year, we had four. We missed one of our neighbors but hope she can join us again next year when life works out a little better.

Rock stars have nothing on Moms. We are a strong group that can party with the best of them. We have been beaten up by the flu, mean mommies, tight jeans, mean teachers, sleepless days/nights and celebrities that are in shape one month after the birth of their baby. We can handle it all in Vegas. Dinner with celebrities (Chey from Chelsea Lately), too tight high heals, topless pool at the Wynn and even going to Hooters to see our favorite Vegas band Purple Reign. We can hang with the best of them. And the only question we had the day after we got home was "How many days until we can go back?" Nabe, we are down to 348. Forget Rock Stars. They got nothing on us.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Yo, Dude

I am pretty laid back. One of my friends said I am like a guy. Nothing really gets me upset. I am not sure that is a compliment or not.

I can think of one thing that really gets me upset. It makes me crazy. I hate driving by people's trash and seeing good things left for the trash man. What a waste. There are so many people barely getting by. And people work so hard for their money. Why can't they take the time to find someone to take their nicer items?

I know it takes about five minutes but to help someone out, why not? Five minutes is all it takes.


If you have nice items to give away, put them on your tree lawn with a sign that says "free." My kids love making this sign and we sneak back to our house and watch through the window. You can't imagine how excited kids get to see who scores their old toys. Make sure you do this a few days before trash pick-up and check the weather. It rains a lot in Ohio so you have to be strategic.

Another great option that I LOVE is freecycling. Have you heard about it? Check out this link to Cleveland's freecycle page. People list their needs and offers here on the link. Then, you receive an email with it daily. I have given away a desk, old weird house stuff and baby formula through this site. Once you list it, it is gone in a day. You privately coordinate the day/time of pick up with your winning responder. I just leave it on my porch so I don't have to chit chat (like a guy again) and it is done. LOVE THAT!

So, as you spring clean, don't toss your items into the trash. Remember the Goodwill, the Sal, your neighbors with a free sign or Freecycle. And from one dude to another, thanks.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Fat Cheerleader

I spent 10 minutes picking at the blackheads on my nose last night at 3:30 a.m. Why? I used to do it in high school when I was anxious. And, I am anxious. I just received notice that my 20 year class reunion is in 15 weeks. Yes, I am freaking out. Big Time.

My first thought was "OK. How many weeks is that? Get me a calendar. How much more weight can I lose before August?" Fifteen weeks. I can handle that deadline. One pound a week until then puts me at my weight in my sophomore year. Cha-ching.

My second freak out moment was "Who will I sit with?" I really have no friends from high school that I keep in touch with. I have some Facebooky people but they really don't know me. I honestly am afraid to walk into the actual reunion. I might be sitting alone in a corner with my husband and margarita. That sounds perfect.

My final freak out before this turns into a novel was "What will I wear?" Casual place. August. I have at least have 15 weeks to figure it out and try not to look overdressed like I am freaking out.

My head is a spinning. I am off to rent some good reunion movies to really capture my anxiety. I remember Gross Point Blank and the Phoebe's from Friends movie about her reunion. Any others that I missing?

Now I know that many of you are saying I have nothing to worry about. I hear you. But, it is too late for freaking out. See, I was a cheerleader. Remember that most people say that the cheerleaders get fat after high school? I. Will. Not. Be. One. of. Those. Fat. Cheerleaders. But, I was also played violin in the orchestra. Yes, a geeky cheerleader. So, not many friends. But I loved my extra-curricular activities. Wow. All of my axieties from high school come flooding back. My big goal? It is to not pick my face apart before August. That is the true test. Oh man. I hope I make it until August.

(Can you find me? Front row, right in the middle)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Crazy Nights

Vegas. Oh the stories to tell and pictures to share. I will. I promise. But that requires some energy and I don't have any. Oh, the life with a baby. I can't concentrate long enough to get to it.

So, instead, I have a little tip to share.

Bedtimes are not the quiet, special time that I often read about on other mommy blogs. Are they lying? They must be. Bedtimes are not so quiet here and I don't linger at their doors. My children will hear me say "Mommy is off duty now. Time for bed. We are done." (Please no mean emails. I am doing the best I can.)

Kyle doesn't listen and he looks for the perfect book for twenty minutes (no exaggeration) and Ryan always needs his water glass refilled and reminded to get dressed while I hustle around trying to feed the million fish and get Elle settled. I am constantly reminding them to get dressed, brush their teeth and find their books.

After seven years, I have finally found a way to enjoy this time. Get ready. It is earth shattering. Are you ready? I take a cup of tea up to their bedroom with me. That is the secret. Amazing, I know. It forces me to sit down. It keeps me occupied and I can take it a little slower. Who knew that a twenty cent cup of tea could turn my crazy bedtime routine into something I can sort of enjoy?

You still won't catch me lingering at their door once I have said goodnight. My tea is finished and I am eager to run down the stairs and be off duty. But, I just had to share this simple solution to my bedtime routine. And if you need to add a little Baileys to your coffee or tea, I won't tell anyone. This mommy blogger won't judge or tell.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hey There

Wow. It has been awhile. I go back and forth about this blog. I am not sure why I write and I am definitely not sure why you read it. I am a pretty open book if you know me so I don't think come here to find out anything you wouldn't find out if you saw me around. But, I am glad you visit now and then. I love writing and I love blogging. I just wish I had my life more in control so I could write more often. When I say I am barely hanging on, I mean it. Really.

In the past few months, I have written (and complained) that I can't keep up around the house. But guess what? I won a house cleaning at my early childhood PTA fundraiser. Isn't that perfect. Now, I have to work hard and get my house clean so I can have someone come in and clean my house for me. I know this sounds ridiculous. I don't want these ladies to waste time at my house. They are doing the baseboards, floors and showers. Not just a little light dusting and picking up my kids clothes.

My weight loss efforts are going GREAT! I have officially hit 30 lbs at Weight Watchers and before I joined I lost about 5 so I am 35 lbs thinner since October. I promise to post a picture soon. It is starting to show. If you know me in real life, I just look like I did before I got pregnant with Elle so it isn't so startling. I need to lose another 20 lbs to have a healthy BMI. That is my goal. I have reached my main goal. I have learned to eat healthy. I am eating vegetables and I am making healthy food. I could have lost this weight on my own like I did after I had Kyle but I wanted to learn how to cook healthy and eat those darn veggies.

I have so much to share. I promise to come back sooner. I am planning a friend's 40th birthday party and that is so much fun. I am heading to Vegas next week with my sisters and old neighborhood friends! FUN!!!! And we're staying at the Wynn! Amazing. So much to share. Come back soon. I promise I will too!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sorry Tiger

Just popping it to make a comment. Saw that Tiger Woods is starting his come back. Sorry Tiger. It isn't going to work. We've heard it all before. And we don't really care anymore. Your story is old. You are a dog and we are pretty much tired of dogs. John Edwards has already worn us out.

So Tiger, just golf. Stop the PR stuff for now. We're tired and we are not buying it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Big Job

My house is falling apart around me. I struggle to keep up daily. Elle is at a tough age where when I put her down, she wants to be held. I forgot how bad this stage is. Two days ago I said (whined) to my husband "WhoEVER said to enjoy this baby stage clearly forgets how hard it is." I know I forgot. And it has only been five years. I am already looking forward to kindergarten. (Please spare me the sermons about enjoying every minute. I know. I know.)

I've written about my weight loss here on my blog. I devote a lot of energy into working out, planning healthy meals and snacks and tracking my progress. I was relieved the other day to hear someone say it is similar to a part-time job. I feel like it is. Every night when I used to straighten the house and check my email, I am instead on the treadmill and lifting weights. Good for my body but not so good for getting to my "to do" list.

But what do I do every week? I look for a job. I don't know why I do it. I think I like to make sure this is the right choice. I worked at a university and college in administration. So, weekly, I check the local colleges to make sure they don't need me.

I have a big job here. I am barely keeping up. So, I don't send in the resumes. I come back to reality and realize how much harder it would be to work. And I go back to moving Elle to whatever room I am trying to clean up. We sing. We make noises and we make it work. It is a big, big job. My plate is full. And I am sure I will miss this someday.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Next Time Check Out Next

Some people are boutique shoppers. And then there are the rest of us. I think of boutique shops as unapproachable. Expensive. Small sizes! And way beyond my league. I am so insecure when it comes to walking into a shop. I worked retail for years. What is my problem? I don't know.

Last week, I was invited to shop at Next at Beachwood Place and write about it here. With all of the self confidence that I have with boutique shops, I snuck into the mall a week early to make sure I could handle this. I walked by slowly and checked out the store. Located on the second floor next to Nordstrom, I was still afraid to go in on my own. Crazy! I know.

Last Tuesday, I got myself together and met some other Cleveland bloggers (See OHmommy below) to check out Next. And what do you know? The owner and staff were super friendly and helpful. And they gave me a $200 gift card to buy whatever I wanted.

I had a ball trying on the very stylish clothing. I am pretty conservative when it comes to my style of clothes. Shopping at Next was a perfect store for me to find more fashionable pieces that I may not have ever thought to try.

I have an upcoming girl's trip to Vegas in April and I found a black modern jacket with silver earrings that I cannot wait to wear (see pic of the jacket on mannequin above). I also bought a purple top that I can wear almost everywhere and a very cool silver and black bracelet. I loved their jewelry selection and the pieces were really unique with reasonable prices. They also have a great sale rack in the back. Don't miss it! My top was 50% off.

The best part of Next? The people that work there (see pic below). They made me feel comfortable and welcome. Their service was as good as I have had at some of my favorite shops and they made me feel welcome. I will definitely be back to expand my horizons and see what is new. And I will make an effort to walk into the stores that intimidate me. Next time you are at Beachwood Place, check out Next. Go ahead, walk in. I know I will.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm Growing Up

I sat and watched her open her baby shower gifts. I smiled on the outside. And I bit my tongue.

"Never gonna use that."
"Who told you needed that?"
"You'll use that for maybe one month."
"Take that back."
"You'll look like a new mom with that."

I looooooove giving advice. So much that I do realize that I am a pain to some people. I just love telling people what has worked for me. I like to help people. But, as I sat through the baby shower, I realized that I need to become "the older mother." You've met her. Maybe she was the one in your playgroup that didn't laugh at you for getting out a new binky when your baby dropped it on the ground. Maybe she listened to your sleep woes without talking non-stop about her sleep issues when her baby was small. And maybe you've told your birth story a million times and she listens every time as if she has never heard it.

I have realized that my baby time is almost over. I need to grow up too. Every new mom doesn't need to know everything I have learned in the past 7 years. She'll learn it in time. And like my husband reminded me, you can't learn it all at once. It would be too overwhelming to know right when you first get pregnant everything there is to know. Who would want to know how hard it is? You get it in bits and pieces when you are ready. I am still getting it in bits and pieces. I am getting this. I am ready.

So, I apologize to my friends and family who have had to listen to all of my tips and suggestions. I am going to work on talking less and listening more. I am trying. I learned that the first baby made me a mother. It was a huge transition. What will my last baby teach me? I am learning so much. But, I'll keep it to myself right now. I promise.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

No Help

The Day Before...

Dinner parties sound glamorous. Until you have to throw one. This might come as a shocker but they are a lot of work.

Now if I were rich, I would hire a caterer, cleaners, a nanny and a lady to help me select my outfit for the shindig. But since I am not, I have to be all these and more.

My playgroup friends started a "Not So Gourmet" dinner party club three or five years ago. It has been so long I can't remember. I am up in the rotation.

With a small baby, I am finding it hard to pull all of the pieces together. It is tomorrow night and while I am cleaning my floor, I am writing this post in my head. It will all come together but I wonder how as I scrub around my toilet wishing I had a house cleaner.

Fast forward to the week after...

We did it. And it was a blast! I so wish I had pictures to share. We had a wine tasting. Everyone brought a bottle and we rated the wines. They were all under $10. I threw in a more expensive bottle to see if it would beat the others. And it lost! We threw in a $5 Gallo Cabernet and it came in second. How perfect is that?

We had the best night. Nothing beats time shared with friends. We need to do this more. We love to entertain and we love to be with our friends. We laughed. We told stories and we drank LOTS of wine.

And boy, were we beat. We were so tired after all of our hard word. But, we loved it. We talked about it for days.

What a difference a day makes.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Missing Her

I miss an old friend. She's been gone about six months and I never in a million years thought I would miss her. I took her for granted. I didn't even know I was attached to her. She drove me crazy most of the time. Maybe I misunderstood her. Half of the time, I had no idea what she was saying. The other half of the time, she brushed over everything and tried to make everyone around her feel good. Maybe I wasn't a good listener. Maybe I was too busy with my life to really sit and listen to her. I never thought she would be the first to go.

I can't sit around and mourn the loss of this friend forever. I have to move on. I have found a new friend. I have tried to let her into my life. I have known her for a long time. But now, I am seeing her more each week. She is one of the funniest people in the world. No one makes me laugh like she does. But, she isn't the same. I know I am rushing it and I need to give her time. It just isn't the same without my friend.

Oh Paula, I never thought I'd miss you on American Idol. But I do.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Doing It

Whenever I see someone that has lost weight, I always ask "How'd you do it?"

So, I was thinking. How am I doing this?

1. Write down everything you eat in a notebook. Trust me, you won't eat 10 Oreos if you have to write it down. You just won't.

2. Park at the back of the parking lot next time you are out. If America would stop driving around and around looking for the closest spot, we wouldn't have such a weight problem in this country. People around the world walk EVERYWHERE, EVERYDAY. We are such lazy, lazy people. WALK!!!! ( I do this carrying my 19 lb. baby in her carrier- No excuses!)

3. Find a healthier, lower calorie option for each of your meals and snacks. If you to eat a bowl of chili, try to eat 1/2 of what you normally do. Find a smaller bowl. If you drink 3 Cokes a day, drink one. Over time, you will start to eat healthier and you can stick with it. Make small changes. They work.

4. Speaking of small changes, stop eating the crap off of your kids plates. Sit down each time you eat. There is no grabbing of chicken nuggets on the way to the trash. You deserve better.

5. Figure out why you are eating the way you do. What's at the heart of it? Try to feel your emotions instead of eating them. And for me, knowing WHY I am losing weight is helping me to stay motivated. I want to be healthy. I am very afraid of high blood pressure and diabetes. I am going to age gracefully. I will be as healthy as I can be.

I read somewhere that it is hard to be fat. It is hard to lose weight. Pick your hard.

You have to be ready to do the work. I hit rock bottom in October. I saw my future and it included Lane Bryant. It wasn't acceptable to me. I will not be overweight.

So that's how I am doing it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Forcing Me to Do My Job

Ry got into a bit of trouble at school on Friday.

I got a call from the principal.


Then when he got home from school. He lied. Twice. To my face. Even when he knew I was calling the principal to tell her she was wrong about my little angel, he lied. Double gulp.

As I sat deep breathing about where I went wrong as a parent, (go ahead and laugh at me. I really felt this way.) I realized that it was true what older friends have said to me. Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems. And Ry was 7. I was doomed for the teenage years.

So, I sat breathing and freaking out big time. There were many calls to my husband at work and then to my sister. How to punish? What was appropriate? We are corner kind of people. We haven't spanked and when we get really crazy, we send them to their rooms. How do you send a message that lying will not be tolerated?

Dr. Ray, a discipline expert that spoke to our Early Childhood PTA once said, you must know their currency. If you know my Ryan, you know it is his video games.

So, we took it all away. Computers, DS, Playstation and Wii. Right. Before. The. Weekend. He doesn't play hardly at all during the week. Too busy with everything. But, boy does he love to relax and play on the weekends. And most of all, he loves to play with his dad.

And guess what happened? I think he is having a better time without his games. His brother is in on it too! Toys from the basement were brought up. He decorated his Valentines Day box. He read 50 pages of his latest favorite book and he actually asked me to get out his homework so he could start it early.

Go ahead and pat yourself on the shoulder if you are a better mother than me who never lets her kids play video games. You know that kids play better without them. It is a part of my hubby's life so it is a part of my kids life.

So, we learned important lessons in our house on Friday.

Ryan is not perfect.
Kids can lie really well.
Being a good parent is a lot of hard work.
No electronics is a good thing.
We need to set some limits in this household.
I am still afraid of principals.

When I had Ryan, I felt that each stage was hard in a different way. Baby, toddler, Terrible 3's (not the 2's, the 3's are much worse), preschool tantrums, Kindergarten transition and now the wacky first grade behavior. It's all hard. Each stage and in a different way. And if you are thinking "this isn't so bad" just hold on. You are ready to be hit with a doozy. My husband I, the night before the "incident," were just saying what a great age 7 is and how much Ry is growing up. He is. Yes he is. But are we ready for it?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Where in the Heck Am I?

I get about 20 people stopping by each day. That is pretty surprising since I haven't been writing much lately.

You may be wondering what I am doing with all of my free time.

1. Most of my free time in the evening is spent in my basement. I have a treadmill down there and I listen to my Ipod and watch TV on closed caption. I work out each night from 9-10. That is when I used to write. My weight loss effort is going great. I am down 23 lbs. from when I first declared war on this body. I am losing about 1.5 lbs a week!

2. My other hour that is somewhat free is after I put the kids to bed. I spend that hour doing the dishes, eating a snack and checking my email. It is a sexy wild life. I know.

3. If I ever find another spare minute, I usually try to clean up the house, do laundry and catch up with my to do list.

I am trying to maintain a balance and not worry so much about my blog, Facebook and my emails. I like writing. But sometimes, it has to be put on the back burner so my children have clean socks and underwear. As Elle gets a little older and naps a little more at the same time each day I will try to get back into a routine for writing. But for now, I am squeezing it in when I have the ambition and time.

When you get a moment, what do you do with your free time? What's your guilty pleasure?

For me? My guiltiest is watching bad TV and surfing the net at the same time on my laptop. Love "Hoarders" and "Real Housewives of Whatever County." Combine this with Perez and Pure crap. Pure satisfaction.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Shock Wave

Nothing like a disaster in a foreign place to make you get up off your a** and be grateful.

For the past week, I have been out of sorts and in the dumps. Anxious. A mess. I wasn't sure what was wrong with me. Some suggested it was the weather. Others suggested I see a doctor for my thyroid (already do that) and some suggested I take some me time. They were all wrong. I had a bad case of Housewifitus.

The day of the earthquake in Haiti changed all of that. I watched the news reports come in showing mothers holding their injured babies with blood on their faces, I suddenly became aware of how grateful I am. In my comfy suburban house in my comfy clothes and comfy slippers, I found it ridiculous that I wasn't joyous and grateful for my life. What a spoiled brat I have become.

In my recent weight loss effort, I have bribed myself with inexpensive rewards. I have reached one of my goals and should be buying myself a new lipstick. Instead, I am going to go on the Salvation Army's website and donate money to the relief effort in Haiti. I am not a doctor or relief person that can help the people I saw on the news. But, I am a mother. I cannot ignore another mother's pain and pretend someone else will send in the donations for food and water. I will do something. Won't you?

Every dollar counts. Small donations help. If we all give a little bit, together, we can help save their lives!

I'm Not Talking About It, I'm Just Saying...