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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Getting Back on the Paleo Wagon

I always intend to write, but life tends to get in the way.  I also usually intend to call my mom at least once a week, email or text or (gasp!) call my best friends, actually contribute to the PTA, check my personal email at least once a day and visit babies and old people on a regular basis.  Okay, the last part is a bit of a stretch, but seriously, it's sad that the important things in life often get put on the back burner.  I've felt a lot like a recluse lately.  Some days, the only time I leave my house is to drop the kids at school and pick them up.  For those of you who don't know, I work from home now and it has it's definite ups and downs.  For the most part, I hate it. Part of that could be my particular job too.  I'm constantly being reminded that I'm doing everything wrong (because I haven't had proper training) and I regularly work 60 hour weeks.  I'm often working at 5 a.m. and at 11 p.m. only stepping away from my desk to go out in the field to hang out with millionaires (is not as cool as it sounds, TRUST ME), prepare meals, help the kids with homework or to take them and pick them up from school.   It kind of sucks.  I kind of miss working for the government and I never in a million years thought I'd say that.  There's no freaking way I'd be having conference calls with my boss at 10 p.m. one night and have to be across town for a 5:30 a.m. meeting the next morning.  Would.not.happen.  I'm trying hard to give it a chance though so I'm hanging in there. 

The ONLY good thing about it that I can see so far, is the fact that I can be the last face my kids see before entering school, and the first face they see when they get done.  Plus the relative flexibility.  I went for a run at 11 a.m. today for example and didn't even bother getting dressed until about noon. 

One big thing that I dislike about working from home is the constant access to food.  I have really fallen off the wagon lately and have gained about 10 pounds since beginning working from home a month ago.  So I'm trying to get back on.  I work out plenty, oftentimes, twice a day, but I also tend to graze on dark chocolate and guacamole all day while working.  Everyone knows a body is made in the kitchen, not the gym.  I get stressed or bored or just happen to be walking past the kitchen and suddenly find myself eating way too much junk when I"m not even hungry.  Working outside the home gives you instant portion control.   I also have been drinking too much which really doesn't relieve stress, it only makes it worse and makes resisting the animal crackers in the pantry really impossible (why the hell did I buy those anyway?)  So, I have decided to open up my "myfitnesspal" account so you can all see what I am eating - only for a week.   I get a ton of inquiries on my Facebook page about eating and living Paleo anyway, so may as well open it up so you all can see what I eat.  Keep in mind, I am very much a believer in listening to my body.  If I am not hungry, I don't eat.  If I'm hungry, I do.  Some days I barely get 1,000 calories in (today a good example of that).  Others, I easily put down 4 or 5 thousand.  Just depends.  The quantity of food I eat doesn't matter, nor do the calories.  In my mind, counting calories is pretty much bull shit.  I was losing weight eating almost 3,000 calories of clean Paleo-esque food a day.  I maintained my weight eating 5,000 calories.  The only reason I've gained weight is because the draw of the homemade strawberry ice cream in the freezer and all of the kids school snacks has been too strong for me to resist.  But I'm tired of my ass resisting fitting into my jeans, so back on the Paleo wagon we go!  Also keep in mind, I don't 100% follow the rule about no dairy.  I do eat it from time to time.  Not nearly in the amounts I used to, but you'll see heavy whipping cream popping up everyday, and the ranch that I make has buttermilk and greek yogurt in it.  All recipes can be found by following me on Pinterest.  Anyway if you want to check me out, I'm 13blessings (original, I know) on and on Pinterest.

Hopefully I can write more soon about working from home and other things going on in my life. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

It's been awhile

I woke up far too early this morning and considered a workout, but once my feet hit the floor I determined that I am far too sore to do much of anything but drink a gallon of coffee and catch up on computer work.  It actually took me a good 5 minutes before I could even stand upright #gettingoldsucks.  I've been hitting it hard the past few days and my poor body needs a break, no reason to push it.

That's one thing I'm really working on lately.  Self acceptance and not pushing myself.  If I don't feel like doing something that I really don't HAVE to do, then I'm not going to do it.  And I"m not going to dwell on that fact either. 

A lot has happened since I last wrote.  The major stuff I guess is that I became PTA co-president with one of my best friends from school ("School" aka my kids school),
Me and a couple of my best mom friends and Helle

I quit my job, got a new part time work from home job so I can be with my kids more, and started my own business which I"m hoping to be able to dedicate more time toward now that I"m not working full time.   That was a scary decision.  I've been quite unhappy in my previous place of employment for awhile, but I had been there for 8 years and it was safe and secure and familiar.  But it was also time to move on.  I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me, it's amazing how being in a job you don't like can drain every part of your being.  I must admit thought, my first week of "unemployment" (I took a couple of weeks off between jobs) have been a little tough.  I find myself bored a lot because I"m so used to a frantic pace of life.  I need to learn to sit back and relax and enjoy the small things more. 
This is the last time I ever have to get up this early!  Unless I have a pukey kid or an early flight!

I gave up gluten, wheat, dairy, nuts and sugar and lost 25 pounds, gained a lot of energy and got my life back (you'll see me writing a lot about this topic which most of my friends and family are sick of hearing about - I follow basically a Paleo diet but I don't eat nuts and rarely eat fruit).

I now have a 2nd grader and a Kindergartener. 

My preschool graduate whose future's so know the rest!
I've been making a lot of new friends and really branching out.  My calendar stays pretty full which is great! 

I'm also going to start picking up writing again and am planning to collaborate on something with M's uncle who is a great writer.  

I have also been spending a lot of quality time with the kids and feel like I don't get as frustrated with them, I have a lot more patience. 

I'm also planning a trip to Vegas next week with my BFFs Helle and Candace.  I'm SO excited.  Last night M asked me if I was having a mid-life crisis. He noticed that I have been getting in shape and probably spied some of the not-so-appropriate-for-a-woman-my-age clothes that I bought for the trip.  Perhaps I am.  I've gone through a hell of a lot of changes the past few months (some of which are not fodder for a public blog but my close friends know about) and feel like basically a different person.  I would prefer to call it a third life crisis, mid life would imply I'll be dead at 68 and I am hoping that I'll just be in my prime at that age!  

Shopping with Helle is quite an adventure!

OH and Happy Independence Day!  Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, anyone who can claim they are a citizen of this wonderful country has a lot to be grateful for today.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Picture Catch Up

You may (or probably may not) have noticed, but I haven't posted any pictures in awhile.  The USB to iPhone cable broke and I just recently got around to buying a new one.  I wrote a post last night about Monsanto, GMOs, the FDA with a side blurb about why the President's inauguration speech left me cold,  but I decided that if I posted that, people might think I have PMS or something.  I have also given up flour and bread (again, I know, I'm sick) and I'm a little cranky from it.  I want a god damned cracker!  Okay anyway.  The post I wrote last night is sort of a rant (shocking, I know).  So instead, I thought I'd post some pictures that I have recently taken that I love.  I hope you don't mind.  I promise, for those of you dying to hear my thoughts about our government, I will certainly be posting that in the near future.

December was a fun and busy month.  We received some wonderful packages from Denmark and Germany.  Thank you Helle and Laura!  I was a little pissed that the dog ate half of the chocolate.  Not because I worry about the dog, but I hate American chocolate - all of our au pairs have spoiled me - so I look forward to receiving my our bounty of quality chocolate at the end of the year which I typically hoard share with my loving family.

The kids had holiday parties at their schools which were cute.  Santa came to Alex's school where Alex proceeded to ask for oranges for Christmas (and yes, he did get some oranges in his stocking...weirdo kid!) At the end of Abbie's party, her teacher, who is AMAZEBALLS, started crying because she felt so blessed to have a class of such wonderful first graders.  Anyway the kids all ran up and gave her a hug.

 We survived the end of the world, but on that day I did get TWO flat tires which sucked.  The wonderful guys at Big O tires off of 56th and Indiana fixed both of them for FREE for me which rocked. 

Christmas was a lot of fun.  The kids got so many presents that I felt compelled to totally reorganize their room and spend over $300 at Ikea and Target over the long MLK weekend.  Oops.  I do feel much more sane though.  Which isn't saying much.  I still talk to myself. 

We went to the ballet to see The Nutcracker with a couple of our best friends.  The girls didn't like it very much so we left at intermission.  But we cut our losses and proceeded to go have a few drinks have dinner after the show and I soon forgot about the nasty glances I received from the other patrons when my daughter was having a full on fit about being too hot. 

 Abbie advanced a level in gymnastics.  She is really loving her new coach and class.  She's thriving as a little gymnast.  Who knew? 

I knitted a lot.  This is a hat I knitted for my newborn niece.  Hats are so much fun!  I think they are my favorite things to knit.  Especially tiny little ones in pastel colors. 

We were sick a lot and we slept a lot:

I watched a lot of college football.  I miss it.  I feel lost without it.  I do have a lot of extra time on my hands now though.  So much so that I am averaging reading two books per week and have volunteered my knitting services to knit some baby items for this cause.  I won one of my football pools and lost miserably in another.  But Alabama did win.  I actually secretly wished for Notre Dame to win.  I like the team and Alabama is seemingly always in the national championships.  Was nice to see some new blood in there.  But alas, Notre Dame didn't even show up.  

The day after the national championship, I woke up thinking I had a hellish hangover (from two drinks?).  As the day wore on, it became apparent that was no hangover.  I had stomach flu.  YUCK!  Thankfully no one else seems to have contracted it.  I did a pretty good job of segregating myself in my room until I felt better and made sure to disinfect everything.  A handy trick:  Take Benadryl at the first stomach flu symptoms and pump it in your body (be mindful of the dosage, don't OD on antihistamine!) until you start feeling better.  I am telling you, it WORKS to keep nausea at bay.  It's used off label for chemo patients to keep them from puking all of the time.  Don't ask me how I know that . I'm full of useless information.   I did catch up on a lot of movies on AMC.  But if I never see Jerry Maguire again, I'd be okay with that.  AMC ran a marathon and I watched it about three times because I couldn't find the remote and I wasn't about to risk sitting up or getting out of bed to go find it. 


 More recently I chaperoned the first grade field trip to the Stock Show.  It was fun but it was a little awkward trying to distract the girls from the pony's "big weird thing by his butt" and deflecting the "Mrs. Rhode, what's semen?"  question.  Forgot these smart little first graders can read now!  Also my daughter wants a chicken - they're only $30 after all.  And a pony - one without a weird thing mind you.  And baby goats and pigs.  When I told her no way, she informed me that she would marry a rich guy and they'd buy lots of land and she'd have two horses, one named Justin Beiber and one named Sparkles and a pony and chickens and goats and pigs and her husband would take care of all of them for her.  Okayyy....  Anyway thanks to Molly for helping me out!

Finally here are a few recent ones that I simply love.

Sorry for the picture overload.  Aren't you all so glad that I have a new charging cable?  Until next time...

PS:  I am considering changing some things up in the near future, including monetizing my blog.  Stay tuned for that. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


My knee jerk reaction to the question, "What are your New Year's Resolutions?" is typically something like this:  No I do not do resolutions.  Just because some arbitrary date on a calendar says it's time for new beginnings, time for big changes, my feeling is that if I'm not ready to change and if I don't see any immediate reason to change, the change won't stick.  I am a pretty unmotivated person typically.  I know this is shocking since I am extraordinarily busy and always on the run. 

But my busy schedule was born out of a sense of obligation.  I don't want to let someone down.  It's definitely not because I"m motivated to go out and change the world, one PTA meeting at a time.  I'd much rather park my ass on the couch with a drink and a football game on TV.  Also I really don't know how to say "no".  If I did resolutions, that might be a good one to add to the list. 

So when I change something in my life, it's usually got something to do with Newton's Law of Motion.  For those who failed physics, Newton's Law of Motion goes something like this:  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. 

  • Action:  Jeans don't fit right.  Reaction:  Diet and Exercise 
  • Action:  I'm broke.  Reaction:  Create a budget and figure out why I'm broke and start cutting back on unnecessary expenses and saving money. 
 Physics professors would cringe by my analogy because that's not how Newton intended his third law to be applied, but you get the drift.  I'm simply not pro-active enough to sit down and write out 10 things I want to change in my life this year when I personally don't see much that I want to change or that is possible to EASILY change.   I also know I won't accomplish most of them and I'll end the year feeling like such a failure.  Who wants to set themselves up for that?  Some people do great with resolutions.  They're the type A personalities who make out a list and methodically check off every single thing. 

When I make up a list of 10 things, I go 100% on all 10 things and if I slip up even just once, I tend to say, "oh fuck it, this isn't working," and I give up.  Patience was never a strong suit of mine.  Only child thing probably. 

But alas, I'm feeling a lot of pressure to fit in with the cool kids, so without further ado, here are my resolutions, most of which I know I won't keep for longer than a week and I'm OK with that.  These are things I've often thought I really SHOULD be doing but then never really get around to doing.  They are also pretty easy to implement, are not huge changes and are things I've done in the past that make a world of difference with how I feel. 

1.   Drink more water.  And no, beer and wine do not count as water; neither does the mixer in the vodka.
2.   Be more patient.
3.   Do more yoga.  At least once a week. 
4.   Remember to take my damn vitamins.  This one especially because I've been sick for going on 2 months now. 
5.   Cook dinner more often.  This will require planning and I might have to become one of those annoying super organized moms who does all of her cooking on Sunday afternoon so the meals are ready all week long.  Because I absolutely do not have time during most nights of the week to do much more than throw together a sandwich and if they're lucky, a salad to go with it. 
6.   Let go of the little bothersome things and take time to notice and enjoy the little wonderful things.

That's it.  Impressive? No.  Doable?  Probably.

Happy New Year everyone!  Hope you all have an amazing 2013! 

P.S.  I plan to do a follow up post soon on my Being the Mom of a Daughter post.  I have had over 3,000 views and countless PMs on Facebook and other emails and texts about it.  I feel the need to clarify some things (e.g. yes I unequivocally LOVE my daughter!  Geesh!)  Stay tuned for that sometime soon.  And it would be great if you could all comment more.  I know I have a ton of people reading this blog but you're all so quiet.  Maybe I"d write more if I felt some love from you  :) 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Being the Mom of a Daughter

There are two things every little girl dreams about.  The first thing she dreams about is marrying the man of her dreams.  Her so called prince charming.  The man who is not only handsome as hell but will take care of her, listens to her, and can do song duets on a whim.  Thanks a lot Disney.

The second thing every little girl dreams of is having a little girl of her own.

As a baby, she will dreamily look into her mom's eyes while she is being fed.  As a toddler she will wear beautiful dresses, let mom curl her hair in perfect ringlets and look into her mom's eyes with adoration.  As a child, she will try hard in school and dream about being exactly like her mom and marrying a man exactly like her dad.  As an adolescent, she will tell her mom all of the juicy gossip from school and they will wind down at the end of the week in their pajamas watching chick flicks, sharing popcorn and giggles.

Unfortunately most little girls dreams end up not being quite like they envisioned as they get older.  Yes she gets married.   He's not prince charming but he's good enough.  They have a couple of kids.  If she's lucky, she is blessed with a little girl.  But she's not exactly angelic.  As a baby, she has reflux and spits up after being fed, while her beet red squished up face is convulsing with tears.  As a toddler, she has dramatic fits, often ending in spasms on the floor of the supermarket that would make any Southern Baptist proud.  As a child, she does adequate work in school and vows never to be anything like her mom.  She wears what she thinks looks good, disregarding her mom's advice that stripes and polka dots, in different color families, do not indeed match.  She slams doors and screams, exclaiming how much she hates her life and especially her mother.  As an adolescent she constantly puts her mom down making sure to tell her about her faults and none of her attributes. She tells her mom enough about her personal life to keep her mom from prodding but most of it is a fabrication of the actual truth.  She is too busy to hang out with her mother preferring instead to go out with her friends whenever possible and when not possible, texing, Skyping and IM'ing them.  She is the epitome of drama. She still slams doors, just a little bit harder than before, and this time locking them, still exclaiming how much her mom is ruining her life. 

Mom of course loves her regardless of her moods, her drama, her temper tantrums.  Mom never wants her daughter to feel as though she's supposed to be anything.  She never buys the "too cute to learn" t-shirts (yes folks, that's real).  She dresses her in things that are in style, but not trashy.  She encourages her to learn and do her absolute best in school, and to be her own person and for God's sake, to stop watching those Disney movies where all a girl needs to do is be petite and pretty and she can have anything she wants.  She also wants to censor magazines and TV and commercials and every other modern day media that portrays women in impossible to achieve ways.  But she doesn't, because she doesn't believe censorship is a positive thing.  She feels that having an open relationship with her daughter is the best choice.  If only her daughter would let her in, if only her daughter would communicate with her. 

And when she goes to bed, mom cries and wonders what she could be doing better, worries that the daughter will make bad decisions.  She'll end up on Pregnant and 16.  She'll end up a drug addict.  She'll end up a prostitute, stripper, mistress.  Someone who is not respected for her intellect.  Someone who is only regarded for her physical attributes.  Which always leads to trouble.   Mom will lose sleep, wondering how to prevent her perfect angel from falling into that trap.  Mom daydreams about her daughter's prince charming.  Her daughter's daughters.   She prays to God, even if she's not religious, to give her daughter a better life than she had.

"Please God", mom prays at night when no one is listening, "Make her have self respect.  Make her better than me.  Make her intelligent, but God, make sure she knows she's intelligent.  Give her lovely children.  Give her a lovely husband who worships the ground she walks on.  Please God.  Give her those things. I don't ask for much.  Thank you God.  Amen." 

Friday, December 14, 2012

YOU are not a failure (and neither am I)!

I was having a super emotional day yesterday.  I don't know if it was because my "baby" turned 7 or if it was because I found out my mom is moving back to Missouri or if it was just the mounting pressures of being a mom in December.  Between trying to come up with funny and interesting things to do with our Elf on The Shelf,

having birthday parties for my now 7 year old,

buying Christmas presents, purchasing and putting up a Christmas tree,

 keeping the animals out of aforementioned Christmas tree,

making an endless array of scarves for gifts,

attending and making food for the numerous parties and work pot lucks I'm obligated to attend, trying to relearn fractions and algebra and explain it so a first grader can understand,

and being sick on top of it all,

well I kind of just felt totally drained and like a complete failure yesterday.

The fact that my amazing, wonderful daughter decided to throw a temper tantrum last night which included her tossing all of her clothes on the floor, including the dirty ones in the hamper, certainly did not help my fragile mind set.

I went to bed early and completely overslept.  I'm simply worn out.  Driving into work this morning, trying to caffeinate myself enough to get through the day, I started thinking of how life might have been for moms of past generations.

There were no flashcards, there was no sign language (unless you were deaf), there were no organic free-range bento boxes.  Your job was just to see a kid through to adulthood and hope they didn't become an idiot.  I'm not saying other generations didn't have it tough, but we are part of a generation that considers parenting to be a skill that needs to be liked, tweeted and instagrammed all at once.

We live in a time where we can Google everything, share ideas and expose our children to amazing opportunities, but with that, most moms feel that they need to keep on top of working outside of the home, scrapbooking, weight loss, memory books, Pinterest crafts, crock pot meals, car seat recalls, sleeping patterns, poo consistency, pro-biotic supplements, swimming lessons, gymnastics, basketball, electromagnetic fields in your home and poison in your plastic.  It's fucking hard.

We feel like if we don't get all of those things perfect, our kids will grow up to be aforementioned complete idiots.  And lets not forget, we also have to deal with the in your face, the crime didn't happen yet, but it's already on Facebook age of media.  We feel that the world we live in is simply unsafe.  We have this sense of constant fear that everywhere you turn a bad guy is waiting to get you or your kids or your family.  I blur out details of our lives in my blog, I have a friend who blogs and she completely changed her kids names.  We drop our kids off at school hoping we'll see them again when we pick them up. My daughter not only has fire drills at school, but they have monthly active shooter drills.

I don't answer my door unless I'm expecting someone and I trained my kids early on to do the same.

This is all new people.  My mom and her mom and her mom before that didn't have to deal with any of this shit. The world was probably almost just as unsafe then as it is now, but they simply didn't hear about it constantly and therefore didn't have an ominous sense of dread and fear every minute of every day.  

But even with all of that, it is in fact an amazing and exciting time to have a child right now, but keep in mind, no one has ever done it like this before.  Moms today are pioneers.  We need to figure out how to march through this new terrain without feeling like failures.  Because we aren't.  I'm not.  You're not.  We need to stick together and remember, we are NOT failures.  We're mothers doing the best we know how to do. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

7 Years

7 years ago today I looked kind of like this:

I can't even believe I'm even posting that.  What a terrible picture.  I felt as terrible as I looked.  I was 42 weeks pregnant carrying a 9 pound baby and about 75 extra pounds on my frame.  I was bloated and tired and frankly, plain miserable.  They had to put two gowns on me because just one wouldn't fit all the way around!  I was HUGE. 

After 27 excrutiating hours of labor plus a botched epidural, I was blessed with Abigail Emily.  All of the pain was forgotten, however I did fall asleep eating my french toast, fork in hand! 

The first year went by so fast!  I'm glad I used to keep a journal and since I only had one child at that time, I actaully had time to update the baby book!  I can't remember much of the first year but I at least have those things to look back on.  I do remember her first word was duck, which at the time sounded a lot like fu**.  She started walking at 10 months old, on Halloween.  She loved baths and adored the animals and of course her mommy and daddy. 

The second year went by equally as fast.  I have fewer memories of that, but thankfully plenty of pictures.  I was also pregnant with Alex when Abbie was two so that certainly does not help my memory issues! 

Look at the pudgy fingers!! 

Her second year birthday party invitation

Lucky kid had three parties that year!!
When she was three, she welcomed a new brother into the world and started preschool.  She used to love helping me bake in the kitchen, we'd make more cakes and cookies than we knew what to do with!  She also loved her new baby brother so much.  She'd teach him the things she was learning at school and loved to tickle his tummy to make him laugh.  When she was three she thought she wanted to be a nurse when she grew up, just like her Grandma! 

When she was four, she started Pre-K and became my regular shopping buddy.  She loved going shopping for anything and everything. At this time, she wanted to be a professional shopper when she grew up, or a photographer! 

Her fifth year was a big year.  She graduated from pre-school and started kindergarten.  She made a lot of new friends and learned a ton of new things.  She wanted to be a teacher when she grew up. 

Then suddenly she was 6!  She graduated from kindergarten and started first grade where she is making many new friends and learning even more!  When she was 6 she wanted to be a middle school principal - brave little thing! 

She still loves her little brother, though she won't as readily admit it! 

And today she's 7.  I know there are a lot of new moms who read my blog.  Take it from me.  Document everything.  Take a ton of pictures and videos.  It goes fast.  Before you know it, you're going to be sitting around wondering where the past 7+ years have gone and it's hard to remember even the things you swore you'd never forget.  The days are long but the years are short, trust me on that.  

This little person who is 7 years old today is going to go places in her life.  She's simply amazing.  She's beautiful inside and out.  She works hard and is extrodinarily tenatious.  She's a born leader.  But she's kind and gentle too.  She's all of the good things we admire in people wrapped up in one little package.  I'm so blessed I'm her mom.  I love you Abbie!  

P.S.  She still wants to be a principal or an obstetrician ha!!  The girl sets her sights high!  Good thing we have a college fund!