Thursday, August 5, 2010

Because I'm a Pile of Lazy Fatness

The gym used to be my hiding place.  It was a refuge from my all consuming job.  It was the one part of my life that my boss respected.  He didn't care that I had a husband or a family, but if I told him I was going to the gym, he would not call me.  I used to spend two hours in the gym at a time.  One hour with weights, one hour on the elliptical.  Some days I only had time for one hour and I  would just hit the elliptical.  I would crank up the music in my headphones and run until I felt the stress melt out of my pores.  That runner's high you hear about?  Totally real.

I made fitness my hobby.  My superior, holier than thou, knowitall hobby.  Along with the gym devotion, I ate super clean.  Six meals a day, nothing processed, complex carbs, good fats, lean proteins.  I was a woman obsessed. I was in really good shape, probably the best shape of my adult life.  I had definition everywhere.  Even my abs (which will never be a six pack) were flat and hard.  My boobs were the smallest they ever could be without surgery.  To quote Frank, upon looking at a vacation picture of us that summer, I was "diesel". 

The gym part wasn't hard, but the eating clean was brutal.  I'm a fatgirl.  I love deep fried, covered in ranch dressing goodness. And pizza.  I prefer my chicken in finger form.  Dr. Drew could probably do some work with me on sugar addiction.  My favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon is a two hour brunch with mimosas.  My favorite thing to do after work is red wine and cheese and olives.   Most of my socializing with friends involves food and wine.  All of  which, after having a baby, ha-HA, but you get my point.

The day I found out I was pregnant was the last day I went to the gym.  In the beginning it was the absolute fatigue.  It hit me the hardest.  Trying to still work 80+ hours a week and being so tired, I just didn't have it in me to go to the gym.  Pregnancy became my get-out-of-diet free card.  The world became my very own all-I-could-eat-buffet.  All the things I never touched; pizza, ice cream, deep fried everything, macaroni and cheese, pudding(!). I ate it all and then took a nap.  It was awesome.  My sister warned me to take it easy because it's not that easy to bounce back after baby.  I filed that information right next to all the advice I ignored about breastfeeding.  

My marathon eating slowed a little as Bo grew because I just didn't have the room for him and the pound of pasta.  The diabetes diagnosis made me put down the Phillies Graham Slam (best ice cream flavor ever) and return to my breakfasts of oatmeal and egg whites.  But still, I did not exercise.  Being confined to the couch for 8 weeks made me totally inactive - which was the point I know, but something about being medically prohibited from moving in my brain equaled EAT. Also, I ate out of boredom. 

In all I gained only about 25lbs and lost some of it in delivering Bo and the subsequent nursing marathons.  I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but not my pre-pregnancy body.  The number on the scale is irrelevant to me.  I'm short, top-heavy, and thick-waisted, all characteristics that have gotten more pronounced since being pregnant.  All of my old definition is gone.  I'm squishy and soft-bellied.  My stomach muscles are totally slack and if I don't pay close attention to my posture (and suck in), I still look a little pregnant.  All of my endurance is gone.  All of my strength is gone.

I hate it.  I hate how I feel about myself.  I hate how out of shape I am.  Yet I can't get it together to work out.  We have at treadmill in our basement.  I can't get it together to walk downstairs.  Every day it's the same routine:  nighttime Hopes set the alarm for 5am because I know that if I don't exercise before the day starts, it's not going to happen at all.  Nighttime Hope pep talks herself about how great the rest of the day will feel if I work out first thing.  She has big plans, that nighttime Hope.  Unfortunately, morning time Hope has no interest in starting her day at all, let alone starting it with exercise.  It's the oldest cliche there is.  Once you stop exercising, starting again is the hardest part. I have no excuses you haven't heard already: the baby needs something or there's something interesting on tv or I'm tired or it's too hot or it's too cold or blah blah blah, fat. I am really tired.  You know what would really help me get some energy back?  Exercise.  I'm in my own catch-22 over here.

I'm trying to get my mind right about getting back into shape, but it's not happening.  80-90% of weight management is diet.  You can run to the end of the Earth and do a million crunches but if you're following that up with a pound of fettucini and pint of Chunky Monkey, it won't matter.  I've got the eating part down pretty well.  I haven't gone back to eating clean because it's frankly a pain in the ass, but my weight has been stable for months now.  I just need to get myself moving.

Frank has lost 60 pounds since last year.  He gets up every morning at 5 to do P90X before work.  He runs every day.  He's running 5k races every weekend.  I'm so proud of him.  I don't know what to do to get myself going.  I really don't.  We've signed up for a 5k together at the end of October and if I finish in under 30 minutes I get to buy myself a fabulous new pair of boots and even that isn't getting me out of bed in the morning.  

I guess I'm trying to shame myself into exercising.  If I tell all of you - you know, all 4 of you - maybe I'll have some kind of accountability or something.  I don't know.  I have to do something.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sophie's Fund - PLEASE READ

The summer before my junior year of college, I transferred from my local Penn State campus up to the Main Campus in State College, PA.  I was 20 years old and took myself way too seriously.  My roommate was a girl I had known from my Delco days  (they've since fancied themselves up and now call the campus "Brandywine).  On the Sunday of move-in weekend I got back from church with my parents to find my roommate, her boyfriend, and some boy I'd never seen before hanging out in our dorm room.  That boy, Jim, became my best friend, boyfriend, study partner, and many other things over the subsequent four years we spent together.  It didn't last because it wasn't right.  We didn't want the same things.  There were control issues and trust issues and all sorts of crap.  We weren't the ones for each other.

 I haven't spoken to Jim in years and years but yesterday I stumbled onto his Face*book profile through a series of coincidences typical to its way of connecting people.  Of course I clicked on it - who doesn't want to see what their old boyfriend has been up to? - only to find some incredibly sad news.  The kind you never want to hear about happening to anyone. 

Jim and his fiancee Jen welcomed their daughter, Sofie, last April.  She was born about a week after Bo actually, in a strange bit of the parallel universe at work, I suppose.  They found out last month that Sophie has acute lymphoblastic leukemia.  The doctors - no thanks to any medical work on their part, as they kept wanting to send Sophie and her neurotic parents home to wait out her "bug" - caught it just in time.  Sophie just turned one year old yesterday.  If everything goes according to textbook, she's looking at two years of treatments.  Two years of direct lines and chemo and spinal taps and life in the hospital. 

Sophie's mom, Jennifer, is an independent photographer.  She won't be working any time soon as she spends her days and nights at the hospital with her baby girl.  Jim has a good job, but two years of intensive cancer treatments, living at or near the hospital for weeks at a time, could bankrupt them.  The last thing they need to worry about is their mortgage payment or keeping the lights on when they're focused on keeping their baby girl alive. 

Which is where we come in.

A website has been set up to receive donations for Sophie, Jim, and Jennifer. It's not just any donation site though.  Jennifer knows a lot of photographers all over the world and they've come together to offer something special.  When you make a donation, you have the option to "purchase" a photograph from a large - and growing - gallery, donated by some very talented professional photographers.  When you give to Sophie's Fund, you get back something beautiful.  A donation of as little as $8 will get you a photo. 

This is just terrible.  I can't imagine the nightmare of taking my precious boy to the doctor and ending up in an ambulance screaming towards the hospital with the word CANCER blazed into my corneas.  I don't have a wide audience on this blog, but some of you who read (thanks very much) do.  If you could repost this story, or just the link, it would mean a lot to two genuinely good people who are living a nightmare they never saw coming.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Forward

The weather was gorgeous a few weeks ago.  Way warmer than it usually is in Philadelphia in mid-March.  Sort of like today.  It was St. Patrick's Day and I was off.  I decided to take Bo down into the city with my brother to meet up with (my sister who lives in town but I never see) Rose for lunch and then wander around my old neighborhood and soak up some sun.  Bo was fascinated by every stranger who walked by our table at lunch and could not get enough of staring at everyone around him. This in between yelling for more bread! and more fruit! and anything else from your plate you want to feed me!  After lunch we headed to Rittenhouse Square and Bo met the famous Frog and Goat and Lion (we learned we are not friends with the Lion) and I had an out of body experience a little.

A million times.  I walked through that park a million times, sidestepping toddlers and brushing past gossiping moms pushing babies in strollers; tapping away at my blackberry, earphones blaring.  Headed who knows where; dinner with my sister, drinks with friends, shopping for nothing in particular, the gym, anywhere and nowhere in particular.  And there I was, pushing my baby in a stroller, toddling my son around the goat, watching pretty young things walk by in their fiercely stylish outfits, tapping away on their phones, earphones blaring, headed who knows where.  I just smiled and kept walking with Bo, thinking I must look a hundred years old to those girls.

My time is over, I know that.  The days of knowing every doorman in the city, of bypassing lines of people waiting, of walking into a bar with my girls and owning the joint immediately; those days belong to someone else now.  There's a new crop of girls - fully ten years younger than me - running wild in this town, believing the whole place is theirs for the taking.  If I'm honest with myself, the nightlife part was over a long time ago for me.  I was tired of the scene and the noise and the crowds long before Bo came along.  But the other parts?  Sitting for hours at a sidewalk cafe talking about nothing on a warm spring night, waking up whenever on a Saturday to roll out to brunch (Bo didn't get his eating habits from the stork)?  I'm a little wistful for those days.

The boy is a year old so it's not like this is new information for me.  I guess in between missing spring last year completely - aside from what I could see from the living room window - and the hibernation inducing winter we had this year, I never got the full illustration of how much my life has changed until I watched younger versions of myself swing past that day.  I'm not saying I want that time in my life back.  It was fun while it lasted but I wouldn't trade the delicious boy and life that replaced those days for anything.  For the first time in seven years, my husband is home on the weekends and every night for dinner.  I'm good.

I just miss that girl sometimes, that girl I used to be.  She was a lot of fun.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What's St. Paddy's Day without a Little Ham?

About a month ago, maybe more, Lora and I were talking about plans for her boy's birthday party and I volunteered to pick up the cake.  She replied that she didn't want to put that responsibility on me just in case that weekend was the one that Bo comes down with the pukes.

So I think I'm free to blame Lora for the unbelievable explosion of bodily fluids all over the damn place last week.  She talked it up.*

I'll spare you the details but holy crap.  Holy contagious crap.  Bo went down first. Two days later Frank spent the entire night in the bathroom.  He had two black eyes the next day.  That's how hard he was puking.  A day after that, my dad and my brother went down.  We missed Lora's party.  I didn't want to take Typhoid Mary anywhere, especially to a house full of children. I declared a quarantine on our house until all symptoms and fevers were gone.  Somehow I was spared the worst of it and just had a little stomachache Saturday.  It was no fun around here for a while.

But we're all better now!  And it's Springtime! 

Bo is 11 months old.  The first one to tell me he's about to be a year old gets diarrhea wished upon you.

He's not walking or talking yet but don't tell him that.  The day is a constant stream of babbling, yelling, laughing; directed at me, Frank, random toys, his own feet, whatever.  He says mamamamamamamama! and babababbababababa! for everything and nothing.  His favorite phrase is to stick his tongue out and say thumathumathumathum.  If you say it, he'll repeat it and it's like a whole deliciously gibberishy conversation.  He also likes to repeat consonants and fake cough.   

He's getting braver and braver in terms of walking.  Every day he spends a little more time - we're talking seconds really - standing without holding on to anything.  The past few days he's been trying take a step with no hand while cruising.  We keep saying we have to get the video camera ready.  Huh.  I should really just go plug it in now...

What else? He eats everything.  And if you're eating near him you'd best be ready to share.  Don't try giving him a stupid sippy cup of formula either.  You better break off a piece of that sandwich/salad/fruit/shoe leather you're enjoying and keep it coming.  Just put it down and back away and don't try any of that spoon feeding nonsense.  Too much lag time between dish and mouth.  He likes to eat, is what I'm saying.

Blahblahblah mommyblogblah.

He's awesome and makes my life awesome.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

*Of course I'm joking.  Lora doesn't bring plagues down on households. I love Lora.  One day I may even see her again.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Evidence that the Trip Wasn't a Total Disaster

It wasn't all bad. 

There was this:

 Watching the candle light processional at Epcot.  He's strapped to Frank here too.


  With his name on the back and everything.

Watching the fireworks at Epcot.  We were worried that the noise was going to be too much, since the vacuum is the most evil invention ever at home, but he fell asleep halfway through. 

  The half a guy you see over Franks shoulder had a B.O.B double that he tried to use to box me out.  It was a demolition derby.  He did not prevail.  My City Mini carried the day.  Jerk.

Everything was decorated at the Osborne lightshow.  Also, they sold beer and it magically snowed every few minutes. 

There's an old fashioned barbershop in the Majerk Kingdom.  They do a special "baby's first haircut".  They gave him a certificate and ears that were embroidered with "First Haircut" and they saved all of his hair for us.  His curls were starting to tangle up and lock at the ends so it was coming eventually.  I only cried a little, at the end.  This shot is in the airport the day we went home.  We were delayed 4 hours.   Because of course we were.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

(Still) Recovering

We went to Disney World for Christmas.  We left on Christmas Day and came back on New Year's Eve.

Oh shut up, I know it was bad idea.  I mean, I know it NOW.

We were warned not to go during that particular week.  All of our guide books* and websites** said DO NOT GO and gave tips only IF YOU MUST GO.  We blew them off though, because we are experts.  They don't mean us.  Those warnings are for amateurs.  We're seasoned veterans!  We go every year!  We have a plan! And fail safe routes!  Crowds don't bother us! We're used to it!

Dude.  Do not go during the week between Christmas and New Year.  It's not worth it.  Everything that makes Disney special and magical is lost during this week.  Lost to the endless throngs of rapacious people trying to get there first.  There were women, mothers with small children by the hand, kicking my stroller out of the way to get in front of me.  And we weren't even trying to ride anything!  Bo spent most of the time in the carrier strapped to Frank's chest because he didn't enjoy being surrounded by so many people that towered over him.

The poor employees, who are usually so happy and helpful that I secretly wonder if they're all robots, were visibly frazzled and stressed out, trying to direct the masses with - I'm not even kidding - the wands normally used for waving in airplanes.  In addition to the whole damn world being there to celebrate the holidays, there were at least three bowl games taking place in Orlando on New Year's day.  So of course people were like, "let's go early and go to the parks before the game".  There were mothereffing marching bands in the middle of the Ma-jerk Kingdom, as if foot traffic could have gotten more congested.  I swear the entire state of Louisiana was there.  Geaux Tigers.  Puke. I was even ready to punch my fellow Penn Staters because really, get the hell out of my way.

In short.  I don't care if your last name is Disney.  DO NOT GO the week between Christmas and New Year.

* if you ever plan a trip to Disney, this book is invaluable.  We buy the current edition every year.  It's full of genuinely helpful tips and info.  It has restaurant reviews, hotel reviews, ride recommendations for different age groups.  It's incredibly comprehensive.  It also has touring plans in the back that you can cut out and take with you.
** as valuable as the book, this website will tell you which parks to visit or avoid on particular days according to crowd levels.  He uses a red light, yellow light, green light system and following his advice always ensures a comfortable and fun day at the park. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Ever since Bo was born, I've had a hard time with the news.  Specifically, news stories that involve terrible things happening to small children and babies.  Before, I could just shake my head and make tsking noises and go on with my day unscathed.  Now, unbidden visuals of suffering children and audio of screaming babies run in an endless loop in my head if I dare read a story about anything worse than Baby Plays with Kitten.

Like everyone else, I'm horrified by the devastation of the Haiti earthquake.  Until today though, it was a general sympathy for the people on the ground - the people who died and the families who can't find them.  Haiti was keeping the wolves away with a whip and a chair before the quake, so my heart was already breaking for the people who are being swallowed by despair.  Still though, I managed to send my donation texts and still drink my morning coffee.

Then today I read an email from a lady I know whose husband does mission work with an orphanage in a village just outside Port au Prince.  The email included the following (bold type mine):

"Barbara, the woman who runs the orphanage, is overwhelmed. The entire village surrounding her is relying on her for their needs. Most of her food supply has been destroyed by the earthquake (babies without formula is sad and scary).  The food depot where her essentials were stored has collapsed, so the food is now buried in rubble.  They are not sure how much they can salvage at this point."

They don't have formula. Babies who are already orphans in a real life orphanage do not have formula.  I'm  haunted by this.  The image of children who already had nothing now have even less.  They're sleeping the street.  What are they feeding the babies?  Can you imagine what it must sound like?  Can you imagine not being able to feed a screaming baby because you don't have anything to give him? I don't want to imagine it but I can't help myself. 

When I get home from work today I'm going to try and not suffocate my boy with squeezes and hugs while sobbing.  Then I'm going to find more than $10 to donate and offer up silent thanks for everything that I have.

How to help

I may also pray for Pat Robertson to burn in hell.  Feel free to join me.