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June 2013

Ten

One apartment

+

Three houses 

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Three kids 

+

Three cars

+

Five (or six? or seven? or eight?) jobs

+

Nine Christmas parties

+

One trip to China

+

Two trips to Italy

+

Nine frillion socks on the floor

+

One slide

+

One graduate degree

+

Three different TiFauxs

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One charming, hardworking, thoughtful, and devastingly handsome Chinese man

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One neurotic, anal-retentive, nitpicky, and adorably chubby white girl

=

Ten years

 

Photo (50)
This is the only recent picture I have of just the two of us. THE ONLY ONE.

 

 


An update on how much I hate making dinner. (Still hate it, with improvements)

I thought I'd let you know how dinner is going since I wrote that WOE IS ME dinner post a while back. I took a lot of your advice to heart and the biggest thing was: stop caring so much. Making dinner IS hard. Eggs and toast is a perfectly acceptable busy weeknight meal. Some moms are great cooks, some moms are good at crafts, other moms have super clean houses. Everyone has their gifts! Mine is... well, let's think about that, shall we? Maybe we can come up with something by the end of this post. 

Basically I decided my goal was to simplify dinner as much as possible. I still make a weekly menu, but now it ALWAYS includes "Leftovers" and something like "Breakfast" or "Frozen Pizza" or something completely thoughtless and ridiculously easy. The kids like it, Phillip doesn't care, and I don't stress. 

A big part of simplifying dinner (and I am still working on this) is simplifying what I buy. For years now I've had a goal where I try not to spend more than $100 on the weekly grocery trip. I don't do the coupon thing or go to nine different stores, but I buy store brands and hardly anything that's already prepared, like sauces or pre-cut veggies. I plan things out, I look at the store specials, I try to use what's in my cupboards. 

The thing is we ALWAYS go over the grocery budget. ALWAYS. No matter if I do four weeks of $99 trips, a bunch of extra trips get snuck in somewhere, or we have a dinner party, or Phillip wanted stuff for lunches that I didn't know about, or SOMETHING. Also, we're both trying to stick to a low carb diet again, and low carbing it is expensive. It's just the way it is. And right now, even though my children will never have braces or go to college because we bought a deck instead, I am not freaking out about the grocery budget. My old one was unrealistic anyway. (FOR US. Some of you are budget ninjas. This is also not my gift.) 

So now I'm buying things that make it easy for me to make dinner. SCREW YOU, MULTIPLE HEADS OF FRESH BROCCOLI. Hello giant bag of pre-cut Coscto broccoli! I love you! Hello random bags of frozen side dishy things! Hello frozen dinners for those nights when I cannot do one more thing! 

I gave some serious thought to making and freezing meals ahead of time. I decided that wasn't going to work for us for a number of reasons. My freezer can only hold so many of those, for one thing. Then the thought of making a dinner and then putting it in the freezer did not give me any feeling of accomplishment, and I need that feeling. I didn't want to devote a whole weekend afternoon or whatever to MAKING the dinners. I couldn't think of enough low-carb freezer-appropriate dinners. AND thinking about it was giving me what I like to call Breast Milk Storage Syndrome. I would get competitive with myself, when I was doing that. Pump pump pump, stock up the bags, open the freezer nine times a day to gaze at my hard work. AND THEN I HATED USING THEM. Like, each time I had to take a bag out and use it, my pile got smaller, I had to work harder, it just KILLED ME. Is this logical? No! (Being illogical = my gift?) 

ANYWAY. What I decided DOES work is prepping and freezing MEAT. Since I wrote that post I've bought a giant pork loin, a family pack of chicken breasts, and a Costco heap of ground meat. I divided it all up, cut it all up, labeled the bags, froze it, and now when it's time for dinner I just thaw a bag of meat.* I don't know why I don't have Breast Milk Storage Syndrome with this. Maybe because I have SO MUCH and I don't use it that fast? Anyway, knowing that I don't have to thaw and cut up a bunch of meat each night has probably been the most helpful thing. I freeze it so the bags are flat and they thaw super quick. And then I make a stirfry, or tonight I'm making a chicken and [pre-cut!] broccoli casserole - ooh, that's another thing. This recipe required cooking everything ahead of time before baking it all together, but I tried it where I just cooked the chicken and put all the veggies in raw. WE LIKED IT BETTER. 

One thing I want to try that I haven't quite started yet is buying things we aren't necessarily going to eat that week. Which is totally against my previous philosophy on how to stick to our budget. BUT. When I want to give up one night and just make chili (for which I have a package of meat all prepped for me in the freezer) I won't have beans or tomatoes. Because it wasn't on the menu. Stuff like that I'd like to actually stock up on, so that I HAVE it for those nights. The budget wasn't working for us anyway, right? 

I don't think this is The System To Replace All Systems, but these little changes are making life easier for me NOW. And really, when has Going Easier On Oneself + Spending A Little More Money ever made anyone's life NOT easier? 

I would really really really like to try new things and manage to get everything on a set table by a particular time, but at this point, with two picky big kids, a starving baby, a husband who fights traffic, and my less than stellar cooking track record, I'm not going to knock myself out. 

P.S. I made the root beer pulled pork in the slow cooker for the potluck dinner last night and everyone liked it (although they are college kids and not hard to impress food-wise.) But it WORKED and it was ENOUGH and EASY and I was VERY PROUD OF MYSELF. 

(My gift? Did I come up with one? Um, how about... WRITING about my lack of housewifely skills?)

 

*As for all the MEAT... I am married to the sort of man who doesn't feel like he ATE unless he ate MEAT. Do you know the type? Eggplant and tofu are occasional acceptable substitutes, but I could never get away with a week of vegetarian pastas and salads and quinoa and rice dishes. Ever. (Or, and this is much more likely, a week of cereal or cheese pizza.) Where I could easily go weeks and months without missing meat, Phillip might shrivel up and die. So. There you go. Also: low-carb. Sigh. 


Running, decks, babysitting, busy, getting away. Most exciting title ever. You totally want to read this one. No way would I click "mark as read". By the way, what am I supposed to use when Google Reader disappears?

It appears that the way to get me on the treadmill every day is to buy the entire second season of Scandal on Amazon Prime. I AM NOT PROUD OF THIS. Of the many things I should not have purchased this month, a season of soapy television is high on the list. But! I've run three days in a row, one episode per day, and tonight the ONLY reason I got on that treadmill is so I could watch episode three. So for right now it's money well spent. OLIVIA POPE FOR PRESIDENT!

I wanted to run in the morning - that's my plan, to run while the kids eat breakfast in front of their babysitter, Mrs. TV - but my deck guys get here at 8 which is about when I'd start AND my treadmill is in the laundry room, which is where they happen to plug in their saws. AND there's a window where they'd get a LOVELY view of my backside. So no. Not while the deck guys are still here. 

Jack thumped my thigh while I was sitting on the couch the other night and goes, "Mommy, it's like a WAVE!" 

WHATEVER. 

Oh, and my deck is coming along nicely, despite the constant forecast for rain which threatens to derail the whole thing. They have to put four coats of this special paint on the plywood floor. It takes an hour to roll on, then 3-4 hours to dry. So they can do two coats a day which, amazingly enough, they did today. I wasn't expecting that. But it's supposed to rain tomorrow so who knows when it will get finished. The stairs are looking awesome, though I can't remember if they are staining the railing or if we decided to take that on ourselves. And the slide is supposed to be delivered tomorrow. YAY! I kind of can't believe I didn't get talked out of the slide but hey, when you're renovating the ENTIRE DECK, what's the addition of a slide, eh?

I babysat my niece today. She was pretty unhappy with me the entire time, which would have been horrible except that she took a nearly three-hour nap. I'm still exhausted though. Even though the high maintenance baby is taking a three hour nap, you still have two antsy fidgety big kids stuck at home. And can't even go play in their own backyard. So they are arguing. All. Day. Long.

And tomorrow - TOMORROW I have swim lessons, then driving to the opposite side of town for Molly's kindergarten entrance appointment (with a school psychologist, groan), then making dinner for Phillip, me, and eight college students involved with the NDCF. I was not pushed into this. I gladly volunteered. And now I am all WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO MAKE FOR THESE PEOPLE? That I can transport a half hour away? For 10 of us? With one of those people having a DAIRY ALLERGY? I told myself I wouldn't worry about it until my niece went home, but that was a few hours ago now... I'm thinking... rotisserie chicken and salad fixings? I thought about pulled pork, but for 10 people? How much pork is that?! GAH I AM SO BAD AT THIS. Also: waiting until the last minute. GO ME.

The other day I had to email someone and say: "I am sorry I dropped the ball on this. I am actually a very reliable dependable person. Like, to a FAULT. I'll do better. I promise. You can count on me." Only... less suck uppy. I hope. 

Did I tell you I'm going away this weekend? Nearby, just a ferry ride away. A friend has a friend with a cabin on an island and we're just gonna go hang. Ever since Blathering #1 I've become pretty skilled at going away with friends. Thank you, husbands! Anyway, I'm looking forward to it. I don't feel like I NEED it, but I'm guessing it will be good. I'm bringing books, my Kindle full of NYT crosswords (I'm getting better at them! I'm so proud of myself!) and a bunch of art projecty stuff which will hopefully turn into things I'm not embarrassed to hang on my living room wall. I know. Just saying that = should not put it on my living room wall. BUT WE'LL SEE. Adventures with Mod Podge. 

Oooh, Phillip is done putting the kids to bed which means I get to watch Justified now. Olivia Pope and Raylan Givens are my new besties. 

 


Better question: when is MY nap?

I have no idea how I'm going to do tomorrow. 

8:45 Jack drop off

9:00 School assembly (Jack is singing with his class so I want to go) (of course I can only stay for 15 minutes because see below)

9:30 Molly drop off

11:30 Molly pick up

12:15 Preschool end-of-year picnic

2:00 Jack pick up

...and Emma naps when? 

Skipping the picnic, skipping the picnic. So... keep EJ up until Molly pick up, then rush home and hope she gets an hour and a half before Jack pick up? Sometimes she's still up for a morning nap - maybe I try that instead? And then a super early bedtime (because we know she won't deign to take an afternoon nap!) 

Obvs I'll just see what kind of kid I have in the morning and go from there. And it's only one day. THE LAST DAY. 

Next week? Next week my kids wake up, I get them breakfast in front of the television, I run my measly handful of miles while they eat. Every morning. I just DO it. Hammer those suckers out before 9am. I caught a good look at myself in the mirror at swim lessons tonight and HOO BOY. Running needs to happen around here. 

I had the kids write a few lines on cards to their teachers tonight (we're giving them cards and a potted geranium or dahlia, the end) and Molly ended one of her cards with "Have a good day!" I think that's a swell ending. Have a good day, Internet, especially if it's your Last Day too. 


What we learned this year

The last week of school is going annoyingly. By which I mean it's not Friday yet. It's the regular feeling of "isn't it Friday yet" coupled with "let's get this school stuff over with already" and BLARGH. Today was my last true day of The Schedule and while I did get a bit sniffly at the coffee shop, the rest of the day I traded sentiment for impatient irritation. 

Tomorrow is my last day with just Molly and Emma at home and THAT might be hard. Where it was questionable if Jack would survive the months before kindergarten, Molly is happy at home. She entertains herself, she's happy to fold clothes with me or help empty the dishwasher, she works on projects without needing attention. Not that I have any interest whatsoever in homeschooling, but I can PICTURE doing it with Molly. If I were doing it with Jack one of us would be dead. ANYWAY. All that to say I'd like to do something fun with Molly tomorrow. I don't know what, though. My girl is always game for shopping...

Friday is a silly little day of early releases and I'm going to cap off my year of not hanging out with the preschool moms by blowing off the end of the year picnic in the park. It's at a bad time! Whatever. I actually did make friends, you know. This morning one of the moms said she was going to email me over the summer to do this thing at the library with our babies and while it sounded totally boring, I was all, "HEY. THE PRESCHOOL MOMS LIKE ME!" 

Maybe this whole time they've been seeing me drive up in my minivan, watching my kid hop out on her own, and feeling jealous as I drive away. Maybe this whole time they've been wishing THEY could blow everyone off. 

I really hope I remember to take a picture of Molly and Jack in front of the house on the last day of school, to juxtapose with the first day of school picture. Things are SO DIFFERENT. Molly is just - I don't know the right words. She has grown up SO MUCH. I was so worried about my little preschool drop out and then this year she was all, "I don't need no brother to do all my socializing for me" and had a blast. Jack grew up too, but in a different way. Like he's been exposed to life outside his family and he's trying out all these voices and mannerisms and I have to keep saying, "I DON'T LIKE IT WHEN YOU ACT LIKE [INSERT NAME OF FRIEND]." Also he reads and does math and makes books and his handwriting is terrible and he has blisters on his palms from the monkey bars and every single pair of jeans is holey. His hair is always a mess. He's going to be a first grader. I have a first grader

And Emma? Emma learned to walk. I spent the first half of the year reminding myself to put the Ergo in the car so I could carry her into the school for pick up. She was always bound up next to me, no one saw her face. And then the second half of the year, when I was still carrying her, but on my hip and putting her down once we got inside. And then holding her hand while she walked. And then trying to get her to hold my hand before she gets run over by the hordes of elementary school students running to the bus. Babies change so fast, I know, but the school year really quantifies things, doesn't it. 

It's going to be crazy with Molly in school. I mean the time flying by thing. It wasn't so long ago that I was writing about my two babies. SO CRAZY. Although it's still not entirely certain she'll GO to school - next week we meet with a school psychologist, the second of the two kindergarten early entrance assessments. Her teachers, Jack's teacher, and my personal collection of teachers all say she's ready and I think she is too and I'm not really worried about it, but it'll be nice to make it official. 

And NO, Teachers From Molly's Preschool, I am NOT putting my baby in the Twos program. No no no. 

But first: summer. Lots of summer. Swim lessons, VBS, YMCA camp, Grandma and Grandpa's house, Vancouver, the beach, the spray park, cousins, birthdays, a deck with a SLIDE. It's going to be awesome.

 


A poor substitute for the post I wrote last night that vanished DAMMIT TYPEPAD

Last night I wrote this huuuge post about a bit of shopping I've done lately, replete with pictures and links and actual opinions and all that. And somehow I messed up and it didn't post and POOF. Last night I was just angry, this morning I am taking it as a sign that I am not to even pretend to be a fashion blogger. 

But I did provide you with a little write up of the new home section at JCPenney and it seems that this is the section I am most bummed I didn't get to share with you. Interesting! I think it's because I've finally found my dream dining room table - at PENNEY'S. I know. And it's $1300 which means I will not be purchasing it, maybe ever, on account of buying a deck instead. 

Isn't is BEEYOOTIFUL?

Whitetable

Okay, fine, you can barely see it. This is because it's a shiny white LACQUERED table and I am IN LOVE. It's from the Jonathan Adler collection and it's too expensive and it doesn't seat enough people and it doesn't come with an extension and I don't care because IT'S SO PRETTY. I may have to re-envision my entire future dining room around a white laquered table.

Anyway. Here is what I thought about the new JCPenney Home department, which you have definitely heard about if you a) watch/read financial news or b) see a commercial on HGTV. It's awesome. I know! Much like their dress department, where I am finding 99% of the dresses I like lately, the home department is my kind of stuff. A lot of it (and not just the uber-bright Jonathan Adler stuff) is the modern that isn't SO modern it looks uncomfortable, but with clean lines, interesting shapes, shiny, mixed materials. I have to compare it to Home Goods, where I went over the weekend in search of couch pillows. I like a lot of the stuff in Home Goods, but I'm thinking I'm not... I can't think of a good word. Like I'm not so much into chalkboard paint. I love their rugs and their lamps, but I think I'm not enough into the vintagey style. Anyway, the JCP stuff isn't cheap and not where I'd go in search of some wall art or a bathmat, but if I was seriously looking for something substantial? I'd totally check them out. 

And now we need to talk about couch pillows. Why so expensive, couch pillows?! The few I liked at Home Goods were $25 each and at JCP they were between $20 and $40. I have a ginormous couch and there's no way I could buy enough pillows at that price point. Such a bummer. I may have to go to JoAnn's and pick out fabric and con my mother into sewing them for me. 

The other stuff I bought, just some dresses. I'm on the hunt for maxi dresses that skim over my lumpy parts and also a pair of sloppy khaki pants. I cannot find a pair of loose, easy, lightweight khaki pants ANYWHERE. I don't want skinny or cropped or stretchy or work-like or nice material or fitted or God forbid LINEN. Ugh. Basically what I want is a pair of Phillip's worn out Friday casual work pants in my size. Something to wear with t-shirts and tanks and sandals. That doesn't make me feel muffin toppy. That doesn't lower my self esteem like jeans. That isn't out of season like leggings or heavy yoga pants. That's messy but MEANT to be messy. Where are these pants?! I used to have a pair, pre-children, and I wore them ALL THE TIME. WANT. 

 


At least confessing it's been rough is evidence of character growth? Maybe?

As I sit here listening to my daughter scream bloody murder in her crib I'm thinking, "Shoot! This is why I still have ten pounds to go! This has been a CRAZY NEARLY-TWO YEARS!"

As smitten as we are with Miss EJ and as teeth-pulling as it is to get me to admit that anything is hard, THIS HAS BEEN HARD. Those of you who had third baby twins? Or you have a fourth baby? I'm just... I thought I could be you, but I'm not so sure anymore. 

I certainly don't have the hardest kids in the world, they're healthy and thriving and mostly behave, so I truly don't have anything to complain about. Although I don't really feel like I'm complaining right now so much as flopping backwards onto the couch and dramatically touching the back of my hand to my forehead. Listening to your sweet baby shriek her head off every single time you put her in bed is that exhausting. 

She's either not napping at all or napping too long and I have to wake her up. She's either not walking or she gets mad if she's not allowed to walk. She either eats everything or throws it all on the floor. Ninety percent of the time she's ADORABLE. The other ten percent is the reason I can't exercise, eat all the cookies at 10pm, constantly behind on housework, fall asleep on the couch in the middle of the day. All you people who said third babies were easy were LYING! PANTS ON FIRE! YES, I AM POINTING AT YOU!

Not that first and second babies are easy. I think maybe we were just well into Preschoolerhood when EJ arrived and it's not so much the baby work and baby stages so much as the adding BABY to PRESCHOOLER and KINDERGARTNER. If that makes sense? And I'm only speaking for myself. Jack and Molly are 15.5 months apart and yes, a lot of Molly's babyhood is a blur, but they were basically doing the same thing within a short amount of time and I HANDLED THINGS. This time? I feel like it's been almost two years and I still don't have a good grasp on managing the hours. First it was new baby and work trips and moving and then it was arranging life around the big kids' school stuff (and work trips, ahem.) I feel like that's legitimate. It's been hard. Sometimes really hard. 

The only thing going for me right now is that this is the last week of school. Tomorrow is my last Monday driving to kindergarten and preschool and then home and then back to preschool and then home and then back to kindergarten and then home. My upcoming weeks of no more drop offs and pick ups are so close I can taste them. I've scheduled the big kids for a couple weeks of daily summer swim lessons, but praise the Lord they're at the same time and other than that half hour? NOTHING ELSE. We can go back to doing whatever we want whenever we want and maybe I can finally urge EJ into an afternoon nap instead of this horrible mid-morning nap we've had going for months.

So this is encouraging. It is. And I'm not even that nervous about what to do with everyone this summer. Sure, some days will grate, but we have swim lessons, we have a couple of week-long camps, and lots of family get togethers. Summer will fly by the way it usually does. And come September I'll have two big kids going to the same school for the same hours and order might finally return to my world. I'm trying not to depend on that, but I don't see how it can't be SO MUCH EASIER than this last year.

A friend of mine has a newish baby and I got all Ooooh Snuggly Baby Gimme! over her yesterday. I just LOVE babies. And have I been thinking about a fourth baby? Sure! Not REALLY, since we all know where PCheung stands on that, and it's only been in the last month or so that I can fathom physically HAVING a baby again. (Seriously.) I love love LOVE the idea of a sixth person in our family. I really do. I'm not sure I feel like anyone is missing, necessarily, but it wouldn't be hard to talk me into it.

That said? I honestly don't know if I could hack a fourth baby. I don't know how you do it. I am SO tired, SO fed up by bedtime, SO drained on just a regular average day. Bad days are when I have to go shut myself in the bedroom as soon as Phillip gets home. (Poor Phillip.) The thought of doing it AGAIN? Starting OVER? No no no no no no no.

Everyone wanting to leave a comment about, "Oh, fourth babies just blend in!", I would like to inform you that that's what everyone said about THIRD babies.

Anyway. That's where my brain is right now. Phillip just emerged from Emma's room announcing, "I guess we have to rock her to sleep now!" OH GOODY.

I am really looking forward to the end of this school year, you guys. You might want to unfollow me from Twitter right now as I have no intention to hold back on the "This is my LAST MONDAY!" and "This is my LAST drop off!" tweets. GOOD RIDDANCE, CRAZY YEAR. 


My one and only love

There's been a lot of wedding talk in my chunk of Twitterland today, all on account of the divine Miss Miriel and her upcoming nuptials. It's been fun looking at everyone's wedding pictures and oohing over dresses and bugging Miriel about livetweeting her wedding. 

And my tenth anniversary isn't for another couple of weeks so I'm not quite due for a shmoopy post, but I heard Sting singing 'Someone To Watch Over Me' in the car on the way home (KPLU evening jazz!) and how are you not supposed to feel shmoopy over that?

I don't love any of my wedding pictures and when I think back to who I was at age almost-24 ten years ago I'm not super impressed. So much of my personality flaws were on huge display. I had absolutely no idea how to plan a wedding, no good friends who were married, and parents who still lived in Italy. I knew what I wanted and I knew what wouldn't work for me. Like buying a fancy dress and getting my hair done. I thought dress shopping would be the most humiliating thing in the world, so I enlisted my aunt to MAKE my dress - very plain, empire-waisted, nothing showy. Makeup? I put mine on in the car when I drove myself and my maid of honor to the church for pictures and got there before anyone else. I had a friend do my hair, but of course I redid it. It wasn't that I thought I didn't deserve to be pretty on my wedding day, I just didn't think I could pull it off. Me? Beautiful? In the dark part of my heart I thought I would try to look beautiful and it would fail and everyone would roll their eyes at me for making the attempt. Better to just look like myself. 

I THOUGHT THIS.

I was months away from a full fledged nervous breakdown, determined as I was to get this wedding thing over with and start on the real goal: Phillip and me being missionaries in China. (HA HA HA.) 

My future best friends wanted to be involved so badly and tried to do so much for me, but I was embarrassed that I didn't already have the standard flock of bridesmaids to take care of everything so I blew them off. 

At no point in the process did I EVER want to appear needy, lonely, like I didn't know what I was doing. The more unsure I was about something the more sureness I faked. 

I liked my wedding! I did. It was exactly me at that point in time. It was low key, heavy appetizers, lots of wine, no garters or bouquet toss, on the water in my favorite city. The one element that I would absolutely a million times over do again was the jazz trio and the girl singer. So there wasn't any crazy dancing at my wedding, but we had the music that started things off. 

The first summer I knew him, Phillip spent eight weeks in China. And during that entire 8 weeks, even though we were barely friends, much less dating, I listened to a CD he'd made for me before he left. It sounds like he liked me, right? But Phillip was 1) super into whatever was the newest technological thing, which at that time was burning CDs and 2) super into music, all kinds, especially music no one knew much about, like romantic jazz standards. He made a lot of CDs. I spent that entire summer listening to Sting sing 'My One And Only Love' on repeat, daydreaming, wondering if there was any other guy in the entire world who even KNEW that song. (Besides Sting.)

I was an insecure, nervous, fearful, prideful girl, but somehow I managed to fall in love with the right guy. Even more amazing, he wanted to marry me

So I didn't get it all wrong. We started dating knowing that we'd probably get married - not because we were super churchy even then (although we were) but because we both completely abhorred the idea of ever going through a breakup. If we were doing this we were doing this. He was as serious as me, and in just the same way, in which we couldn't imagine doing it differently. AND he liked Gershwin.

We danced to 'My One And Only Love' at our wedding and I will never hear that song - or Sting singing any jazz standard - without swooning. It's just... everything. Some people have amazing photography or exquisite dresses. I have this song. 

At the time I felt too young, and when I look back I think: thank goodness. I couldn't continue to be so insecure, nervous, fearful, and prideful because now it affected him. I'm a better person because of him. I am more. I think the two of us, we are so much better together. 

I think about who I was when I got married and the truth is that I didn't know I could be anyone different. I know I would have grown up somehow anyway, but because I married Phillip? My heart expanded in ways that didn't exist before him. 


Ultimately Not Meaningful Surface-Level Body Angst

I'm having a string of ugly days. As in, the days themselves aren't ugly, but *I* am. It's unpleasant. 

It's about not being able to lose 10 pounds - like seriously, I cannot shake them. I'm waiting until the fall, when I see myself having (finally) the sort of schedule where I CAN exercise on a regular routiney basis to say, "Hey, maybe the crazy pills aren't helping." I don't feel like I've done my best yet. I'm either exercising well or eating well, I have yet to be doing both at the same time, the three kids on three different schedules doesn't help me take care of my own self, so I haven't gone there yet. I'm open to the idea that the crazy pills make it HARDER, but not IMPOSSIBLE. I'm waiting on that one. I managed to lose most of the baby weight before I was on my full dose of meds, so it's a definite possibility. 

It's about growing out my hair. The other day I said to Phillip, "I think I'm going to grow out my hair" and he got this look on his face that will make it very very hard to go back on that comment. My husband has never EVER said a single solitary thing about how I cut my hair or what I wear or how much I weigh (unless I'm asking him!) and he would never ask me to grow it out. But that look... I mean, you want your husband to think you look nice, right? And if he thinks I'd look nicer with long hair... EXCEPT GROWING OUT YOUR HAIR POSITIVELY SUCKS. It's only been a few weeks of "maybe I'll grow it out!" and I already hate everything going on on top of my head. People with super fine super straight hair should not be in a shaggy in between place. It seems like it will be eons before I reach the goal, which is my friend taking me to the Korean hair salon where they will put a very slight permanent wave in my extra long no-more-grays hair and I turn into a Disney princess. 

It's about not getting outside. Emma's walking which is SO SO SO SO SO GREAT. I mean, it's super great. Everything is so much EASIER now that she's walking. But she's still not that confident outside so even when I want to go water the plants in the front yard I have to wait until Phillip gets home or she's super occupied with Molly inside, because she shrieks and hollers at me if I leave her standing alone in the grass. We can't go on the deck because it's not really a deck right now. We can't play in the backyard because it's full of dangerous deck-building things. We don't go for walks because our neighborhood is lame. And if it's none of those things it's raining. 

It's about watching all the super fit athletic moms check their kids into childcare at the Y so they can go kickbox something or work on their ab definition. And I can't even TRY because my kid throws a holy fit if I leave her in childcare. 

It's about realizing there's no stinking way I'm going to reach my weight loss goal (Fit Into Old Pants!) by our trip to Cabo in August. 

It's about being the fat friend, the fat sister, the fat daughter-in-law. It's about how even though I used to be nearly 30 pounds heavier, I am ashamed and embarrassed that I can't lose another 10. 

I hate thinking that the only thing that will make me feel better is losing the weight, finding a good way to wear my hair, fitting into my favorite post-Molly skirt. That there's nothing else, not my husband saying flattering things, not my friends looking at me like I'm crazy, not knowing that God is uninterested in my pant size. I hate feeling so vulnerable to this, Get away from me, Ultimately Not Meaningful Surface-Level Body Angst! 

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Two beautiful ladies. 


Tuesday Reads & Recommends: An Actual Book Edition

I finished The 5th Wave this afternoon and I need to talk about it. It is INTENSE. It is dark, dystopian, teenage angst with ALIENS and SHOOTING and VIOLENCE (especially among and between children) and therefore it is not at ALL the sort of book I would at ALL be interested in. Except, you guys, it was so good. 

I am hesitant to say HOW GOOD because of this other book I read called Bomb: The Race to Build - And Steal - The World's Most Dangerous Weapon. Elizabeth told me about this book when I was visiting her in Sacramento. Apparently it won a Newbery Honor and heaps of people were raving about it. She was unsure, but obvs I instantly downloaded it and read it on the plane ride home. And it WAS great! It was a fast-paced, thrilling, true life read that I'd recommend to anyone even slightly interested in Oppenheimer or World War II or espionage. It's worth a read just for the story of how the Norwegians sabotaged the German bombmaking facilities. (CRAZYPANTS.) 

However! I could not figure out why, exactly, it received honors or why people were especially smitten with it. I also didn't understand why a Newbery honor. Because to be perfectly honest, this book was just like many of the other fast-paced, thrilling, true life historical books I've read in the last several years. It was GOOD but why was it better than the others? And nothing about it seemed specifically directed at young people, at least as far as I could tell.

After discussing this with my dad, with whom I discuss all things Book- or War-Related, I decided it had to be one of two things. Either people were pushing non-fiction on the YA crowd and drumming up interest and excitement around a new and very good book OR. OR these people weren't FOND of history books and tried not to read them and when they had to read this one they were excited to have finally found one that didn't bore them to death. THAT COULD BE IT, RIGHT? 

So that's a bit of what I'm feeling around The 5th Wave. I don't normally read those sorts of books, so maybe this one is good-but-nothing-special. I don't know! Apparently the movie rights are already sold and it's the first of a planned trilogy, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's AWESOME. It also had elements of books I really didn't like (Twilight) or only sort of liked (The Hunger Games) and the love story was drippy and silly (at least to this 34-year-old cynic). BUT THE REST. The rest is more Ender's Game and I couldn't put it down. I want to read the next one NOW. 

On a completely TOTALLY different note, I also read Finding Calcutta: What Mother Teresa Taught Me About Meaningful Work And Service. A much different kind of intense. I spent a whole evening trying to tell a friend what I got out of this book - I'm not sure I can do much better here. It's not the BEST book I've ever read, it's not the greatest story. It was something else, though. It details the author's attempt to find her Calcutta. What is the thing she is called to do. I appreciated what she had to say on that front, but for me what was most impactful was the study of Mother Teresa herself. Her humility, her obedience, her wisdom, her pursuit of God even when she hadn't heard his voice for years and years and years. In the face of that character my own anxieties seemed petty and insignificant, my ambitions small and unexciting. I guess I could say reading this book exposed me to my own spiritual immaturity. LAME. At the same time, it was so encouraging I only feel uplifted and reenergized. 

Now I don't have anything to read. And I can't buy MORE Kindle books. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF.