Friday, May 28, 2010

What a girl wants

More fun, floppy hats.

More chunky plastic accessories.

And definitely more
Pants-Free Fridays.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!
With or without pants.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Weigh-in Wednesday

As it turns out, even if I hadn't decided to back off blogging this week, I would have probably had to post less anyway. Life just got in the way. In the form of a sick baby girl. Poor little petal.

We spent much of Monday and Tuesday mornings in the doctor's office trying to figure out why Posey had a 104-degree fever and was inconsolably miserable. After much poking and prodding, our pediatrician came to the conclusion that she has the Virus of the Month. In other words, there was nothing we could really do except let her rest and try to keep her hydrated. And rest she did. That poor baby slept yesterday from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm, and then went back to bed at 7:30.

The good news is that when she finally woke up last night, she was ready to eat, and we actually saw a smile or two. That made us all happy.

Know what else is making me happy?
Losing SIX POUNDS this week!

Okay, technically, this was a four-pound loss because I was up +2 last week. But I'm more than thrilled with four.

I'm thinking exercise must have played a big part in my losses lately -- I've lost much more consistently since I also started moving on a consistent basis. So I'm working hard to find a little time in each day to walk or pop in a workout DVD. I know they say diet is 80% of weight loss, but maybe my body just needs that extra 20% push from exercise.

I'm getting healthy.
And Posey has been instructed that she must remain healthy.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

That was just what I needed.

My extra-long weekend away from the blogosphere was spent doing a lot of this:

But we also cooked a lot and laughed a lot.

It has been unseasonably warm around here, so we took our food processor for a spin to try out the banana ice cream Mama Pea linked to last week. Oh, my lovelies, it is good. And good for you! You won't believe it's just frozen bananas until you give it a whirl for yourself. And definitely include the agave/cocoa powder topping!

Remember how I shared our love of pizza recently? Well, we decided to veer from our tried-and-true toppings this weekend, and we went with pesto. We used a vegan pesto recipe from my new fave cookbook -- Supermarket Vegan. So yummy. Close to ridiculously yummy. I want to share it with you, but are there some sort of copyright issues with that? Hmmmmm. I need to find out because you would love it. And I'd happily type it out, but I wouldn't be so happy about being sued by the recipe's creator. Yeah. That little detail.

Yes, I enjoyed my time off immensely. While I was away, I did a lot of thinking. And here is where I'm at: I didn't miss blogging very much. Oh, I thought of a few things that I wanted to get off my chest (like D-E-licious pesto recipes!), but they weren't thoughts that couldn't wait awhile.

So I've decided to do a little less blogging and a lot more living.

I'm not abandoning this project, and that is largely because of the fabulous support I've received through baring my heart and soul here, but I do want to step back a bit. I've tried really hard to record my thoughts consistently, but there are times when I would actually rather read a book or take a nap or try a new recipe!

Right now, the plan is to be here often, but that will probably translate into Not Daily. There may be weeks where it's raining, or I'm feeling talkative, or I just need some extra socializing, and you'll see me around constantly again. But there may also be weeks when I sneak off for some needed time away without feeling guilty about it.

When I'm 103, and I look back on my life, I want to be happy I took time to stop and smell the peonies.

They're here such a short time.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Making a break for it

Things are beautiful around here.

The sky is brilliant blue.
The lilacs are in bloom.
The temperature is perfect.

So, I'd rather be out enjoying it all.

No time for blogging, folks. It would be downright sinful to be sitting inside on the computer. (Actually, if I sat on my computer, I really wouldn't be blogging anymore.)

I'm taking a couple of days to follow the example of Tricia at Endurance Isn't Only Physical. She walked off 90 pounds (and ran off the rest), and I'm feeling like I need to get goin' while the gettin's good.

I'm giving myself the day off! (And maybe tomorrow, too.)

I hope you join me for some fresh air and sunshine. I'd love to hear what you're doing with your warm spring days!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Weigh-in Wednesday

Today is un hodgo podgo. That's a hodge podge for you English-only speakers. We'll be traveling to Miami today, so I'm getting you in the mood.

Let's get the numbers out of the way. If you were here yesterday, you won't be surprised to hear that I didn't miraculously drop 5 pounds overnight. In fact, the water weight just keeps creeping on . . . this morning I was up 2 full pounds from last week.

It has to be water weight, right? If I'm eating the same way and exercising the same way I did the previous week?

Let's move on. (It's funny how I don't care to discuss my weight on Weigh-in Wednesdays that don't show losses. Humph.)

I do, however, want to say that I'm not feeling entirely dismal today because I tried on some old pants, and they fit! Wooo-hooo! Here's the deal. A family member is getting married next month. And Eloise is the flower girl in that wedding, so I've been spending a fair amount of time figuring out what dress she'll wear, finding shoes, hair accessories, etc. Suddenly, it dawned on me that, um, I am going to need something to wear, too.

So I started perusing the usual haunts for inexpensive dresses, but I wasn't feeling it. I really don't want to spend even $50 on something like that now. First, if things go according to plan, I'll only be able to wear that dress for this particular summer, right? And, second, the reality is that the chances of me wearing it again in the same summer are probably about .001%. I live in yoga capris. There just aren't many occasions on my social calendar that call for dressy dresses.

I actually wasn't thinking about any of this (the wedding, needing something dressy) when I decided to take a gamble on some stuff in my closet. I was, however, thinking about how I need some warm weather clothes that fit. And about how I do not want to spend the money on an entirely new wardrobe this summer. My weight has yo-yo'd so much in the past few years that I've had to buy new things in almost every season. That gets expensive. And depressing.

So when I dropped into the next decade last week (no longer there, thankyouverymuch, Aunt Flo!), I started going through my stacks of capris from summers past. Lo and behold, I found things that fit! Smaller things! And then the wheels started turning, and I realized that I had a bunch of clothes hanging there that I'd purchased for a trip to South Florida in 2007.

We had Eloise baptized in Miami, near Paul's family, right before Christmas that year. I was bigger than I'd been in years thanks to eating my way through the first, stressful months of new parenthood. I weighed more when Eloise turned four months than I did when I gave birth to her. So I'd bought a week's worth of new, warm weather clothes for the trip. I felt so huge then, which is weird because I now feel good about being lighter than I was a few months ago, and I must be about the same size that I was 2.5 years ago. (Did you follow that?) I remember being so ashamed of my appearance. I wouldn't share the pictures with anyone. And now, here I am, all excited to show you the pants that I can fit back into. Life has some strange turns.

Here I am at the baptism. Do you think that outfit looks dressy enough for a June, afternoon wedding? Because . . . it fits again! (The cream-colored pants and silky top. I'm not anywhere near thin enough to wear my sister's purple dress.)

Now, granted, I need to use the next four weeks wisely. I could stand to have a little more room in the waist. And I'll be armed with a solid pair of Spanx, for sure. But, when I tried those pants on and saw that they weren't too far off the mark, I felt, well, elated.

And looking back at those pictures, I don't think I look awful. Not my best, but not nearly the hideous creature I imagined myself to be back then. I wonder why I don't feel a little less hideous now? Maybe I need to spend more time looking at those pics. (Or maybe I need to go back to blonde!)

One last piece of podge in the hodge today.
And it's the most important one . . .

We love you!

From the afternoon of Eloise's baptism.

We hope you're smiling all day today!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Just smashing

I tend to say, "Oooooooooo, that just makes me want to smash something," frequently enough that I thought I should explain it here. In case you actually ever hear me say I want to smash something. And then you'll know you don't really need to run in the other direction. Most likely.

I started saying it years ago after my sister called to talk about a job she was pursuing. Through the interview process, she'd been given a packet of materials, including one of those personality tests some employers like you to fill out. Well, she read me some of the questions, and we couldn't help but laugh at them. It seemed like they were written in order to ensure that everyone but bona fide psychopaths would sail through with flying colors.

Of course, it has been so long now since we joked about it that I can't remember the exact question that set us off, but it was written something like this:

7. Shortly after arriving at your work station one morning, you realize your stapler is sitting on your coworker's desk. You know it is your stapler because you wrote your full name on it with a Sharpie. However, you do not recall your coworker asking to use your stapler. So, upon seeing this, you:

a. realize the entire office is plotting against you.
b. vow to prank call your coworker. At home. Nightly.
c. politely ask for your stapler the next time you need it, and calmly tell your coworker he/she may borrow it at any time.
d. want to smash something.

And, so, my fondness for saying, "Well, THAT makes me want to smash something," was born. Honestly, it has kept me from swearing on more than one occasion. Although there is the troublesome issue of having to explain that I don't really intend to break a vase over anyone's head, it does help me alleviate my frustration most of the time.

Unfortunately, it didn't help much this morning.
I stepped on the scale a day early.
And by the time the thought, "Now, I want to smash something," went through my head, getting a hammer from Paul's toolbox and using it to shatter the scale's digital display seemed like a fairly rational act.

Once a month, I get pretty annoyed about being a woman. Especially when I'm trying to lose weight. It's like an entire week gets canceled out by hormones and bloat. It's just plain old not fair.

And, yes, I know, logically, that the scale went up due to factors beyond my control. I ate well, and I exercised 6 out of 7 days. But, knowing that I can't really change much about the number on the scale doesn't make it any easier to shrug it off. It's like having my stapler just sitting there, over on someone else's desk. Not in it's own spot. Not with its rightful owner!

It's really about the proper order of things. You do X, you get Y.
You borrow a stapler, you put it back.
You exercise and eat well, you lose weight.

Clearly, my body did not get this week's memo about following the proper procedures.

Oh, and the correct answer, obviously, was D.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Beetnik pizza

Remember how I went crazy with Babs when I first started this vegan eating experiment? Well, I quickly figured out that daily, fresh, homemade loaves of bread in the house were actually going to increase my dairy products significantly . . . in the form of cottage cheese on my thighs.

So, Monday through Friday, Babs gets some downtime. But come the weekend, we fire her up for what has become our family favorite -- homemade pizza. I told you recently that I was surprised by how much I enjoyed pizza with no cheese. Look at me. It's obvious I didn't get where I am today without loving pretty much all foods, and among my most treasured has always been cheese. So, please, believe me when I tell you how good pizza can be without it.

Pizza crust in the breadmaker
3/4 t. salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 t. active dry yeast
1 and 3/8 cups water (70-80 degrees F)
3 T. olive oil

Combine all ingredients into bread pan.
Select dough setting.
Pat dough into 12x15-inch jelly roll pan or 14-inch round pizza pan.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Spread pizza sauce over dough. Sprinkle toppings over sauce.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

I'm in charge of the crust. Paul (and his sidekick/sous chef Eloise) does the toppings.
Here is what we ended up with this weekend.

Babs does her magic.

Getting the dough patted down.
We're teaching her to spin it next weekend.
(Oh, and yes, those are Elo's shoes in the window sill.
Posey has developed a taste for sole food. Ba-dum-bump!)

Paul whipped up a whole bevy of yummy veggies
for toppings.
carmelized onions
sauteed mushrooms
diced roma tomatoes in olive oil, basil, and crushed garlic
roasted corn
kalamata olives

For sauce, we like the pizza sauce from Trader Joe's.
Then, just a sprinkling of cheese on one corner
for Eloise . . .
and, voila!

Getting rave reviews from a tough crowd . . .

Posey enjoyed her favorites, too. Cheese and grapes.

There you have it. Pizza a la Beetnik. I love it because we save money, we know exactly what is going into our dinner, we have leftovers, and we have a good time working together.

The only thing I would change would be the components of the crust. I'd like it to be whole wheat -- that recipe we're using is the one that came with Babs' manual. If you have a good, whole wheat pizza crust that can be made in a bread machine, would you pass it along to me, please?

Oh, and what are your family's favorite toppings?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sunshine on a cloudy day

Mr. Parker: It's a Major Award!
Swede: Shucks, I wouldn't know that. It looks like a lamp.
Mr. Parker: What is a lamp, you nincompoop? It's a Major Award! I won it!
Swede: Damn, hell, you say you won it?
Mr. Parker: Yeah, mind power, Swede, mind power.

Remember that from A Christmas Story?

Well, not sure it was mind power that brought this award my way . . . I prefer to think it was my charisma, charm, and stunning good looks, but whatever the magnetism that landed it here, it's my first Major Award! And, thank you, Kristin, for bestowing it on me! Kristin is also a mommy to two, beautiful little girls, and she shares their fun, and always creatively lovely, days on her blog, Ellie-Town.

And, now, to pass along the sunny, good vibes, I'd like to extend this award to other inspiring bloggers out there. People whose blogs I'd like mine to be when I grow up.

Vivacious Vegan

Escape from Obesity

Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit

Check 'em out! Spending time with them is even better than watching A Christmas Story.

Friday, May 14, 2010

It's a FILF Friday!

What can get me to slap $4.95 down on a conveyer belt faster than you can say Us Weekly? That would be reading a headline like, How They Lost the Weight. This inquiring mind wants to know.

I love getting the scoop on other people's weight-loss successes. If they can do it, well then, maybe little ol' me can do it, too. Keep your celebrity weight-loss secrets. I want to hear how real folks have dug in their heels and made it work.

So, what on earth is a FILF, you ask? Contrary to what you may be thinking (this is a family blog!), it's a
Friend Interested in Losing Fat.

Occasionally on Fridays, we'll be getting insider tips from people just li
ke you and me. Some of them have lost weight, some may be at their goal, and some may be just starting out. But, if there is one thing I've learned over my years on the chub roller coaster, it's that most of us are a lot more alike than we might realize. No matter our approach to food and eating, there are usually a lot of similarities we can see in our emotions, struggles, and passion about food and our weight.

Today, we'll be traveling Down Under to meet Lucy, who I met recently through the blogging world. When I read Lucy's blog and learned a little bit about her, I knew I'd found a kindred spirit. So for our second installment of FILF Fridays, please welcome Lucy!

Please tell us a little bit about you.
I live in the foothills of Adelaide, South Australia, with my lovely husband and my three lovely children. The children are embarrassingly close in age. I work for myself as a consultant project manager. My hobbies are to blog, to entertain, and to walk.

What brought you to where you are now in your weight loss journey?
At the start of 2008, I made the choice to take back my life and to transform myself from an obese 121kg goddess to a lithe and supple goddess of healthier proportions. I still have a way to go. 20kg to go.

At the start of 2009, I added a detour to my journey to health by choosing to give up smoking after 27 years. (Yep. I only just hit 40. I started smoking at aged thirteen. Scary. SO glad to be rid of that habit.)

So, in two years, I lost over 30kg and transformed my health.

What has kept you going?
When I very first started, I wrote out goals. I visualise intently and practice this. I have a project plan, and whilst it has deviated, the goal remains the same, so I just keep coming back to that goal of how I want to feel. I find it easier to plan and work towards something, rather than be grinding away from something. So I have noticed that when I need to refire up my flagging enthusiasm, I remind myself of the end prize.

Any favorite, nutritious meals you come back to again and again?
Garlic prawns combined with steamed veggies. Or a BBQ . . . or my take on butter chicken . . .

What has been most challenging for you in this process?
The emotional side of things. I am torn between the concept that “all diets work, just stick to it. Eat less and move more," and the realisation that it is our emotions that have the ability to keep us fat. The war between those concepts' use is immense, and energy draining.

Is there something you've tried that you'd never do again? Or something you do find worthwhile?
Ummmmm, laxatives are not a good idea. I have never abused them, but I once took some on a Saturday night as I was feeling very constipated. They worked into the middle of a huge, long, steep walk up through Black Hill Conservation Park. Luckily, there were no other walkers around. Enough said.

But something I DO think is worthwhile is psyllium husk, to aid your fibre intake and to reduce cholesterol levels. There. Probably enough about bowel movements now?!

If you could talk to Lucy 10 years ago, what would you tell her?
Start the weight loss thing NOW. You know you need to, babe. You are walking well, but eating so much crap. Stop it. Stop smoking and stop chugalugging too much beer, stop partying so hard. Slow down. Any minute now, you are going to want to start a family. Start planning for your health NOW. You will have all the babies you want, I promise. You will be a birthing goddess. Just lose some weight now? Make it easier on yourself? I love you. Stop working so hard.

How do you balance your dietary needs/restrictions with your family's?
This is an interesting one. We do not talk about “diets” at all in my family. Ever. We talk about exercise being fun, and food that gives us energy. When we see junk food that is tempting in the shops or at a restaurant the family phrase is “that is not great energy food. Maybe we can find something that’ll give us more energy." It is easy for me to follow my family and eat exactly what they eat. But if I want to lose weight, I just cannot eat the mashed potatoes with butter, or the ice cream. I am at the stage now when I have to resist. It is hard.

Do you have any tips/advice you think might help other FILF’s?
Believe. You have to get into a place in your brain where you truly believe that you can and will be the shape and size and health that you want to be. Once you believe that in your heart and mind, it becomes SO much easier to eat less and move more.


Congratulations on kicking the butts, Lucy. Sounds like you're kicking a whole lotta butt with your weight loss and fitness goals, too! You've given us a bunch of food for thought, and we're thrilled you could join us for a FILF Friday. We're better for having met you!

*You can follow Lucy's progress and read more of her inspiring thoughts on her blog, Diminishing Lucy.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Coming clean

In my excitement over yesterday's weigh-in, I failed to notice something.
Until a friend (thank you, JB), pointed out to me that when I shed those five pounds, I not only dropped into a new decade, I dropped a digit from my journey.

I haven't been able to talk actual numbers here. I just haven't wanted to share publicly what seemed like such an intimate (humiliating?) description of myself.

But, I'm tired of being ashamed. And I don't want to live in fear anymore that you won't like me if you have a number to label me with. Am I lovable enough at this size?

I want to love me. And I'm in a place right now where I feel like honesty is crucial to learning how to do that. So I'm going to put something out there that has always made me look away at the doctor's office. Caused me to make awkward jokes. Even made me so uncomfortable, I demanded my husband leave the room so that I could whisper it to the anesthesiologist.

It's a number.

And right now, it's 249.
99 away from a healthy goal of 150.

It's me.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Weigh-in Wednesday

There is a Cathy comic strip I saw years and years ago that stuck with me. Maybe you remember it. It's the one where we see Cathy using the loo, brushing her teeth, shaving her legs, and cleaning out the lint from her belly button. Getting ready for her day? No. Getting ready to step on the scale. That was me this morning. And it paid off!

Hello, minus FIVE!!!!!

Can you tell I'm a little excited about that?

All of you who said it would take awhile for me to see the benefits of the exercise were right. I just had to hang in there for one more week. And shave my legs. (Hey, it's not quite capri season here yet, alright? Don't judge.)

Now, sadly, I didn't hang in there with the Shred. I wanted to. Boy, I really wanted to. By Day 5, I could definitely see a difference in how well I could keep up. Unfortunately, by Day 3, I was already feeling heel and knee pain. So when it stuck around, and got worse, I decided I needed to listen to my body and back off a little.

I am now either walking with the girls in the stroller or doing the Walk Away the Pounds DVD. The DVD is old-school, but I like it. I can keep up, but still be challenged. I sweat, but I don't feel chewed up and spit out at the end. For now, the walking is working for me.

I did make another change this week. I decided to really pay attention to how many calories I'm taking in. Right away, the very first day, I saw several areas that were clearly trouble makers. 200 calories worth of granola on my yogurt? And 300 calories worth of salad dressing? Ouch. I quickly realized I could make a couple of adjustments and have room for more filling (and nutritious) foods throughout the day. So I'm still using granola on my yogurt, but now I measure out a tablespoon or two and simply enjoy it as a little added crunch.

I will be the first to tell you that I typically hate measuring my food with a white hot passion. But, I will also be the first to admit that I have pathetically poor judgment when it comes to amounts. Give me a 1/4 cup of something, and I'd swear it was probably a tablespoon's worth. (See why physics was so traumatic for me? I have zero capacity for anything spatial. Maybe that's part of the reason I failed to notice my hips spreading over chairs until it came time to cram them into a middle, airplane seat.)

So because I can easily call a pint of soy ice cream one serving (What? It's soy. Come on!), I think I need to stick with the measuring and tracking for awhile. I plan to also start being mindful of the nutrients I'm taking in, and a site like daily burn was recommended to me for doing that.

I'm so excited about the progress this week. I've been thinking a lot about getting into the next decade because, psychologically, it's an important one. But I truly didn't expect that to happen already. I thought it was probably still a couple weigh-ins away. Now that it has, I'm really feeling lighter -- in more ways than one. I left a little bit of mental baggage behind along with those five pounds. Oh, it's still going to take me many months of hard work to reach my goal, and I have a lot more decades to break through to, but maybe I can celebrate more weeks like this one along the way.

And I hope you'll be here to celebrate with me. Thank you so much for the supportive comments. You didn't let me throw in the towel last week and go running for the cookie jar.

You're better than a new sports bra that hasn't accidentally been thrown into the dryer yet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pay attention

The staircase in our house is a little treacherous compared to modern ones. The steps are narrower, they're slightly steep, and there is a bit of a twisty turn at the top. They have also been an ongoing project since we moved in almost two years ago (apparently restoring them to their original glory after 113 years is pricier than just building a whole new staircase. Who knew? Oh, and let's pretend we don't see the dust on them either, k?).

So even with our added safety measures (new spindles to fill in the wide gaps and an additional handrail), we get nervous when Eloise is on the stairs. Especially because she has a tendency to look all around while she's heading down them. She'll turn and look behind her, down, up, you name it. Just about every direction except where she's supposed to be looking.

Because of that, Paul and I find ourselves constantly telling her, "Pay attention to where you're going!" And as I uttered the words the other day, I realized that I was giving her the wrong advice. I really needed to remind her to pay attention to where she was. Looking ahead was where her eyes needed to be, but we actually wanted her to be mindful of where she was at each moment as she descended the stairs.

And, by gosh, if that isn't a metaphor for this journey.

It's so easy for me to get lost in emotional beatings over how I got to where I am now. Or to fantasize about all the things I'll do when I'm finally thin. Don't get me wrong -- I think having some imagination about what my life will look like, when I've finally achieved that magic number on the scale, can be perfectly healthy. As long as it's not at the expense of living my life today. Sometimes it's easy to put off things that I probably could do now by using the excuse of my weight. Or my insecurities. (But, really, I can't pull off a pixie cut when I'm nowhere near pixie-ish, right?)

Living in this very moment, when it comes to weight loss, is so . . . hard. I'm not alone thinking that, am I? But, I just can't do the regret any more. At the same time, coming to grips with the length of time this weight loss may take me makes me slightly nuts. I'm typically thinking along the lines of: How can I get there faster, faster, faster???

Then a good friend, who has experienced a significant weight loss, told me that, although it has been slow, she has enjoyed the journey. Imagine that! Enjoying weight loss! There's a concept, huh?

But, honestly, today, I'm right there with her. I may be feeling a little bruised physically, but mentally and emotionally, I haven't been in such a great place, day to day, with food since . . . ever?

I'm learning and growing.
Loving the support from people I've never met as well as good friends and family.
Getting inspired from stories similar to my own.
And constantly looking around . . . looking around me to savor exactly where I am right now.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

What a wonderful Mother's Day I had! The best one yet.

Both of my little girls gave me the gift of being well behaved. What more could I ask for? But, more I got.

We went for a fabulous brunch on a local farm. We had hoped it would be fun for the kids, and we were not disappointed. In addition to a fabulous spread (lots of vegetarian items), complimentary mimosas, and lovely live music, we enjoyed games out on the lawn, visits with the farm animals, and an ice cream stand with root beer floats. It was a Mother's Day I'll look back on fondly for years to come.

Tita joined us for our down home celebration.

For some reason, Paul seemed a bit disgruntled after being sent on his 5th trip to the complimentary Momosas bar.

They had a photographer there taking the truly old-school photos -- are those called tintype? He set us up, got focused (which takes several minutes), stuck his head under a velvet cloth to look through the lens . . . and then Posey moved. With this process, no one can move. No wonder nobody used to smile in photographs. We saw another family's finished product, and it was very cool. But, in ours, Posey looked like our baby ghost.

A couple of non-tintype family photos.

Trying for a shot of only the girls, but the sun was so bright, we just got silly!

Our little country girls.

Here, Paul is trying to convince Eloise that she could carry the croquet ball around for a little while, but she could not smuggle it home with her.

Fortunately, we kept "seeing the animals" in our back pocket until the end of the visit, so a total croquet meltdown was averted.

Party's over.

This was one of those days that had me feeling very, very grateful for the incredible life I lead and the amazing people in it. Thank you, family, for making this such a memorable Mother's Day. I had a beautiful time soaking up the spring sunshine . . . and the love.

P.S. A morning on a farm is the gift that keeps on giving -- both girls napped for more than three hours in the afternoon. I am a lucky lady.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Good reminders

Beetnik Sister, Beetnik Oma, and Beetnik Mama
May 2007

It's big doin's around here . . . Sunday is Mother's Day (just a reminder for anyone thinking about getting me something fabulous), and today is the half-way point of this crazy vegan experiment I put myself on. I'm two months in, and, at this moment, I can't imagine changing anything after the next two months are up.

Already, I've
noticed more energy,
lost 14 pounds,
dramatically increased my intake of fruits and veggies,
started exercising,
tried (and enjoyed!) new foods, and
tackled intimidating recipes.

I'd tell you that I've also been happy to experience an increased libido, but that might embarrass my husband, so I won't mention it.

The amazing fact is, I haven't felt deprived living as a vegan. On the contrary, because I've finally made the commitment to cooking healthy meals, all the Beetniks are eating better than ever. Who knew I could love pizza without cheese? But, I do! I really do.

Something just clicked with me two months ago. Maybe it's because I put a time limit on this idea. I figured I could tolerate just about anything for four months, right? But, I really wanted to try this way of eating, and my main goal wasn't to remove meat from our plates, but to make room for more fruits and veggies.

But, really, the best outcome, which I didn't list, has been learning to love myself again. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm still a long ways from truly embracing the Beetnik Mama, and all her wobbly bits, that I am today. But I have two constant reminders of why I need to do just that.

I don't know when I stopped loving, and started loathing, myself. But I will do everything in my power to keep my daughters from ever feeling such self-hatred. I strongly believe in the influence of role models, and I don't want them to grow up watching a mother who avoids her own reflection. So, it seems we'll be building our healthy self-esteem together.

And beyond appearance, I don't want them to grow up with a mother who doesn't eat well or exercise. It may sound silly, but I imagine us to be that family who enjoys being active together -- whether it's hiking or riding our bikes or just walking around the neighborhood. And I can't do those things very easily until I get healthier.

Oh, little girls, I love you so much. I am protective of you with such a fierceness -- and that may be where this desire to change myself originates. I want to shield you from any hurt, no matter where it comes from, but especially from the most painful source -- your own psyche. I want your little spirits to always be filled with the light and glow and strength you have now. To hear you say, with the most supreme innocence -- "Look, I'm pretty!" as wholeheartedly when you're 32 as you do at age 2.

You are my reminders. I'm certain god, the universe, some power greater than me, saw that giving me two beautiful daughters would bring a clarity and purpose and fulfillment to my life that I could never find any other way. And I know that this enormous responsibility cannot be taken lightly. I've been given the opportunity to help you become as incredible women as you are children. Women who love themselves as fiercely as their mother loves them. I will do anything to make that happen.

As I contemplated my role as a mother, I remembered a poem I wrote to Eloise two years ago. Yesterday, I found and read it for the first time since I wrote it. And I realized that it sums up my feelings about motherhood. So I'll share it with you, and wish you the most wonderful of Mother's Days. May you and your own little pretty ones embrace the joy that comes from just being together.

New Love

Look at that.
Five perfect toes on the end of a perfect, chubby foot.
I could stare at those toes all day.
And, to think, her father and I created those.
And, I carried her inside of me for months, and she thrived there.
And then I nourished her with my body.

We are one.
And, yet, each day that passes, she becomes more and more her own little spirit.

How did I exist before this?

Would I have believed someone if they told me I wouldn't be able to get through Goodnight Moon without crying? So overwhelmed by the scent of her head resting against my chest? That I would be so overcome with love that I could barely stand to put her down and leave her for the night?

No. I wouldn't have believed it.

And, yes, the days have never been as long,
But the air has never been as sweet.
I kiss the sweaty little folds of her neck as she turns her face into mine and rests her head on my shoulder.
Her eyelashes brush my cheek.
I am breathless . . . just feeling her heart beat next to mine as we sway together.

Sweet dreams, precious baby.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Test drives: Treats for my sweets

Thanks to everyone who chimed in yesterday for support. I had a little bit of an epiphany last night when I was brushing my teeth (a lot of posts stem from the bathroom around here. Noticed that?). I had watched Real Housewives of New Jersey right before bed (so glad the DVR is back!), and one of the Real Housewife Husbands lost 70 pounds over the course of a year. The thought, "Oh, how I would love to be 70 pounds lighter next year," popped into my head.

And then I suddenly realized, if I keep losing 7 pounds each month (the rate I've been losing so far), I will actually lose more than 70 pounds by this time next year. I swear, you should have seen my face. It was just this "Oh!" moment. Like, hey, maybe things aren't as dire as I thought they were.

So, since you've been so sweet with your encouragement, I thought I'd share a couple of my latest yummy discoveries with you. First, although I still love my homemade dressing, I have fallen hard for the Goddess Dressing from Annie's Naturals. Oh, my lovelies, this is delicious. This is so good, my two-year old now tells me she wants salad. (I'm wondering if slathering it on broccoli will change her tune about that veggie, too.) It's such a nice blend of flavors, with just a slight Asian hint. Give this one a try!

Now, a girl can't live by salad alone. Not even a vegan girl. So, I like to keep these tasty little frozen pies on hand for times when dinner maybe didn't quite fill me up.

(I read once, I think it was in French Women Don't Get Fat, that dessert shouldn't be eaten if you're completely full. But, if you've had a light dinner, and you still aren't quite satisfied, then that's the time for dessert. I thought that tip made a lot of sense, and really, it's counter to the way a lot of us were raised, isn't it? Do you still feel like you need to eat a full meal before you've "earned" dessert?)

A word of caution: Two oatmeal cookies, chocolate, and "ice cream" take a hefty chunk from the calorie bank. At 330 calories each, I try to limit myself to half of a pie (it's really more like an ice cream sandwich). "Try" being the operative word. The store I buy them from sells them individually, so that helps. I only keep one or two around at any given time.

Just in time for warm weather. It's my ideal summer meal -- salad followed by a frozen novelty. Enjoy!