Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Meet me halfway

I talked myself out of writing this post a million times. Okay, maybe not a million. A zillion is probably more accurate.

You see, as much fun as it is to be self-deprecating on my blog and tell you about all of those crazy mama moments in my house, it is still just that -- my blog. And who wants to show everything -- their warts and all -- on her own blog?!?

So, there is something many of you may not know about me. Everyone who knows me in real life knows. But many of my readers don't, because either we have never actually met or you haven't seen me in a while. Sure, you have seen pictures of me, but I have complete control over what I show you and how you see me. And quite frankly, I like it that way. That is part of the fun of having a blog and sharing everything you want to share and nothing you don't.

But I don't want to keep this a secret anymore.

To many, I have committed a mortal sin. Some would view it as a societal crime. And if you met me, I wouldn't be able to hide it. Unlike alcoholism, drug addiction, or a rap sheet from here to Timbuktu, I can't hide my horrible deed from others. And that is what made me write this post.

I had to have my very own eyes opened for me at least three times before I really, truly saw it myself.

The first time...I was in my classroom teaching with my door shut. In my peripheral vision, I saw someone in the glass door whom I didn't recognize. That person did not go away, despite my glares. After several double-takes, I realized that the "person" I saw was my own reflection.

The second time...I was asked to sing on stage in our auditorium at a concert as a surprise to my students. One of my friends videotaped my performance and was nice enough to give me a copy afterwards. The piece had gone surprisingly well, and I was eager to see and hear it to see if it matched the wonderful memory in my mind. Instead, I had to turn off the television before I sang a note because I wasn't able to watch through my tears of disgust.

The third time...I was at our high school's graduation. I was one of the teachers who would walk in with the seniors to "Pomp and Circumstance" and sit at the end of one of the aisles along with some other colleagues to represent the faculty. All of us wore graduation gowns (you know, the tent-like black robes) with our respective college hoods in back. I had dutifully worn mine every year, so before I left for the ceremony, I made sure it was pressed and hung it in my car. A few moments before the ceremony, I was helping others with their corsages and decided I should pin my own on as well. Soon after, I desperately fought the urge to run back to my car and drive the forty minutes home and instead find out if they -- possibly??? -- had another gown I could wear.

The moral to all three of these stories? I finally admitted to myself that I had a major problem. One that I couldn't control anymore. And believe me, it's not easy to convince a control freak that she is out of control. But I had to face facts.

I was extremely fat.

Now, you precious blog readers, do not misinterpret. I don't mean I was darn-it-I-still-have-to-lose-that-baby-weight fat. I also don't mean I was wow-I-must-have-gone-up-a-jeans-size fat. I mean I was capital F-A-T fat.

It's not that I didn't know what was happening. I have mirrors. I wear clothes. I knew the size I had to buy and the three stores in the mall that carried them. But what I felt like on the inside was never ever what I looked like on the outside. I really tried to avoid having my picture taken and I refused to see what the unforgiving lens showed me so blatantly when the occasional photo opportunity came along. I posed behind people and things and even cut myself out of other pictures.

All the while, I thought this was the ultimate, absolute worst monstrosity I could possibly have allowed myself to become. After all, when you want to really insult a woman, you only have to use one word: the "f-word." (No, not that f-word! The three-letter-one that's even worse than that.) In fact, in my opinion, one of the only acts of hatred that you can still admit in our society without being politically incorrect is a prejudice towards overweight people. Want a good laugh? Type "fat kid" into YouTube's search engine and see all of the "must see" videos. "Fat kid nearly dies on a rollercoaster! Hilarious!" Or think about conservative pundit Laura Ingraham's recently publicized insults towards Meghan McCain for asserting her opinion; Ingraham chose not to (as McCain says best) "intellectually debate our ideological differences" but instead use "heartless, substance-less attacks about weight" as a retort. In other words, she responded by calling McCain "fat." And how many people can't wait to call all of their friends and report that a fellow classmate has put on a bunch of pounds? I am sure that the classmate-who-put-on-a-bunch-of-pounds phone calls centered around yours truly after I had the courage to show my larger-than-life self at my twentieth high school reunion last year. I really forced myself to go to see so many people I cared deeply about, but I was relieved that there wasn't a prized doughnut for the Girl Who Gained the Most Weight Since 1988.

So why am I sharing this with you now?!? Why pour out my chubby heart to people who don't even have to know? Because I like being honest. And in all honesty, I am not a good liar. And because...well, I am now halfway.

Those last three eye-opening times made a definite impact. They caused me to get back in control. And just a few weeks ago, I cried in a store dressing room. But not for the same reason I cried at my performance video or because I could no longer zip my graduation gown. I cried because I fit into a size I hadn't seen since before getting pregnant with Peanut.

Since the summer, I have lost 48 pounds and four sizes. Whew. It feels good to write that.

For most people, that would be that. But I told you, I was capital F-A-T fat. For me, this is just over halfway to my goal. But I see the light. In fact, I feel the light, or rather, I feel lighter. I feel happier. I can see my progress, and the mirror no longer has to lie to me. I can look at the number on my pants now and not want to cut out the tag. And people are starting to see me and not the person I was using to cover up me.

So now you know the real me, [fat] warts and all. And you know what? I'm no longer ashamed to show you.

Before (obviously on the left) and After...so far (on the right)
P.S. Thank you, Weight Watchers!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Three Is a Magic Number

Dear Pumpkin,

You are my snuggle bug
Love to hug

Car lovin'
Sometimes roughin'

Sing song man
Fan of fans

Alphabet reading
Lollipop pleading

Hands flailin'
Veggie Talin'

Don't like waiting
Story creating

Fresh milk addicted
Bath night conflicted

Occasional toy flingin'
Lemon car singin'

Happy when wakes
Lover of cakes

Shaky shaking
Funny face making

Tiggle Wiggles
Give great giggles

I'll soon be missin'
Sloppy wet kissin'

From my baby sweet pea
Because Pumpkin is three!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Flashback Friday: Prior to Pumpkin

It has been exactly three years since this picture was taken. We took Peanut to get his three-year-old portraits taken, and we decided last minute to try this shot with my extremely pregnant belly. (You can tell that's my pregnant belly, right?!? I added some shading as to not shock anyone.) I was actually so pregnant that I had Pumpkin the following day. The women at the photo studio probably thought I was nuts, but I knew I'd better get the portraits done of Peanut then or they might never get done with a newborn in the house. I have such mixed feelings looking at this now; I am nostalgic, I am emotional, and I am wistful. But mostly, I am blessed.

Monday, March 23, 2009

MckMama Fans...

I am so sad to say that this sweet, beautiful, almost-five-month-old baby boy needs our prayers yet again. He is hospitalized because his heart is in Supra Ventricular Tachycardia (or SVT = very high heart rate). This is the same heart condition little Stellan exhibited in utero when the doctors told MckMama that he would not survive. He has certainly proven them wrong before as he was born against all odds without complications. So my prayer is that God will save this tiny trouper from his diagnosis once more. Please join me if you feel so led.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Flashback Friday: Our Furry Baby

Before there were children, there were furry Boo Boo kisses. After all, she was our very first child. And she is such a love that she easily won over the heart of my "dog person" of a husband. He still gives her regular kisses, even though she isn't quite this tiny anymore. And so do I, even though she still insists on sleeping on my head.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patty's Day

My mom says I have a little Irish in me, and to look at me, you would probably believe it. I am very fair-skinned with some freckles on my cheeks and green eyes. My hair is also not actually this light (hmmm....it's called highlighting, people, and no, it has nothing to do with the stray gray hairs that keep defying me and showing their sorry selves in the daylight. Ahem.). Peanut and Pumpkin's real first names are both Irish, too, so I guess that means it's fair for us to celebrate a bit.

Peanut said that during recess today, a leprechaun snuck in his classroom and messed up all of their things. Apparently, he visited all of the classrooms in the whole school. He even was kind enough to leave green pee in their classroom toilet (um...really?!?), but one of the students flushed it before everyone could see. Peanut was terribly annoyed that he didn't get to observe that. He and his classmates determined that the classroom was probably a wreck because the leprechaun must have been looking for his pot of gold. His teacher laughed and said the leprechaun was searching in the wrong place since the pot of gold is -- obviously -- safe in her backyard.

While we were working on Peanut's homework tonight, his second tooth fell out on his paper. This one bled which completely freaked him out until he was no longer able to taste it anymore. But after I calmed him down, he immediately darted over to his room to retrieve his letter to the tooth fairy which -- you might remember -- plainly requests that she not steal his tooth. Can you see the new empty hole in his bottom row of teeth?

Better yet, check out Peanut's leprechaun drawing. He is so darn cute, I might even let him use our bathroom (if he asked politely and didn't mess up the rest of our house, of course). Although, messing up the house surely hasn't stopped me from allowing our two boys to use the bathroom.

Hope all of you had a little extra luck o' the Irish thrown your way today!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Speaking of running to Mommy...

This is one of my favorite...photos...ever. 'Nuff said.

(Thanks again, Kelly!)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Flashback Friday: Great Strides

This picture was taken of Pumpkin when he was about fourteen months old. He was still not walking yet, and even as a second-time mom, I was a bit concerned since he wasn't really even close. Peanut walked at fourteen months, and I thought that was late compared to other children I knew. We used to joke that Pumpkin was so smart to just allow people to carry him everywhere. Our pediatrician reassured me that he was perfectly normal and he would walk when he was ready. His verbal skills came fast, and the doctor also mentioned that sometimes babies work on one skill at a time. Pumpkin finally walked towards me while we were at a family get-together at my in-law's house (a.k.a. Gemma and Pop's). I was so relieved! But, in a way, I knew that the second he began walking, the world would change as I so vividly remembered that it had with Peanut. And I also knew he wouldn't be a baby much longer. Part of me was thankful that I had the opportunity to have my little one as a baby for so long, even though the other part of me naturally wanted him to continue to thrive and grow. There's something sadly symbolic about a baby who can walk -- and soon after, run -- away from his mommy. I have to admit, though, that I was very grateful to no longer have to fight with him about crawling outside when we walked down the block on the old sidewalks in our neighborhood. Scratched-up knees did not deter my determined little man. And once he walked, he went from walking to running in no time and earned more scratched-up knees.

As I write this, my almost three-year-old Pumpkin is sleeping away. But all night, he complained of "ickies" and "grossies" in his throat. He has had a rough week of a phlegmy cough, runny nose, tears when Daddy said goodbye in the morning, and more time-outs than he can probably count. And tonight, he threw up all over the hardwood floor. Now, throw up is usually my husband's area of expertise, but unfortunately, he wasn't home yet. I am really, really bad at throw up. But Pumpkin was so scared and confused that he got sick, I turned on my auto pilot while continually assuring him it was okay, and I simply cleaned it up and got him changed. Anything -- even cleaning up throw up -- for my little Pumpkin. (But don't tell my husband I said that.)

I'm hoping that in a few days, he will make great strides in the "ickies" department and that he'll show off his running skills again in no time (as long as he is running to Mommy, that is!).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Now in Technicolor

Whoa...I really thought I had given away the answer to the newborn Peanut and Pumpkin pictures when I mentioned in this post how laughable Pumpkin's hospital pictures were. But I still fooled some of you! Thanks to everyone who participated. :)

And now for the illustrious winners....

(Drum roll please....)

Congratulations to Kelly and Laura! Seriously, that is impressive, girls. Even though Kelly was there the day he had his picture taken, she never got to laugh at the picture itself. And if I recall, she either wasn't in the hospital room with me at the time or was preoccupied with her own adorable baby. And Laura has never met Pumpkin, so major kudos for having such a great eye and paying attention!

If I would have posted the photos in color, maybe I would have had more winners.

Peanut (left) and Pumpkin (right)

They both had light blonde hair around their faces, but Peanut's was much lighter than Pumpkin's. I thought you would be able to tell by the sharper picture quality and more vibrant color of Pumpkin's pic if I posted them both in color. Peanut's little suit was actually a light baby blue with light blue and green striped cuffs and an embroidered train with button wheels on the jacket, but you can barely make out any of that detail. And thanks for the kind comments, but I was hysterically giggling when I first laid eyes on Pumpkin's picture. He was really not in the mood to have his picture taken, so the photographer gave him a pacifier and then pulled it out the split second before she captured his pursed little lips.

By the way, at the time, I thought these little boys looked nothing alike. I always reminisce that after having Peanut, that's what I thought Eric and I made. But then, Pumpkin came out with brown hair and a round little body, and I thought he was so very different. Looking at the photos now, I can't get over how many similarities there are. Those noses and lips look like I could cut and paste them from one baby to the other. And they both have such nice tans. Of course, that was due to the jaundice and surely not my skin tone (nor my husband's!).

I remember people telling me how much I resembled my brother as a child, too, but I think we looked less so as we grew older. So I am curious; did your babies (or you?) look like their (or your) siblings? And were you ever surprised at "what you made"? Do tell!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Flashback Friday: Peanut or Pumpkin?

I gave you a few hints in my previous post, but I thought it would be fun for this installment of Flashback Friday to have a game. All you have to do is guess correctly which newborn picture is Peanut and which is Pumpkin. To make it a bit more difficult, I have made converted both photos to black and white so the color quality doesn't give anything away. I would think if you have been paying attention, this might be pretty easy.

Just tell me the number of the picture and your guess. And no fair if you already know (ahem...Gemma! Unless you forget, of course!). You will -- as per usual -- receive a link to your blog and many oohs and aahs if you are correct! :)
Picture #1

Picture #2

Can't wait to see how well you know my Baby Peanut and Pumpkin!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Time March[es] On

It cannot be March already. Really?!? I really find it hard to believe in so many ways. Today we had a snow day with 9.7 inches of snow according to our local news station. It seems to me that we were just outside enjoying the fall weather and the leaves.


Now, before you tell me that my photography skills have improved 100-fold since my last post, I have to confess that the following beautiful images were taken by my dear friend, Kelly. I was blessed to have roomed with Kelly in the hospital when I had Pumpkin and she had her sweet little boy, Jake. In fact, Kelly is also the one who introduced me to blogging. I followed her blog for over a year before even considering to start my own. I have to laugh looking back now because I clearly remember wondering why she didn't opt for the standard baby hospital photographer to take her newborn's picture. Someday I will have to post the newborn hospital photo I spent my hard-earned money on of Pumpkin. I felt it was an obligation to buy them; after all, I had done them for Peanut, and his were actually kind of sweet. Had I known I was rooming with this amazing photographer, I would have asked her to at least whip out her cell phone. The result would have been eons better than Pumpkin's hospital pic, I assure you.

Anyway, I have been meaning to post a few of the gorgeous photographs that Kelly took of our family around Thanksgiving. So, how did it get to be March?!? We were fortunate to be able to schedule a session in late fall with Kelly even though she and her family now lives out of state. And now that she has taken these great photos, we are all spoiled!

The boys warmed up to Kelly in no time and asked about her for many days afterwards. And I am certain we will treasure these images and her friendship for many, many years to come. After all, the fact that Kelly was the one who took these portraits just makes them that much more special to me.

You can see a few other images of my little men on her photography blog, and you have to check out her official photography site as well. It is no wonder to me that she recently won an award for her wedding photography. I have already asked her to book us for July 2022 to photograph our 25th wedding vow-renewal ceremony. I was worried she wouldn't have the date open if I waited much longer. She is just that talented!

So, while I stare at these photographs of these little boys I love so much in the leaves, it is so terribly obvious that time does, in fact, march on. Pun [always] intended. ;)