Getting Away – Portland, OR

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I’m Nowhere Near Weight Loss

I’m still 50 lbs away from my wedding weight. 23 away from my pre-pregnancy weight. and 6 lbs away from 200 lbs, which every morning I get up and see that scale and want to cry.

I drink coffee and have a diet breakfast sandwich for lunch. I eat a salad or lean cuisine for lunch. I work out for 30 minutes 4 times a week on an elliptical. Dinner is pretty normal.

Even for me, losing nothing over 6 weeks, that’s too much.

I’m weighed down – literally, emotionally, existentially, figuratively, whatever – and every time I put on an outfit, order something and it doesn’t fit right, and well, enter my closet in general, I just fall apart.  I’m so tired of feeling like I don’t have a worth as a woman, let alone being attractive. I went to an event last night with Ray. I couldn’t get over how large I was in the mirror. I can’t get over how much I count calories, how starving I am, and unsatisfied with everything I feel.

I feel like I’m disappointing everyone. I don’t look right, feel right and apparently I’m not doing it right. I hate this. I hate it. I hate it.

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Dear Class of 2016

It’s one of my long time dreams to speak at University or better yet, High School, graduation. I have no idea why. It’s not like I have a huge amount of wisdom to impart at my ripe-old-age of 37. Maybe it’s just this time of year when school lets out for summer and the weather turns hot and there’s graduation parties, watermelon, beach trips, barbecues and the feeling of freedom, despite that I’m still working a regular day job and summer is merely a season now, not a vacation. It’s with this nostalgia that I watch Ray’s students graduate, become adults and see the first families that made up “our band family” move on to the next chapter of their lives, hoping that we made a lifelong friend or twelve along the way.

That said, I figured, since this is my slice of the interwebs, and I can say what I want. Well, then I should.

To the class of the sweet ‘16…Enjoy whatever is next. If you’re going to college, study, but have a life. If you’re heading out to the workforce, work to live, not live to work. If you’re doing something else, embrace it with the same commitment as an occupation – for all of  these options may not be choices of our own, but they are the next step where our lives lead us. Treat them as an opportunity to learn, to evolve and become an even better version of yourself. The next years are the ones that truly take time to unfold – but will go by in a blink. You are entering a time in your lives that will shape you for the rest of your days. Just graduating doesn’t make you an adult, going through this transitional time, establishing yourself and your own place in the world as a citizen and contributor marks a new chapter.

You have two ears, one mouth. Listen twice as much as you speak. There are so many experiences out there that you’ll never hear if you are only talking. When I was young, I spoke too much. I should have taken in so much more. Not only just the words of wisdom from folks around me, but also the experience of hearing silence of the moments around you. Take time to be mindful of the choices you make, the paths you drive down and people who you choose to take with you to the other side of this metamorphosis.

As you make your way through this new chapter, realize that your success in life will not award you a participation trophy.  Do more than show up to this next part of life. Contribute with marked effort to the world around you, make an impact. Leave the world a better place than where you started. Take pride in what you do, do those things that you are passionate about and provide a greater good to the communities you choose to serve .That should be enough. That, in itself, is your reward.

In closing, a short walk through my advice on life: Live big, you only get one chance. Be nice. Work hard. Love harder. Know that there is always someone who can do it better. Live gracefully. Pay it forward. Give the benefit of the doubt. Embrace whimsy. Respect both up and down the ladder. Treat everyone equally. Forget color, gender, race, creed or religion – embrace humanity. Live ethically. Own your decisions. Have a savings account and a retirement fund and a rainy day stash and an escape plan and save in that order for them. Take educated risks. Make your own way, don’t ride coattails. Learn something new every day. Make sure to have a hobby that isn’t work related. Travel. Learn a language. Everything in moderation. Don’t forget others’ needs or your own and not always in that order. Take photos. Give 110%. If you take the last cup of coffee, make a new pot. Follow your passion. Take part in the trends, but don’t forget the classics. The simplest answer is usually the right one. Stay grounded, but believe nothing is impossible. Pay your bills, but don’t get a credit card. Realize it’s never too late. Treat everyone as if they are fighting battles you know nothing of. Know that mean people will never succeed, even if you don’t witness their demise. and finally, if you aren’t doing what you know you were meant to do, listen to your gut, get out, and get going – you clearly have other places to be.

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So, I’m a Mom. and I’m still more.

Remember when I wrote this lovely little ditty amidst a passionate need to make sure the world knew I’m still me?

Welp…I survived birth, but more difficult, I survived Maternity Leave. Kudos to Stay at Home Moms. “Good for you, not for me”…I cannot go 8 hours a day without intelligent adult conversation. I can’t. I know that I could probably take on Stay at Home-ness if I had to, and find play groups that would help this need, but I realized that as much as I adore my kid to bits and pieces, I need more than motherhood to keep myself sane.

There’s some lovely stuff though when you’re on maternity leave that folks asked…

“Aren’t you breastfeeding?” (upon seeing me make a formula bottle)…nope, I’m not, I did for 6 weeks, and then my kid basically screamed bloody murder despite diet changes every time I gave him my milk. He has Zantac and Colic Drops and Formula now, and I assure you his pain is everyone’s (including his own) gain, because he can sleep and get rest and enjoy life.

“How are you ever going to put him into daycare?”…drive him and drop him off. I love my kid, I want to be around him alot, but not 24/7. I want him to learn independence and social skills, the likes of which he won’t get with me being a helicopter parent. I need him to learn to be around other adults as well as kids, and quite frankly, a little “controlled” germ exposure may not hurt either – God made dirt, and dirt don’t hurt.

“Are you able to focus on work now that you’re back?” – YOU BETCHA. and guess what, when I go home I’m TONS more excited to see my kid, because the guilt of “I’m on maternity leave and I should be bonding affectionately with my child constantly instead of trying to do chores or get rest” is gone. I go home and it’s like “MOMMA TIME!! LETS DO THIS!” and for whatever reason, my brain is tons more well rested after a day of work – I can focus on fun and silliness much better.

Fact is, I’m going to make a conscious effort to stop the guilt, and it’s been paying off. I’ll be adding going back to the gym, buying myself stuff as my budget permits, and taking some couple and me time. It’s been an adjustment, but my life continues to be my own, even after that precious baby came out.

Yep, lots of stay at home parents where we’re from. Lots of them do all the right things and all the correct methods. But, guess what, so do I. Good for them, not for me. Chant it.

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16 Years. Time marches on.

At approximately 2:42 a.m. on November 18, 1999, the 59-foot high stack, consisting of about 5000 logs, collapsed during construction. Of the 58 students and former students working on the stack, 12 were killed and 27 were injured. This ended the tradition known as Bonfire on the Texas A&M Campus, and forever changed the face of the university and those who participated in it.

Wow. Another year. This post has slowly come around not only as a moemnt to reflect on the lives of my classmates lost, but also to take stock about where my life is since this event. As I sit here, I’m reflecting on the massive change my life has taken since this post last year. I know the blog has gone by the wayside – for many reasons. I need to pick it back up…once “life returns to normal”.

My son will mark completing his second month at life next week, and my husband and I just marked our 2nd year of knowing each other. Wow, that all sounds so fast, and yet, it feels like I’ve been snuggled into this spot for so much longer.

I was fearful when I was pregnant that I couldn’t love my son this much. I mean, he was a “thing inside my belly” that I couldn’t see, or talk to. Then I was concerned about “how we would fit him into our life”. Now, I can’t imagine how life was before him. How cliche.

Not every day is a Hallmark card full of sweetness and light. There are crying fits, late nights, frustrations. But then again, I know that every day at 7:30 I have a little man, who’s eyes and mouth like a baby bird are contentedly looking at me ready for his bottle and smells of nothing but baby and snuggles me and makes me feel like the whole darn world.

I look forward to each day, despite being tired, without makeup, too many pounds overweight and craving to fit into regular clothes, mentally searching for what I can show him, and do with him and while the days are going too fast, they aren’t going fast enough for me to show him all the things I need to show him.

Today I wanted to be on the way to College Station, showing him the memorial, showing him where Mommy came from, perhaps we can do this together next week. 

Lately, today in particular, I’m reminded of how short life is. I look at my son and want to give him the entire world. More so, I want to give him what HE wants. I know I have visions for him, I know I can could steer him to my choices of what I’d like him to be. But I want him to have his life.

I have struggled this year, trying to be the me I need to be. Not what others want. I want my son to have a mother who is as strong in her convictions as I want him to be. He has two feet, I need to nuture him to stand on his own – and I cannot do that until I learn how to do it myself.

I implore my readers, and friends, and anyone who will listen, to live big. and I have not done that myself. I have not leapt and been brave – I have generally remained quiet when conflict arises, or even when my own substance just plainly differs from another. I’m not here to make waves and cause fights, but I’m tired remaining quiet when there is room for me to speak up and make a difference in the world.

Sometimes the things we do not say make us more exhausted than the things we do. The build up in our heads of how people may react is overbearing. Getting over the fear and anxiety of “being judged” is my goal this year. I will be me, because I have a little one who I want to be anything he wants to be, it’s time that I embraced the same – for to be alive is a gift, and it could be taken away at any moment.

Here.

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Sometimes He thinks I may not notice

My husband is a saint. At the most, one month from today, we’ll be parents.  I thought I’d take the time to thank him out loud, since in a month we may get a little busy with this baby…

Thank you for putting together every piece of crib and stroller and baby gear that came into the house. I still think Ralph thinks that his canine life is much improved by a stroller, and Penny still wants that stuffed owl we bought for herself, but we’ll all learn to share together, won’t we?

Thank you for making a nursery with me that makes me feel like we put together something so completely our personality that I couldn’t imagine our little kiddo starting off anywhere else more perfect. We have always said that we find “home” within each other,  and his room is the embodiment of that belief.

Thank you for every time you told me I wasn’t fat, I was pregnant. and for calling me – dare I say it here – “sexy”, because Lord knows when you can’t put on your shoes, the last thing you feel is desirable. Thanks for telling me my grey hair looked like highlights, and that I never needed make up.  Feeling like a science experiment takes a toll on my confidence, and you were always there to pick me up.

Thank you for washing every single solitary teensy piece of clothing that came into our house. I have no idea how our kid will ever wear all of it, but goodness knows, he’s prepared to!

Thank you for every date night that we went on. Those last adult-nights-out are precious and memorable. I know we’ll try to maintain that in this next stage, but continuing to date you through our marriage means a ton to me.

Thank you for coming to every.single.solitary.doctor’s appointment. Thank you for being amazingly involved in the care of our kid. Thank you in week 6 when I thought we were losing him, for saying repeatedly that everything was going to be okay – and it was. You never faltered even when I thought it was all over. Thank you for your faith – it’s unreal.

Thank you for every bit of support when we decided to switch doctors in the 32nd week. I know you couldn’t help as much as you wanted, but being there and telling me it didn’t matter what it cost and that we were doing the right thing helped me get through all that paperwork and chaos.

Thanks for killing that snake in the middle of the eighth month – and walking me out to the car in your bare feet to show me that the snake was “all gone”, you have no idea how much I cannot jump vertically and how much I would have needed to. You’re my hero for that.

Thank you for every egg and toast that you made me at 5AM when you could have slept in, so that I stay on track with my gestational diabetes diet. Then, right behind that, thank you for every lunch where you detailed out to me what lunch and snack and thing I was eating to make sure my blood sugar stayed where it needed to be – especially since towards the end, putting lipstick on seemed to be a massive task.

Thanks for the massages when I needed them – especially since you have aversions to toes. Thanks for telling me to sit when you could help me with something, thanks for helping me off the couch when I felt like a turtle stuck on it’s back.

Thank you for all of the advice on how to deal with people who only saw me as a pregnant thing. Thanks for asking how I was doing, thanks for still seeing me as a wife and a friend and a numbers person and a volunteer, thanks for making me feel human, instead of a human incubator.

Thanks for tying my shoes. Holy mother that got hard. And thanks for that compression sock application – I’ll never forget it.

Thank you for supporting my want to get back into shape as soon as possible by indulging me in every thought I had about gym equipment, memberships, corsets, programs, diets and the like. But thank you more for never making me feel like I “had” to for you to love me, but only because you knew that’s what I wanted for myself.

Thank you for putting up with every tear and emotional break that I had – we both know it’s far more than most husbands with pregnant wives put up with – and you did it with such grace. You have no idea how much it means to have a partner who doesn’t hold a grudge and who genuinely wants to become better so we are better as a whole. You continue to be my best friend, who I can share everything with – and that’s a rare person in this world.

Thanks for hiking things back and forth and up and down, out of attics, to and from storage facilities, and from every shop in between to help us get every tiny thing imaginable needed for our little unimaginable tiny thing! I know he and I appreciate all the sweat equity you have put in.

Heck, thanks for just listening to me babble about every aspect of whatever it is that I had to say that day. Sometimes just being heard was all I needed. I know you wanted an instructional manual on how to deal with a hormonal chick, I swear one day I’ll write one, but you did the best you could.

I know I missed a million small and big stuff in between the fog of these last 35 weeks, forgive me for not noticing all of them, there are too many things to count, but not one of them should have been missed – I know as soon as I hit publish on this piece, I’ll remember 12 more.

You are going to be an amazing Dad, thank you for being the man that I want our son to be. (and thanks for sharing your name.)

and most importantly, thank you for loving me and even considering this adventure with me. I have dreamed of this moment for more than 15 years, and it’s absolutely surreal to me that you and I are here, and it’s happening. I know we’ll love this baby more than we can ever imagine, but I couldn’t even do this, if I weren’t in love with you more than I could have ever dreamed of.

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