Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chubby

I ran into the midwife who delivered Ella a few months back.

She looked at me, looked at Ella, and then her mouth dropped open. She grinned widely.

"See!" I exclaimed. "I told you I'd have a big baby!"

You see, I spent a lot of time toward the end of my pregnancy harassing my midwives with the question, "How big is she going to be?"

It's not that I cared, at all, really. I just wanted to have a safe, smooth, non-medicated vaginal delivery.

I did not want to be one of those mothers that ate my way to a 10-pound baby I then couldn't push out. (Not that it's impossible. I have friends who have had home-births with 10-pound babies. Women are amazing. But I was a first-time mama, and, though I believed like heck in natural childbirth, I was still emotional and scared.)

Part of the problem was, I knew I was already a bit pre-disposed to growing bigger babies. I was almost 9 pounds when I was born. My mother and my grandmother had big babies. And my husband wasn't exactly tiny, either.

So I wanted to hedge my bets and try to at least control what I could.

Bless my midwives. The comforted me with statements of, "She's really only going to be about 7 pounds, Britt."

And they were right. Seven pounds and a half ounce later, she was born.

Thank the good Lord.

And, then, after a very brief dip down into the high 6-pound range, she was back up and soaring over her birth weight.

At one-week post-partum, she weighed 7 pounds, 5 ounces. At four weeks post-partum, she weighed nine pounds. At 6 weeks post-partum, she was 3 pounds heavier than her birth weight. And a week later, she was over 11 pounds.

She was a fast grower. She actually mirrored my growth as an infant to a tee.

And I was so thankful.

Any breast-feeding mom will tell you, it's much easier to walk into a pediatrician's office if your breast-fed baby is in the top 50th-percentile on the growth charts.

You don't get pressure to supplement. You don't get pressure to start solids early. You don't get phrases like "failure to thrive" or "can't make enough milk to feed your baby" thrown in your face.

You aren't forced to listen to fear tactics and out-dated concepts that stand in direct contradiction to what new research, the World Health Organization, and other sources you've read have told you.

You don't get stuck in one of the infamous "booby" traps present in American culture, which leave only 15 percent of women who intended to breast-feed their infant still doing so at 3 months of age. (A problem that has only been occurring in the last 10 years in our country, alone. But that's a different topic for a different day.)

Anyway, yeah, it's so much easier to have a "big" baby.

It's easier to have the nurse go, "Man, she's off the charts for weight." It's easier to endure other doctors coming over and going, "Whoa! Look at the size of that one!" It's easier to walk out in confidence, knowing that you are doing your body has managed to keep your baby alive and thriving.

Until, all of sudden, it isn't.
Until you walk into a play-group and someone goes, "My toddler has the same pants. She's probably wearing them in the same size as yours, too," and then busts into a fit of laughter.

Or until you're discreetly nursing your babe, and someone asks you, "Isn't she a little old for that?"

Or until a woman at church refuses to believe you when you tell her that she's just eating breast-milk, and she's really only nursing every three or four hours.

Until you get the looks. The stares. The points.

The exaggerated guffaws and straining noises people give off - jokingly, of course - when trying to pick up your baby.

The gaping mouths people give you when they ask you "What does she weigh?" and you answer, "Almost 22 pounds."

In the beginning, it didn't bother me. But now? Honestly, now, it does.

Yesterday, I got asked three times how old Ella was, and then, when I answered, "Almost 8 months," all three women immediately all said, "Oh my gawd! And what does she weigh?"

And it wasn't in a nice way, either.

Then there are the people who say "Well, she's just a big girl, then. She's going to be a big girl."

The women who point and whisper at the grocery store.

Or the random anonymous commenter on my blog who posted, "Your baby is too chubby and not that cute."

I have a long fuse, my friends. I do not lose my temper quickly.

But I'll warn you, over the last few weeks, my fuse has been about to snap.

I've started to bite my tongue, for fear I'll snap back with, "And what do you weigh, ma'am? Isn't that a little much for a woman of your age?"

And I've started to feel the urge to jump in with a, "You're a big girl, too. But you don't see me telling you that."

And, for the first time in three years, I deleted a comment on my blog from said anonymous commenter.

That is a huge deal for me, too. Because I am such an extremist about freedom of speech that, even the most outlandish, rude, and off-based comments I receive, I don't delete.

But the fact of the matter is, my daughter doesn't need to see that.

When she's 5, 10, or 15 - whenever she happens to stumble upon my blog - I do not want her reading comments telling her she's too chubby.

Because she's not.

Furthermore, she won't be.

I weighed almost 30 pounds at a year old. Thirty pounds. I was a big baby.

I've never been a tiny girl, but after that first year of my life, I'd say I'm distinctly average.

I am, and always have been, average height and weight for my age.

I am not a "big" girl now. Or growing up, really.

But, yes, I was a big baby. Huge, even, by some standards. Both of my brothers were the same way.

Now, my niece and nephews are the same, too. My husband's sisters all have big, breast-fed babies. They had (or have) rolls on their thighs and soft little bellies and sweet, chubby cheeks. They were, and are, freaking adorable.

And so is Ella.

I love my "big" baby. I think she's the cutest thing I have ever seen. She is healthy and happy and, yes, she is off the charts for her weight. But that's perfectly fine with me. I like it, in fact.

I come from a family where bigger babies are the norm, so I find them precious and cuddly and stinking cute-cute-cute.

Furthermore, I have never worried about Ella's size, at all. I assumed that, in my family, we grow big babies.

Plus, she's a baby.

A baby, people.

Since when did we get so concerned about size in our current society that we're putting our fears of obesity on a baby?

But that's the looks I get all the time.

Sneers. Glares. Backward glances. Mostly from other women. Many mothers, I'd say.

They openly stare. So much so that a grandmotherly type came up and patted my hands a few weeks back at the gym and said, "Don't you worry. She's perfect and beautiful and growing exactly how she's supposed to be."

I didn't know this woman from Adam. We'd never talked before. But she could see what the other people were glowering at. She could hear what other women were asking me.

Yes, it's easier to have a big baby.

Until it isn't.
***
The biggest concern I honestly have when it comes to this is Ella.

You can throw any crap you want at me. Call me ugly. Call me rude. Call me sexually depraved for nursing my child in public.

I don't care.

But do not call my child fat.

I was reminded constantly and teased a lot about how big of a baby I was as I grew up. And you know what? It was embarrassing. I remember being ashamed as a child when relatives would talk about it.

Furthermore, leaving comments on the blog or Facebook about how giant she is? Well, she's likely going to read those some day.

Even if it's done as a joke or out of love, she's going to see the words "chubby" and "fat" and "big," and she's going to feel self-conscious.

As adults, when we talk about children, we are actively speaking into their lives.

That can be a good thing. We can say, "My, he's so spunky and curious."

Spunky and curious are admirable traits.

Or we can use words that will wound later in life.

We can make jokes or laugh or call them names we think of as playful.

But those words leave imprints. Especially in today's world, where children will see, read, and hear what their early lives were like, thanks to social networking.

If we wouldn't say it to an adult, why would we think it's OK to say it to a child?
***
The fact of the matter is, I've never understood why people feel the need to walk up to me and tell me to "be careful of her weight."

Biologically, as an exclusively breast-fed baby, she can't eat too much. Our pediatrician - who is an amazing doctor who fully supports and pushes a breast-feeding relationship so much so that she doesn't recommend almost any other guideline I've heard quoted from other docs about when to start solids and when a mother needs to supplement - has reassured me so many times that her growth doesn't have much to do with eating at all, but is based mostly on genetics at this point in her life.

If she was 10 years old and had rolls for days? Then her doctor and I would be faced with a different discussion.

But as an infant? It's not a concern. It never has been.

So why do strangers care?

When I see tiny babies or thin babies, I never inquire, "Are they eating enough?"

It's none of my darn business. Plus, when I see a petite little one, I don't even think, "Man, she's so little!"

Instead, I think, "How cute!"

Because babies - all babies - are cute. Yes, I like my big baby. But every baby is different and special and precious and not beholden to any stupid, standardized growth chart.

He or she is a child, and for that reason, I think they're pretty darn adorable.

So why do people look at my baby and see her size as something unattractive? What's wrong with someone who thinks like that?

Worse yet, what's wrong with someone who talks like that?

I am a trainer. When I talk about weight with adults, I am very reticent and sensitive and careful how I phrase things.

No one has a right to tell anyone they are too big. I never call a client "fat," even if she's struggling with a obesity. I never call her "fat," even if we are specifically working on her losing weight to help her health and lifestyle. I never call her "fat," even she uses that word to describe herself.

But people call my perfectly happy baby "fat" all the time.

Yes, she's a child. But she can, and will, hear you.

What will you say, then?
***
I was introduced to the blog Tribal Wife by my good friend Melissa yesterday. She inspired me to blog about this - it's been stewing for a while, I'll admit, but I didn't want to go there - after she talked about people calling her baby "big."
***
Happy Tuesday, everyone.

Monday, January 30, 2012

MMM: She's Teething Again

It was Saturday night.

Ella had been fussing/whining/crying going on two hours.

The baby that never cries? She was wailing, people.

I'd noticed the night before that her second tooth had finally broken all the way through the gums, while her top two teeth were pushing through the skin so much you could see the entire tooth beneath the gum without even squinting.

Girlfriend. Was. Ticked.

She wanted to be held but was squirming to be let down at the same time.

No play toys were interesting to her, but she kept reaching for something, anything to chew on.

She wanted to nurse but ended up gnawing, which didn't make this mama happy.

And when she'd start to finally fall asleep, she'd end up rearing her head back minutes later and whimpering.

Poor baby.

So, in the evening, after it took all afternoon, two adults, and a heckuva a mess to pack up one solitary closet - because, lest I forget, we are moving in 2.5 weeks - I was at my wit's end about Little Miss Ella.

I couldn't make her happy. My hubby couldn't make her happy. We'd tried everything we could think of and nothing worked.

So, I gave up.

I just plopped down on the couch while she rubbed her mouth and cheeks into my shoulder, as I kicked aside piles of empty DVD cases we'd discarded while weeding down our movie collection.

And, then, it happened.

Ella quieted. She wasn't writhing or whining or anything.

She was happy.

All because she'd scampered over my shoulder, grabbed the cord to living-room-window blinds, and put the ends squarely in her mouth.

Now, I live in military housing. Which means those suckers are at least 10 years old. Heck, I wouldn't be shocked if they are covered in dust, bugs, and, possibly, asbestos to boot.

Which is why I did what any mother would in this particular circumstance.

I wiped them off on my ratty old "packing" T-shirt and then handed them right back to her.
I let her gnaw on those bad-boys for a good 25 minutes.

Judge me if you must, but my friends, she was quiet. Dare I even say it, she was happy.

Not my brightest mom moment, I'll admit. But I know well enough when to admit defeat. So I let those blind cords parent for me, God bless 'em.

And I'd do it again in a heart-beat, too.
***
Messy Mom Monday was born out of several posts by Jess (at Dude and Sweets) and I.

As mothers, none of us are perfect. We don't have perfect homes, children, marriages, meals, and activities circulating all the time. Instead, we admit that our halls may be dusty; our legs may be hairy, and our children may be eating cereal for dinner more often than naught.

But we're good moms, and we shouldn't feel bad if the picture-perfect family that so many people expect to see on our mantels doesn't measure up from time to time.

There's also strength in numbers. Which is why we want you to link-up. Let's break down the stereotype that we have to have it all together all the time.

Tell us about your Messy Mom Monday.
.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Obstetrics, Cookies, and Some Soup

I'm not exactly rolling in today with a week's worth of insightful links, videos, or books.

While my radar is on, all it's reading is "Move. Move. Move," followed by "Organize. Organize. Organize," followed by "Purge. Purge. Purge."

So, thanks to the Move-Organize-Purge record playing constantly in my head, I'm not the Web's biggest browser this week.

But I did find and use a few links you all might find interesting.
***
I am not a huge recipe follower. And this week's attempts are proof enough why.

Take, for instance, these lemon cookies I tried to bake for a play-date.

Because it's baking, I followed the directions. Mostly because when I don't, I end up with pastries that resemble and taste like lead pucks.

And, to be honest, these cookies were pretty good. They tasted like a sugar cookie. Which is awesome. Because I never make sugar cookies because I don't like the whole "roll-out-then-cut-out-then-roll-out-again-then-cut-out-again" process. Too much mess and flour and room for error.

But for a lemon cookie? These weren't that lemon-y. I wanted a more citrus-like punch, and honestly, they just didn't deliver. Next time, I'd add way more lemon juice and zest.

The next recipe I played with was a bean and barley soup, done up Southwest style.

It was tasty. But only after I added garlic - a lot of it - and doubled and tripled the spices used. Oh, and I added more barley. And more water. And I used the Crock-pot option.

Basically, I was two steps away from making this one up on my own. But hey, it was good.

Speaking of making things up, I used this Italian wedding soup with spinach as a jump-off point. As in I added spinach and sun-dried tomatoes to mine, too.

But that's where the similarities end.

Mine had onions and carrots and celery and more broth and more sun-dried tomatoes and entirely different kinds of meatballs.

And no fennel.

But it was splendid.

If you've not had it, I suggest you try this recipe. And then ad-lib along as you see fit.
***
I get really excited when I see articles about birth in mainstream news outlets.

I read an article this week that was just that.

A lot of people don't understand a lot of the anger and disappointment I - and others like me - feel at our current medical community and how they handle obstetrics. This article high-lights it perfectly.

I want every woman to be made fully aware of her rights, as well as receive full support for what she chooses as a woman in labor, as a woman giving birth, and as a woman navigating life post-partum with newborn. Our country fails miserably at this.

We all deserve better; with articles like this shedding light on these issues, I hope, in my lifetime, we'll get it.
***
I did this shoulder workout this week.

I have an obscene fear of my arms, as I worry they get quite flabby quite easily.

I felt this was a great workout to help that. And that's saying something because I'm not a big "magazine" workout girl.
***
What's on your radar this week? Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Just When You Thought I Couldn't Get Any Crunchier...

Every person I know who subscribes to the "Earthy-crunchy-granola" kind of mentality has some addendums.

In other words, they have a few things that, no matter how you slice it, they can't give up, no matter how "un-hippie" they are.

Perhaps they dye their hair.

Or perhaps they love fried food.

Perhaps they want a boob job or drive a gas-guzzling SUV or own a fur.

Whatever it is, every hippie has their hang-ups. We all have something we hold dear that doesn't fit in with the rest of our lifestyle, and often, we're pretty unapologetic about it.

Me? Well, I've got a few.

I do dye my hair. I give in to my cravings for hot wings, sometimes. And, when something starts to sprout mold in the fridge, I throw the whole darn container out instead of cleaning and re-using it.

Oh, and I own bleach. And when things get really nasty, I've even been known to use it. Gasp!

Like I said, a girl has her limits.

One such aforementioned limit for me had to do with Aunt Flo.

Or the Crimson Tide.

My period.

It started back when I was exploring around Etsy a few years ago, when I came across a concept called "mama cloth."

Basically, it's sanitary napkins.

Pads.

Made of cloth.

As in re-usable sanitary napkins.

I gave them a quick glance and clicked away with a resounding "No thank you!"

I'm all for natural, green, and chemical-free, but I felt no need to "handle" my period anymore than I already had to.

Fast-forward a few years, and I've just had a baby.

A baby who I cloth diaper.

I chose to use re-usable cloth diapers mainly for health reasons. After reading what's in disposable diapers and the possible side effects of disposable diapers*, I had a mini-freak-out and worried about putting said ingredients up against my kid's gentle, private areas.

Not to mention that cloth diapers would save us a boat-load of money.

So we made the switch, and we never looked back. It's been great; we've saved cash, and I feel better about my child's rear.

Anyhow, all was well in my hippie little world until I was strolling through the health-food store one day and came upon them again.

Mama cloth.

Re-usable, organic cotton pads right there in the natural healing section.

I thought about those suckers all the way home. When I finally put Ella down for a nap, I decided to do some research.

And there lies my first mistake. Once you're informed, it's hard to go on as you were, blissfully unaware.

As I read what was in sanitary pads and tampons, etc., just like Ella's diapers, I freaked.

I did not want said ingredients up against my gentle, private areas (or inserted in them!) No sirree Bob.

But, also, um, ewwwww.

I mean, I was already man-handling and washing my child's pee and poo.

Now you want me to add blood to the mix? I knew I'd have to think this one over.

Then, a few days later, I got an e-mail from one of those deal-a-day sites, and they were selling mama cloth at a great rate, made by a company that also makes cloth diapers I already buy for my daughter.

So, you can see where this is going.

I bought in, and my daughter and I officially own matching "diapers."

And this month, I finally got to use them.

Well, ladies, I have to tell you.

I don't know why I didn't jump on the boat sooner. Years ago, in fact.

I have literally forgotten I'm on my period every day. These suckers are so absorbent, there's no residual wet-ness. (Some research says that the natural cloth actually makes you bleed less than inserting a tampon or using a absorbent, paper-based sanitary pad, due to the chemicals used for maximum absorbency, which supposedly draw blood out faster. I'm not sure if that's true, or if it's the quality materials in the mama cloth, but man! It works, regardless!)

I'm comfortable; they don't leak. And the wash out so clean, with a little hot water and vinegar and baking soda, that they don't even look like you used them.

I tote around a little wet-bag in my purse if I need to change on the go, and it's as easy as pie. No more work than changing a regular pad or tampon.

I am a believer.

An earthy, crunchy, granola-eating, mama-cloth-wearing believer.

Years ago, I didn't think I had it in me. I thought even this hippie had her limits.

But today, I stand before you, re-crunch-ified.

Mama cloth is here to stay, and I am a believer.
***
I realize that, for a lot of people, this is just too much. Not everyone is "that hippie."

Which I totally get, and I totally respect.

But if you're at all on the fence about it; if you've heard of this, and your curiosity was peaked, I suggest you give it a whirl.

I wasn't endorsed for this post. This is one of those rare circumstances where I want to blog about a product because it worked so well, even I was amazed.

It was so not gross, either. Like, at all. I expected it to be a bit of a messy situation, every time I went to the bathroom, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Just like cloth-diapering, it's easier than you'd ever think.

That being said, if you want more specific information, e-mail me or comment below. I can forward links, etc., if you'd like.
***
*I don't consider myself a cloth-diapering expert, nor do I think everyone is cut out to cloth-diaper (or wear mama cloth.) So I don't want to launch into the whole "This is why we do this" saga again.

As it is, a lot of people don't want to read about it, so they can continue disposable-diapering their child in peace. Which I totally get and respect.

It's why I never Google the side effects of hair dye. I just won't wanna know.

But if you are curious, let me know, and I'll forward you my research.

***
Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Panic

I have been remarkably calm and cool about this whole moving thing. For me, anyway.

I've been all, "Well, it will work out. This was meant to be. Blabbity-blabbity-blah..."

And then yesterday, I freaking lost it.

After a great morning at the neighborhood park with a few fellow moms and babies, I had a rather routine phone conversation with the base housing office at our soon-to-be home in Georgia.

Nothing alarming was said. Nothing was even set in stone. It was all, "We're working on getting you a house that meets your needs. Blabbity-blabbity-blah..."

And then, after Ella went down for her nap, I started to feel it.

The clenching in my chest. The racing heart-beat. The sweats. The absolute and utter need to DO SOMETHING when there was nothing to do.

I left my husband a message, even though his phone wasn't anywhere near him or his work, asking him to please call the housing office back and that we'd chatted already and that this is what they had said.

And then, I started to pace. I did some laundry. I tried to ignore my mile-a-minute thoughts.

But I couldn't.

The clenching was getting worse. My heart was beating faster. And I was definitely sweating. A lot.

Gosh, I hate this. IhatethisIhatethisIhatethis, I thought.

I do not like being such a control freak. I do not like that "We'll wait and see" is so unsettling to me. I do not like that it sends me into a virtual tail-spin to not have what I know needs to happen set in stone already.

I am a list-maker. I like to check things off. And when whomever it is - my husband, my boss, the military, the housing office - doesn't hop on board with the list? Or doesn't understand why I made the list at all?

Well, sometimes, I freak.

I'll admit, I've gotten a lot better.

A few years ago, if I had gotten news like we received last week, I'd have been hysterical.

I might have cried. I'd definitely have yelled. I'd have paced the floor till I wore a hole in the carpet.

But with Ella, and with age, I've learned to let go more. I've learned that God does have a bigger plan. I've learned that it's not up to me to make sure everything works out right.

Which is why, as of late, I've been so calm about this move. I've been so calm about our next house and our next home-town and our next group of friends. I've prayed for peace, and so far, I've gotten it.

Things were going so well that I didn't even get rattled when we learned the hubs is set to deploy mere weeks after we get to our new place.

I took it all in stride.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, the panic attack came.

The innocuous phone call was the trigger.

But that wasn't the real issue at all.

I can blame the state of our house and my aforementioned statement of "We let things kind of go since we're moving in less than a month." I can also blame the fact that no one in my life quite gets what it's like to be so flipping tense about uncertain, wishy-washy, we'll-see situations.

I am surrounded by a laid-back, easy-going husband, family, and friends.

I am the rogue planner. My husband calls me "The Executer" for a reason.

But when you're standing in a room, absolutely desperate for someone to realize how crazy it makes you feel to "wait and see," and everyone else around is figuratively sipping coffee, chatting and lounging about?

Well, it's unnerving.

And so, yesterday, I think I lost it. The girl inside me who has to have a plan came out. She came raging out, actually.

I kept thinking up choice words to say the next time the housing office called. I debated whether or not I should delegate anything to my husband at all because I worried he "wouldn't get the right thing done." I even debated taking back several decisions we'd already made and starting this whole moving process from scratch.

Luckily, the anxiety paralyzed me. Mostly because, if it hadn't, I may have done something rash.

Instead, I spent the rest of my afternoon with a racing heart and a watchful eye toward the front door, waiting for my husband to walk in so I could unload, emotionally, all over him.

It was not a fun day.

Underneath it all, I felt like a huge failure. I felt like I'd lost. Like I'd let the situation get the better of me.

My mini-anxiety attack won, and I lost. And nothing had been resolved, so we were in the same place we were when I'd started off that morning at the park with Ella and friends.

Panic took control, when all I wanted was control in the first place.

How's that for irony?
***
I cannot tell you enough how much I don't like this about myself.

I envy the ability to "let go" many of my friends have. I wish I was one of those people who can pray about something and then walk away assured. I feel bad because it comes off like I lack confidence in God and humanity by freaking out like I do.

But it's not that at all.

It's a huge error in my personality. But it's an error that's driven me forward in the past; it's made me excel and work hard when others wouldn't. It's made me plow through situations and survive to tell the tale.

I am not someone who plays the ostrich or pretends the ship's not sinking. I deal; I cope.

But I deal and cope messily and emotively and, sometimes, loudly.

I have mini-anxiety attacks, and I lose sleep. I worry worry worry till I can't worry anymore.

It's not pretty, and I know it.

But it's my weakness, and it's a fight every stinking day to reign it in.

It's also a coping mechanism and an enemy of mine all at once. Which makes this symbiotic relationship good for me and bad for me all at the same time.

And, no matter how you slice it, that's a problem.

Which is why, honestly, I don't have a happy ending for this post. Nothing happened, and everything happened. And, well, I'm still anxious. I'm still working on reigning it in.

But I'm not sure I'll ever reign it in, totally.

In short, I don't know if this will ever go away.
***
Tell me, anyone else out there struggle with anxiety and control? Maybe it's not you, but your spouse/best friend/partner who does?

Anyone ever "won" the battle over their anxiety? I'd love to hear below, if you don't mind sharing.

Happy Wednesday, everyone.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It's Obviously a Girl Thing

A while back, I admitted to a friend of mine, D, that our master bedroom needed a major overhaul.

After all, at the moment, we're living in a too-small house. So our bedroom has become the inadvertent dumping ground for all things that have no home. (See yesterday's video where I scan down to all the Christmas decor we forgot to take down. Hint: It's currently residing in the bedroom of yours truly.)

It's also still set up for our kinda-sorta co-sleeping arrangement. (Ella normally spends anywhere from 3-6 hours in our bed the second half of the night.)

It's also home to several pieces of mis-matched furniture that had no place in the rest of the house, and therefore, made up their residence in our room of reside.

In short, it's a mess.

And, frankly, I'd had enough of it.

I wanted a new bedspread. I wanted a cleaner layout. I wanted the furniture to at least look purposefully shabby chic and not just, well, accidentally shabby.

My dear friend, D, understood all this.

And it was as we were wondering through Target a few weeks back with our respective babies in tow that I saw it - a coverlet I kinda-sorta liked.

This caused me to launch into a whole diatribe about how I would never, ever buy another comforter for our bed, as it's puffy nature made the piece a big, old pain the butt to wash and, honestly, never looked the same after it's first washing. The stuffing never lays perfectly right again, and, well, the bed looks messy even when made.

Of course, my dear friend, D, understood all this.

I then went on to explain that I was looking for something more like a coverlet, a quilted piece that was heavier and would hold it's shape better.

The one at Target was kinda-sorta the color-scheme and fabric I was thinking of. Which is why I spent about 20 minutes holding up several other coverlets, debating. In fact, I almost purchased one, as they were on clearance, and Lord knows, clearance items don't last long at Target.

Of course, my dear friend, D, understood all of this.

Finally, I decided not to buy the coverlet because it just wasn't quite right, plus they didn't have the one I really liked in the right size, plus I still hadn't decided if I wanted a solid color or a print. So, 30 minutes later, we moved on.

And of course, my dear friend, D, understood all this.

Which is why, yesterday, she was ecstatic to find the comforter she knew I originally wanted, marked down for 70-percent off, on one of Target's infamous end-caps. She immediately wanted to get a hold of me, knowing how I may feel about this.

But, lacking her phone, she had no choice.

So she had her husband text my husband a photo. A perfectly framed photo of the coverlet, in the box, clearly marked with the clearance sticker and all.

It's all making perfect sense, right? I mean, obviously, the picture and price she clearly listed out were for my benefit, and - big picture, here - for the betterment of our master bedroom.

So what does my husband say when he opens said amazing text message and takes a glimpse of said picture? What does he type back to his friend, D's husband, waiting patiently on the other end?

"What the eff is that?"
***
Pardon the kinda-sorta swear-word. (He's a sailor, people. We're lucky he didn't say the real thing.)

But man, did I have to laugh. Because when one guy opens a texted photo from another guy, you totally expect it to me a fart joke or a picture of someone's child spiking a football.

You don't expect it to be of a quilt. At all.

But me? If I'd gotten that text, I wouldn't have even had to read the caption. I'd know what D was trying to communicate.

Obviously, it's a girl thing.

And, unlike D, the hubs obviously doesn't understand all this.
***
This is not the first time my friends and I have texted through our husbands.

Which is why, sometimes, if I originally say, "Tell her we'd love to come to dinner. What can I bring? How does dessert sound? Anyone in their family have allergies to strawberries?" it becomes "Dinner's cool. Dessert cool with you all? Oh, and berries?"

Yeah. That's guy speak. (That's actually rather generous guy-speak, too. My husband does not follow Brittany's Rules of Punctuation when typing, let alone texting.)

They just don't approach things like we do. And they don't text photos of quilts to their friends.

So, tell me, ever had your husband speak for your via text? Do you wish you hadn't? Share below.
***
Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Messy Mom Monday: Vlog Style

You all rocked Messy Mom Monday last week.

Like, Took-It-And-Ran-With-It rocked it.

I was so happy. Not only was I in amazing company, but I felt like we all really saw past the clutter on our counter-tops and the piles of laundry we'd yet to fold (Was I the only one that noticed that laundry seems to be all of our No. 1 nemesis?).

We saw that we are all pretty amazing people under our clutter. And that being a good mom has nothing to do with how well we mop our floors or what designer outfits we're (not) wearing.

So, Jess and I are doing it again. In fact, this week, we're vlogging.

Last week, Jen over at Canadian Rhapsody vlogged. And this week, Shannon gave us a hint that she was, too.

So we jumped on board.

Which is shocking for me because, ladies, I hate vlogging.

I hate my voice on camera. I'm never "dressed" enough for it. And, well, I'm kind of awkward and dorky, and I like things better when I can type them out and proofread.

But that's not the point of Messy Mom Monday.

So today, I'm embracing the vlog.

Let's do this.
***
video
***
Don't you like how I'm like, "I'm not gonna show you our bedroom," and then you catch a glimpse of it anyway in it's god-awful state?

Well, folks, that's what happens when you're using your Macbook as a camera. And when you decide to wash your sheets right before you turn on said Macbook camera. (I swear! You can hear the washing machine in the video!)

Also note that, as of eight hours after I recorded this, the Giant Old TV I Hate in my living room was sold. I did indeed do a happy dance.

Still, funnily enough, after it was all said and done and I had turned off the camera? Well, I kept finding things all over my house that I normally cover up, but now, I just kept thinking, "Aw, man! Shoulda put that on camera, too!"

Apparently this honest vlogging thing is catching.
***
I'll admit, my house is pretty shameful right now. I blame our impending move. Tell me I'm not the only one who, weeks out from a move, just stops caring about putting little things away.

Actually, don't tell me. Just join in for today's Messy Mom Monday.

Write, vlog, or capture your messes - physical, emotional, or otherwise - in any way you see fit.

Then link up below!
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Happy Messy Mom Monday, everyone!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mommy-ing, Science Projects, and Spaghetti Squash

This week, I spent copious amounts of time researching homes in Washington.

Oops.

Then, once I realized where we were actually going, I spent inordinate amounts of time researching homes, grocery stores, vets, pediatricians, and churches in Georgia.

Anyway, the point is, not a lot has been on my radar this week over than "You're moving in a less than a month, you fool! Go go go!"

Still, I managed to read, cook, and watch a few things you may find interesting.
***
This week, a lot of things were speaking to me on mother-hood.

Mommy-ing.

The maternal act of caring for a child.

After a friend sent me this, I realized that, indeed, other parents experience what I sometimes feel. Other parents consider parts of this wondrous time of raising an infant "dark," at times.

And then, my girl Brittany posted this on her Facebook wall, and, as I read it while my apparently needs-no-sleep infant crawled about my ankles at 8:20 p.m., trying to get the dog's tail, I about cried. Because it's true. Because parenting is hard. Because I'm exhausted and alone a lot, and I never get a break. I never get a weekend. I never get a day off. Parenting a child is freaking tough. Read it, mamas. You need to.

And then, I read this: A wise piece about all the crap we, as parents, hold onto, and what and how our children (want to) respond to it. In short, our crap affects them, even when they don't have the words to tell us how. What an amazing read.
***
Watching this, my heart was touched. First of all, the little girl is adorable. But second and most important of all, it clearly shows the importance of food production in our nutrient sources. (Yes, I am talking about organic eating again.) It's so obvious, even a little girl gets it. So watch this sweet girl's science project, regardless of how you feel about organic goods. It's pretty awesome.

And, on the same note, I stood up and figuratively applauded after reading this article on the importance of diet (not drugs) in controlling behavioral disorders in children, like ADHD.
***
I have made this for dinner twice now. It's gluten-free, tasty, and low-carb. It's also chalk full of nutrients. Plus, it uses an ingredient I'm finding increasingly en vogue these days: Spaghetti squash.
***
What's on your radar this? Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Georgia

Yesterday, prayers were answered.

In less than a month, my family is moving to Georgia.

Thank the good Lord.

If you thought last Friday was emotional for me, you should have seen me yesterday.

After a sincere mistake by several parties, including myself, I was told and therefore convinced we were moving to Washington.

As in Washington "I'm Basically Covered in a Snowstorm Right Now" State.

This Florida girl was sitting on the floor staring at her little Southern baby, muttering, "Ella, I don't even know how to drive in snow. We're going to freeze."

I just kept saying it over and over and over again.

And then, thank heavens, the confusion was rectified. Washington was a mistake.

And we are going to Georgia.

We got what we wanted.

We got what we (and you all) prayed for.

We are where we, honestly, wanted to end up, if you'd asked us when we first to this place of uncertainty.

Thank you, Lord.
***
I'm still processing, honestly.

I am so freaking grateful and thankful and relieved that I can't really say more than this.

I want to tell you the whole story.

I want to tell you that, once I told my mom I'd made a mistake, that I wasn't taking her first grand-baby clear across the country and was instead moving Ella a mere four hours away, she burst into tears.

I want to tell you how all my girlfriends here rejoiced and clapped and hollered and texted in glee for me. Even though it meant it was real. It meant we were all saying good-bye.

I want to tell you that a new client of mine, who had just moved from the base we're moving to, talked to me for an hour after our session, telling me about how awesome of a small-town it was and how family-and- military-oriented everyone was there.

I want to tell you it all. And I will.

But not right now.

Right now, I'm tired. A huge weight has been lifted, and now, I can finally close my eyes with a little more peace. Plus, right now, I need to come to grips with the packing and the good-byes and the loose ends I need to tie up before we go.

Before we move away.

To Georgia.

We're going to Georgia.

Thank God.
***
Thank you, again, for all your prayers. I so appreciate your support.
***
Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I Feel...

...totally excited that so many of you linked up Monday. It was awesome to be in such great company (and not care that my house was a mess even a little bit!)

...amazingly touched that so many of you offered prayers and help and friendship after yesterday's post. Some of you all live near bases that, before, we didn't really want to be stationed at, but I know now that if we are, I can expect at least a few mamas and girls I can meet and hang with. That, in and of itself, is huge for my psyche right now.

...pretty bad that, sometimes, I fill Ella's day with chores, etc. I drag her from one room to the other, doing laundry, folding clothes, sweeping floors. I give her toys and things to play with, and I talk to her a lot of the time, but no baby wants to watch me mop my bathroom. Ugh. I feel like I'll never find the perfect balance.

...slightly sad that I'm not teaching anymore. On Pinterest, I follow a lot of you amazing teachers, and you're always pinning up great ideas and projects and classroom organizational charts, and, man, I kind of miss all that. I find myself "liking" and re-pinning a ton, in case we decide to home-school Ella, and I can incorporate them then. But right now, it makes me miss my old "kids."

...teary-eyed. Because speaking of old "kids," one of my former students, who is a junior in college, wrote on Facebook "I miss Mrs. C [that's me] and [two other teachers she loved.]" You can't do that to this over-tired new mama without making me cry. Whomever said all young adults are trouble didn't meet some of my favorite students.

...incredibly relieved that my husband is now back to working a day shift through our move. I actually don't mind him working nights, but it was getting taxing, especially because, once Ella goes to bed, I've taken to pacing about my house, taking stock of what we have, and figuring out the best way to get it all to, say, Guam.

...pretty darn relieved I didn't start the 18 billion crafting projects I have on my "to-do" list. I've been itching to, but now, I'd be moving them all, finished or not. So, thankfully, I can put it all on the back-burner and craft to my heart's content once we get to our new home. I'll need those projects then to keep me busy, anyway.

...freakishly horrified to start saying good-bye. You'd think I'd be good at it by now, but I'm not. I either break-down totally, sobbing and clinging onto someone for dear life, or I act like I almost don't care, because, in an effort to control myself, I sort of detach and pretend it's not happening. Neither option is great, I'm realizing. But with many hard good-byes on the horizon, I feel either/or coming on.

...scarily nauseous. For the past three days or so, I've been getting waves of nausea out of nowhere. Today's was bad enough that I ran to the bathroom, Ella in tow, plopped her in the door-way and laid between her and the potty, just in case. I didn't throw up, and I haven't any time over the past three days. But at least twice, I felt like I've gotten close. So, in short, I don't know what's going on. (And for all you baby-bump watchers, trust me, that's not it. As a girl who vomited for 20+ weeks pregnant, I know morning sickness. And this is not morning sickness.) Maybe it's the new pro-biotic I started last week, and I've even suspected the organic avocados I've been eating for the past few days. But I just don't think those are it, either. Honestly, I don't know what's going on. So, for now, I'm just grateful I own a ton of ginger tea - my go-to solution for nausea. This mama does not have the time to battle tummy issues right now.

...totally shocked that, Monday, I had to go shopping for Ella and had to buy her 12-month and 12-to 18-month sleepers and clothes. She's 7 months old, people. I am not ready to be shopping in the toddler section, but I am. Sure, all the outfits are too long on her - she's not terribly tall, after all. But thanks to her round-ness and even rounder diaper, she's too small to wear her 9-month sleepers anymore. I stuffed her into one last week, and she literally looked like a striped sausage. Bending her arms appeared taxing and almost impossible. So, it had to be done.
***
So, tell me, how do you feel today?
***
Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A New Loop

My husband is in the Navy.

I don't talk about what he does a lot because a) I have no real understanding of it, as I'm a former English teacher, while he does things with nuclear science and physics and whatnot, and b) because he (and probably the Navy) don't like me talking about it, anyway.

Not to mention the fact that I'm not even allowed to see what he does or go anywhere near his "office," so to speak.

So I could paint you a picture, but it would most likely be folklore. I'm just not that well-versed.

Regardless, from what I do understand, he's very good at his job.

How do I know this? Because he was one of a few select sailors who was actually offered a position that would have kept us here (in South Carolina) for another two years, after he finished the training he was put here to do back in the spring of 2010.

I was so happy for him; he's worked his tail off, and for him to be recognized and promoted because of that? Well, I couldn't think of any sailor more deserving.

Plus, the idea of remaining here - a place that is not home but has quickly become one - wasn't such a bad idea, either.

Now, we're military. We know better than to plan for anything. We know things can change. And we know that, "This is how it should go," really means, "If you're lucky, it may go a little bit like this...but most people aren't lucky."

But this time? Well, this time, I thought for sure we had it figured out.

Because, heck, when you're in the military, and your superior officers tell you have a position, you start to rest easy. You believe them. That's their job, after all.

But, you see, that's where we went wrong.

Because, on Friday, the floor fell out from under us.

An arbitrary decision, made by people who don't even know my husband and the few other sailors selected for this promoted position here, rendered the almost impossible true.

In short, on Friday, they basically nixed the job he was supposed to have.

The job was gone. It didn't exist for the taking. Those few sailors resting easy, waiting to see their formal paperwork that said they and their families would be staying here for another two years, were shocked.

So were the higher-ups, in fact.

No one, to be clear, saw this coming.

Even me. And I was the most skeptical of the bunch.

I know not to plan ahead. I know not to assume anything. I know that, when it comes to being married to a military man, you basically have no control over your own fate.

So, on Friday, I was kicking myself for not trusting my gut, for not remaining the one hold-out that believed all this talk might be too good to be true.

Because there I was, at work, a baby on my hip, surrounded by eight of my post-partum moms about to head out for a jog, when I got the call, when I heard my husband say, "I wanted to tell you before someone else got to you..."

My jaw dropped open. And then I went through the motions of working out with my clients while my brain raced about what this all meant.

It meant that, in less than a month, we'd be somewhere else. Moved. Gone. A whole new house. A whole new town. A whole new neighborhood and church and local grocery store.

It meant that, in another month or two, the hubs could be deployed. Missing Ella's first birthday. Maybe Easter. Maybe her learning to walk and talk.

It meant that, at this time next year, I could be freezing my butt off in a climate I'm not used to. Or even living overseas.

It meant that I wouldn't have my girlfriends here so close by. It meant I wouldn't have my friends and go-to babysitters down the street. It meant I'd have to find a new yoga group, a new mommy group, a new breast-feeding group, a new doctor.

It meant Ella wouldn't get to start swim lessons next month. Not here, anyway.

It meant I wouldn't be able to attend our annual children's consignment sale.

It meant saying good-bye to our church family, our Navy family, and our work families.

It meant leaving my current job and maybe not finding another.

It meant my second child wouldn't be born into the hands of the amazing women that helped birth his/her sister.

It meant a lot of things I couldn't comprehend but that kept coming at me in waves, when I'd least expect them.

The thing is, this is expected. If my husband hadn't been offered that position, we'd be moving anyway.

But he was.

He was all-but expressly told he was staying here. That we were staying.

And now? We're not.

At this time next month, I will likely be sitting in a hotel room, my stuff being shipped off to our next home, while we finish up a few odds and ends here and then start out by plane, train, or automobile to our new location.

Where that will be? We have no idea. I can tell you it will likely be Georgia, Virginia, Connecticut, Washington, California, Hawaii, or - gulp - Guam. But I can't tell you any more details than that.

Why? Because I simply don't know.

Still, I spent most of the weekend researching homes in all the areas we could end up. I compared floor plans of the base houses. I decided what room would be Ella's, what room would be ours, what I'd do with the new extra bedrooms (Guest room? Play room? Office?).

It was my way of coping; my way of knowing that next month, I'd be setting up house in a place I'd never lived before.

That I'd be leaving the town where we'd lived for almost two years and finding a new life.

Can I do it? Heck, yes. I'm a military wife. It's what we do.

Am I ready for it? That's the part I'm not sure about.

Are you ever ready to say good-bye to the people you spend time with every day? Are you ever ready to leave the town where your baby was born? Are you ever ready to start from scratch? Again?

Maybe it's because I didn't think this would happen. Maybe it's because I, for once, let myself believe in the false sense of security the Navy was heaping on. Maybe it's because I don't like to say good-bye in the first place.

But man, this time? I'm afraid. I'm worried I won't make new friends. I'm worried I'll be the only mama, like me, with a little girl like Ella.

I'm worried we'll get there; my husband will go out to sea, and I'll be lonely.

But I'm a military wife. This is what we do.

I'll put my big-girl pants and a brave face on, and I will get through this sudden change with few tears and a smile.

This is what we do.

So, yes, I'm moving; I don't have a choice.

But I do have a choice to sink or swim, and as always, I will choose to swim.

After all, I can backstroke with the best of them.
***
Our prayer is that we will know by the end of this week where we are going. History, however, does not look good.

As of late, the detailers (the Navy sailors in charge of placing sailors at certain bases) have been swamped and therefore, a bit behind in dispatching orders. The last group of sailors to leave our base didn't have formal destinations until about a week before they were set to move. I watched those wives finagle that one; I'm not sure I could have handled it as smoothly as some of them did. (Imagine packing up a moving truck and not knowing where you're going. Yeah, that's scary.)

Still, sooner rather than later would be in our best interest. I'm actually at the point where I semi-don't-care where we go; I just want to know already.

However, if I was being honest, I'd tell you we're desperately hoping for Georgia. It's close to my family, and it's not a hugely drastic move on such short notice.

I say that in hopes y'all can send up a quick prayer that the detailer gives us our request. But I also say that knowing full well that the detailer will do what he/she wants, and that we may very well be driving cross-country in three weeks time.

Which would be quite the adventure, albeit a little panic-inducing.

All this to say that, if I'm a bit absent or absent-minded around here, forgive me. I will do my best to keep you all abreast of where the heck we're going, but I can't pretend I'm not a little frantic, with so much to plan for and no real means to plan for it yet.

So, until then, as they say in the Navy, anchors away!
***
Happy Tuesday, y'all.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Messy Mom Mondays

I'm not normally a link-up kind of blogger.

Mostly because I get easily overwhelmed when something has some kind of "Blog about this on this day" kind of structure.

But then, last week, after my frank revelation that no mom - and least of all me - has it all together, I got some inspiration from all of you.

Your comments had me in tears, laughing. They had me nodding my head emphatically, agreeing with you. You all left me feeling like I was in amazing company.

Then, after convening with one amazing mama of four, Jess, over at Dude and Sweeties, we came up with a great idea - an idea that, we hope, can allow all of us mamas who try and have it all together, but sometimes fall a bit short, to revel in the fact that we are great parents even when our face to the world is less than perfect.

Hence Messy Mom Monday.
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Because it's almost always physically impossible to have the laundry done and a healthy meal on the table and a clutter-free living room floor and a happy husband riding the couch and children who are entertained, clean, and out of trouble.

Especially if you want to take a shower yourself that day.

It's life; something's always gotta give.

And, in this link-up, our aim is to show it.

Admit that you haven't dusted in three weeks. Admit that you don't fold your laundry. Admit that your haven't shaved your legs since swim-suit season.

Admit it.

After all, those short-comings? Those little imperfections and things you've let slide? They probably mean you had an amazing afternoon of imaginative play with your kids. Or took the time to actually listen to your husband when he told you how his day was.

They don't mean you're a bad a mom. Or a bad person. (After all, non-moms are allowed and encouraged to join in, too.)

They just mean you're human. Messy. Imperfect.

And there's nothing to be ashamed of in that.
***
OK, so enough talking. Let's walk the walk, shall we?

My house, on Sunday, looked like a storm blew threw.

We'll call that storm Ella. Teething Ella.

Girlfriend is whiny and clingy and a nursing machine.

She's also wearing this.
Because I haven't washed baby clothes in a week and a half, I had nothing else to put her in. Hence the aqua and green hoodie with the patriotic, navy-blue, star-covered pants. And the lack of socks because, despite freezing temperatures, she insists on kicking them off because she insists on learning to crawl. Little stinker.

Then there's me.
I threw a sweatshirt on when I ran to the grocery store, but I had to nurse Ella when we got home, so I just whipped that sucker off, and I've been walking around like this ever since.

No bra. Ill-fitting undershirt. Lopsided boobs, on account of the fact that I'm too busy to pump. And baggy pants falling off my waist because they were the sole pair of pants that fit me post-partum, though now that I'm smaller than I was pre-baby, I still wear them, hiking them up with one hand while holding the babe with the other.

Why? Well, it's not because they're attractive. It's because I'm too lazy (and broke) to go out and buy pants that actually fit.

And let's not even talk about the hot-mess that is the actual mirror. Apparently, I need to go get the glass cleaner.

Then there's the house.
Look closely, and you will see how my day went to pot.
That's piles of laundry I was folding around Ella and her toys. Until she wasn't placated anymore, so I grabbed more toys. When that didn't work, I grabbed more toys. And musical instruments. And an activity cube.

Then, I got side-tracked and decided to bust out my planner and start making some lists. So that's down there, too. Not to mention my hubby who had to be called in upon his waking at 4:30 p.m. (he's working night-shifts right now) because his child would not stop whining long enough for me to finish the half load of laundry I started folding seven hours before that.

And, yes, those are my stinking husband's running shoes shoved under the coach. He does stuff like that all the time, and it drives me bonkers.

But you know how long those shoes have been there?

At least a week.

Apparently, my exhausted state has forced me to let go.

More proof that I'm letting go? The drying rack filled with cloth diapers.

That have been there for three days.
I know I've blogged for about my amazingly efficient and easy cloth-diapering system.

Yeah, well, the system sometimes breaks down.

Case in point: Diapers drying on a rack just in time so that, when I need a clean one, I grab it straight off the rack. Forget folding them and putting them away.

Not today, anyway.

Not that today was a total waste.

My kitchen, luckily, is semi-clean. And I did manage to walk away enough to spend some quality time with my girl outside, blowing bubbles and getting our Vitamin D.
Sure, I could have used some of that time to fold more laundry or finally get those shoes out from under the couch.

Heck, I could have used that time to put on make-up. Can't remember the last time I even thought about doing that.

But when it comes down to it, I'd still choose Ella every day of the week, mis-matched clothes and all.
***
OK, now it's your turn. Tell us all about your Messy Mom Mondays and link-up below!
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Friday, January 13, 2012

The R-Word, Energy Bites, and A Link-Up

It has been a week, let me tell you.

Ella has been hit-or-miss when it comes to sleep; my husband is working 12-hour night-shifts underwater, and I keep forgetting to put the laundry in until it's way too late in the day, requiring me to set an alarm so I can switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer.

Let's just pretend that last thing I said actually worked.

OK, moving on...

The good news is, it's Friday, and this week there have been a few things that are on my radar.
***
As a former high-school teacher, and because of my experience working with kids with terminal and chronic illnesses, which sometimes lead to other differences, I am particularly sensitive when it comes to the use of the "R-word."

So, of course, when I stumbled upon this site and it's mission, I fell in love and hopped right on board.

Please check it out. It's message matters to a lot of us.
***
Ella is obsessed with her very own little red wagon, which means I am obsessed with her very own little red wagon.
Forget our former love, the jogging stroller.

She likes to cruise the neighborhood in this wagon like a big girl.

I cannot believe how she just sits there and rides around.

Honestly, this was an amazing Christmas present. Every kid needs a wagon.
***
I made this Crock-pot take on Chinese take-out for dinner yesterday. And I burned it.

Who burns something in a Crock-pot?

This girl.

Still, I have to say, under the "over-done" taste, it seemed pretty good.

But, on a much more successful note, I made these healthy no-bake cookies (with carob chips instead of chocolate) for a play-date, and I thought they were a rousing success. And they couldn't be easier.
***
I am so excited about this coming Monday. Thanks to the great feedback on Tuesday's post, Jess - an amazing and down-to-earth mama to four - and I are hosting a little link-up, where mom's (or, heck, anyone) can get real and, well, messy.

It's going to be awesome. So get ready (to link-up!)
***
Happy Friday, everyone! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Please Pass the Butter?

When a client of mine spends several hours a week with me at the gym, working hard and doing everything right, and they still don't lose weight?

I always end up asking the question, "So, what are you eating at home?"

And, sure enough, they begin to list off the same standard items belonging to a calorie-controlled, perfectly portioned, low-fat diet straight from one of the many books or diet plans we market in our country.

They hold onto such plans like life rafts, and it takes a real come-to-Jesus moment for me to shake them loose and go, "But it's not working!"

And then, even if they can acknowledge that, they still don't want to heed my next piece of advice:

"Try incorporating better sources of fat in your diet - grass-fed beef, avocados, organic dairy."

Immediately, they look at me as if I'm crazy. They begin to doubt my credentials as a trainer, what with me listing off a regimen of typical "high-fat" foods.

It's frustrating, for me and for them. We're stuck at an impasse.

But now? I have a solution.

Now, I'm going to hand them the book Why Women Need Fat by William D. Lassek, M.D., and Steven J.C. Gaulin, Ph. D.
While I don't feel like the information in the book is earth-shatteringly new - eat less processed, packaged food; eat organic, grass-fed animal products - I think it finally laid out, clearly, why women in our country gain weight the way they do, historically and personally.

It points a clear finger at the food industry, who made popular the use of corn and soybean oil - a huge source of "bad" fats, or omega-6s. And it lays blame on food and nutrition's governing bodies, who clearly ignored research that showed "low-fat" diets do not help weight-loss or heart-disease, as they were originally intended.

The book then goes on to explain why women need "good" fats - omega-3s (DHA and EPA) - for child-bearing purposes. But in our society, where studies show most American women are taking in only a quarter of the omega-3s necessary, our bodies actually hoard the fat we do take in, which, thanks to our love of packaged, easy food, are omega-6s, so as to make sure our children can reap enough DHA from our fat stores while in the womb.

It's all a messy cycle.

And while the book can get a bit bogged down at times, debating the vast literature that's out there about women's body fat and waist-to-hip ratios (an indicator of health and fertility, as the book explains), I found the read refreshing.

It explained what many of us in the industry already know; thankfully, it finally gives the science behind it.

And, to my great delight, it points a finger at the consumption of margarine, vegetable shortening, and other polyunsaturated fats marketed as low-fat butter substitutes, as the reason for the long-term indicators of weight-gain in women in America - something I've always held to.

Plus, it applauds a practice many nutritionists ignore - praising full-fat, but all-organic (and grass-fed), meats, cheeses, butters, and milks.

Amen and alleluia. We can have our cake and eat it, too. As long as it's made with the real stuff, fresh off the farm.

(The authors also point out that main-stream, non-organic animal products on the grocery store shelves normally come from animals fed a corn-based diet, i.e., a diet high in those nasty omega-6s. So the products on your average grocery store shelves and meat counters should still be eaten warily at best.)

With so many women on the diet train - a practice that actually starves the body and signals it to gain more weight - this book is a must-have if you're female and American.

Other than a few lapses in judgment when it came to trusting out-dated and dis-proven research on birth (they hint around at the fact that the C-section rate in our country is due entirely to the size of our larger babies - a statement that is largely incorrect when you take into account the piles of research and testimony conducted by natural birth-supporting OB-GYNs and midwives), I think any woman can understand the rather complicated compilation of research that supports what many of us have been saying for a while.

Real good tastes good. And real food is good for you.
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Other bloggers are talking about why fat is no longer the enemy over at the BlogHer Book Club. Join in on the discussion and see what others had to say about Why Women Need Fat right here.
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This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.
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Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's Been Seven Months

Oh Ella girl,

Tomorrow, you will be seven months old.

That's a pretty big deal. I remember thinking, before I had you, that babies 6 months and younger were - you know - legitimate babies. Seven month olds and up? They were pretty much on their way to big-kid status.

And now, now I am sitting here staring at a baby who is growing right before my very eyes. You are such a big kid. Or at least you're getting there.
There is no way to calculate all you've gone through in the last month; every day - nay - every few hours, I feel like I turned around and saw you doing something new.
You started crawling. You scamper backwards quite fast, and in the last few days, you can inch yourself forward, too.
You can get yourself onto all fours from sitting, and you can almost sit up from all fours, as well. You rock back and forth and laugh and laugh and laugh while you do it. It's like you understand that you're on the precipice of supreme mobility; a new world is about to be yours.
With your Pop-Pop.
You cut your first tooth on Jan. 1. Here's hoping that the age-old saying, "What you're doing on New Years is what you'll be doing all year," isn't true for you. Because teething has also rendered you a horrific sleeper.
Nom-nom.
I'll be honest, baby girl. I am bone tired. I don't know how you do it. I've never felt worse than when you would awake suddenly, screaming, with flushed, teething cheeks. Luckily, our first wave of it seems to have passed, though we're gearing up for Rounds Two, Three, Four, and so on.

This past month, you got to go on your first vacation and experience your first Christmas, too. You rocked on your first flight; you even survived an eight-hour road-trip.
And the presents? Well, you were supremely spoiled.
Opening gifts with Mommy
You were thrilled with every gift, plus you loved all the attention you got from your uncles, aunt, grand-parents and all the friends you got to meet.
With her Uncle Duders
You even got to meet your first blogger while we were there.
It's Jess from All-American Jess!
You also learned to clap your hands and are now consistently saying "Mama!" though only when crying.

You reach for people or things you want, and you're getting quite the sassy attitude, for when we take things away from you, you clearly show your distress. Your screeches are getting familiar, as you have taken to eating leaves, jewelry, and dirty napkins at the dinner table. You think you have a right to everything. And when we tell you "No," or take it away, well, you definitely know how to protest.
It's like you already know the world is your oyster.
You with your aunties (some of my oldest and best friends) and all their little boys. You're the only girl for now!
You converse really well. I talk; you babble back. I laugh; you laugh back. Your social cues are pretty hysterical.

You take baths in the big tub, now. No baby bath for you. And, though you're still about 20 pounds - the same weight you've been for the last two months - you're longer. You're actually slimming down. My roly-poly girl isn't nearly so roly anymore.

You're still exclusively breast-fed. I feel like, after this month - what with the teething and the infamous 6-month growth spurt - that is a huge achievement for us. I pray every day that delaying solids and keeping you on breast-milk is doing what we want it to. I can't help that you inherited some wonky genes that make you prone to allergies, etc., (Mommy and Daddy are sorry about that, by the way) but I am so happy we were able to continue on with this breast-feeding journey in an effort to help you.

Though this month has been filled with bite marks and no sleep, I can't help but smile when I think about all we've done. You are such a joy. And every morning, when I lift my too-heavy eyelids and see your sweet face beaming back at me, I can't help but thank my lucky stars that you're mine.

Motherhood is tough, but you, my girl, make it worth it. You make it fun.

I love you forever and always,
Your mama