The Chocolate Monster

I’m starting to get a little frustrated. Well, more than a little really.

See 3 weeks ago, I visited a friend in DC; in this friend’s apartment were mirrors. LOTS of mirrors. Everywhere I turned I saw my reflection, and honestly, after not seeing my full reflection (except in pictures) regularly in more than a year, I was more than a little disgusted with how much weight I’ve gained.

For some reason, while I am pregnant, I lose weight and once I am no longer pregnant I gain. And I gain A LOT.

So on my way home, I made a decision to lose weight. I’m healthy…my cholesterol is 117. My blood pressure is 102/70. My blood sugar is perfect. Rarely do I let my weight get me down.

But I’m finding it harder to do things. Cedar point is completely out of the question, for example, until I lose enough weight to fit on the rides. I go hiking with the family, but am always well behind (usually I’m carrying or pushing or backpacking Elizabeth, but still). I want to look hot for my husband.

So, three weeks ago I started counting my calories. Eating smaller portions, better foods, getting in more fruits and veggies and less fast food/junk food. And I’ve done well staying below my calories almost every single day. (this weekend was harder as I was camping with the folks. But I did try to make good decisions).

I feel like my clothes are fitting me differently too.

So why am I frustrated? Because I cannot visibly SEE the weight on the scale going down. The scales that are close to me (at home and at work) don’t go up to my weight so I have no idea where I’m at. Whether I should start cutting more calories. Whether I’m losing anything at all.

Part of me wants to say screw it. What’s it matter anyway? The other part of me is encouraging me to go on…afterall, my pants feel looser right?

So, how (on days when I am craving chocolate) do I not give in to the defeated, loser feelings? Any suggestions?


Sensitivity and Tears reign again

For Christmas one year GRANDMA BOUGHT THE KIDS “Charlotte’s web”. I wrote about my surprise at how profoundly the death of Charlotte affected Zachary.

That was over 2 years ago. Since then, Zachary has read the book on his own as well as me reading parts to him again. So when I saw that the live-action “Charlotte’s Web” (with cutie patootie Dakota Fanning) was available on netflix, I jumped on the chance for him to see all the characters he’s read about brought to life.

I really didn’t think we’d have the scene we had last night in our living room.

All of the kids were enthralled with the movie. The puppetry was awesome, the CGI of Charlotte was phenomenal. Even Elizabeth sat and watched pulled in by the interplay of Charlotte and Wilbur.

Sure enough, we reach the pivotal point of the movie where Charlotte dies. I teared up a little (hey, the movie was well done!) so I look over to see how Zachary is doing.

My heart broke for him.

He was sitting all alone in the chair with his shirt over his face, wiping the tears, his shoulders wracking with sobs. Every little bit you could hear his breath catch in his throat as he worked his way through another sob.

I called him over to me and he immediately buried his head in my chest crying. I rubbed his back, told him that Charlotte went on to a better place and that this is how life works for spiders. Yet, she was a spectacular spider who did wonderful things for her friends and that’s what she’ll be remembered for.

He quieted down, but watched the remainder of the movie wrapped in my embrace. and I was only too happy to have him there.

Needless to say, I don’t think we are ready for “Old Yeller” just yet.


Gone Baby Gone

So, upon a free trial from a friend of ours, we decided to give netflix a try. I know, I know…welcome to the 21st century, right? I cannot tell you how much fun it’s been going through the 1000’s of movies trying to decide which one we want to see next.

Because since having all the kids, we don’t get to the movies all that often. In fact, we rarely rent movies because they get to be too expensive around here ($3.50 a pop for a rental and you always have to rent at least 2…one adult, one for the kids). So there’s plenty of movies that we’ve yet to have seen.

One of them was the directorial debut film by ben Affleck, starring casey Affleck (nope, no nepotism there) called gone baby gone.

It was a very twisted thought-provoking movie that put the main character in a moral dilemma at the end of the movie. First of all, this movie was absolutely gut-wrenching for me as a mother. I think losing a child is probably one of the biggest fears and worries of most mothers. And seeing the dregs of society not caring for their children is just about as sickening. The worst part about the movie is that I know there are so many families out there where the children are left to grow up and raise themselves because of junkie mothers, dead beat dads, etc. no one is there to allow them to be children…loving them, stroking their hair and backs at bedtime, reading a book to them, cuddling them when they are scared. It’s too real of a scenario for me to be called fiction.

That all being said…the 3 year old little girl (played by this sweetie at the left) is taken. (too close to my own two year old for comfort) the girl was sleeping and the mother went out to the bar for a few hours…I mean afterall, the girl is sleeping right? The mother could really give a shit less as she’s more concerned with covering her junkie ass and not getting it put in the slammer or killed from her drug dealer. Kid? What Kid? Oh yea…that one…kind of mentality. So all in all I didn’t really feel that sorry for the woman…more for the child who could be out there being abused or lying dead somewhere.

Enter the cops. The chief of police lost a daughter at the age of 12 to abduction and subsequent murder. He’s a good guy…fighting for the child. Upholding justice. All that good stuff. You like him. You champion for the good guy.

Enter the private eye and his girlfriend. They are hired by a family member to “help” the police. He stays on the track..even after the cops have called it a closed case. The p.i. is a good guy. Basically just wants to help and feels it’s his duty to do such. Starts poking around & questioning things..wondering why lies are being told to him by the ones that shouldn’t be lying aka the police.

Warning: spoiler alert! If you haven’t seen it and want to watch it, don’t read this part!

What does he end up of finding? A plot to abduct the girl to “save her” from her fate of a junkie mother and giving her to the police chief to raise as his own. so the dilemma presented him is this:

Do you call the cops on the now-retired police chief blowing the whistle on the plan and allowing the daughter and mother to be reunited?


Do you leave it as it is? The mother thinks the daughter is dead. The girl would have a much better life with good schools, clean clothes, material belongings, cuddling and love from caring “parents”.

What would you do?

After the movie ended, I felt very much in turmoil from it. (and had a very strong urge to go around and check on all my kids and give them kisses in their sleep…which I did.) chuck and I discussed what we would do given that situation….

He said he’d leave the little girl there. It would be the best thing FOR HER.

I said that even though the mother was a shitty mother, no one deserves to think that their little girl is dead when she’s not. If there’s just cause to have the little girl removed, go through cps and the proper channels.

Which is what our hero in the movie did. The mother was so grateful, tears, hugs, kisses. The movie ended with our hero (casey Affleck) going back to visit the little girl and the mother. the mother was cussing and swearing and smoking while the little girl sat on the couch. She was going out on a date….when asked who was going to watch the little girl, she kinda shrugged and said her friend across the road or at least she would as soon as she walked over there and told her to. It is so completely obvious that nothing had changed. The mother was still unconcerned for the child, so was it really the best decision? It’s something that our hero would have to live with….and made me want to cry for all the children that live like that out there.

So what would you do? How would it make you feel seeing how it ended up?


Communication in Sex: Hump Day Help

As most therapists will tell you, communication is key in a successful marriage/relationship. However, I’m a strong believer that communication is very important in a healthy sex life too; it may be one of the hardest aspects to achieve in your relationship though.

Often, lovers do not tell each other their likes, dislikes, desires or fantasies for many different reasons: fear of rejection, fear of disapproval, fear of offending the other party, among many others. Everyone has their own reason that I’m sure you could add in there.

But communication in regards to sex is very important to get exactly what you are need of out of the sexual relationship. By communicating your desires or dislikes, not only can you reach your peak easier, but feel more connected with your partner as the niggling little comments (like: Geesh, why can’t he seem to get it right? Doesn’t he know the spot to hit? Eeek…that’s so irritating!) are gone. Because chances are your partner doesn’t know! Cluing your partner in on what works for you will take a lot of honesty and patience though.

There are some fun ways to open up the lines of communication, however. Pure Romance, for example, has a line of games that are designed to do just that. The Date Night Game is perfect for couples looking to leave all inhibitions at the door and learn something about your lover that you never knew before.

Already feel comfortable talking to your partner about sex? Here's some tips on how to make sex better by communicating.Non-verbal communication:

Experts say that 70% of communication is non-verbal. This type of communication can be something as simple as a suggestive wink to let him know you are "in the mood" or wearing a piece of lingerie or the perfume that he loves.

Giving Directions

It is perfectly acceptable to tell your partner what you like during sex. Unless you are in bed with a psychic, chances are they cannot read your mind on what you like and dislike. Tell them!

If you are in the throes of passion, it might not suffice to get all technical; instead, something as simple as placing his hand where you need or want it to be will work. You can also give verbal clues like "yes, kiss me there, right there!" That's letting him know that X marks the spot so he can go back to that again.

The Out-of-Bed Discussions

Many sexual problems can be solved simply by discussing them. If you are having a complete disconnect and giving directions or non-verbal clues isn't working. Maybe it's time to sit down and have a heart to heart with your mate.

You will definitely want to start with what they are doing right. No one wants to feel inadequate in the bedroom so start off with the things that really work for you and continue on to the things that could use some work. Avoid negativity. Instead of saying "You don't ever kiss the back of my neck." you could say "I really enjoy it when you kiss the back of my neck". That's letting him know your wants without him going on the defensive.

Things to Remember

Think openly. Some men and women enjoy different things during sex whether it being tied up or a use of toys. If your mate has disclosed a desire to do something you may not have done before, revolting away from him will close down all lines of communication from there on out. While you shouldn't do anything you feel uncomfortable with, making your partner feel "dirty" about their desires isn't good for your relationship.

Just because you had this all figured out when you first got together doesn't mean all the same things will work now. Review each others likes and dislikes occasionally. Things can change.

Finding an open line of sexual communication that works for both you and your partner may be the beginning of a much stronger, happier sex life for you. Enjoy it.


Sarcasm & Humor: Thy name is Lucas

I don’t very often blog just about Lucas. It’s sad, I know. I feel so often that Lucas gets the short end of the stick because he’s the middle child. Or maybe I’m overly sensitive since I was the middle child as well. Either way, don’t think that he holds a smaller place in my heart than the other two. It’s absolutely not true, not even one iota. Lucas is the one who makes me laugh…almost daily. And sometimes in completely inappropriate instances…such as yesterday…

Lucas was in rare form yesterday. We were sitting at the dinner table when Zachary said something and Lucas retorted. I laughed at whatever Lucas had said, because, quite frankly, it was funny. Zachary, of course, got all upset that I was laughing at him. Chuck explained that I was not laughing at him, but instead at Lucas. “And before you start going off about who’s laughing at whom, you need to learn what humor is.”
Lucas turns and looks at his brother and says “Yea. Maybe you should go back to preschool” complete with that little pursed lip, head nod and snotty tone that he does so well.

Chuck immediately tells him that is not acceptable to antagonize his brother, all the while I’m trying desperately to hold in the giggles...which earned a stern, reproachful look from Chuck.

Then, later, Lucas came running inside from the back yard, stopped, pointed at Chuck and screeched “OLD MAN!” and took off from the room. I didn’t hear him, but when Chuck started bellowing that he’d better watch it…I asked what had happened and burst out laughing again. Lucas was standing next to me, shoulders stooped and shaking, hand over his mouth, giggling; that made me laugh even harder at his daring little comment.

Here’s some other bits I’ve heard from him recently:

“Brother, have we ever been to a jungle?” (He calls Zachary “brother”. Z doesn’t seem to mind)

“Yea, I’m good…cuz I got skilz.” (Thanks to Chuck for teaching him that.)

“I’ll be all over that…” (referring to a jar of pickles)

“You’re going DOWN!” (while playing Wii with Chuck)

I love this kid. He is so much like his father in so many ways…they both always seem to find a way to make me laugh. Usually it’s when they aren’t trying that make me laugh the hardest.

Lucas also gave me two kisses in the last two days as well as instigated hugs and told me he loved me (instead of saying “Me too” when I tell him I love him or saying “I really like you momma.”) This is a high point for me because it’s been almost a year since those things have happened. We went through a really rough point last summer with Lucas and while he was a loving and affectionate child before the problems, afterwards, not so much. I missed Lucas kisses but didn’t push the issue…I wanted him to have time to heal and do what felt right for himself. This week I’ve been rewarded and my heart swelled.

I'm glad he's getting back to his sarcastic, funny, cute little self again.


DC: Land of the Free, Home of the Busy

We are home! Actually, we’ve been home for a week now, but somehow time has gotten away from me with the blog. Possibly, due to the work on the backyard, working my regular job, my Pure Romance parties and spending 3 hours driving around to pharmacies to find the meds for Zachary. (Grrr…another post entirely.)

We had an absolutely fabulous time in DC. And except for the first full day in DC, the kids were very well-behaved. I, however, believe that the brood *may* have scared our host away from ever having kids. Because after 39 years of being a bachelor, having a 2, 5 and 7 year old invade your home and run you ragged really shows what life with children can be like. At a couple of different points, our friend said to Chuck “You guys don’t ever get a vacation do you?” to which Chuck replied “This IS our vacation.” We are definitely NOT the sit on the beach, sipping cocktails kind of people. We see and do everything we can possibly cram into the days without overstressing us or the kids.

Now, that’s not to say we don’t have downtime! We went to Chesapeke Bay on Sunday after a VERY busy 4th of July but even at the Bay we didn’t just sit around. Chuck and I were in the water with the kids, picking up shells with them, playing on the playground. Well, okay, we were actually sitting on the benches next to the playground, but you get my drift. To us, that was a really relaxing, fun time!

So let me back up…what did we do? We started our trek on Thursday, July 2 at 4:00 in the morning. Got about 20 minutes from home when, being the list maker that I am, was rambling through the list in my head and checking things off when I asked Chuck if he’d packed the little camera. The look on his face said it all…so since we were still close to home, we turned around and got it. Back on the road at 4:45. Stopped at Brandywine Falls in Ohio for breakfast and to take a hike and stretch our legs a bit. The falls were beautiful and well worth the little trek off the road to see them. The kids were in awe of them. Elizabeth made me nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rockers as whenever I turned my back for 2 seconds, she was climbing the railing.

After that, we drove…and drove…and drove. The highlight of the trip was going through the mountain tunnels for the kids. About an hour from DC we stopped at Fort Frederick and were one of only 2 families there. So we got to see everything up close and personal. The kids were mostly concerned with running around in the huge grassy area of the fort which I encouraged and whole-heartedly agreed with as they’d been cooped up in the car for 12 hours by that point. However, when the guide brought out the musket and asked if they wanted him to fire it, the answer was an emphatic “Yes!” It was neat to see how enraptured they were with something so simple. The gentleman was nice enough to do it again…at the encouragement of 2 of my little people.

Day 2 started out in a fantastic way...everyone was awake, showered, and ready to go. I had turkey sandwiches made and along with other lunch items and snacks packed neatly in a backpack along with Elizabeth's diapers. We got to Gallaudet University to park (where Dave works) and Chuck asked "Where's the backpack?" He does this to me all the time...trying to freak me out, I guess. I told him I SAW him carry it downstairs, afterall, I was right behind him on the stairs, I saw it on his back. Well, apparently, after the stairs he put it down on the sidewalk of the apartment building in order to throw away garbage and put Elizabeth in her carseat...and promptly left it sitting there. At this point our options were to go back and hope that it was still there (unlikely) and waste a good hour of our day or go on, try to find a little convenience store to buy diapers and buy lunch in DC. I voted for the second option. We headed out to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and I kept my eyes open for someplace to buy dipes. Did you know that in a major metropolitan area it's just not that easy??? So Elizabeth was soaking wet, the boys were more interested in running around than looking at the exhibits in an overly-crowded museum and we spent $36 for 2 pieces of the crappiest pizza I've had in my life, a turkey sandwich, and a cup of soup. So, um, yea. Day 2 wasn't that great. I believe this was the day that Chuck suggested we buy lemonade and tanqueray for "Mommy". ;)

July 4 rolled around and it was suggested that after the day we had before, maybe we shouldn't do all the stuff we'd planned. But seriously? Go all that way to do nothing? NO WAY! So we went to the parade and had seats right on the street, ate a huge piece of watermelon and awesome chicago style coney dogs, played in the field a bit and then spent 5 hours or so at the Air and Space museum which was AWESOME. Only mishap was that we lost Zachary for about 10 minutes...one of the longest 10 minutes of my life...but we found him again, no worries. Zachary also scraped up his face pretty good after the museum by trying to do some skater-style jump/turns off a brick wall and instead skidded across the pavement on his face. A trip to the first aid station and 20 minutes later and we're all good. It was nearing time to go see the fireworks (it gets dark early in DC...who knew?!) and we located my oldest brother and his kids and had the most fantastic spot just about 150 yards from the Washington Monument. It was amazing! I'm so glad that we were able to experience that....the kids were enthralled from the first bang. And really so was I!

The next day, we went to the "ocean" and then spent the evening going to all the monuments. It was a great time to see them...the crowds had died down, the weather had chilled off and we were able to find close parking! Perfect!

Monday saw us going to probably the favorite of all of us: The National Zoo! It was awesome. Easy to get to, compact but not crowded, and the kids got to stuff their own stuffed animals...so cute! Each of them carried their own stuffy out of the zoo in their box/carrying case and I don't think a herd of wild buffalo could have gotten Elizabeth's lion cub away from her. I offered to help her (the box is almost as tall as she is!) but she yanked away from me and glared like I had tried to rip off her arm. Little Miss Independent. We stayed up late kabbitzing with Dave and enjoying our last night together...

Except maybe a little too late considering that we wanted to leave at 6 am on Tuesday. We made our deadline though..or close to it. And didn't even forget any of the children behind. We were on the road for just a little while when Chuck saw a sign for Gettysburg, so off we went there for 2 1/2 hours or so. We drove the auto tour and gave the kids just a taste of history...Zachary seemed to be interested, Lucas just like climbing the rocks, and Elizabeth wanted to give me a heart attack by running over and around everything. Back on the road for just a little while before we stopped at a state park in PA for lunch and kite flying. Another hour and we're back on the road in the backwoods of PA, up through the mountains, down through the little burgs. We were on a small 2 lane road in a small town that consisted of a bar and some houses when I saw a sign that said "Flight 93 Temporary Memorial". After telling Chuck what I'd seen he said "We have to go" so off we went and ended up in a field in the middle of rural PA to arrive at a site that Chuck described as creepy and I couldn't help but cry at. On the way out to the field, we tried to relay to the boys exactly what had happened there...how men and women lost their lives trying to beat the bad guys so that more people weren't killed. How these men and women were heroes. I don't think they understood. But after seeing the site, leaving 5 strings of red, white and blue "memory" beads and a note, and Zachary reading all the memorial stones....he walked away saying "this place makes me kinda sad momma." I shook my head, through the many tears, and told him I couldn't agree more.

So, what should have been a 12 hour trip home ended up in an 18 hour trip home...but lots of memories made along the way.

I couldn't pick just a few pictures to post...we took over 700 afterall....so I put together a video of some of my faves. Thanks Dave for having us and allowing us the opportunity to experience so much!


Ah, the joys of toddlerhood

I love this age of inquisatory innocence. Of everything being brand new in a toddler's world. Of learning new words EVERY SINGLE DAY.

This are things that have happened within the last 48 hours with Elizabeth.

Drank bleach. It got left down on the stove (our laundry room is our kitchen. Not fun!) while Daddy did the dishes and she got a stool and drank some. 3 hours in the ER and one popsicle later, and she's fine.

Yesterday, she got into the fire pit while I was on the other side of the gate, desperately trying to get in to stop her, as she rubbed ashes all over herself and played in the ashes until the wind picked up and blew them back into her eyes. We spent 1/2 hour pouring water into her eyes, while holding them open, in order to get the ashes out.And yes, that's red glitter and white paint. She woke up in our room before Chuck Sunday morning. I didn't hear her in there until this had already occurred. We keep the craft cabinet in our bedroom since it's the most out of the way of little hands. Well, except when they sleep in our bed.

(okay, so maybe I don't *love* those things...but it goes to show how incredibly inquisitive she is about EVERYTHING)

She's just been full of new words. After hiccuping twice, she giggled "I birpt agin!"

Zachary left the bathroom door open so she went in there and used Aloe as a lotion (seriously, is it common that toddlers are obsessed with lotion? She wants to put everything on as lotion!) I could smell it as I left the kitchen and went in to help her clean up. At least aloe is good for the skin!

While in the bathroom she decided she needed to potty. I'd be so happy if she actually potty'd when she said she had to! But we sat and tried. I bribed encouraged her to potty this time with a mini chocolate donut. To which she replied..."Puuuuuuuuuush. Puuuuuuuuuush" while grunting slightly. Alas, to no avail.

However, while she was on the potty she decided that would be the best time to show her love to me by hugs and kisses. There's something weird about kissing your daughter while she's naked on the toilet.

We were watching the very tail end of XMen: The Last Stand before bed and as the end comes and Magneto moves the chess piece and the music starts, Elizabeth looks at me with the o....O face. She cracks me up with her expressions.

I can't wait to see her experience the ride to DC and all the sites in DC. A whole new experience....good thing I'm taking a baby carrier ;)


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