Saturday, August 28, 2010

O To Be A Child Again. . .

Yesterday my 2 older boys stayed home from school.  They weren't sick or anything -- Joseph's pet jellyfish were being delivered yesterday, and they wanted to make sure to be home for delivery. 

Yeah, we have jellyfish for pets.

After the pets made it into their tank safely, I wanted to work out. 

I actually wanted to.  Weird, right?

We packed a bag full of toys & books and headed out to V-Fit.

The toys and books amused the boys for 25 seconds.

Hardly anyone was there, so it was OK for them to walk around a bit. I was doing jump squats.  Jump squats aren't my favorite.  Especially when I have to do 4 sets of 25.  Especially when the boys thought the squats looked like fun, so they decided to do it too. 

When I do jump squats, I jump-squat-grunt.  Sometimes I jump-grunt-squat. 

When my boys do jump squats, they jump-say WHEE-squat-giggle.Then they say "Look, I can go fast!" and do about 30 in quick succession with perfect form and don't sweat.

Then it was time to do these horrible things where I sit on the floor, balance on my butt, keep my feet 6 inches off the floor, and take a 4 lb medicine ball and weave it in a figure 8 around my legs.  When you do it right, it looks really, really smooth.  When you've had 3 C-Sections, it doesn't look quite so pretty. 

Plus, it's hard to keep everything in.  In other words, I go grunt-weave-pfft-grunt-weave-repeat.  The "pfft" part made my boys laugh hysterically.  Especially because I have always told them that going pfft is very rude.

Only Daddies go "pfft". 

Never mommies.

Next I did leg presses on the machine.  Luke wanted to sit on my lap, but I said no.

"Is it because it will make you fart again?" 

"No!  Just go play for 5 minutes, willya?"

Finally it was time to do the pit.  My boys love the pit.  They run down, say "Chase me Mama!" and scoot back up.  Over and over.  Laughing and giggling while I wheeze and huff.

"Mama - remember when you were playing with that ball and you farted?  That was funny!" said Joe, as if it happened years ago and not just 30 minutes ago.

Finally it was time to leave.

We see Victor on the way out.  Victor cut his hair short, which really brings out his big brown eyes, his lantern jaw and shows the sinewy muscles of his neck. Sigh.

Victor says "Hey!  How was the work out?!"

Luke says "Mama farted!"

That kid is lucky to still be alive.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Hate The Brady Bunch

I really hate The Brady Bunch. 

Yes, I own all six seasons on DVD. 

I still hate them.

Reason number 1:  My middle name is Marcia.

You just thought "MARCIA! MARCIA! MARCIA!" didn't you?

Marcia is a nice name.  I was named after my aunt.  She was stylish, witty and fun.  She was chic, well read and worldly.

And then stoopid Marcia Brady comes along and takes my chic middle name and turns it into a joke.  "Something suddenly came up".  Right.

Reason number 2: My husband's name is Greg.

Do I really need to finish that joke?

Reason number 3: The Brady Bunch LIES!

Lie 1:  six kids share one bathroom.
Lie 2:  You know that grass is AstroTurf, right?  Greg isn't really mowing it.
It's Lie 3 that gets me.  Lie 3 is HUGE!  ( and no -- it's not that Mike & Carol were in a platonic marriage.  Who cares about that anyway?)

Lie 3: Architects cannot really afford a custom home AND a stay-at-home-wife AND a live in maid.

Architects can't afford a custom home OR a stay-at-home-wife OR a live in maid.

I know, because I married an architect.

Honestly, I don't really want a custom home.  My house is nice.  I am very happy with it. 

I have no desire to be a stay-at-home-wife.  Especially if the kids have to stay at home too.

But the live in maid?  That hurts. 

I would do anything to have an Alice.  I wouldn't even make her eat in the kitchen or off by herself when they camp or any of the mean things they do to Alice.  I wouldn't make Alice ask permission to go on dates with Sam.  And I would be very happy to have her cousin Emma come stay with us.  Hell, I'll take Emma and all her butch Army ways instead of Alice. 

I love my architect.  A lot. 

But I sure could use an Alice.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What's On My Toilet Right Now

Like many moms, the only place I can read a book is in the bathroom.

Right now I'm reading Little BIG Things by Tom Peters.  I try to read a non-fiction/business book at least one a month.  This one is a pretty easy read.  Plus, I've always liked Tom Peters.  He's zany.

I re-read My Antonia by Willa Cather.  I love that book.  I read it every year.

But my new FAVORITE is The Fat Girl's Guide to Life by Wendy Shanker.  SO AWESOME!  I need to make a big HOOP-DA-LA about it!  (holla Alexa O!)

Books about confident fat women resonate with me.

When I read Wake Up I’m Fat by Camryn Manheim I felt like she had written my entire life’s story. I shared every one of her experiences. Every one.

I always thought that except for her being Jewish & me being Catholic, Camryn Manheim and I were exactly alike. After I read it a few times -- I’ve actually probably read it at least ten times -- I realized that she & I weren’t all that similar. She’s tall, I’m not. She’s Liberal, I’m not. (Not anymore, anyway). She’s an actress, I’m not.She was a thin kid, I wasn’t.  She won an Emmy, I didn’t.

But she’s fat, and so am I. She’s confident. Me too! She’s successful. Ditto. She refused to let being fat get in the way of her goals. I love that about her.

I love how she is an advocate for fat girls. I love how she calls it out -- makes it plain that she knows she’s fat and doesn’t care if you have a problem with it. (Remember her Emmy Acceptance speech where she said proudly "This is for all the fat girls!"?  -- Love You Camryn!  Can I call you Camryn?)

Camryn knows she’s fat, but she also knows she’s pretty. She knows she’s talented. She knows she’s sexy. She knows she’s smart. And being pretty talented, sexy & smart is good enough. She doesn’t have to be thin too.

I got the same sense of kismet when I read Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster. I was a little bummed at first when I read it, because I was already writing The Gift of Fat and the idea that there can be TWO confident, successful, hilarious women writing memoirs about what it’s like to be fat. . .

Camryn Manheim’s book doesn’t count because she won an Emmy already.

Lancaster is an every woman. She looks like me  (I mean, she looks like I would if I didn't have kids.)  I felt like our stories were very, very similar. Upon closer examination, however, we don’t have that much in common after all. I am not a big dog person, for one. I have three kids. I don't drink anymore.  I’d be perfectly happy in the suburbs of Chicago, having grown up there myself. I'm not quite as preppy.  (Sorry, but polo shirts look like crap on me).  Differences aside, Jen & I would totally be bffs.

And now there's Wendy Shanker.  She nailed my position on Fat & Health Care, The Weight Loss Industry and Fat in the Media.  And funny?  Oi Vey -- she is a stitch. 

This time, instead of feeling jealous that someone else wrote my book, I feel vindicated that I am not alone.  There is room on the book shelves (and the blogosphere) for more funny Fat Girls.

Know what would be FUN?  If Camryn, Jen, Wendy & I all got together for lunch.  Someplace yummy.  Someplace with tiramisu.  We'd have a blast!

You don't have to be fat to enjoy these books.  Why don't you run to the library, pick one up & then head to the bathroom?

You'll thank me!

Friday, August 20, 2010

This story is also true. ..

Everyone liked the story about Paul pulling my pants down at mass so much, that I thought I would share another (true) wardrobe story with you.

One morning, as I was getting ready for the day, my collar was kinda wonky. So I asked Greg to straighten it for me.

Then I loaded the kiddos in the car & drove to their School. (Which, incidentally, happens to be at the same church where I mooned everyone).

My younger boy had to be walked to class, which is all the way in the back of the school.

I love that school. I have so many mom friends there.

As we were walking in, I saw Melissa. I had to stop & chat with her for a sec. Then I saw Cyndi. Had to talk to her. Monica came by to say hi and we chatted for a sec. Then I had to pop in to tell the Principal something. Olivia caught me on the way out of the Principal's office to give me the t-shirt that I paid for but hadn't picked up. Mary & her husband Terry were in the hallway -- they had just returned from Chicago and of course I HAD to know if they got to Portillos for an Italian Beef.

I ran into Sister in front of her classroom -- you are not allowed to walk by a nun without stopping to say hello.

Finally, my little one and I get to his classroom.

I put his lunch away, bend over to kiss him and start to leave.

I see Erika walking in with her little guy. I say "Hey girl!"

She says "Hi! Why is your blouse inside out?"

No wonder my collar was wonky.

When I asked my husband why he didn't tell me -- because he FIXED MY COLLAR, how could he not notice? -- he said "well I don't know anything about women's fashion."

Fashion? Are you kidding me? Do you really think that the in look for all of us plus size middle aged moms is wrong-side-out clothes? Cause we're making a statement, yo.

I'm going to go update my closet right now!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bless Me Father, for I Have Mooned

We went to the Last Chance Mass on Sunday – 6pm. For us Catholics, keeping the Sabbath holy means getting to mass on Sunday. (We also strive to rest, meditate, do good deeds, spend time with family . . . but most importantly – get your ass to mass!)

Because it was the Last Chance Mass, it was also the “Come as You Are” Mass. In other words – jeans are fine. Just wipe the peanut butter off the kids and strap them in the car seat because we gotta go.

Please know: this is not a complaint. I love going to mass. I love it. I love the fellowship, I love the mystery, the prayer . . . I love spending time with my Jesus surrounded by my family. I am a Catholic by birth, yes. More importantly, I am a Catholic by choice.

One of the things I LOVE about my tribe is that we have so many opportunities to get to mass. You can go late Saturday, early Sunday, not-so-early Sunday, noon Sunday, or Late Sunday. This week, we chose late Sunday.

Because our kiddos are little, we generally split our masses. Greg likes going late Sunday, I like going Sunday morning. That way we don’t always have to take the 5 year old & 2 year old. To kids that age, a 45 minute mass is eternity. If a certain priest is giving the homily, make that eternity plus 15 minutes. (Sorry Father, but it’s the truth.)

This week, we didn’t divide and conquer. We took everybody.

When we take whole family, my husband goes into the pew first. The 8 year old is next. Then the 5 year old, me & the 2 year old bring up the rear. We kneel and say a pre-mass prayer. At this point the 5 year old – who will never admit to being tired under any other circumstance – is suddenly exhausted. He immediately lies down on my lap. The 8 year old will decide that sitting upright is too much of an effort, so he leans against my other side. The 2 year old then proceeds to climb me like a jungle gym. Meanwhile, my husband is sitting a little apart, comfortably listening to the readings.

When it’s time to stand, I pick up 2 year old and nudge the older boys reluctantly to their feet. Then 2 year old decides he’s had enough and shimmies down. As soon as his feet touch the terrazzo floor, he begins to climb again. And on we go.

We’re not unique – look around and every family with small children is doing some variation of the same dance.

This Sunday, there was a new twist to the mass dance.

As 5 year old leaned and 2 year old climbed, my jeans started to scoot south. I hitched them up as best as I could, retrieved 2 year old from his 10 seconds on the floor and tried to listen to the gospel. Bored with his 20 seconds in my arms, 2 year old climbed down again. And took my jeans with him.

My 2 year old literally pulled my pants off during mass.

That means that half the church plus the choir loft saw my blue-polka-dot-boy-shorts from Lane Bryant.

Thank GOD I didn’t wear a thong.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Facebook Mary

This cracked me up.

Back story......My friend and I used to go to the same salon - her for brow waxing and me for hair cut & color. There was some major drama there and both our stylists left and moved to different salons.

This morning, I get this e-mail:

Yesterday I drive out to BFE for my first appointment with Jennifer at her new salon. We're talking about all the drama that happened at her old salon and whether customers are obligated to stay at the salon or should move with their stylist. I mention that Mary was also moving with Kasey to her new salon. She was trying to figure out which client Mary was and she finally says........ "oh you mean Facebook Mary?!?".

I just burst out laughing and said I'm sure that's her because her name is Mary and she LOVES her Facebook!!!!! It was just too funny!!!

For a social girl like me, Facebook was a godsend. I love it. Where else can you keep up with high school friends, college friends, friends from your first job and friends that live on the other side of town in one fell swoop?

I am not a Facebook Whore, although I DO have 451 friends. But I know all of those people personally. I do.

Well, except for some of my cousins’ wives – but it’s ok because we are related.

Two of my favorite Facebook friends are my cousin Mark & his wife Rae. My cousin Mark is about 12-13 years older than me. When I was a little kid, my family lived in Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma for a while. When we moved back to the Western Suburbs of Chicago in 1976, Mark was already in the Air Force. Plus, he was 23 – why would he want anything to do with his 10 year old cousin?

So Mark was a grownup and not around too much when I was a kid.

He’s still a grownup. But I’m not 10 any more. And he is delightful. It has been great getting to know him, even via Facebook.

Best of all, Mark’s wife Rae is my Facebook friend. Honestly, I think I talk to her every day. She is fun, she is sweet and she is just another one of my girlfriends now. Would she have been one of my girlfriends otherwise? I doubt it. I’ve never actually met her.

I pink puffy heart Facebook!

Friday, August 13, 2010

This one really isn't funny. . .

I like to be funny, because I love all the positive reinforcement I get from you wonderful people! I took a personality test once that said I was "recognition motivated". I was working in a sales office at the time. The sales managers wanted everyone to be "money motivated", so my motivation was looked at as somehow lacking.

Ummm. . .boss? I think the point was that you meet people where they are. So by RECOGNIZING my results publicly, you will incent me to produce more, capice?

Regardless of the results of my personality. I do like recognition. (And blog comments, so feel free to add your 2 cents!)

Today I am going to tell you about someone I saw in an elevator recently.

This is the honest to Jesus truth.

I saw this girl in the elevator who I swear was the personification of every insecurity I have ever had.

She was about my size. She was about my age. Her coloring was similar to mine. She had long, fine, light brown hair that was clean, but not styled. (It would have looked healthier if she had cut about six inches off of it -- because fine hair looks limp and stringy if you don't care for it properly. I know this from personal experience.)

She was wearing a baggy tunic and baggy shirt and flats. She was clean, but clearly not wearing clothes she loves. She had on no makeup. No jewelry.

She was standing in the back corner of the elevator -- pushed against the wall, as if she was trying to take up less space. She was standing in that classic fat-girl-don't-want-anyone-to-notice-me pose: hands clasped in front of her, head down.

She looked so much like my secret insecure self that I wondered for a moment if I was imagining her.

Then another person stepped on the elevator and said "Hi Lisa!".

Insecure self said "hi."

That's when I knew she was real. My insecure self isn't named Lisa. Mine is named Martha.

I am not trying to pick on Lisa. For all I know, Lisa's house caught on fire last night and her 60 year old neighbor's things were all she could wear to work (because she is SO committed to her exciting career). All her makeup, hairdryer and accessories got burned up in the fire, and she hasn't had time to stop by the mall. Maybe Lisa is really a lot of fun and has dates every night, and doesn't have a cat because really? With a schedule like hers? She'd never be able to care for the damn thing. Maybe Lisa is hysterically funny and also super outgoing. Maybe Lisa regularly contributes to CNBC and is a sought after expert in her field.

Or maybe Lisa is a shy, insecure fat girl who is just trying to get by.

I really, really identify with that Lisa.

Wear your hair long to hide your body. Keep your clothes big. Don't style your hair or wear makeup, because why bother? Shoes should be comfortable, not pretty. I'll buy cute things when I'm thin. Until then, I'm going to hide in plain sight and hope no one notices me.

I wanted to take Lisa home with me. I wanted to tell her she's pretty and worthy and decent. I wanted to take her to see my friend Kasey so she could get her hair done. Take her shopping at Catos for fun & trendy clothes. I wanted to run her by the Clinique counter at Macy's, then off to Nine West to get some shoes. I wanted to go to Charming Charlies and get some cute accessories. I wanted to make her stop feeling bad about herself, dammit! Make people notice you!

Because then, I wouldn't have to look at my own insecurity.

It's not funny, is it?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

First Day of School

The Catholic Schools started yesterday.

I send my kids to Catholic School. (Dave Ramsey & I don't see eye to eye on this one. Yes, it keeps us broke. But I am counting on Catholic School to help me raise men & not Baby Daddies.)

Luke started Kindergarten & Joe is in 4th grade.

Lots of fussing, crying and yelling. From me, not from them. Why?

1. Greg didn't want to come. I said "you aren't coming for the first day?" He said "I'll look at pictures. I don't need to be there." I said "So, I get to carry these 7 bags of school supplies by myself?" He said: "oh".

2. The camera's batteries were drained. For some reason, this made me yell at Greg. He never uses the camera, but I felt better by yelling at him. So Greg had to find the replacements somewhere. . .don't know where he found them, but apparently me screeching like a banshee is a great incentive to find batteries.

Please tell me I don't need to explain why having a camera on the first day of school is ESSENTIAL. Because it is.

3. Yesterday was the most HUMID day of the year so far. I live in South Texas and humid is a way of life for us. Yesterday was BEYOND humid. I wore a silk Jones of New York dress that stuck to me like saran wrap. My makeup melted off and my hair looked like Sissy Spacek's in Carrie -- just after the pig blood.

4. School is over at noon on the first & second days and there is NO aftercare. Ostensibly, this is so everyone can EASE into school.

Hey Catholic School Administrators! We are all working parents. That is how we PAY tuition. Having to take 2 half-days off so you can ease into school isn't EASY for anyone but you.

Nevertheless. . .

1. Joe likes school naturally. I suspect he will end up with several doctoral degrees because he enjoys it so much. As long as he can pay cash for them, I don't care how many degrees he gets. Yesterday was a great day for him. Back in his element.

2. Luke isn't a school guy. He's smart, but he's street smart. I am counting on him to make all the money and to look after his older brother. Yesterday, Luke had a great time -- Whew! He was perfectly happy to come to school today, which I credit to his lovely teacher Mrs. Garza. (Holla Emily!)

3. Finally, yesterday marks the day where we stop double-paying school tuition and daycare. We pay school tuition for 11 months. They are in school for 9 months. That means 2 months, we pay school tuition AND full time daycare. Summer is broke time for us. (In the summer I drive real slow past the place where they sell plasma. I haven't done it yet, but I haven't ruled it out either.)

4. The two 1/2 days are allowing me to catch up on laundry.

St. Don Bosco (patron saint of Catholic Schools) Pray for us!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

V is for Victory

I admit it. After 5 weeks of going hard at boot camp, I expected certain results:

1. I thought I would have lost at least 25lbs by now. (apparently you have to diet AND exercise. Dammit!)

2. I thought I would build my endurance to a point where I am not beet red every time I work out. (My friend Mary was wearing a top at boot camp that was the EXACT SAME SHADE as my face. Only it was cute on her.)

3. I thought I would get used to the popé. (If you're in South Texas, you TOTALLY know what I'm talking about.)

4. I thought it would get easier. (it would, except Victor keeps making it HARDER)

5. I thought I would be cured of my ice cream addiction. (This was a total reach -- even Victor isn’t that good)

6. I thought my hips would shrink & my boobs would stay the same. . .instead of the other way around.

So I didn’t get exactly what I bargained for.

There are some benefits I didn’t bargain for:

1. I have met some awesome & fun fellow sufferers --I mean boot-campers.

2. I have met some awesome & fun clients of Victor -- these folks are TOTAL rock stars! (shout out to Maria!)

3. I ran after the 2 year old. . .and caught him!

4. Two girlfriends who I haven’t seen in a while told me I look great.

5. My husband likes to . . .wait -- that’s none of your business. But it’s AWESOME.

6. As I was doing my brutal step-back squats Ricky (AKA Leonardo DiCaprio) casually noticed that I am no longer holding onto the wall to support myself.

7. I can actually tuck a blouse into the size 22s. And the size 24s are getting roomy.

It’s still hurty. It’s still owie. I still stink when I am done. I am going to continue to beech and moan. A lot.

But I am on my way to VICTORY!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Monkee Mad. . .

When I was a kid, I watched reruns of the Monkees every day. Every day I would decide which one of them to love that day.

Don't call me that bad name that rhymes with door because I was only 10. Geesh.

I loved the Monkees' music.

I still love the Monkees' music.

Remember this song, sung by dreamy Davy Jones with his darling cockney accent:

I wanna be free
Like the Bluebirds flying by me
Like the waves out on the blue sea
If your love has to tie me, don't try me,
Say goodbye

I wanna be free
Don't say you love me, say you like me
But when I need you beside me,
Stay close enough to guide me, confide in
ohhhh ohhhhhh oh

I wanna hold your hand
Walk along the sand
Laughing in the sun
Always having fun
Doing all these things
Without any strings
To tie me down

I wanna be free
Like the warm September wind babe
Say you'll always be my friend, babe
We can make it to the end, babe
Again babe, I gotta say
I wanna be free
I wanna be free
I wanna be freeeeeeeee

Words & Music by Boyce & Hart.

I loved this song. My pre-pubescent self would ardently promise: "I'd never tie you down Davy! I know you need to be free! Don't worry Davy! We can make it Davy!"

Forget that Davy Jones is almost exactly 20 years older than me. (I googled it. He is 19 years and 360 days older than me). Forget that he was (is) an inch shorter than me. (Googled that too). I thought he was DREAMY! And truth be told, I think he aged pretty well.

When I heard that song recently, my old crush came flooding back to me.

Then I paid attention to the words.

You wanna be free? WTF? What do you mean I'm supposed to say "I like you", not "I love you"? So I'm supposed to stay close enough to guide you, but not let my love tie you down? How exactly am I tying you down, Davy?

Oh.... I get it.

You want all the benefits of being a boyfriend without all the responsibilities.

You want me to keep my Sundays open, but you don't want to have to visit my parents.

You want to go to the movies, but you decide what we see.

You want me to get you a Christmas present, but you don't want to have to buy one for me.



Seriously though. Seriously. How many other totally misogynistic love songs are out there that perversely shaped our view of a healthy relationship?

Think about it. "I Wanna Be Free" Is just a generation ahead of "My baby's Momma".


I don't think so.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Money is NOT the root of all evil. . .

It is the Love of Money that is the root of all evil.

So I don't love money.

But I like it.

A lot.

You could say that I am madly in like with it.

And, in case I haven't mentioned it before, I am one of those weird Dave Ramsey people who pays cash for everything.

This summer we bought a car for cash. We've never done that before. The last time we bought a car was in 2005, just before we started Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. We borrowed $23K for the privilege of driving a Suzuki. We were in the process of paying off the $23K we already borrowed (in 2000) for the privilege of driving a used BMW.

Which I liked a lot better than the Suzuki.

Sadly, my precious Beemer (yes I am that pretentious), had to leave us this summer.

So now Greg drives the now-paid-for Suzuki and I drive the we-paid-cash-for-it Saturn.

The Saturn is nice.

Nice in the way Nilla wafers are nice. Nice as in Diet Sprite. Christmas Card from your realtor nice. Nice.

Someday our days of paying childcare and Catholic School tuition are over. ("Year 'Round School" my ass. We just pay TUITION year 'round -- we also have to pay daycare ALL SUMMER). By then, I'll pass the paid-for-Saturn down to my kids. It will be humiliating for them, because I am pretty sure that in 2018, a 2005 Saturn will be the biggest loser car on campus.


I'll be able to buy the car I really want:

A Beemer!

And I'll pay cash for it!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

This? This is why people hate excercising.

I finished my 4th bootcamp yesterday.

Good results so far, not a lot of weight lost, but lost inches. (Yes, mostly from my boobs). My big win is I lost 3% body fat! Yeay!

But I am so sore I can barely reach the keyboard to whine about how hard it is.

When does it stop being so hurty?

Does it ever?

Hey fit people -- do you ENJOY this constant flu-like muscle ache brought about by strenuous exercise?

Personally, I prefer the self loathing nausea that comes with finishing off most of a cheesecake.

But I have 60 more days to go. I am not a quitter. Just a whiner.


P.S. Victor? I'll be in on Tuesday. whimper