Friday, April 30, 2010

Mom Sexy means saying goodbye

Mary over at The Mommyologist is doing this thing on the last Monday of every month (she's keeping it up through Friday, so I just made it). She wants to start a discussion on how Moms bring their sexy back. 

I don't think she's talking about MILFS. Although they're people too. Anyway, she asked "what in your life is holding you back from feeling Mom Sexy? What is the one thing that you need to let go of in order to let your inner sexy emerge?"

Definitely head over to her blog and check out her vlog. HYSTERICAL. And since I didn't hear a "YIPE!" at the end of the video, I'm sure no small animals were harmed in the filming.

I've been thinking (over the soundtrack in my head of JT singing "I'm Bringing Sexy Back) about this and I realize the one thing I need to let go of? My grey yoga pants.

So I decided to write a letter to them.

Dear Yoga Pants,

I met you years ago, after Sage was born. You were dark and you looked really cute.  I got you for a steal at Lucy.

And from there, our love grew.

You were what I slipped into when I wanted to be more comfortable. You made me feel okay to go to Target in nothing but you and a tee shirt, knowing you had my back. Literally.

I wore you instead of shorts to physical therapy, so that when I got stretched, no one could see the flabalanch that is my inner thighs, or worse, the fact I haven't had a bikini wax since 2002.

I loved you. I really did.

You were SO loyal. You didn't even mind when I got pregnant. You stuck with me as I gained. And gained. And gained. You grew to fit me. You stretched your limits. You didn't complain when I couldn't even see your waistband, when I could barely pull your drawstring.

And then. After X was born. There you were, ready for our next adventure. You didn't care that I still carried fifty the few pounds I'd put on with the pregnancy. You still loved me. You were my go-to pants, and you didn't even tell me what I REALLY looked like from behind.

But then I started losing the weight. You became not so clingy. I guess we both needed our space. But then you got baggy, and quite frankly, that's not appealing. I know I shouldn't be so superficial, but it's true. You just didn't bounce back, while I am back to the size I was when we first met. Smaller, even.

You, however. You let yourself go. You have HOLES, for chrissake.

How can I feel sexy? It's bad enough I have three kids and spend my days covered in snot and dirty handprints, and doing super glamourous stuff like driving the Mom Taxi and racing to grab X before he climbs the stairs - again. I don't need to have the saggy ass, too.

Let's be honest: I don't need you anymore.

Strike that. I don't WANT you anymore.

I've moved on. To pants that, you know, actually fasten. With a button. And a zipper. That make me feel a little less frumpy. A little more put together. That remind me I'm a woman, that I'm worth it.

So yes, you've seen me through fat thick and thin. You've always been there for me, and that's the problem.

Hell, I don't even DO yoga.

Goodbye, Yoga Pants.

Thanks for the memories. But we're through.

Best wishes,


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mom Bloggers: Nothing more, nothing less

I am a mom blogger.

I'm a mom. I blog about it. Occasionally I get free stuff, and I blog about that.

What I am not on these pages is a professional journalist. And guess what, fellow mom blogger? Neither are you.

A mom blogger, to me, is someone who writes about her life as a mother, as a woman. She touches on issues that impact her family or the world around her. The words can make us think, make us feel connected or understood - and can make us laugh so hard we snort our coffee out or nose.

Sometimes a mom blogger might review a product or offer a giveaway. She might get invited to an event or taping of a show or a launch. And she'll blog about that, too.

But what we're doing? It isn't journalism. It's journal-ING.

Just because you have Internet service and you blog doesn't make you a member of the media.

I should know. I became a professional journalist in 1990, when I graduated from college. Meaning, I got hired by an established news-gathering organization - a major newspaper. My job was to provide unbiased coverage of, in my case, various sports teams. And I continued to do so for different newspapers (and a magazine) for 15 years.

See, being a credentialed member of the media meant something: that I had education, experience, ethics. I was held to a certain standard. It was clear.

The arrogance of some mom bloggers fancying themselves media members is astounding to me. If you blog all about how you were at this primo event or you got that expensive (free) product to try, if you think YOU are the news, then you are missing the entire point of journalism.

As my friend Ciaran from Momfluential says, "Don't mistake online celebrity for being a journalist."

She's right. It's not the same thing at all.

Last week an appellate court judge in New Jersey ruled that a woman, who in a post on a message board ripped a software company and was being sued by the company for defamation, did not qualify to be covered by the state's shield law - and could be ordered to divulge her sources. (The shield law protects journalists from revealing confidential sources, so the judge was saying she's not a journalist.)

Yes, I realize she's not a mom blogger, but the judge's reasoning in the case resonates: "The defendant has produced no credentials or proof of affiliation with any recognized news entity, nor has she demonstrated adherence to any standard of professional responsibility regulating institutional journalism, such as editing, fact-checking or disclosure of conflicts of interest."

I believe this is exactly what separates the mom blogger and a journalist.

The typical mom blog has no editor. No one tells you what to write or how long it should be or by what time you need to post. You're not held accountable  for your content - especially when you can choose which comments to post.  

I'm not saying you would, of course, but you can act like a total ass at a major event and guess what? NO ONE CAN FIRE YOU! Sure, they can refuse to credential you again, and maybe they won't let ANY mom bloggers attend in the future, because there is a level of professionalism expected and you're nowhere close. But since you're really only there to meet some stars, you don't really care. I mean, you NEEDED that photo of yourself with George Clooney/Brad Pitt/Gerard Butler.

And, the minute you take that free blanket for your baby or video game for your tween or that fancy new laptop? Or those free passes to Disneyland -  in exchange for a vlog or a blog review or a whrrl?

Yeah. That violates one of the primary rules of journalism: we do not accept graft. Free stuff. Journalists do not operate on the barter system, there is no "I'll give it to you if you post about it" thing going on. A journalist might get paid by their publication to review a product or a book or CD, but the item itself is not payment. 

Sometimes I'd get a tee shirt or a computer bag with a logo from the person or event I covered. I'd turn it in to my boss. Or I'd just turn it down. 

A journalist can't be perceived to be someone who can be bought, or swayed by a shiny new purse. (I know bloggers are now required by the FTC to divulge whether you were provided a free sample by the company, and that's not a bad thing.)

I went through a lot to build a solid reputation as a sports journalist. Being a female had its challenges. I'm not just talking about dealing with a few idiot players in the clubhouse or locker room. There was the constant feeling of having to prove myself. It was important to me that co-workers, other guys on the beat and reporters I met when I traveled respected me and didn't think I was there as the "token woman" or just to look at naked athletes.

I paid my dues. I started covering high school sports, went on to do some college and minor league baseball, did backup work on major beats, and finally got my own Major League Baseball beat to cover.

I moved five times in seven years to places where I knew no one in order to further my career. I left behind friends, family and boyfriends. I once lived in a backwards town in Upstate New York, where I couldn't afford to turn on the heat very often (despite a record 130-inch snow fall) and subsisted at one point on hard pretzels.

I've had horrible bosses and fantastic ones who pushed me to ask better questions, to write words that moved people. I've met some of the brightest, funniest people on the planet and some of the sleaziest. 

I've covered wife beaters and drug users. I've written about a teenage basketball player whose baby died a few days after birth. A college athlete battling anorexia and bulimia. A larger-than-life baseball player hitting more home runs than anyone ever had.

I've waited - for hours - to get one quote from a player, only to have him totally blow me off. I've left dates and parties and quiet dinners at home because news was breaking and I had to work. I've taken calls on the treadmill. A former New York Yankees beat reporter once remarked to me during the playoffs, while watching the players' families in the clubhouse, "I see their kids more than I see my own."

I was away from home almost half of the year - as a newlywed. I've spent nights with my stomach in knots, wondering what the competition was going to have in their paper the next day that I wasn't.

Yes, I got all-expense paid trips to New York. Boston. Florida. Seattle. Toronto. Chicago. Sounds good, right? Not when you consider I was there to work - often leaving stadiums after 11 p.m  Many times I was gone for a week or more to three different cities through 10 airports and missed connections and delays and lost luggage and silly o'clock wake-up calls AND I was missing time I could be spending with my boyfriend/fiancee/husband.

I've been to a bunch of playoffs and World Series and even the SuperBowl once. But it's not the same as going as a fan. I had stories to write and deadlines to meet and competition to beat and news to break and editors to answer to. And David? He had to buy tickets if he wanted to sit in the stands.

By the time I left the business, I felt I had gained the respect of the people I covered and  also many other reporters around the country. I did my job professionally and I did it well. Players, the coaching staff and front office people knew if I interviewed them that what I wrote would be fair, whether or not they liked it. That's all you can ask for.

I had status. Trust. Credibility. Accountability.

I earned it.

Fifteen years. A lot of sacrifice. A lot of amazement. It's a way of life and it will always be part of me.

So yes, I think it's crazy that mom bloggers call themselves professional journalists or members of the media. 

This is not to say that what we do doesn't have value. It does, in myriad ways. And I'm truly grateful for the fabulous women I've met through blogging.

Mothers are a force to be reckoned with in this marketplace and companies know that. I think it's a great thing. Just don't mistake what's happening by calling yourself a journalist.

Now, if I'm doing a paid freelance piece for a publication, then yes, I'll wear my "media" hat. I've got the resume to back it up.

But in this space?

I'm a mom blogger. Nothing more, nothing less.

And so are you.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

National Infertility Awareness Week - My friend's journey

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. I'm sure all of you know someone - maybe it's you - who has struggled with infertility. It's devastating. 

My dear friend Wendy and her husband, Wes, got married a couple years ago. Like a lot of newlyweds, they thought about when they wanted to start a family. Once work was settled, then this month would be great to start trying, because then the baby would be born in the summer/fall/spring and it'd be perfect. 

Because you never think it's not going to happen.

But it doesn't. The year(s) go on. Tests are vague, at first. So while you're trying to figure out what's going on, the big thing is what's NOT going on: pregnancy. And when all around you it seems like everyone is having babies, it's that much more heartbreaking.

Today I bring you my first guest poster. Wendy, who is one of the most amazing women I know, shares with us her journey - and what you should definitely not say to someone who is walking the same path.

I don’t even remotely consider myself an expert on infertility, but having been in infertile hell for the past 16 months, I’ve undergone enough blood draws, vaginal ultrasounds, uncomfortable radiology procedures, and inquiries about my sex life that I’ve developed quite a list of things you should never say to someone who has been trying to conceive for an extended period of time.

In no particular order:

1) “I have an e-book I bought and will send you – it will totally get you pregnant!”
My exact response? “Oh, wow, that’d be great! And all this time I thought I needed to have sex with my husband while I was ovulating in order to get pregnant… all I have to do is read a book? Awesome!” I think this one speaks for itself, but I will say that it’s important to remember that fertility-challenged couples are hyper sensitive to comments about getting pregnant/being pregnant/others who are pregnant. So while we need to remember you don’t mean to hurt our feelings, know that our elevated levels of hormones, months (years!) of disappointment, and idiotic comments from fertiles give us a handful of “get out of bitchy free” cards to use at will. And P.S., been there, read that e-book. Still not pregnant, thanks.

2) “Feel free to babysit my kid(s) for a weekend, and you’ll change your mind on wanting to get pregnant.”
No amount of snot, puke, or poo will make me NOT want children. Upset baby crying all hours of the night? Bring it on. Projectile vomit ruining your new jeans? Can’t wait. If there’s one thing the past 16 months has taught me, it’s that I will cherish every bodily fluid and sleepless night more than I ever thought possible (Cheryl, feel free to remind me of this a few years down the road). Point being, crazy kids aren’t going to cure my desire to have a baby… it’s just going to make me want to be a parent even more, so I can be a better parent than you. Just kidding. Kind of.

3) “You’re adopted, why would you even consider IVF instead of just adopting?”
While I have first-hand knowledge that adopted children are far superior (hee), this is an incredibly personal topic that is absolutely no one else’s business but the parents-to-be. For us, exploring all options to have our own biological child(ren) is our first choice. I’ve always been open to adopting, and have a desire to adopt/foster a child… but that desire has always been in addition to having a biological child, not in lieu of it. Upon hitting our first fertility roadblock, a very wise friend of mine (ehem, Cheryl) said: “You’re meant to be a mother… maybe not in the way you once thought, but you’ll be a mother one day soon.” This meant the world to me, and was the most thoughtful way of giving support, not passing judgment, and making me feel better. Even if you don’t agree with a couples’ decisions to do/not do IVF, to adopt or not, it’s best to offer support/prayers/good thoughts instead of offering a conflicting opinion.

4) “Just relax, it will happen when you least expect it.”
This alludes to the idea that the couple is doing something wrong, and that’s why they’re not conceiving. In my case, I had three golf-ball sized tumors in my uterus that may or may not have been blocking the entrance to my fallopian tubes. If I’d “just relaxed,” this discovery wouldn’t have been made for who knows how long? Infertility is a medical condition – and while some couples do get lucky and wind up pregnant once they “stop trying,” I’d prefer to stick with medical advice that can not only improve my health and well-being, but make it possible for me to get pregnant.

5) “Ugh, I’d give anything to drink espresso or have a few glasses of wine” (from a pregnant friend).
And really, complaining about your pregnancy in general… morning sickness for four months? Would give anything for it. Stretch marks? Bring ‘em on. Tired because you can’t get comfortable at night? I’ll trade you sleepless nights of hoping and praying for a baby. But complaining that you wish you could drink caffeine or alcohol during your pregnancy? Totally crosses the line into insensitive and absolutely heartless. I’d give up caffeine and alcohol FOREVER if it would allow me to get pregnant (and for the record, I’m down to maybe a cup of tea every three days, and a glass or two of wine a week… so no, that’s not why I’m having fertility problems either, but thanks for thinking it).

6) “I’m pregnant.”
I’m only half kidding with this one… the thing is, HOW you break the news of a pregnancy to an infertile friend is what matters. I’ve read others say that telling early is the best option, but I respect the mom-to-be’s decision on when… I do, however, have some input on how. Since we’ve been trying to conceive I’ve had countless friends announce their own pregnancies and/or have babies. My best friend A shared her news in such a caring way, that I think it illustrates the sensitivity one should consider. I knew they were trying for baby number two, and I called her the day I knew she was going to POAS (that’s “pee on a stick” for those of you not up on the TTC lingo… that’s “trying to conceive”). “So, did you test?” I asked. Her response, “Yeah,” was in such a sad voice, I was certain it was a big fat negative. I apologized, and she said, “No, it was positive… I’m pregnant.” And I could hear that she was crying as she said these words. Her own happiness was put aside in her sadness and sympathy for me. “I want it to be you saying this, and my heart is broken for you.” Baby L was born last month, and I’ve been lucky to be by A’s side through every step of the pregnancy, hosting her baby shower, and visiting soon after she was born. It’s important to tell an infertile your happy news in private, and don’t be surprised if tears ensue, or they don’t respond immediately. Jealously is a difficult thing… I should know, I heard my boss’ dog was pregnant, and I was still jealous! And I may or may not be guilty of glaring at pregnant strangers…

6) “So-and-so told me you were having fertility problems, I did as well and would recommend that you…” (from a friend of a friend who I’d met on two occasions).
Your friend’s fertility troubles are NOT your story to share. It is such a private and personal thing to go through, and you must respect their decision of whom to tell (or not tell…) and how. Hearing from a random friend of a friend not only put me in the awkward situation of having to respond so as not to appear rude, but at the same time get the point across that I had my own circle of friends and support to call on. So what that my mother-in-law calls the day my period is due, and a few close friends know exactly when my husband and I are doing the deed? They’ve been a support to us and we’ve chosen for them to know our intimate details for a reason. At the very least, just say “My friend’s cousin’s next door neighbor’s baby momma had ________ – she’s a great girl, and I’m sure she’d be happy to chat with you if you’re interested in talking to someone who’s been there/done that.” Make it their choice, it’s certainly not yours. That being said, HOW someone shares their infertility struggles is a hard decision as well. For me, email is quick and (relatively) painless. I also appreciate chances to talk with my close friends/family about it in person. I do not and will not share details via text, Twitter, Facebook, etc. If that is your only method of reaching out, you’ll be in the dark. If you think I should be calling you, please consider how many times I’d have to repeat the same story/share the same grim news in order to let people know. It’s not fun to talk about, and I choose to email and blog about it, or chat in person. Period.

7) “You’re young! You have plenty of time to get pregnant – women are getting pregnant in their late 40s these days!”
While I appreciate 34 being considered ‘young,’ the reality is that pregnancy after 35 becomes more of a risk (higher miscarriage rates), and on top of that, a woman’s infertility decreases significantly after 35. Google it – it’s all there. Fertility starts to decline in a woman’s late 20s, and more rapidly declines after 35. Even if I was still in my 20s, comments about a fertility-challenged woman’s age are better left unsaid.

8) “I thought you’d have a baby by now… You’re not pregnant yet?... So when are you starting a family?”
It’s such a natural curiosity after someone gets married to wonder if/when they’ll start a family. If, after a significant amount of time has passed, they still aren’t pregnant? Obviously something is wrong/going on. My favorite response to these questions? “Practice makes perfect, so we practice a lot.” That usually shuts people up. ;)

9) Saying nothing/not responding at all.
While I’ve opened up to a handful of friends and family about what we’re going through, I haven’t totally outted myself. I send email updates to a group of loved ones to keep them up to date with what’s happening. While I never expect to hear back from each person on each email, it’s become blatantly obvious that a few of my closest friends have never acknowledged what is happening. Not even a “thanks for the email, will keep you in my thoughts!” or “sending fertile thoughts your way!” Nothing. The movie theater may think that ‘silence is golden,’ but when you’re the close friend of an infertile, saying nothing at all is just as bad as saying one of the things that prompted this post. Especially when these are friends I’ve known for years. I know our moms taught us, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all…” but in this case, saying anything is better than nothing.

10) “You’re welcome to borrow my husband’s ‘super sperm’.”
Not only is this rude, but it throws in the face of an infertile how easy it was for you to get pregnant, while we struggle. Did you know that one in four infertile couples have unexplained infertility? Leave the sarcastic comments far away from infertile friends.

11) And while this wasn’t said to me, it was said to a dear friend who’d just suffered a miscarriage:
“At least you know you can get pregnant!”
My friend H suffered a miscarriage just a few days after they saw their baby’s heartbeat for the first time. You could’ve knocked me over with a feather when she told me an acquaintance made this comment to her. One could argue the “glass is half full” attitude with this one, but I prefer the argument of this person is an insensitive boob!

I want to end by sharing two very powerful links for you to watch… they say it better than I ever could. A few words of advice? Have Kleenex nearby before clicking: 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Busted in the candy aisle

Well, this was pretty disturbing.

Yesterday David took Sawyer and Sage to Target. He called to ask if there was anything I wanted (as if there's enough time in the day to go over THAT particular list). The only thing I could think of? A box of Mike and Ikes.

That's right. Hello. My name is Cheryl. And I'm a sugarholic.

I own it, Internets. I do.

Some of you have a glass (or three) of wine to take the edge off a traumatic day. Some of you drink coffee in the morning to help you face the whine.

Me? I love me my sugar.

Unfortunately, my days of grabbing a handful of sweetness are coming to an end. I'd like to say it's because I'm really trying to get into shape and the sugar is a big sabotager. And I guess it's partly that.

But David told me what Sawyer said when he picked up a box for me.

"Why doesn't Mommy eat healthy food?"


Of COURSE I know kids watch everything I do. I'm sure we've all had a moment where we've heard our child tell another one to "KNOCK IT OFF" in our exact voice. I suppose I was hoping my kids wouldn't notice that I rarely eat fruit because I have a pretty big texture aversion, and that the fact Daddy eats it would cancel me out.

I was wrong.

It's not like I don't eat healthy stuff. I actually do. But I'm so limited on snack food right now that instead of having cheese and crackers or a container of yogurt (strike that, I can't stand the stuff), they *might* see me instead sneak a few cinnamon bears.

Now that I've been busted I have to reform. I will only eat nutritious things - carrots, raspberries - in front of them.

The second they go to bed? I can't promise I won't be diving into my secret stash of mommy's little helper.

What's your vice you don't want your kids to see?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Every Day

Kids honor the Earth every day. They see wonder in a ladybug landing on their arm, in a cool rock they find on a path, in the surprise freezing rain that pelted our Southern Californian lawn yesterday.

Maybe it's because they're closer to ground-level so they spot what we'd just walk past. Plus, they don't have a thousand things competing for space in our thoughts, like what to make for dinner, or whether you remembered to move the wash into the dryer, or if you can make the mortgage this month.

They are free from worry. As they should be. They're children.

Sawyer asked last week if we could go on a nature walk. And since we're lucky enough to live in an area with a lot of trails and regional parks, it was easy to do. This weekend we drove about five minutes to a trail head.

He brought a bunch of paper stapled together he called his Nature Book. We climbed a narrow, single-track path up and around a hill. We stopped to listen to the hiss of the wind through the tall grass, which Sawyer pronounced "creepy."

We saw a big black beetle right before we got to our first stop, a bench with a view.

Sawyer got to work.

Nice view, huh?

Perfect for inspiration..

Then we were off to hike to the pond - but not before a hiker and a couple guys on mountain bikes mentioned that they'd just seen a rattlesnake. Of course that's all I needed to hear. I shrieked whenever the kids got too close to the sides of the path where the grass is thick and high and perfect for a snake to lurk. I insisted they walk right down the middle. I kept my eyes peeled for any suspicious looking "sticks."

We finally made it to the pond, where there were so many tiny baby frogs hopping around I was petrified I was going to squish one - and I have to say, frog may be the only thing I haven't stepped on since having kids. I didn't want to start now.

Sawyer, like any boy worthy of the name, caught a frog and had such a thrill holding it (sorry, no pictures, something about having to keep a 13 month-old out of the green water). And then his sister spotted an orange caterpillar on the hike back, and that was about as exciting as it could get.

It was a great reminder that sometimes, it's the little things that make us the happiest  - and you never know what's going to be under the next leaf, if you just take the time to look.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Honest Scrap = Honest Crap

See this?

It's my very first bloggy award. And I got it from TWO fabulous women, The Mayor of Crazytown and the Alabaster Cow. Well, those aren't their REAL names, of course. But those are their real blogs. I am a regular around both of them, and if you stop by - which you totally should - you'll get why. The Mayor is hysterical. You will be completely exhausted after reading her posts because this woman has four kids (if that's not tiring enough) and they seem to get into all kinds of "adventures." Alabaster Cow is like that cool kid at school you wanted to hang out with but you just weren't cool enough. She's also incredibly funny.

I'm supposed to come up with 10 honest things about myself for this award. I could cheat and just repost this "10 Things About Me" that I did when I was writing a post a day in November.

Instead, I'm going to bring you this:

Now, if in whatever alternate universe you're living you haven't heard of Mama Kat's writing workshop, here's the deal: she puts prompts on her blog, Mama Kat's Losing It. You choose the one that "speaks" to you, and you post it on your own blog, then link back to her. Oh, and then you post your link back on HER blog.

It's pretty cool. And I'm really thinking it's time I did some writing exercises (to help me with my tummy cellulite) so here it goes.

I chose: "List 10 rules you've unlearned (meaning 10 things you thought were expected of you or were the "right way" of doing things, but that you now ignore)."

I can't think of 10, and I'm not sure if all of these exactly fit, but this is what I've come up with, in no particular order:

1. Keep your legs crossed, aka If you give the milk away for free, then why buy the cow? Oookay, so I'm not advocating, you know, promiscuous sex, but seriously? Between two consenting single adults, taking proper precautions (including but not limited to using protection, and running a full background check) there's nothing wrong with sex. It's natural. It feels good. It's fun. And, my husband married the cow me anyway.

2. Typing is only for secretaries. I have no idea where I got that ridiculous idea. I begrudgingly took the class in high school with a teacher so ancient they must've gotten out of the mothballs every morning. I figured learning to type would help me with college papers. But I wasn't going to get a job that actually required me to type. Oh no! SO beneath me! Which goes to show what I knew back then: I became a reporter who constantly wrote stories on deadline, NOT learning how to type would've been a major detriment (although the fastest typing reporter EVER is totally hunt-and-peck).

3. If I wasn't married by 30, it wasn't going to happen. Perhaps this was helped along by my mother telling me at that point that she'd given up on ever having grandchildren. Now I think there should be a rule that NO ONE should get married before they're 30. Before all you married-youngs start yelling at me, there IS a reason why half of all marriages end in divorce. But I believe the number falls for those who married in their 30s. I could be wrong. Google it and get back to me, 'cause I'm too lazy to check it out myself. Regardless, it was right for ME. Some of the shit I did in my 20s? Embarrassing! So not ready for marriage/kids/mortgage.

4. It's not safe to have kids after 40. Okay, maybe if you're 60. But I was 40 when I had X. And he's healthy and happy. So now I get to post yet another gratuitous picture of X. Does this boy look like there's something wrong with him? I mean, the dimples!

5. You catch more bees with honey. Maybe that's true. Wait - don't the bees MAKE the honey? So does it attract them - or just ants? Anyway, the thing is, I'm not very nice. I mean, I'm nice if I like you. But if I don't? Oh, it's tough. I don't have enough energy to pretend. You kinda know how I feel. Pretty much about everything. That's not to say I go out of my way to be rude. Not at all. I can make small talk with the best of 'em. Especially if I only have to see you for 5 minutes. But if it's a regular gig... Thing is, I'm honest, but not like Crazy Ramona on the Real Housewives of New York who just blurts whatever thought meanders into her brain. I don't ever purposely try to hurt anyone's feelings. I DO have a filter. It's just that I'm honest. I have opinions. And I *might* be just a tad sarcastic, and most of the time, I'm joking, but it's not always perceived that way. I try to be tactful. I don't always succeed. You know what, though? At least you always know where you stand with me. I have a great husband, three amazing kids and fabulous friends, so I'm not completely awful. I'm especially flattered when friends come to me for advice - because they know I'll keep it real.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I really want to watch the Biggest Loser. And American Idol. So I need to do a quick post tonight so I can get to my tivo. Because I love you. But not as much as I love Jillian.

You will be SO glad I found time to write this one. Just wait. Here goes.

So today I had my yearly appointment. You know what kind of yearly I'm talking about. I haven't seen my OB/GYN since I was 24 weeks pregnant with X. That's when I switched over to my midwife. Thing is, I really like my OB. Who I guess is now just a GYN. She saw me through my first two pregnancies, though she didn't deliver either of them.

I was sad when I left (not in a weird, overly-attached way to a woman who's seen more of me than my husband) because I trust and respect her. If she did home births, I'd totally want her there.

But she doesn't. So I moved on. I made her pinky swear assure me before I left that she'd take me back as a non-preggo patient again.

I wasn't looking forward to the appointment like I would a trip to the mall or something. But I had some things I wanted to discuss so I was anxious to go.

One of them was these bumps I can feel if I run my hands over the sides of my abdomen, basically from the area below my belly button outward toward my ribs. You can feel all these lumps which I assumed were small tumors of some rare, horrible disease.

My doctor felt the area.

She looked a little uncomfortable.

"I really hate to tell you this.." she said.

Panic! "What? WHAT?!?!"

"Well, the area just feels really rough..." she continued.

"And? AND?!?!"

Again, I could see she didn't want to break this particular news to me. She soldiered on.

"You've gained and lost quite a bit of weight through your three pregnancies. I think this is just a layer of fat under there."

"Really?" I said.

Then I thought for a second. I thought to where else on my body I had kind of bumpy skin. Like maybe the back of my thighs...HOLD THE PHONE!!

"Are you telling me," I said slowly, "that I have CELLULITE on my stomach??"

She nodded.

Look, internets. I can take the stretch marks, the back fat, the grey hairs that multiply like bacteria.

But cellulite? On my stomach? Are there no bounds to where this horrid substance will go? I mean, I don't carry much weight on my belly. I can even see muscles. But I now know the evil that lies beneath. OH THE HUMANITY!

It's just too much.

To console myself, I will grab the sorbet and watch the Biggest Loser - in other words, people with less cellulite than me!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mommy Resume - What's on yours?

I'm applying for a job. No big deal, it's something I can do out of my house, but I'm pretty excited about it.

Except for one thing.

They need a resume.

Remember those? Yes? Then that makes one of us.

I haven't done a resume since 1999, when I got the job out here in The OC.

That was 11 years, a husband and three babies ago.

I was never any good at them anyway. I mean, I never know what to say. We all know I suck at self-promotion (Most astounding blog post EVAH! Read it or die sad and alone!), and putting into words exactly what I did on the job was always tough for me. Don't even get me started on writing a cover letter..

You're supposed to use action words: demonstrate. Generate. Responsible for. Organize.

So I thought for a little warm-up, I'd practice writing the blurb for my current job.

Job title: Mommy
Location: My house, the park, Kindergarten drop-off, doctor's offices, sandbox
Years: 2003-Present
Description: Generated three children from conception to birth. Responsible for shaping them into moral, productive members of society, despite limited sleep, patience and caffeine. Show dexterity in wiping up boogers, vomit, poopy butts and partially-chewed sweet potato while holding a baby on my hip. Proven talent in crying copious amounts of tears, both happy and sad. Act as primary chauffer to playdates, school and Target. Plan meals, snacks and grocery list and encourage eating of vegetables. Excel at constant worry. Utilize strong interpersonal skills by cheering, re-directing, scolding, screaming my brains out. Achieve status as top boo-boo kisser and broken-heart mender. Research schools, camps, sports, allergies, doctors, allergy doctors. Manage temper tantrums and sibling smacking fights while loading the dishwasher. Demonstrate ability to love my kids, no matter how much they piss me off.

But wait. There's more. Much, much more.

How can we sum up the most important job on the planet in just one paragraph?

Truth is, we can't. I had a (salaried) career for years before I had children. I have lots of stuff to put on that resume. Though none of them can match what I've learned in the six years I've been a mother.

Of course, we don't need a resume to become one - although some would argue that there are those who should not only provide a resume, but a full background check and proof they will love their child more than themselves. They should also preferably not be 16.

Besides, if we really knew the job requirements - 24-7-365, no vacations, no sick days and - wait for it -  NO PAY - we might have run away screaming.

Instead, we signed on.

For this

And this

And, of course, this

Because what else is there that is as fulfilling, as balls-out difficult, as heart-stopping amazing, as hilarious?

We make them, our kids. But more important, they make us. Better. Wiser. More humane.

Tell me - what's on YOUR mommy resume?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

No More Mama Drama

You wonder if the third time around it will all still be so amazing.

And you find out it is - all the firsts that had you racing for the camera with your first two kids? Yeah. You run just as fast for #3. The stuff never gets old.

We melted with X's first smile, cheered as he attempted to crawl, went nuts over the first steps.

He reached all his milestones earlier than his siblings. Except for one teensy thing:

X never calls me "Mama."

Dada? No problem. In fact, not only is David "Dada," so is "doggie." X roars like a lion, quacks like a duck, moos like a cow and woofs like a dog on cue. He says "ba" for ball and balloon.  Waves and clearly says "hi." He'll say bird. All done. Up.

But throwing a bone to the one who carried him around for 9+ months? Who gets her exhausted rump out of bed at whatever ungodly hour he starts crying in his crib?



Not that it bothered me. At ALL. Or that X's father thinks it's hysterical. In fact, I think, in X's little baby mind, I'm just "That woman with the boobs who magically appears whenever I scream my head off."

So really, did he have any reason to call me by name?

Apparently he didn't think so.

Until today.

We had just gotten home from a hike with the kids and went up the street to visit with some neighbors. David was holding X on one side of the street and I was on the other. And as I walked back toward them, David shouted, "He called you Mama!"

I couldn't believe it! Finally! I mean, it's not like I've been whispering "mama" in his ear for the past five months, or speaking about myself in the third person to him constantly, or obsessing over whether he would EVER say it. Not at all. Much. Okay, maybe occasionally I might have mentioned my name to him a time or two.

And he did it again later when he was chasing me across the room. Smiled back at my smile. Then there was one more when I was getting him ready for bed.


You have no idea how thrilled I was. How melty I got.

It's the last first time to hear my baby call me Mama.

Two small syllables.

It was totally worth the wait.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Got (clogged) milk (ducts)?

You roll over in the middle of the night and wonder why someone is jabbing something really sharp (not a knife, maybe a hot poker? Because it's painful, but kind of burn-y, not pointy) into the side of your right nursing device.

That is to say, your breast.

I tried to ignore it. Mainly because it was 2 in the morning. X had just visited (because, you know, at 13 months, why should he sleep all night?) and was back in his crib in Sawyer's room. I needed to sleep.

So when X was back in our room at 6:20, I was more awake and realized that holy mother of G-d I'm in pain.

It could only be one thing: clogged milk ducts.

If you're not wincing like a man who's listening to you talk about neutering your dog, then you've either not breast fed a child OR you've been lucky enough to have completely smooth sailing (I still love you regardless, I do!).

The rest of us? You know what I'm talking about. The lumps that feel like gravel in your breast. The sore, sore lumps that start under your armpit and move all the way down to ground zero.

I have been chasing X around like a crazy woman today trying to get him to nurse. Apparently he only has interest when it's a) completely inconvenient or b) the middle of the night or c) a AND b.

Oh, he humored me. He agreed to nurse. But he wasn't really into it, you know? He just didn't get the job done. In fact, he laughed at me. I was massaging the area while he nursed to try to unclog whatever is in there (is it like a hairball or what? How do these things even get clogged?) and he giggled. Reached up and smacked me in the nose. Pulled my hair.

And I'm all, "Look, pal. I've given up eating food for a year to nurse you. I've stayed home when I've wanted to go out because of your schedule. I've done EVERYTHING for you and now all I'm asking is that you suck like my Dyson vacuum and HELP YOUR MOTHER OUT!"

Yeah. That worked real well.

Earlier today I took Sage to dance class, where I hang out with the other mothers while the kids dance. I pointed out to my friend that one of my breasts was twice the size of the other. Because the milk is not coming out.

So I'm talking to the rest of the moms, telling them about my clogged ducts. Every one of them shuddered - because it's not a feeling you forget.

And as I'm going on about it I'm rubbing. I'm describing in great detail how much it hurts (rub rub) and how I hope (rub rub) it doesn't turn into (rub rub) mastitis.

The other women were completely unfazed. Because they totally related. Told me their stories of Milk Duct Hell and what they did to try to get rid of it before it turned into the dreaded mastitis.

I'm hard-pressed to think of any group more supportive then mothers. Yes, we can be horrible and competitive and judgmental. But when it comes down to it, motherhood is a universal experience.

We've all been there. The moms I know? They make me feel not so alone, that it's okay to grope myself in the hallway of a gym because they've got my back. And in this case, my front, too.

I'm just hoping I don't have a "Mastitis: I didn't die but I wanted to" story to tell.

Maybe I should go wake X up from his nap. He's got work to do

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

X's Allergy Testing - Day 2

Soooo... The allergy patch came off this afternoon. For those of you wondering exactly what the patch looked like, here it is. I found out that the "p" stands for potato. Or pah-tah-to, if you prefer.

And this is what it looked like when the patch was taken off.

See the welt in the upper right? It means he's allergic to eggs. But not in a anaphylactic way (THANKFULLY). If he ate eggs, say, every day for a week, he would have a horrible stomach ache. If he had a bite of something that contained egg? He'd probably be just fine.

The wheat, milk and soy spots showed some irritation (which I figured, considering after I eliminated them from my diet when he was two months he showed marked improvement). The allergist said if they aren't gone by tomorrow, then X might also have issues with those things.

To be honest, they all look irritated to me (which I guess is to be expected?) and I'm having a tough time figuring out what exactly should concern me. Don't they all seem kinda angry looking to you?

The allergist suggested I slowly introduce some baby yogurt (like an 1/8 of a teaspoon the first day, 1/4 the next day, etc) to see if X can tolerate milk. Because I'd like to wean him at some point. In case I hadn't mentioned.

Of course, in the meantime, I have to stay on the same diet - because if I start re-introducing stuff while giving him new stuff, his body will be even more confused than me. If that's possible.

The good news? He was tested for over 60 allergens via the scratch test - and not one showed! Which means - NO PEANUT ALLERGY! HUGE sigh of relief.

If we are only dealing with an egg allergy, then I'll be a little more okay. But if he also can't tolerate milk, soy and wheat? That's an entirely different road I really don't want to travel. I've already done it for a year and I can't imagine it being a permanent lifestyle for X.

So I don't know exactly what to think. I was hoping for more definitive answers. And I really need some.

It's frustrating.

To be continued..

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 1: X's Allergy Patch Testing

I wasn't going to post about this until tomorrow, but I figured it's my blo-og, I'll post when I want to! Post when I want to!

Ahem. Sorry. I'm feeling a little loopy this morning. I didn't get much sleep last night. X was up at 11:30, 2 and then for good just before 6 a.m. This was his how he spent most of his first 12 months, but lately, especially since we moved him into Sawyer's room, he's slept beautifully.

Last night was not a surprise, however.

He is currently wearing a 48-hour allergy test patch. Little tin chambers are filled with different potentially allergic foods, and then are stuck to his back by a large piece of hypoallergenic tape. The substances soak into his skin, and if he's allergic, the T-Cells will react and cause the skin under the offending tin(s) to welt and itch. But the process takes awhile, which is why it's a 48-hour test.

I will spare you the links to pictures of reactions I found. They're frightening!

This is different than a standard skin-prick test, where tiny amounts of potential allergens enter via a tiny scratch in the skin. If you're allergic, your histamines will react (IgE cells) and you'll get an itchy welt within about 20 minutes. He will have that test Wednesday.

The best explanation I could find that I actually understood about the differences between these tests was here. Scroll down to Question 4. I don't know what EE is, but the tests are explained using smaller words than the other sites!

X's patch contains: eggs, wheat, soy, milk, oats, beef, chicken, rice, corn and something that starts with letter "p." Pork, maybe? It's not peanuts, as those cause an IgE reaction and will be tested via the scratch test.

Of course I was very concerned that he'll react and his back will be all itchy for two days. He won't sleep. I won't sleep. We'll both be grumpy. Which is why I'm freaked out he was up twice last night. He MUST be reacting. Right? RIGHT?!?!

If you take off the patch too early, the test will have to be repeated. And there's nothing you can do about the itchiness. How do you explain to a 13 month-old that this is all for a good cause? I mean, look at that little face!

I interrogated the nurse before she put the patch on. She said she'd never had a parent call and say their chid wouldn't stop crying and they had to rip the patch off. Even those babies who react to EVERYthing.

And frankly, I want to know. X's pediatrician is concerned that he's not gaining much weight, even though he's reaching all his milestones, looks great and is incredibly active. We need to introduce more foods. But I don't want to give him something that's going to give him a tummy ache.

Plus, the weaning thing? It's got to happen. First, though, I need to find something safe to wean him onto, and he's not at all interested in rice milk.

I hope to have answers tomorrow. We just have to get through one more night.

In the meantime, I will do what I do best - beat the crap out of myself. My first two kids were breastmilk-sensitive and were switched to hypoallergenic formula. And they did great. Outgrew everything by a year. Except for Sawyer's peanut/treenut allergy, which was detected at 10 months (I've already killed myself over that, since I ate peanut butter practically every day of my pregnancy).

X is the only one I was able to nurse all the way through, and if he ends up being the most sensitive... well, now I've hopped on the Crazy Train. Should I have weaned him at two months like I did with Sage? Was I inadvertently introducing allergens through my breastmilk, despite my very strict diet? Would he have been better off with the specialized formula? I thought breastmilk was supposed to help prevent allergies? And since I seem to have some weird variety that my kids can't tolerate, maybe it was a sign I shouldn't be nursing at all!

And around and around I go. As a friend pointed out on Facebook this morning, if I HAD put him on the formula and he'd had allergy issues, then I would've regretted weaning.

Truth is, there are no answers. We all do the the best we can. No one really understands why allergies happen. I'm sure it's impossible to explain how I could have three babies who all had the very rare breastmilk allergy.

The funny thing? I don't even have X's results yet! Yet this is how my mind works. Full steam ahead.

Mom guilt. Not sure there's a chapter on that in What to Expect when you're Expecting or whatever books we read while pregnant.

But there should be. There should be.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Everybody say "Par-TAY!" Ultimate Blog Party, that is

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Sooo..I'm a first-timer at this sort of thing, and I'm just figuring out what I have to do. So bear with me. Or is it bare with me (uh, no, that would be for ANOTHER kind of party).

This one is the Ultimate Blog Party. I guess I tell you a little about myself, my blog, my interests, etc. I'm a little nervous. What if you don't like me? Or what if you do? The pressure! The pressure!

Okay. I'm calming down. Taking deep cleansing I detect a poopy diaper?

Yep. That's my life. I'm a mom to three weirdos adorable kids. I blog about them a lot (no animals were harmed in the taking of this picture).

I live in the OC, where my house is tiny and my (non-nursing) boobs are even smaller. I'm originally from New England but lived a bunch of places as an adult before coming out here, where I got married and had my kids.

In my spare (HA! AHAHAHAHA!) time, I trained and ran two half-marathons and two full ones. I'm currently attempting to get back into the running thing. We bought a treadmill. I'm so glad it's going to good use.

Now back to the blog. I also write about things that impact all of us: as women, as mothers. Just the other day I wrote this post about my feelings on how women pressure each other to breastfeed, but our society as a whole doesn't support it. It has links to a story on CNN in which I was quoted, a post I did for the Orange County Moms Blog, and a story from a long time ago I wrote when I was a newspaper reporter (more on this in a minute).

Speaking of nursing, I took this picture yesterday at the San Diego Zoo, and if any of you have every breastfed your children, you totally get this. You know EXACTLY how this piglike creature felt, totally zonked while the babies just nursed away. The little piglets!

Let's see.. another topic about which I'm passionate is home birth. Before you hurriedly rush to get to the next blog, hold up! Believe me when I tell you I'm the least granola person alive. Seriously. My second child, my daughter, was born at home accidentally. I was in labor denial because my first was nine days late (I KNOW! If one more person had called and asked if I'd had the baby yet...), and this happened when I was a week early. But my water broke and Sage was born about 40 minutes later. On my couch. True story. My doula delivered her. Third child was surprise, but his home birth wasn't; I had him in a pool in my bedroom.

A couple posts I wrote that seemed to touch a lot of people: one about Layla Grace, the little two year-old girl who recently died of neuroblastoma (if you were at all on Twitter you probably heard about her battle against the disease), and this post based on a convo I had with a close friend after the birth of her first baby. Oh! And this one about how to talk to your kids about faith when you don't even know what you believe yourself.

Let me just say it's not all serious around here. Not at all. I have fun! I do! I blogged about a typical morning, what it's like to be in a dressing room with a four year-old, and wondering if I'm the only one saying those things my mother said I SWORE I wouldn't. You do that too, huh?

But for some reason, when I get all serious, you like me more. Saps.

Either that, or I'm not funny.


Okay. So back in the day, I was a sports reporter and covered a Major League Baseball team. I was one of two women in the country who did it at one point. It taught me a lot: How to write on deadline. How fast I could sprint to make my connection at O'Hare. How to pretend I didn't hear a player fart at his locker.

All the glamourous stuff.

But out of it all came my blog. Because ultimately, despite the sometimes "challenging" work environs,  I loved to write. Still do. I hope it shows around these parts. Enjoy looking around!

It has come to my attention that there are supposed to be prizes with this party thing. Not for you, silly. For me! Here's what I'd love to win - and go check out the links. Some cool stuff out there!

1) A $150 shopping spree at Pedal Cars and Retro Collectables and 5 Minutes for Mom. I'd love one of those bikes with no pedals for X. My other kids sure learned to ride a two-wheeler early the old-fashioned way, but maybe I can get X started even sooner!

2) Tupperware. If you could see the state my containers are in.. No link but it's offered by Heather @ Marine Corps Nomads.

3) A $50 giftcard to Target. Do you really need to ask? From Pegs Play.

If all those fab things are gone, then I'd love #11, 45, 71, 73, 95, or 112.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Breastfeeding - Another Mommy War we have to end

Did you breastfeed? Did you feel supported (and no, I don't mean by your nursing bra)? Did you have to wean early or weren't able to breastfeed? Did you feel supported?

This happens to be a topic about which I'm very passionate. Even though maybe I don't want to write "breast" and "passionate" in the same sentence unless I'm crafting a romance novel.

I've had a pretty bumpy road with my three kids - all three of whom had breastmilk allergy, a rare sensitivity that some people don't believe exists. These are, of course, the same people who didn't have to watch my babies writhe from painful cramps, or change their diapers filled with fluorescent green poop and blood.

Sawyer was weaned at six months and I was devastated. Completely, utterly devastated. Clearly, I had failed as a mother. I mean, what's my job? Feed the baby! And I couldn't even do that.

Sage had the same symptoms and I weaned her at two months. Which also sucked, but I was more philosophical. Sawyer had done great on the prescription-only formula. I knew she would too.

As many of my regular readers know, I've been on an incredibly restrictive diet almost since X was born. No dairy, soy, wheat, eggs or oats. It's been difficult, as you can imagine, but I know X is my last and I was determined to nurse him. It's been worth it. It really has.

Now. There's been a lot of news lately about breastfeeding.

I was interviewed by a reporter for CNN and you can read her story here. I used a big word during my interview so I could seem smart and stuff.

I also wrote a post for the Orange County Moms Blogwhere I talk about why women need to stop judging each other and start working together when it comes to changing our society's view on breastfeeding.

I would love love love for you to share your comments or experiences. I wrote about my own experience with Sawyer when I was working for The Orange County Register back in 2004, if you're interested you can read it here.

Remember, we're all in this together.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

He's out! Time to booty shake!

We did it, and he was not happy.




He was sobbing. Not the fussy waah waah waah. These were real, heart breaking, from the soul cries.

I of course ignored it for as long as I could.

And then I gave in. Like I always do, eventually.

It was the first night in X's life that he slept away from me. We'd been discussing the move for awhile, as I really need to get my space back and move his crib out of our room. But he'd been sick for basically a month with one thing or another and I felt bad.

Finally, this week David dismantled the crib (because of course it doesn't fit through the door), excavated Sawyer's room, and reassembled the crib in there.

It's a tight fit.

Sawyer was very excited to have his roomie, who he's suddenly referring to as his "little pal." But that first night, as we're trying to get X to cry it out and go to sleep, Sawyer kept running in and out of his room, complaining that the baby is "too loud." Apparently, he did not get the memo about How to Play Dead when there's a crying baby looking at you.

At 9 p.m., an hour and a half after our first try at putting him down, and after I nursed him again, X fell asleep. And so did Sawyer.

Now, when I went to bed that night, there *might* have been a happy dance in the space vacated by the crib. It may have involved arm waving and booty shaking. WITH THE LIGHTS ON.

Because, for the past almost 13 months, we have crept into the room, only turning on our bathroom light very, very dimly. Which explains why several times when I opened my contact container in the morning, it was empty: the contact was instead stuck to the sink where I'd dropped it and hadn't noticed.

I wasn't even sure if our TV still worked.

I breathed. EXTRA LOUD.

And then I started folding and putting away the mountains of laundry that have piled up, because the only time I had to do it was when he was napping - and since that was in our room, it didn't get done.

Last night he went right to sleep and slept 11 hours. So he's adjusted.

Except when he doesn't take a morning nap and falls sound asleep while nursing before his afternoon nap - only to have his brother and sister walk into the room and start playing TWENTY SEVEN MINUTES later.

And the baby doesn't go back to sleep for another hour.

Not that I've noticed. There's dancing - and as always, laundry - to be done.

Monday, April 05, 2010


I thought I had her.

Sage and I were watching the NCAA womens basketball tournament on TV the other night. UConn, my alma mater, was playing Baylor in a semifinal game.

I pointed out to Sage that these were girls playing.

"Look how much fun they're having," I told her. "Look at their muscles. Isn't that cool?"

Sage looked somewhat interested.

"And see that coach? When Mommy was young, that coach? For Baylor? She used to play basketball. She had long braids and she was awesome."

Sage seemed impressed by the idea of the hair.

"You could play, Sage. You're tall. You'd love it."

Sage thought for a moment. "Yes! I will play basketball. And soccer. And tennis."

"That's awesome! See? You don't want to be a cheerleader. They have to sit on the sidelines. They don't get to play."

We watched. I tend to provide some, um, running commentary during games. Loudly. Especially when UConn is playing.

Sage still sat with me.

And then she killed me. Just stuck the knife right through my heart and twisted it.

"Mommy? I think I want to be a cheerleader. I'd get too tired if I had to play basketball. I'd want to sit down. Like the cheerleaders. That's what I want to do."

Just so she could prove to me how exhausting it is to even CONSIDER playing basketball, she proceeded to fall sound asleep on the couch two minutes later.

Thankfully she's only 4 1/2. There's still time to lure her away from the Dark Side.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Winner winner chicken dinner!

I apologize. But I've always wanted to shout that on my blog.

And now I can! Thank you to everyone who participated in my giveaway for Laura Bennett's book Didn't I Feed You Yesterday?. Your support for my first contest was much appreciated, as were your fashion tips and kind words about the whole peanut allergy thingy.

So, now the moment you've all been waiting for...

The winners! Picked by, by the way.

Caroline! Come on down! (Cue Price is Right music - Da da da daaaah, etc.)

Michelle! You too!

I need to hear from you guys so I can get your contact info. Laura is going to sign a book for each of you and send them on their merry way!

Thanks again and I hope you enjoy the book. And thanks to Laura Bennett for being so gracious.

This was fun. Maybe I'll do another one soon...stay tuned!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Gotta Run

Yep. That was me. You know, the girl with the iPod, singing loudly, playing a little air drum, and, in between, smiling like a lunatic.

I couldn't help myself. I was outside on a cool, clear sunny day, and on a run around a local lake - a course I haven't done since before I got pregnant with X almost two years ago.

I don't remember the last time I felt that good while running. Usually, I'm in pain. My foot. My hip flexor. My back. My side. My backside. Sometimes it hurts the entire time, and the only part that's great is when I'm done.

Maybe this run was so fantastic because I wasn't on the treadmill in my garage, alternating staring at the concrete walls with willing the mile readout on the screen to go faster, even if my body refuses to.

I breathed fresh air. I didn't have to worry when I turned off my music I'd hear X crying, awake from his nap and irate I wasn't getting him out of his crib. Immediately.

The path around the lake is nice because it's a good mix of flat, downhill and one long, gradual uphill. It's a pretty popular place.

I drive by it a lot. I see the runners, the walkers, the joggers pushing baby strollers, people out with their dogs.

And I always think I should be out there.

Yesterday, I decided it was time.

I put X down for his nap and bolted out of the house (David works from home, so you don't need to call the authorities. Besides, the dogs are there, and they're big and bark like maniacs if so much as a leaf drifts by). It's less than a 10-minute drive to the lake. I parked in my usual spot. Stretched for a couple minutes. What, do you have a stopwatch? Okay, okay, it was for like 30 seconds, because I despise stretching.

I stuck my ear buds in, turned on my iPod, and off I went.

I remembered why I love to run. Everything worked. You know that feeling? Sure, I had a twinge in my knee toward the end, but otherwise, I felt really strong. Which is not normal, believe me.

I wondered why I'm having such a tough time getting back into it with any kind of consistency.

Then I got home. Within five minutes, the baby was up. Fifteen minutes after that, it was time to pick up the kids from school. Then I had to make lunch. Take X outside to play in the sandbox. Nurse him. Put him back down for a nap. Play Super Mario Bros. on the Wii educational games with Sawyer and Sage. Check in on Twitter, Facebook, email, my blog.

There was my answer.

Five hours after I'd finished my run, I finally - finally! -  got to take a shower.

Maybe tomorrow I'll even get to wash my hair.
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