Month: September 2011

Fabulously Fit Friday: Transformation Nation

While I am happy to report a 2.5lb loss this week at my weigh in, it is with reservation. I’ve been bouncing the same 2 lbs back and forth for close to a month now. The true test will come next week to see if I am really back on the right path.

The topic this week at WeightWatchers is motivation and how to stay on plan when you feel yourself flailing. No lie, it has been HARD for me lately. I can chalk up my lack of downward motion on the scale to new meds and surgery, a festering knee injury… but those are really just excuses. It is up to ME and only ME to stay on a healthy path and these little setbacks have only served as excuses for me to cheat. This week’s leader asked some important questions as it relates to motivation and even though she said they should remain private and personal, I’m of course going to share them with you:

1. What was your motivation for starting? What WASN’T my motivation for starting is the better question. Tired of not being able to shop at regular stores or having to dig towards the back of the rack for the bigger sizes. HATING the way I look in pictures. I didn’t want to look back at my son’s childhood and not have there be a single picture of me anywhere. The tipping point came when I was trying on bridesmaid’s dresses and I didn’t fit in the sample sizes. I was so mortified to not be able to be a part of it. I was mortified to have to put stipulations on what everyone else wanted or was willing to wear.

2. What can you do to stay on track? For me: tracking. Every. Single. Day. If I don’t track, I assume I know what I’m doing but I really don’t. It holds me accountable.

3. What helps you stay motivated? Remembering how embarrassed I was trying on bridesmaids dresses. I never want to go back to being that person.

4. What is your next goal? I have my annual girlie exam coming up (yes… as if I haven’t had enough girlie issues…). I would like to be down a total of 25lbs by that exam on November 15. That is just 6.5 lbs that I need to lose. No biggie, right? From someone who has been stuck at the same weight for a month, that is a huge task.

One more piece of motivation for me this week was the announcement of Dr. Oz’s Transformation Nation. In partnership with WeightWatchers, Dr. Oz is challenging America to get healthy with a chance to win $1 Million dollars! That’s a pretty good incentive, right? Here are the details from their website:

Here’s how it works:

You’ll join Dr. Oz, Weight Watchers, Sharecare and a powerful team of health professionals to tackle the seven key steps to weight loss and healthy living. The new, healthier you could even be eligible to win a $1 million prize!
Kick off the program with our Ultimate Health Quiz, where you’ll get an overview of your health. Next, conquer the seven steps:
  • Tell a Friend
  • Official Weigh-in/Calculate Your BMI
  • Connect with Your Doctor
  • Learn Your Family’s Health History
  • Get More Sleep
  • Assess Your Stress
  • Start New Fitness Habits
Then show off your knowledge with the Final Health IQ Quiz. The public will vote for the participant it finds the most transformed and inspirational. The winner will receive $1 million and appear on The Dr. Oz Show.

What are you waiting for? Join me in getting transformed today!!

Disclaimer: I am a WeightWatchers member and am not in any way being compensated for promoting this program. I simply think it is awesome and wanted to share it!

Are You Ever Truly Ready For Kids?

In November, I will become an Aunt for the 5th time. There is something special about being an Aunt. Before I had Jackson, I was an Auntie to two sweet boys. I adored babysitting them, going to their birthday parties and watching them grow. The best part seemed to be that I could hand them over when I had my fill. As an Aunt, you never have to deal with the hard stuff.

Last night, I was having a text conversation with my sister-in-law who is due in 7 weeks. She mentioned that she was worried about having everything she needed and “being ready” by the time baby arrives. All I could offer for advice was that somehow, it all comes together and works out. I also told her to prepare my brother for about a million trips to Target once they get home. You know, to get all the things you thought you wouldn’t need and ended up needing. I probably shouldn’t have mentioned how I had just finished up being elbow deep in a potty training poop disaster. Ooops.

I reminisced back to 3 years ago. Was I ready? Hell no. Not taking into account having Jack 3 weeks early which just so happened to be the day before we were to move into our new house and two days before my BFF was getting married, I was in no way ready for a baby to be in my world. I chuckle, because the last three years have been exactly just that. You can do all the planning in the universe to try and be ready, but what you really end up doing is playing it by ear. I’d like to take this moment to thank my mom bloggers, FF Sept/Oct 2008 mom community and slew of mommy friends who have been around to answer even the most stupid of questions for me.

I wish I could offer better baby preparedness advice. As a matter of fact, I might be a living example of what NOT to do. Keeping in mind, I had a few surprises thrown at me in the new baby department, here are a few words of wisdom:

  • Pack your hospital bag. Doesn’t matter if you are 10 weeks or 2 weeks out. Get it packed. I was not packed. I had many regrets not to mention extremely stupid items in my bag when I opened it up after 12 hours of labor. Even if it means buying a cheap travel hairdryer and curling iron. Get it packed. 
  • Buy a few newborn size outfits. Even if they tell you your baby is destined to be enormous. My poor little peanut was drowning in his 0-3 onesie on his way home. 
  • Be ready to change directions. Convinced that breastfeeding was a piece of cake, I was unprepared and uneducated on anything regarding formula when I had to go in that direction. 3 different brands/types and about a hundred trips to Target, we finally got it together. 
  • On that note. If you can’t breastfeed, don’t let ANYone make you feel bad about it. ANYone. You are mom. You know what’s best for your baby. Never forget that. 
  • Diapers. Stock up. Buy a pack every week. You can never have too many freaking diapers. 
  • Nursery not ready? Don’t sweat it. Jackson didn’t sleep in his crib until around 6 weeks (actually we didn’t even have a crib until after the first week). We had him in our room in the Pack & Play near our bed until then. The first week? I was in the living room with him while he slept (a.k.a. cried) in his Pack & Play in the billi bed (surprise! He had jaundice). I layed on the floor next to him all night long and cried. 
  • We needed help after Jack was born because we had just moved into a brand new house. Furniture still needed to be assembled. Crap needed to be put away (I think there is still crap to put away). If you want to be alone with baby after you get home don’t be afraid to tell people to go the hell away. 

The most important advice I have is to not forget about YOU. I’m not going to sugar coat it. You are going to feel like crap when you get home. No matter which way baby comes out, you’re going to feel gross. You’ll be bleeding. A lot. (P.S. Grab as many of those mesh panties from the hospital as you can… you’ll be grateful for them throughout the first week). Epidural? My back hurt for weeks. Ice packs. Avoid stairs. Oh yes. You will cry. A lot. For no reason. Advice? Keep Kleenex handy. No TV programming is safe. You’ll cry watching commercials. I feel like so many women sweat the labor and delivery and don’t even think about how crappy the postpartum weeks can be.  

Final advice? You’ll never be ready. Never. In the last few weeks, kick back, let your hubby rub your sore & gigantic swollen feet, take a deep breath and enjoy the peace and quiet while you still can.

Patience & Potty Training

I’m not sure the words “Patience” and “Potty Training” actually belong in the same sentence let alone the same breath, but in order for one to be successful the other needs to happen.

No doubt, my husband and I butt heads on a lot of things concerning our son. It seems the older he gets, the more we disagree about. One thing in particular we have argued about is potty training. I paged through a number of books from Guerilla Tactics for Potty Training (okay, that wasn’t the name but I was horrified by the suggestions for how to potty train) to Potty Train in a day. The book that made the most sense and I feel has given us the most useful suggestions has been “Stress Free Potty Training” by Sara Au and Peter Stavinoha, Ph.D. It recommends identifying your child’s personality type and then giving recommended strategies for the type of child you have. Let’s face it, every child is different so why would you try to potty train them the same way?

We have worked on being patient and letting Jackson call the shots when it comes to potty training. He could have CARED LESS about it until a little over a month ago. We also offered him the option but he vehemently said he wanted nothing to do with the toilet. Out of the blue, I showed up at school to pick him up and they said he had been going every hour. Color me shocked.

Turns out losing his best friend to preschool was his motivation. He will not get to move into the preschool room until he is fully potty trained.

This motivated us as parents to start getting more aggressive with him. We had a couple weeks of setbacks with my having surgery and his birthday bash- neither good times to be putting underwear on him. A week ago we just went ahead and did it. There are accidents of both kinds if you catch my drift and it wears on my patience to have to constantly have new pants and underwear readily available for him to change into. While it takes everything in me not to get angry and scold him for the accidents, I know disciplining him is only going to be a setback. So in my most CALMING mommy voice, I explain to him that his poop and pee needs to go on the toilet and we head off to the bathroom to clean and start over. I remind my husband to remain calm as well. Not an easy task when there is amazingly stinky underwear to be cleaned up and a puddle of pee on our lovely wood floors.

Day by day, Jackson’s getting the hang of the potty thing. We have found he is very much able to hold his potty longer than the meager every 30 minutes on the potty we have been forcing him into and have started to extend that time a little longer every day. Poop on the other hand… I am at a loss. He’s just not getting it. We told him there are animals waiting on the other side of the drain that are hungry for his poop. No go. We’re trying to make pooping awesome and hilarious and hoping that he will find it so much fun to take a crap that it is all he’ll want to do.

So far we are still waiting for him to find pooping to be awesome.

A Fork In My Road

I’m sure you all thought this would be a post about food, right?

Well, I have come to a point where I have reached a fork in the road. Not the fork you might envision.

Do I continue to pursue my career or become a SAHM.

I am at a good place with my current job and company. Being at a small company, I’ve had the opportunity to really get my hands dirty and get a ton of experience doing a variety of things from design to PR to advertising. As I head towards my 5 year anniversary with this company and in this position, I struggle with opportunity. I’d be a pretty big liar if I didn’t say money was a driver and a motivator. I am currently at the top of my pay grade in my current position with zero opportunity for bonus or advancement which is one of the biggest negatives about working at a small company. My boss has been at the company for 10 years and is unlikely to leave anytime soon which leaves me to continue hitting my head against a fairly large brick wall in terms of moving up the corporate ladder. In my brief stint managing our marketing department while the boss was away on maternity leave, I absolutely LOVED it. Was invigorated by it. Most of all. I was GOOD at it. If I sit around here to wait my turn, I will be waiting a long time. A REALLY long time. No joking, like waiting upwards of 20 years. I’m willing to be patient and pay my dues, but even I have my limits when it comes to standing still or moving forward.

Then I start thinking about Jack and what it means if I start kicking up the heat in my career. It means longer hours, travel and likely some stress. But it could also mean more money and financial stability, being able to travel as a family to more exotic locations as he gets older and more money to save towards college and retirement.

My heart is always with my son. I think about what it meant for me to be able to just go home after school and hang out with my Mom who was a SAHM for many years when I was growing up and how much easier it was for her and for the family to have her there every day. I wouldn’t have to pay for him to be in an after hours program. We wouldn’t have to fight about who would stay home from work when he gets sick or how we were going to balance school days off and summer vacation. I would get more than 2 hours with him a night. I could volunteer and get back into some of the hobbies I love such as music. I would have a clean house. I could actually go to the gym every day. I could keep up with this blog! Once Jack gets into sports or activities, I would be available to cart him around. I could help other working parents in my neighborhood who struggle with knowing what to do with their kids after school or someone to get them from point A to point B.

Then I start thinking… is having an only child enough to stay home? Would I be bored? Would my career be over and would I be able to get back after what could be a 10 year hiatus? Would I miss working? Would this put too much stress on my husband to be the ultimate breadwinner and if so, how would that affect our marriage?

While I wouldn’t consider becoming a SAHM until Jack starts Kindergarten- he’s about to start Preschool at a great (a.k.a. expensive) school and I don’t want to disrupt his progress- I still have to make a decision soon. Finding the right, perfect job to fit my career goals will take time and if I’m going to do it, I need to start immediately. The time to make a decision is now and I am completely torn in two.

Working moms: Would you stay home if you had the opportunity? 

SAHM’s: What do you miss about your former job/career? How did choosing to stay home change your life for better or for worse?

Wordless Wednesday: Preschool Swinging & Rapping

To say that I wasn’t comfortable with how high daddy was pushing Jack on the swing is an understatement. Yes, my reaction at the end was completely overdramatized.

I truly have no idea how he picked up and learned this song…

You’re The Boss Of You

I love today’s WeightWatchers meeting topic:

You’re The Boss of You: It’s your weight-loss journey- take control. 

I’ve had myself a pretty good pity party the last couple of weeks. I have known all along that post surgery, I might run into some weight loss barriers. Specifically, being on hormone therapy. Say it with me: bloating, water weight and by far the worst? The hunger. I haven’t felt hunger like this since I was pregnant (and yes I am aware of all the irony in the fact that my hormone therapy masks pregnancy symptoms even though I can’t get pregnant ever again. Ha ha. Funny joke.).

I needed the kick in the ass I got from my meeting today, confronting my barriers head on. REMINDING myself why I started in the first place.

I realize that my body has and will go through some changes. Let me tell you… this whole hunger thing? Like a bottomless, empty feeling. No matter how much I eat, I still feel as though I’m starving. It is the strangest thing ever. I’m trying to stay on plan choosing fruits and vegetables but I get so hungry and desperate, I just about grab anything that happens to be right there. I have no idea how to make that stop, so I’ve decided this week on plan, I am going to focus on some heavy duty protein. Eggs. Lean meats. Weirdly, the only thing that fills the emptiness in my stomach is Diet Coke.

Another thing I need to start doing is working out. I’ve struggled post-op. While my pain has decreased to next to nothing, the hormonal portion of recovery is doing a number on me. Cramps. Headaches. You name it, I’ve got it. I’d love to power through it, but when you have already been out of the loop, it is hard to get started up again when you feel great let alone crappy. TODAY is a new day though. I need to let go of my running ambition until the spring. It is starting to get dark out too early, the kid has had a horrific time going to bed at night and I am not a fan of the treadmill at this time. I need to be re-inspired. I’m thinking it is time to restart the EA Sports 9 week challenge on the Kinect. Something different and fun and will help build up my strength and endurance.

A point that hit home with me in my WW meeting today:
The Opportunity: It’s hard to stop the cycle of thoughts like “I never” and “I can’t.”
OWN IT: Spin the negative self talk into a positive. Instead of saying “I never” say “I WILL”

I’m going to power through this rough patch. I’m not going to let it be an excuse to fail.

Wordless Wednesday: 3rd Birthday Dinosaur Party Edition

Jack turned 3 over the weekend and he loves dinosaurs, so it only seemed fitting to have a dinosaur themed party!

Pull-Apart Cupcake Cake. Much messier than a good old fashioned cake.
My sweet boy.
Opening presents. He really could’ve cared less about reading the cards.
Daddy teaching Jack how to ride a motorcycle. Jack was really pissed that he couldn’t reach the handles.
Climbing on the most kick ass birthday present ever.

What a great day!

Must-Have Kitchen Gadgets

Since I have been inundated with weddings over the past year, I started thinking about all of the silly items I registered for back when I got married. Many of them, I still use. Many of them I definitely don’t.

I am here to tell you about the kitchen gadgets that are freaking awesome. Gadgets that seem really stupid but make my life easy. Gadgets that magically make my cooking taste better. As a busy mom, time is of the essence.

Presto Pizza Pizzazz Oven: 
Every year at Christmas, my husband and I buy each other something extremely useless, cheap and stupid for each other (usually because we’ll have decided a couple months prior that our REAL presents were the iPhones, computers, TV’s… etc, etc etc…). About 5 years ago, I opened up the Pizza Pizzazz and thought, “ANOTHER fucking kitchen gadget?” Considering our ice cream maker and fajita maker were gathering dust in our hallway pantry, I assumed this one would be joining those ranks in the upcoming months. I couldn’t have been more wrong. We are the king and queen of frozen pizzas. This thing makes the most perfect frozen pizza you’ve ever seen. Plus? You don’t have to wait for the oven to pre-heat! You just stick it on there, set the timer and in 10 minutes, perfect pizza. Don’t believe me? Go buy one.

Electric Wok:
Way back when I moved in with my husband, we had a roommate who had one of these puppies and it was AWESOME. When he moved out prior to our getting married, we knew we had to have one. It makes perfect stir fry. It makes stir fry EASY. We love Asian cuisine so this gadget gets used a ton.

Stir Crazy Popcorn Popper: 
This was another one of those random, let’s try this thing out, presents. I don’t even remember who got it for whom. I don’t know why, but popcorn just tastes better popped in this thing. My dog, who is a popcorn lover, goes ballistic when we take this thing out. She knows what tasty treats are coming her way (you know… the ones that fall accidentally on the floor when transferring to a different bowl… Oh those sneaky dogs). I have a feeling the kid will love this one in the years to come, too.

Magic Bullet: 
I bought this gadget for my husband for Father’s Day this year at the suggestion of a colleague. Mostly because I wanted it for myself. See how that worked out? It always felt like such a chore to get out the big giant blender to make a milkshake or a simple smoothie. This thing changes ALL of that. It sits out on the counter and it gets used a ton and not just for yummy drinks, but for salsa, guac and other yummy recipes that came with it.

Paula Deen Egg Muffin Toaster:
We used this thing so much that we broke our first one and moved on to the second. This thing is AWESOME. You can make yourself an entire egg muffin at the push of a button (including the sausage if you wish!). You can also even make hard boiled eggs with it! So awesome. Love this thing.

Last, but certainly not least:

I seriously have no idea how I even functioned before having one of these things. My husband and I would make a pot of coffee and usually half of it would get dumped down the drain. Even with our best intentions of making just a half a pot, we never did. That requires measuring math at very early times in the morning. Now? We make our travel mug of coffee in less than a minute on our way out the door. It is perfect and brilliant. Another plus, is the coffee is perfect. Never too strong. Never too weak. Perfectly brewed. We never entertain enough to have a full pot (and the people we entertain are usually not drinking coffee). Therefore, it was the perfect solution for our home. I’m determined to talk more people into jumping on the Keurig bandwagon!

There might be a couple more gadgets I have grown to love, but these are the tops on my list of kitchen gadgets that make my life easier and, well, tasty!

Happy Birthday My Little Miracle

Today, as many replayed their 9/11 stories and emotions, I was a mixed bag.

Of course, 10 years ago, I remember where I was, what I was doing, even who I was with. I remember how perfectly blue the sky was that day. I remember that afternoon how strange it was that there wasn’t a single plane flying in the sky. I remember how much I cried and how much my heart ached watching the news coverage. All those people. Broken families. The lives of all Americans changed forever.

3 years ago, I was blessed with a son on 9/11 and it has changed what was a day of bitterness and sadness into one of celebration. He is living proof that miracles do exist.

In October of 2005, about to marry the love of my life, I went off birth control. We wanted to start a family immediately. We were pregnant within 5 months and filled with so much excitement and hope for our future. Those hopes were quickly dashed by an early miscarriage followed by two and a half years of unexplained infertility. We continued to keep trying but started to consider that we may not ever have children. Started making other plans. Where should we travel? What should we do? What can we do to continue making this life exciting? In January 2008, as usual, I was taking a slew of way too early pregnancy tests and my cheapos looked as though 2nd lines were starting to show up. Darker and darker the lines got. Could this be for real? It was. For the next 12 weeks, I would be on the edge of hope and fear. Please stick bean. STICK. The first time I saw and heard that heartbeat, I knew we were going to make it. I was finally getting the family I had only dreamed about.

My son. He showed up 3 weeks early, a 7 lb 7 oz bundle of screaming lungs, rocking my world in more ways than you can even imagine. 3 years later, he hasn’t stopped surprising us with his intellect, humor and heart. Just when I think I couldn’t love him more, I find myself overcome with emotion for him.

This year has been difficult. Knowing how advanced my endometriosis is not to mention being down one ovary has pretty much put a screeching halt to having another baby. My husband and I both agreed that we could not go through another miscarriage. We just couldn’t do it to ourselves, to a potential life, to our son. Over the last couple of weeks I have definitely mourned the loss of my fertility. All over again, I feel that same poke in the heart when I see a pregnant belly or a newborn baby. Sadness, when we feel like Jackson could use a sibling.

Even though I’ll never barf my guts out again for 25 weeks straight (oh yes… the morning sickness was relentless), never get to shop for cute maternity clothes or snuggle a newborn baby to sleep I will never forget and always be grateful that I got to experience it all.

Given my diagnosis (gee, it only took SIX YEARS to figure out that endo was the cause of all my infertility), we don’t know how we got pregnant with Jackson. There were no fertility drugs. No ART.  Just love and an insane amount of luck. We don’t question it. We just thank God. Every day.

Happy 3rd Birthday to my sweet, amazing miracle. I couldn’t love anything more.

What’s the Point of Twitter?

There seems to be two groups of people: those who Twitter and those who don’t.

I am mildly obsessed with Twitter both personally and professionally. When I first started, I was Tweeting with just a handful of friends and I’ll confess, it took me awhile to buy into it. I was first introduced to it when I was giving birth to Jackson (literally in the delivery room). My husband was “live-tweeting” the birth and I said, “Dude, what the fuck?” He didn’t take pictures or anything National Geographic like that (other than the one of my flipping him off), he was just going through the steps (Yay! She’s dilated to 7 and somehow still passed out!) and trying to pass the time while I was fast asleep in my epidural bliss.

When I was home and cable-less for the first three weeks of my maternity leave (and on bed rest because of an infection… seriously…) I needed to find something to pass the time. Twitter became the perfect time sucker I was looking for and when I got my iPhone? Time wasting heaven.

From the group of “Those who don’t Twitter,” I always get asked the question, “But, WHY? I just don’t get the point. I don’t need to know what a perfect stranger had for breakfast.” This is where I roll my eyes in annoyance because those of you who DO TWITTER know that it is about so much more than that.

NEWS: I get my news and weather from Twitter. Once all of the local news channels jumped on board, I no longer really needed to follow their RSS feed as important breaking news stories are broadcasted directly to Twitter. I always seem to know what is going on long before anyone else.

DEALS: I have won so many contests through Twitter. Especially in the earlier days before other people caught on to the madness, chances of winning were pretty good! Many businesses also post daily Twitter deals- I have saved tons of cash by shopping via Twitter.

ADVICE: When my kid won’t take his medicine or won’t go to bed without screaming for an hour, I go to my Mom/Dad Tweeps for advice. I instantly receive replies with great, useful advice. Professionally speaking, I have been able to go to the expert marketing Tweeps for recommendations, tips and even referrals.

NETWORKING: While I have only met one Tweep in real life (an industry guy who came to speak at a conference I was attending), I have been able connect with a number of people who are a wealth of information both personally and professionally. Personally, I have connections with a number of amazing moms whose humor and experiences scream to me: YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS! I was also able to connect with a number of awesome people to help me through my weight loss journey- all of us in the same boat, going through the journey together. How awesome is it to have so many resources at your fingertips to help keep you motivated? Professionally, I have been able to connect with both industry folks as well as other brilliant marketers who are just filled with innovative ideas and inspiration.

I love being a part of the Twitter revolution. A part of a conversation with millions of extremely cool people. I am picky about who I follow. There are plenty of Tweeters out there who annoy me (that may be a rant for another day). Those who are willing to have a conversation with me and others are the ones I am most interested in. Okay, and those who are able to hook me up with some cool shit are at the top of my list too.

My company is not interested in any aspects of Social Media and it drives me crazy. I have been very vocal about it (yes, even on the job). While some of my leadership is softening to the idea of it, many have met me in battle with fierce resistance. As a marketer, I am frustrated and baffled that they will not allow me to represent our business in the SM arena not to mention BLOCK me from all of it. I am passionate about the importance of businesses (especially those who have customers to serve) to be a part of the conversation. To have presence. To be LISTENING. On a daily basis, I feel like we are missing the boat and all I can do is walk away with my tail between my legs and shake my head in confusion. Those who are unwilling to evolve in this new world of marketing, will likely be left behind.

It is no secret that Twitter and SM as a whole is something I am extremely passionate about. It doesn’t fully consume me- I know when it is time to unplug which is why you won’t see many blog posts or Tweets from me on the weekend. To those of you in the “don’t” group, don’t judge it until you give it a try!