BRB

Oh, hello.  I’ll bet you thought that I forgot about you.  Well, I promise that I didn’t.  I have been appropriately guilt-ridden for not properly tending to this blog over the past few weeks (months), but frankly there are six other people who live in this house who have become increasingly demanding lately and they tend to yell and cry right in my face when I ignore them.  This blog just silently nags at me.  What with the squeaky wheel and all, appeasing the natives comes first.  Then I tend to collapse into my bed, exhausted.

I honestly can not believe the speed at which time is passing.  I feel like I’m living in some kind of crazy warp.  Every day I wake up and I blink and it is night.  I am trying to enjoy the little things and live in the moment and all of the stuff that they tell you to do in the country music songs, but it seems an impossible task when complete months are whizzing by me without fully registering.  For example, just last week I went to the bathroom and saw some blood and presumed I was dying rather than believe that four weeks had passed since my last period.  It in fact had, but it felt like there was just no way that was possible.

So I find myself re-adjusting my daily schedule.  I am playing virtually no video games and I hardly even recognize the Atlanta Housewives anymore (Kim’s son is probably in high school now, for all I know).  Santa brought me P90X2 for Christmas (by the way, he and the pleasantly plump Mrs. are on the Biggest Loser this season, which is totally freaking my younger kids out) and I have been working out almost every day as well.  The kids’ sports and activities are back in full swing, as is school (picture me Tebowing for the short Winter Break).  But I love, love, love writing this blog, so I just have to make a few more adjustments so I can fit it back into my daily life.  Or I have to invent some kind of machine that can create more hours in the day.  I should get Sheepdog working on that.

Did you see the game last night? This kid is something special.

I think it was Kid C that noticed me mumbling something one day as I was walking from the kitchen out to the garage.  She was waiting for me in the car because I had to drive her somewhere.  As I climbed in to my seat she asked me, “Did you just whisper ‘BRB,’ and who were you talking to because the door is closed?”

For those of you who don’t text, or live in this century, or maybe still use a Palm device, I’ll explain that “BRB” is short for “be right back.”  And apparently I have been saying it to nobody in particular every time I go out for a while now.  I didn’t consciously realize I was saying it at all.

So I thought about it while I was driving around.  Maybe I was saying “BRB” to the house.  Maybe I was saying it to the people who were inside (although sometimes there were none).  But I’d really like to think that I was saying “BRB” to my blog.  Because I really do miss it.  And in my weird time warped existence, maybe I am just now getting right back.  So here’s to many more blog posts in 2012, and me finding the time to write them!

Also, effective immediately you can find This Is How I Do It at http://www.tihidi.com (the “wordpress” part is now unnecessary).  And some of you mentioned that you stopped getting notifications whenever I publish new posts.  Wordpress still can not figure that one out, but you can re-subscribe by entering your email at the top right of any page.  As always, thank you for reading and I hope you are enjoying the peek behind my curtain.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

I Like Sir Mix-A-Lot

I was cleaning off the kitchen table after breakfast on Saturday morning.  It was just me and Kid A and both of the boys.  Sheepdog and Kid B were at another soccer tournament in Tucker, GA, and Kid C had a sleepover at Nanny’s house the night before and hadn’t gotten back yet.  I was planning my day out loud.  I needed to schedule a run (even though when you run as slowly as I do it is technically called a “walk”) and I was trying to get myself excited about it.

“Well,” I began, “Yesterday marked exactly three months until Daddy and I go to Mexico on our vacation.”

“That’s nice,” said six-year-old Kid D.  At least somebody in the room was listening to me and my stream-of-consciousness ramblings.  Although he was very engrossed in NCAA football, so he may have been talking to the television and not to me.  Or his father has already taught him to always acknowledge the sound of a woman’s voice, even if it was in that “Sure, I’m paying attention to you” way.

I continued, “… and I am not planning on taking this big butt on our trip, so I need to fit in a run-slash-walk and then I’m going to do some P90X.”

Kid D was all of a sudden clearly paying attention to me (presumably because I said the word “butt”).  He put down the remote and came over to me in the kitchen.  “Mom, you have to bring your butt with you.  How else are you going to sit down?” he inquired.

I clarified, “I am still bringing a butt on the trip, just not this great, big one.  It will be a smaller version of my current butt.”

None of my other kids in the room said a word.  And either Kid D totally understood me, or his father has also already taught him how to navigate the DANGER! DANGER! that can often result when women are discussing their weight.

“Well, I already think you’re beautiful, mom,” said my loving, angelic, currently ranked #1 son.  I was both proud of his compassion and flattered by his compliment.

Then the dumb boy added, “But I think it’s great that you’re finally getting skinny because big butts don’t really fit on airplane seats.”

Then he gave me a hug and went right back to watching College Game Day live from Houston.  Oh, how quickly they can fall out of favor.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yesterday was my birthday.  It was also a Monday, so it was laundry day, grocery shopping day and Kid A had an interview in midtown at 7PM, so she and Sheepdog were not home for dinner.  Best birthday ever, you say?  Wait… it gets better.

The day started around 12:15AM when Kid E moseyed into our bedroom and asked to cuddle with me.  As I took him by the hand and led him back to his own room, I cursed him silently for waking me.  This back-and-forth routine continued over the next three hours.  The silent cursing did not last long.  Every time I would start to fall asleep again, Kid E would tap me on the shoulder.  By the hundredth time I felt like I was being tortured.  On one trip back to his bed I told him congratulations on giving me the worst birthday present ever.

His confused response was, “But I didn’t even get you a present.”

If somebody is up during the night I always try my best not to disturb Sheepdog, because he has to get up early and go to a real job.  By 3:45AM I was exhausted, infuriated, desperate, and on the verge of tears.  I no longer cared about Sheepdog and his stupid job.  So the next time Kid E came in I ignored him.  Sheepdog finally heard him (“Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom…”  Seriously, how does the man NOT wake up?) and he jumped out of bed.

“WHAT?” whisper-yelled Sheepdog.

“I have to pee,” said Kid E, very matter-of-factly, with a hint of “What would you have me do…urinate in my bed?  I’m no savage!”  So Sheepdog took him to the bathroom and then back to his room.  At last, the kid was sleepy enough to stay in there.

“Happy Birthday, ” Sheepdog whispered to me when he came back.  “I’m sorry you’ve had a crappy night.”

“I’m thinking of moving out,” was my very serious response.  I don’t remember if I dreamed over the next three hours, but if I did it was probably about locking myself behind multiple doors with heavy deadbolts.

I wish for world peace. And for skinny thighs.

I woke up later to Kid D screaming that his stomach hurt as he was running past me into my bathroom.  “I don’t feel so good,” he sighed as he crawled in bed next to me.  I didn’t even care if he had washed his hands first.

As I was zombie-walking down the hall to put Kid C onto the elementary school bus, I realized that Kid B had overslept and she would need a ride to school.  This keeps getting better.

Actually, it did get better.  Kids A, B and C went off to school.  Kid D felt fine, so I dropped him off as well when I was taking Kid E to preschool.  Then I went home and collapsed until I decided to make my own birthday cupcakes for dinner.

Sleep is a funny thing.  I am a girl who needs a good nine hours, so I rarely hit my mark.  I make up for it by sleeping in on the weekends (Shout out! Sheepdog for helping me do that) and taking occasional naps.  You’d think I would be used to interrupted rest after having five babies, but I never adjusted.  The cumulative effect of sixteen years of sleep deprivation has left an indelible mark on my personality.  I’m meaner and even more sarcastic.  I have even been known to growl on occasion.  I have to use more under eye concealer.  It is not a good thing.

It is a good thing that Kid E has some sixth sense thing happening, because he was one more sleepless night away from being put up for auction on eBay.  Last night he went to bed without incident and then slept through the entire night.  I am a different person today than I was yesterday.

Today I feel like I can take on the world.  Today I feel like I am a Disney Princess and everyone around me is a singing animal.  Today I am She-Ra, Princess of Power.  Today I feel like Wonder Woman and Laura Croft and Buffy the Vampire Slayer all rolled into one, except not all fit and and wearing some sexy ass-kicking costume because I’ve just been too tired to work out lately.

But today I have the energy to fix that!  I’m gonna go work out right now.  Then I’ll probably take a nap, because who knows what tonight will hold.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Have You Heard About the Lonesome Loser?

Today was officially the first day of preschool for Kid E.  I have to say that it was kind of a letdown.  We didn’t make a big deal out of it last night.  We didn’t pick out a special first day of school outfit.  I almost forgot to take him in on time (and no, it was not because I was playing video games… smart asses) and I didn’t even stop to take his picture out front.  I already did that stuff three weeks ago when he went to camp.  He gave me a high-five then went into the room without so much as a glance in my direction.  So I just paid his tuition and went outside to my car.  It was then that I realized that I had my freedom back, at least for three and a half hours each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  I got kind of tingly thinking about what I was going to do today.

As I was climbing into the driver’s seat I heard music pumping from the speakers outside of the pizzeria next door.

Sit down, take a look at yourself
Don’t you want to be somebody
Someday somebody’s gonna see inside
You have to face up, you can’t run and hide

Damn you, Little River Band.

I really do not like it when the universe smacks me on the head and demands that I pay attention.  But there was my message, coming at me on the voices of Australian rockers.  And I have learned that you either pay attention to these messages, or you’d better get ready for a fight that you will probably never, ever win.

So today I will make a plan.  Today I will set goals.  I will write them on paper and I will post them where I will see them every day.  And I will be productive and proud.

So actually I thank you, Little River Band.  And I think that’s Australian for “light a fire under your butt.”

For my easy-going friends

... and for my Type A peeps - Holla!

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Bring It

Kid B is playing soccer again this season.  But instead of the Christian recreational league that she has played in for something like six or seven seasons, she is now playing in a gimme-all-your-money, drive-all-over-the-land, players-are-gonna-elbow-you-in-the-developing-boobs-when-the-ref-isn’t-looking, hard-core league.  Well, it sure is different.

There was a fair amount of ability in the old league.  Players ranged from novice to experienced and they did a good job of spreading the talent out amongst the teams so none of them was stacked unfairly.  There was one practice and one game a week.  The coaches were unpaid (and usually parent) volunteers, some of whom knew what they were doing and some not so much.  The kids played all positions and didn’t really focus too much on plays, strategy or anything more advanced than basic skills.  Kid B is extremely athletic and can kick a goal with her cannon foot from mid-field, so she was very much a big fish in the little rec league pond.

We had planned to eventually go to a more competitive league at some point, but – as things go – we never quite figured out which one to join, nor did we really want to leave the comfort and familiarity of the nice church sponsored league.  But then I got a call one day this summer from one of the long-standing, knows-what-he-is-doing, rec league coaches who said they were forming a third string team in a local competitive league, and that team needed good players.  Baby bird was getting a little shove out of the nest.  So we got Kid B to try-outs that night and she was offered a spot on the team.

At this point Kid B has been to a pretty intensive soccer camp and has been attending twice weekly practices, where the (paid and – I believe – European, which is much more soccer-y) coach has the girls run real drills, laps, and other necessary conditioning exercises that bring these twelve-year-olds up to a fitness level where they can at least stand on the field for an hour-long game, and some of them could even run most of that time.  Kid B can get pretty intense when she plays sports.  She usually reported after practices that her team was looking pretty good and she was excited for the season to start.

Then last weekend they played in an Atlanta area soccer tournament.  They had three games scheduled (two on Saturday and one on Sunday), with the possibility of a fourth game on Sunday if they played well throughout the tournament.  Sheepdog took Kid B because I had house projects to do (and, let’s face it, Mama likes to sleep in on Saturday mornings).  He kept me posted on the games via text messages:

Sheepdog: Losing 2-0.  Red (Kid B’s) team has lots to learn.
Me: Is she playing well?
Sheepdog: Not many opportunities.  Blue has been near our goal most time.  She needs to move and hustle more.
Sheepdog: Kid B on bench.  3-0.
Sheepdog: It’s like Blue is kicking the ball and Red is tapping it.  Kid B back in.
Me: Good Lord she’s gonna be in a foul mood.  I don’t envy you.
Sheepdog: Kid B is in goal and they just scored.  Not much she could have done.
Sheepdog:  Kid B just had a great save.
Sheepdog: We’re on our way home.  Horrible.

So, Kid B’s team lost both games on the first day, and they apparently did it in spectacular fashion.  In addition, since Kid B was usually the (relatively) most aggressive and the tallest one on the field (she towers over her classmates, sometimes by a whole head), her opponents often targeted her and managed to nail her in the side and in the back with some elbows quite a few times without getting caught by the officials.  Kid B was indeed in a foul mood and she was extremely frustrated about her situation.

We have to be careful with Kid B, as she does not respond to criticism (even the constructive kind) very well.  I could tell, as she sat there with her ibuprofen and her ice packs, that she was missing the comfort of the league where players graciously stopped play for someone to tie their sneakers and asked if you were okay if they had kicked the ball anywhere near your personal space.  She was tentative about being “mean” to other players or getting caught by the referees, even if she was just defending herself.  But if she was going to progress in soccer as she says she wants to, she needed to grow up.  Not everybody is going to ask W.W.J.D.? before taking a tight shot for a goal.

Sheepdog and I had the same advice for her.  He told her, “Play hard.  Be aggressive.  Kick it like you mean it.  Don’t go out on the field ready to hurt someone intentionally, but (like in a Walmart parking lot at night) be aware of your surroundings.”

And I added, “If you see someone coming at you with her bony elbow poking out, protect yourself subtly with your own pointy elbow, laugh out loud and shake your head at her while you whisper just loudly enough for her to hear, ‘Bring it, bitch.’  Most bullies will back down when confronted.  Then you use your foot cannon to take it to the goal.”

That kid's not playing in any church league. She's wearing concussion-protection headgear. Go Green!

The next day Kid B did just that.  Her team still lost (this is going to be a long season), but her coach commented to the rest of the team that Kid B was the only player who gave as good as she got.

Maybe I should offer to hold a “Bring It” seminar for all of the girls.  I bet that’d go over well.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Sheepdog’s Dream Come True

My husband is not a complicated man.  He needs water (often), food (oftener), and sex (oftenest).  But even more than the desire to quell the hormones that frequently control every cell in his body (“But I have the DSB!  This poison is going to kill me!”), he wishes for a friend who shares his passion for cycling.

He has been a lover of the biking since he was a young boy growing up in West Virginia.  Legend (or the stories that Sheepdog and his mom tell me) has it that he built his first bike ramp, Evel Knievel-style, when he was just three years old.  Many years and multiple emergency room visits later, he has established a zeal for the two-wheeled vehicles that rivals Voldemort’s compulsion to kill Harry (side note: in honor of the eighth and final Harry Potter film’s release on July 15th, I plan to put at least one reference to the books and or movies into each post from now until next Friday – you’re welcome).

Over the years he has read, watched, wanted to be, tried, studied, followed, traveled to watch a stage of, or participated in the following: VeloNews, Cycling magazine, Bicycling magazine, Bike magazine, any and every book on cyclists or cycling, countless shows on OLN and Versus, live bike race streams on the internet, a bike messenger, a bike commuter, a bike mechanic, a bike salesman, taking apart and putting back together his own bike – both out of curiosity and necessity, daredevil stunts on bikes not limited to BMX-style tricks with pegs at indoor/ outdoor ramp parks, mountain biking, mountain bike racing (both in good weather and in the unholy desert heat and/or the pouring rain and/or the freezing snow), road cycling – solo, road cycling – club, triathalons, track cycling, criterium, time trials, the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, the Tour of California, the Tour of Georgia, the 24 Hours of Canaan, the Six Gap Century, the Tour of the California Alps – Death Ride, and the Leadville 100 – just to name a few.

No, cycling is certainly not just a hobby for him.  It is a part of his heart and soul.  If he is not on the internet looking at pictures of starlets in bikinis or their up-skirt shots, then he is surely looking at the newest in bike technology – frames, gears, suspensions, drivetrains, forks… whatever.   Either that, or he is on craigslist or eBay to see which of those is for sale, “just out of curiosity” (trust me, I’ve had to enforce a budget).

I sill believe you, buddy

And as a human being it stands to reason that Sheepdog just wants to find camaraderie and share his excitement with other cycling enthusiasts.  I’ve tried to fill that role.  I really did.  I have watched countless stages of the Tour (I love Phil Liggett but I’d happily push Bob Roll off of the Col du Granon), I have attended countless races (or “Hippie-Freak-Love-Ins” as I also refer to them), and even tried riding myself (it hurts my butt and I tend to break the bikes – I once broke a derailleur just by pedaling).  “Trying” now consists mostly of me defending Lance (getting harder and harder every time 60 Minutes gets involved) and making fun of the costumes that the cyclists wear (really, there is nothing less flattering than a pair of bike shorts, except maybe biking bibs).

So it is a good thing that Sheepdog has all of these kids.  He is hoping against all hope that at least one of them will share his fanaticism for biking.  But so far, he is 0 for 3.  People-pleaser Kid A really tried to get into it (she even contributed to buying her own mountain bike that they found together on craigslist), but it just didn’t stick.  Kid B doesn’t like to try anything new, so she didn’t even fake an attempt.  Kid C says she will surely ride with him, but she has yet to hop in the saddle.

If you are keeping count, that just leaves the two boys.  As it happens, Kid D – even at six-years-old – often butts heads with his father.  Sheepdog has been trying unsuccessfully to get him to take off the training wheels for years.  Sheepdog’s seemingly casual pleas of, “Wanna go for a bike ride?” are often met with disinterested grunts from Kid D, “…um, nah.”  I keep seeing his heart getting crushed a little bit more with every negative response.  Until the other day.

One of the greatest things about my parents’ house here in New Jersey is the isolation of the very flat street out front.  Nobody else lives and therefore drives back here, so the kids have been able to ride their bikes undisturbed for countless hours.  That has led to a peak in Kid D’s bike riding confidence and a request out of the blue to remove his training wheels.

Sheepdog was remarkably calm and reserved (I presume because he has had his heart broken thrice already) as he got his tools.  He casually handed the bike – sans supports – back to Kid D, showed him how to set up the pedals for maximum push-off power, and gave him the go ahead signal to take off.  Kid D took to riding a bike like a Kardashian to professional ball players, and even the classically pragmatic Sheepdog couldn’t help but whoop and cheer aloud.

In twenty years I have never seen my husband smile the way he does when Kid D now asks him, “Hey, daddy – wanna go for a bike ride?”

Except for the other day when he asked, “Hey daddy – you wanna watch the Tour?”

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

The Very Hungry Mommy

By the light of the moon a sleeping Mommy lay in her bed.

One vacation morning the warm sun came up and – pop! – into her bed came very tiny and very hungry Kids A – E.

They started to whine for some food.

On Monday they ate through a bag of Twizzlers.  But they were still hungry.

On Tuesday they ate through two Primo pizzas.  But they were still hungry.

On Wednesday they ate through three boxes of Tastykakes.  But they were still hungry.

On Thursday they ate through four cheesesteaks.  But they were still hungry.

On Friday they ate through five Blizzards from Dairy Queen.  But they were still hungry.

On Saturday they ate through blue chips and guacamole, cupcakes with jimmies, salt water taffy, WaWa hoagies, a bag of pretzels, tacos, hamburgers, chili dogs and a blueberry pie.  That night they all had stomachaches!

Sunday comes afterwards.  They ate through one nice dinner that Mommy made from the South Beach Diet menu (pistachio-chicken salad) from whole food ingredients and after that they felt much better.

The kids weren’t hungry anymore and they were fine and still fit (because kids must have holes in their stomachs).  But not the Mommy.  Because she wasn’t a little Mommy anymore.  She was a big, fat Mommy.

So she put her skinny clothes away in a drawer and she stayed inside for almost 90 days.  And she pushed play on every one of those days and by the end…

She was a Super Fit P90X graduate!  The End.

This picture is from the summer of 2009. I do not look anything like this currently in the summer of 2011. In fact, I think I recently ate that very bikini and maybe even some of the children in this photo.

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I did, in fact, complete 60 of the prescribed 90 days of the super-hard P90X program two years ago.  The family photo above is my after picture.  I just got bored with it and did not keep it up.  And you don’t get to keep a super fit body without working at it every day (trust me – I’ve tested that theory).

The Beachbody people who produce the program are now talking up their new P90X2 DVDs, which are due out soon and I am getting excited about them.  But I haven’t worked out seriously in more then two months.  That fact, plus my very bad vacation eating habits have led to a plethora of mom tankinis, caftans and casual hiding behind towels and beach chairs and kids.

So I have decided to stop whining and covering up and I’m going to start working out and eating better.  I have a new friend who has decided to train for Savannah’s Rock-N-Roll Marathon in November (http://rfbr262.wordpress.com), and if an old man can do that then surely a spring chicken like me can do a few push and pull-ups.  Right?

And a very sincere and heartfelt shout out to Eric Carle for creating one of the best children’s books ever for me to parody in my story above.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a classic in our kids’ library right next to Goodnight Moon, Big Bird’s Very Busy Day and the newly minted Go The F**k to Sleep.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Wrangling the Entropy Tip #4, I Excel at Excel

Each Wednesday of my vacation I am featuring a post by a noted guest writer (read: anyone in my family who responded to my pleas for them to pick up my slack – I’m on vacation for goodness’ sake!).  Last week you may recall that Sheepdog wrote an inspirational piece on DIY projects.  Today I am proud to introduce another character from my cast of crazies, the incredibly organized Sister D.

Sister D is in her early thirties, a stay-at-home mom to three kids (a 1-year old daughter, a 5-year-old son and an almost 7-year-old son, who is on the autism spectrum with PDD-NOS).  She has been married to B-I-L #3 (the Trash Man) for 8 years.  They keep moving around because Trash Man keeps getting promoted, but they have thankfully stayed put in Kennesaw, GA for the past couple of years now.  I just love that they are nearby.

Sister D is the youngest of the Paarz sisters.  She is creative and smart and a perfectionist.  She is a great mom and a loving wife and a loyal friend.  When she calls to catch up with me I tell my kids to leave me alone because I am on a very important call.  She is super fit because she works out and eats well.  She constantly challenges herself with marathons and other physical activities that make my head hurt.  She likes the finer things in life and she works hard for them too.  She is currently vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, which is where she intends to spend summers with her children and a Mexican nanny as soon as she can convince our dad to buy a house there.

So, without any further ado, I present Sister D and her nuggets of wisdom…

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I EXCEL AT EXCEL by honorary guest writer, Sister D

I thought for my first guest blog I’d write about my crazy oldest sister.  Oh, wait…nevermind.

I have to admit…I don’t remember learning about entropy.  I was an engineering major (for a little while, anyway), though admittedly I did attend most of my sophomore year physics classes still a little saucy from the night before.  (C’mon…Buckhead bars closed at 4 AM.  I scheduled 8 AM classes to allow for my afternoon nap.  Do the math.)  Anyway, I don’t know a whole lot about entropy, but I do know that I can get in and out of a grocery store with 3 young kids in tow in 20 minutes.  This is how I do it.

Go to your local grocery store.  If you’re lucky, you can get an aisle directory from Customer Service.  If you’re not, don’t worry…you either get to look like an idiot as you take notes every time you go into a new aisle, or you can alarm the store manager as he wonders why you’re taking pictures of the signs in each aisle.  No matter how you obtain the information, take your list of what items are in each aisle and put them in a spreadsheet that looks something like this.

Print out several copies, hang one up on your refrigerator and instruct your self/family/babysitter to write items under the appropriate aisle heading as they run out or start to run low.  I also laminated one copy of my list with all of our regular items pre-populated in the fields so I have something to cross-reference as I plan my grocery trip.

So what are you going to put on this fancy list?  If your family is like mine, they probably expect you to feed them.  Planning meals is one of my least favorite tasks, so I only did it once.  I came up with 24 meals and have sets of four meals that cycle every six weeks.  We will always have enchilada chicken the same week we have tilapia piccata, but the last time we had those meals was six weeks ago, so no one seems to notice.  I evenly distribute my chicken/fish/beef/pasta dishes so that each group of four has a good variety and leaving three nights open per week allows for a little bit of spontaneity.  I fill those spots with Daddy’s-out-of-town-so-we’re-eating-cereal, seasonal meals with finds from the farmers’ market, events we attend so they’ll feed us, or dinner out.

Meal Primary heading Secondary heading Week
Broccoli & beef pasta Beef Pasta 1
Fajitas Chicken Mexican 1
Chicken baked with stuffing Chicken 1
Italian grilled pork chops Pork 1
Enchildada chicken Chicken Mexican 2
Chicken gorgonzola Chicken 2
Tilapia piccata Fish 2
Roasted turkey breast Turkey 2
Lasagna Beef Pasta 3
Chicken stir-fry Chicken Asian 3
Chicken sausage & peppers Chicken 3
Chicken casserole Chicken 3
Chicken and veggie pasta Chicken Pasta 4
Tomato mozzarella garlic chicken Chicken 4
Lemon garlic salmon Fish 4
Turkey chili Turkey 4
Spaghetti Beef Pasta 5
Tortilla soup and tamales Chicken Mexican 5
Chicken & dumplings Chicken 5
Pork tenderloin Pork 5
Tacos Beef Mexican 6
Chicken and spinach vodka pasta Chicken Pasta 6
Chicken parmesan Chicken 6
Pepper steak Steak 6

I Am Not The Biggest Loser… or Am I?

Hot Mama check in!

On this morning after the finale of the whatever-th season of the show, I am sad to report that I am, in fact, not The Biggest Loser.  I didn’t completely win over your hearts with my hard work, charm and cunning game play during my transformation from giant, lost, aimless person who once upon a time had to sleep with scuba gear, into a svelte, appropriately muscular bombshell whose legs are now so thin that they do not touch and the stage lights shine all the way through them and even hideous bike tights look good on me.  I did not have an emotional reveal when Jillian broke me down with her repeated screams in my face that I was lazy or dumb and would never amount to anything if I didn’t follow through on something.  I did not train to box like Sylvester Stallone did in Rocky IV, in a barn using only railroad ties and farm equipment.  I did not fall off of the back of a treadmill and then have to endure watching the clip in slow motion along with a Ka-Boom! sound effect over and over on promos for the show throughout the season.  No, none of that happened to me.

But I did watch the show.  And I did occasionally eat cookies while watching (don’t we all?).  One time I think I ate a cupcake or two, which made me feel all bad-ass and rebellious.  I wondered if trainer Bob had a girlfriend or a boyfriend or both (no matter to me… just wondering).  And I was conflicted by Jillian’s angry motivation techniques and weirded out by her forced facial expressions.  And I decided that I didn’t, then I did, then I again didn’t like the two new trainers.  And that Allison looked tired all season, so maybe she’s pregnant again.  Imagine the stress of losing your post-baby weight while working on that show!  And I also felt bad for not working out enough and for not feeding my family with all-natural, whole foods all the time.  I mean how do people do it?

I have struggled with my weight throughout my adult life.  I was active and fit as a kid and maintained that all the way through high school.  I was residually muscular and fit through most of college, but years of a steady diet of cheap beer and 2 a.m. cheese steaks will eventually take a toll.  My wedding dress (aside from the hideous 80’s New Jersey mafia princess theme) was not a size to cry over, but I certainly wasn’t wearing the tag on the outside to brag about it.  I had Kid A almost three years later and took pregnancy as a license to do my best impersonation of the Michelin Man.  Over the years (and after the pregnancies) I would go up and down on the scale, which (I know) is the worst possible thing for your body.

I have read so many books and tried so many things… Stop the Insanity, The Cabbage Soup Diet, Atkins, gym memberships, body typing, yoga, boot camps, P90X, personal trainers, food diaries, juicers, Weight Watchers, Windsor Pilates.  I won’t ever take “magic” diet pills, but if there is some sort of well-produced infomercial that shows me how eating tree bark or jumping up and down on a trampoline every day will help me lose weight, then you can probably count me in!  It is absolutely no wonder that the diet and exercise industry is a kajillion-dollar one.  A few years ago I finally figured out that my body was not meant to be stick-figure thin, and that wacko diets and crazy exercise routines did not lead to long-term weight loss and overall good health.  Duh, right?  It is easier said than done.

Nevertheless, I keep on fighting the good fight.  I got frustrated recently when, shortly after turning forty, I was working out more than ever and eating fairly well, but I kept gaining weight.  Are you kidding me?  This just sucks.  So now I am following my doctor’s advice to cut out carbs temporarily and keep on working out.  He made me stand up and gave me the once-over.  Then he said that my body did a very good job of distributing my weight evenly.  Then he added, “On the plus side, if you ever had to endure a temporary famine, you would certainly make it through.”  Nice.

Keep my eyes on the prize and my hands on the plow.  That is what I want my kids to see me doing instead of some kooky food plan or unrealistic workout routine.  And I know that they are always watching and learning from me.  I’ll keep cutting up fresh veggies and serving fish for dinner, but sometimes we will have pizza or mexi-food or cupcakes.  And today I am going back on the treadmill, both literally and figuratively.  I may never be mistaken for a runway model, but someday soon I could be a big loser.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…