Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Tale of Two Cities (and Fourteen Bras!)

Have you ever looked back over the course of an event in your life and cringed at the fact that that there are precious hours that can never, ever be gotten back? Hours that could have been used... oh, I don't know, educating your self on organic gardening, studying your SS lesson, playing with your children, discovering a cure for cancer (alright, now I'm just getting silly), but instead you have become mind-numbingly exhausted performing a dreaded, albeit necessary, task? Welcome to my last 5 days.

It all began with my weight loss. Yeah, I'm gonna talk about it AGAIN because, well, I'm pretty proud of myself and because it has affected every.single.area. of my life... and not all in good ways. Strange, right? When can weight loss be a negative? When you start out on a mission to find a bra that fits your ever-changing body shape, that's when. Yeah, this is one chapter they left out of all the fitness books I've ever read. Why? Because I'm almost tempted to eat my weight in banana split Blizzards just to get back into my old bras. I'm only half kidding.

It was time for new bras anyway. Without the weight loss, my bras were in sad shape: stretched out, ripped in places, underwires all jank. That's right: jank. ;) And because I've got lingerie selling experience (what job haven't I had, right?), I knew that a bra fitting was of the utmost importance. So off I go. The cute little bra fitting specialist who rocks red lipstick better than anyone I have ever seen, did her duty and proceeded to tell me (like I figured) that my bra size had changed. Formerly a 38 C, I was now gonna be sporting a 36 D. This is where I'm NOT going to go into the details of the subtle differences between band size and cup size, but feel free to message me if you need clarification. I'll also explain how to measure yourself later on in the post. The majority of women are walking around in the wrong size bra. True story.

Anyway, to say that I tried almost every single bra on in the store would not be an understatement. Luckily, I felt like I redeemed myself somewhat with the staff because I was able to put the bras back on their hangers appropriately (that year of working in the lingerie department at Sears has really paid off). What I ultimately decided on was the same style of bra I have been wearing for the past 3 years, just in a different size. Now, I'm a freak and would prefer that all my bras be nude in color because it takes the guesswork out of deciding what to wear under my clothes so as to not show through whatever I'm wearing over it. And yes, white bras do show up under certain fabrics, but this rant isn't about my obsessive behavior (although I guess it really kind of IS), so I digress... I leave the store with one white, one nude, and one black (because that's all the colors they had in my size) and order two more nudes. Throw in two packs of underwear and a pack of socks and I almost skip home giddy to clean out my underwear drawer and start fresh.

Two days later after WASHING the bras and wearing them, I realize that I cannot under any circumstances wear them for another single second. I take off the bra I'm wearing and find that the underwire has all but poked a hole in my side and the band has left a permanent red indention all around my torso. How can this be? They felt fine in the store. Annoyed, but deciding maybe after 10 years that underwire bras may be the enemy, I return to the bra place.

Cute little red-lipstick-wearing bra fitter was working again and was even more determined than I was to find some bras that worked for me. I liked her spunkiness and her customer service. I swear you would have thought she worked on commission. Anyhoo... off I go trying almost every single WIRE-FREE bra in the joint. I left with 3 of those boxed bras that I used to think were only for grandmas (ahem), and a sleep bra. Yeah, I sleep in bras. But that's another story.

Another full day of wearing said "wire-free" bra, and the misery ensued. Did you know that the main support of your bra is in the band and not the straps? More trueness. My girls require more support than a wire-free bra can give. And I began to think the band was a bit too snug, even in the loosest hook. So I go BACK to the bra store (little red-lipstick-wearing bra fitter is working again and now thinks I'm either stalking her, or the most particular customer this side of the Mason-Dixon). I purchase a 3-pack of bra extenders and went on my merry, slightly chaffed and corded, way.

The good news is I called and cancelled my order for the two bras that were on back order. The bad news is that although the bra extenders I bought helped with the ill-fitting band, they presented another problem in the process: the cups began to pucker. By this point I'm about ready to walk around all National Geographic-like and say to heck with all this bra business. "It shouldn't be this hard," I think to myself as I put my old-ratty-bras-I-was-trying-to-replace-in-the-very-beginning back on. Light bulb moment: Just go get your old size bra, even if it's not as snug in the band as you would like. Besides, 10 more pounds, and the snug bra might fit. It would have to be a better alternative than all this other nonsense. So I go off again... this time to another store in another city (that I look up online to make sure they carry the style I'm looking for) because I just don't think I could face little red-lipstick-wearing bra fitter again. Seriously, does she not get an off day? Sheesh.

This time I find my good ol' standby (in white and nude... the only two in my size in the store) and proceed to checkout. My husband, along for the ride and moral support, suggests I try on more bras by picking out a few more for me while I was in the dressing room. Really? I just want to go home and put this nightmarish hide-and-seek game to bed. But I relent. Mostly because I was just too tired and defeated to argue. I'm beginning to accept the fact that I'm in an in-between stage/size and that in another month with persistent diet and exercise (or a couple of Shamrock Shakes later, depending on which route I choose to take) I can look forward to doing all this crap again. Yippee.

But as luck would have it, one of the bras he chose (appropriately named "the softest bra ever") pulled through for me. Underwire: check. Not poking me in the side: check. Comfortable band: check. No "spillage:" check. Soft inside lining that doesn't feel like it's made of burlap: check. No lace: check. Folks, we have ourselves a winner! Got three of THOSE babies too in white, nude and taupe. Wearing one now. Tags are still on the other two just in case. lol! Now all I have to do is grow some courage to return the other two bras in the box to the bra place or stalk the joint like a private investigator to make sure cute little red-lipstick-wearing bra fitter is (finally) enjoying a day off. :/

If you are keeping track, that's 5 days, 2 different stores, in 2 different cities and 14 (count 'em: FOURTEEN) bras and 1 completely exasperated momma with appropriately covered, completely supported, and perky boobs. Men should thank their lucky stars every day that they were born a man, right? I mean, what could be more miserable than bra shopping? Oh yeah. Swimsuit shopping. And ironically enough... I'm gonna be needing a new one of those, too. Aye caramba!!!! :D

To make sure you are wearing the right size bra, measure yourself around your ribcage, right under your boobs. Add 4 inches. I don't know why, just do it. ;) This is your band size (If it happens to be an odd number, you could possibly go either up or down. Trying on bras is essential to finding a good fit for you. They are all made a little different.). Next measure the fullest part if your breast across your nipples. Subtract the original number you got from measuring your ribcage from this number. This determines your cup size. If the difference is:
1 inch: A cup
2 inches: B cup
3 inches: C cup
4 inches: D cup
5 inches: DD cup
6 inches: E cup
7 inches: F cup

If you are larger than an DD cup, I suggest contacting a specialty store that caters to larger bra sizes. Hope this information is helpful to some of you. Good luck!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Let's Start Monday With Dessert!

This post is brought to you today by my wonderful sister who has been doing Weight Watchers with me and who continues to KILL it every week on her weigh-in day! She shared with me a snack/ dessert that is delicioso and only 2 Weight Watchers points. Yep. TWO.

I did not realize that chocolate graham crackers are less in calories and carbs than regular graham crackers. Read the labels, peeps, and compare. It's true! Also, fat free Cool Whip, when left frozen, has the consistency of ice cream. One flat of chocolate graham crackers (broken in half), plus about 2 TBS of fat free Cool Whip (remember your portions!), plus some sliced strawberries on the top (fruit is FREE!) equals 2 measly points of maximum awesomeness for your taste buds!!! That's the kind of math momma can get excited about! lol! And best of all.. it's really like a little sundae, of sorts. And delicious. Did I mention how delicious it is?!?!

It's been fun to be creative and find new ways to satisfy my sweet tooth on this weight loss journey. Now go and make yourself this little treat and enjoy it guilt free. Or you could have some cobbler and ice cream for 13 points instead. I'll let you decide. ;) Happy Monday, folks!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Music Therapy Thursday...New Attitude (Remix)

I got a picture text this morning from my sister standing on her scale, looking down at the digital read-out. We've been encouraging each other since we've started doing Weight Watchers and her pic this morning showed that she's lost 11 pounds!!! Woot-woot! The only thing I love better than having a weight loss plan that works, is having a partner in crime to cheer you on (and cheer you up when the scale's not budging) along the way. Way to go, Courtney! You are kicking butt and taking names, girlfriend!

For today's music therapy I thought I'd post a song that I love working out to. When I found this remix, I knew it would be perfect for today's post! The video is a little grainy, but whoever mixed this song did a great job making this Patti LaBelle hit current. Now if only we could do something about that 80's fashion... YIKES! But seriously, any version of this song will help you keep a pace that will burn some serious calories during your cardio! Download now, chicas!

And again, GREAT JOB COURTNEY! We are going to be so cute in our bathing suits this summer!!! I have been in such a great mood the last couple of days and I KNOW it's from the confidence I have gotten from losing weight. And it's not so much about how I look in the mirror (although that's part of it), but I'm really proud of myself for making up my mind to do something and actually succeeding with it. It's a great feeling, really. Momma's got a "new attitude," herself!

"I'm in control, my worries are few.
Know where I'm going and I know what to do.
I've tidied up my point of view.....
I've got a NEW ATTITUDE!"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A (Long and Rather Disturbing) Rant About The Best Kind of Valentine

I hurried out this morning after dropping the girls off at school to pick up some treats for the 3 loves of my life. Nothing like waiting til the last minute, huh? Apparently great minds think alike because I found myself among other last minute shoppers, vying for the last of the picked over cards and chocolates, and grabbing up flowers and teddy bears like they were bread and milk with a 3 day snow in the forecast! You might think that this is where I'm going to bash Valentine's Day for all it's commercialism and how I'm going to buck the status quo and NOT contribute to the multi-million dollar business that surrounds Cupid and his pesky bow... but you would be wrong. I just love Valentine's Day!

I'm not your average girl (we all know this to be true already, right?). I'm not one that requires flowers and jewelry on what I call the trifecta of wallet zappers: birthdays, anniversaries, and Valentine's Day. I'm actually a girl that enjoys practical gifts. Anytime of the year. I've also been known to ask for hand written notes for the aforementioned "holidays." Of course I realize that for someone who does not operate on the side of the brain that I do that a Whitman's Sampler and a rose from the Jet Pep might be a lot less work, but so far, I've not been disappointed in any gift that the hubs decides to give me. This year is no exception.

I got a text this morning from my better half telling me "Happy Heart Day" and to inform me that he would be cooking me dinner tonight. For those who know us, this is not unusual, but what makes it special is that he had looked up two recipes for dinner and dessert that would not only be delish and something I would enjoy, but that would also stay within my allotted Weight Watchers points for the day. The man is resourceful if nothing else. Oh, and the bomb-dot-com! And he's all mine, girls.

I've said it before and I'll say it again now: he's the best gift I could ever get for any holiday. Am I making you want to vomit yet? Sorry. I understand that this kind of talk can be sickening sweet, even for me most days. But it is what it is. I'd trade all the candy and all the flowers in the world for his sweet heart that he gives to me 365 days a year. Okay. All done. Mushy rant over. We now return to your regularly scheduled blog post... sans all the lovey-dovey mumbo-jumbo!

So... in return, I had planned to give him something thoughtful and romantic: An Adele CD. He loves that woman and her fantabulous voice (though he prolly wouldn't want me sharing that with the world. Our little secret, okay?). But guess what? No Adele CD to be found anywhere in the county after her clean sweep at the Grammy's. Boo! So I've decided chocolate and lingerie would have to suffice (for me, not him. Ahem. That would just be weird. Oh! But the chocolate IS for him and not me. Confused yet? No worries. I'm starting to confuse myself...). So mother and Glenda, if you are reading this ((blush)), I apologize for getting all "bow-chica-wow-wow" in this post. But we are married. It's legal. And God told us too. Yeah, that's it. We're just being good Christians. ;)

ANYWAY... My point is that I don't think it matters what you give to your sweetie on Valentine's Day as long as it comes from the heart. Instead of finding the perfect gift to give, let us be the perfect gift to our significant other. Guaranteed you will get the best return for your investment. Four out of five naked cherubs packing arrows agree. ;) Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Redeeming Myself From Yesterday...Must Be Doing Something Right

I love it when my husband tells me he's read my blog. You know, without me even telling him to. ;) Yesterday's conversation with him began with him telling me that he had indeed read my blog (cue the applause in my head), but then ended with him telling me that he thought it was kind of harsh (and the LP playing said appause makes that screeching/scratching sound when the needle is not so delicately removed and the record stops). Ouch. Huh?

I feel like my mothering style is schizophrenic at best. I teeter back and forth between breaking my arm patting myself on the back for volunteering at school and making homemade Valentines with Jamie to beating myself up for giving her coke with breakfast and having terribly incomplete baby books marking the girls' milestones from birth to age 5. Can you relate? I hear so many times, "Pick your battles with your children," and for the most part, I feel like I do a good job. But then I stumble across a blog about a mother with seven children who homeschools them all, makes homemade bread, and only buys organic produce (if she doesn't grow it herself in her garden that all seven children help her with). I become exhausted just reading about it. Mouth gaping wide open, I turn the computer off and wonder how my lil' chilluns are EVAH gonna make it with a momma like me.

Well, lucky for them they have a dad that goes above and beyond the call of duty. If yesterday's post left you thinking that I'm doing all this parenting stuff by myself, you are sadly mistaken. My husband often jokes that I don't know how good I've got it, to which I reply, "Uh, yeah I DO. I dated the planet before we met. I know what's out there. Why do you think I waited 28 years to get married???" I don't know if this kind of sarcastic comeback is exactly what he had in mind if he was fishing for a compliment, but he knows he's appreciated. I tell him all the time.

And then there's the saving grace that I pray for my kids all the time. I call down all the powers from heaven most every day in carline to help me be able to cope with whatever the red-head has been holding in all day, only to release it on me in the comfort and safety of the minivan. I pray for strength (both physical and emotional) to be able to care for my sweet Anna as she gets older, and heavier, all the while reataining her 18 month old mindset. I pray that despite my faults and shortcomings, that somehow, somehow, I will do something right and instill in them love and compassion for others, self respect, and respect for God. And then like in the movies, the skies part, and my prayers are answered.

Jamie came home from school the other day and began telling me about her day. She said that the substitute teacher they had that day suggested that the children break up into partners to read to each other as the school day came to a close. A little boy in her classroom (whom she has talked about before) began asking different kids if they would like to be his reading partner. (Okay, here's some background info: This little boy would be what an adult would call an "outcast." He's just a bit too quirky for the status quo and unfortunately is excluded by others for being what Jamie describes as "weird." ) Anyway, the little boy asks student after student to read with him and each child he asks says no. Jamie then tells me, "So I just walk up to him and say, 'Charlie,* would you like to read with me?' " I asked what he did then and she says, "He just kinda jumped back a little bit, kinda shocked, and shook his head yes. My friends were all looking at me like I was weird, but I didn't care." I almost cried.

"Of all things you have ever done, Jamie Ruth, I am most proud of this one thing. You may not realize it now, but you have made a difference in this little boy's life. This is what God wants us to do: love each other and take care of each other. Did it make you feel good to be nice to Charlie*?" She nodded. "I bet it made God feel good too. Come here and give me a hug!" And just like that, all that "coke for breakfast" and incomplete baby books didn't even matter anymore. Light had conquered darkness and my ability as a mother was not in question anymore. At least not for the rest of the afternoon. ;)

And then yesterday rolls around and she tells me, "Mom, Erin totally stole my idea." "How so?" I replied. "Well, yesterday, she just went up to Charlie* first thing and asked him if he wanted to read with her." "That's great, honey! Now because what you have done, others want to include him too. Isn't that great?" "Yeah, I guess. But I did it first." LOL! I guess we'll still need to work on humility, but thank GOD, I must be doing something right! Happy Thursday, peeps!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Time for ME

I hate this idea of motherhood being all about self sacrifice. And could I SOUND any more self-centered??? Well, maybe I am. I sure as heck don't feel self centered most days when I'm playing chauffeur to my precious gals, forking out big bucks for violin lessons, or being so sleep deprived, but still managing to function well enough to make it to the fridge to get a little red-headed baby a drink when she's sick. Or change a diaper. Or guide a sleep walking child back to their bed. Again.

But that's what we DO, right? We are good mommas and we put our little ones' needs and wants ahead of our own. But at what price? Where is that proverbial line in the sand where the sacrificing mom of the year turns into our personal "own worst enemy?" Almost 11 years and counting, and I'm still having trouble figuring this one out.

As a new mother, my "mommy guilt" came on rather quickly. Sure, the newness of having such a sweet bundle of joy to feed in the middle of the night (every two hours, sigh) got me through for a while. And frankly, I got a kick out of being "the one she needed" by breastfeeding. But at 7 weeks old, I dropped that precious bundle off at day care without a tear and drove like a bat out of Hades back to my j-o-b. With mommy guilt. Not because I was leaving her, but because I was happy to do so and get back to something that was just for me. I blamed it on the fact that I had waited so long to have kids and tried to convince myself that in time, my feelings would change. But they never really did.

Chuck, I think, always wanted me to be a stay-at-home mom. We would talk about it right after Anna was born and plan that "when things got a little better financially," I would consider the idea. Emphasis on the word, consider. ;) Life had other plans, though. After only 13 months of motherhood, Anna began having seizures and multiple health problems that required me to quit my job and stay home. I did NOT handle it well.

Years later, another kid in tow, and after many shed tears, I became okay with my lot in life: SAHM, housewife, martyr. Yep. Martyr. "One who makes a great sacrifice for the sake of a principle." Notice how similar the word martyr is to mother. Don't ALL mothers make great sacrifices for the sake of their children? (Well, not all mothers. But that's a post for another day.) Seriously, we sacrifice and go to work so our kids can have a private school education or to afford the extracurriculars. We sacrifice and stay home to keep them from having to be the "latch-key" kids we were when we were growing up. We sacrifice our wardrobes so that they can have one. We sacrifice our gym membership for their intramural soccer season. We sacrifice "must see t.v." and watch recorded "Barney" episodes for the umpteenth time. We sacrifice pedicures for art lessons and date nights with our hubbies for slumber parties. And if you sit there and tell me that all of that is perfectly okay with you and you wouldn't have it any other way... well, I both applaud you and feel sympathy for you all at the same time.

Motherhood is but a season, dear sisters. By all means, cherish it. Embrace it. Give your children your best. Too quickly we will be reminiscing about our little ones in a far better light than things actually were. ;) Unless you are like me and are the mother of a handicapped child who will grow to be a handicapped adult and need your constant mothering at home until, I don't know, forever... your reign as mother hen will come to an end and another role and season of life will emerge. Who are we besides mothers and caregivers?

As I get closer to my 40th birthday, I barely recognize the reflection peering back at me in the looking glass. I understand that youth, like mothering small children, does not last forever. But what I see in the mirror is someone who has been neglected. And not just her physical appearance. Where is the light in the eyes? Where is the "get up and go?" I'm reminded of Rosie the Robot... you know, the maid from "The Jetsons?" (Totally dating myself, here.) A worker, for sure, but lifeless. Robotic. Monotone. Most days I'm simply running on autopilot, getting things done. Sacrificing for the good and welfare of the family. But again, at what cost?

Remember the last time you rode an airplane? What did the flight attendant say? "In the event that the oxygen masks drop, if you are traveling with small children, first place the mask on yourself and then assist your children." Cuz momma ain't gonna be any help to her offspring if she's passed out from lack of O2, mmmkay? And the population at large accepts this as good common sense. So why do we have problems relating this to life? What is the "oxygen" that you are depriving yourself of, all the while fumbling and gasping to get your children's masks on?

While talking to my good friend Jaimee the other day, she reminded me (as she always does) to take time for myself. "Promise me, Linds, that you'll do something just for you once a week, okay?" At first this idea seemed so foreign to me. Something just for me, huh? What? When? So then I decided to reward my 5 lb weight loss with a pedicure. Whilst the callouses were being sloughed off, that dang mommy guilt reared her ugly head. "Really, Lindsey? A pedicure in January? Nobody is gonna even see those toes. Shouldn't you be mopping the floors at home, anyway? And you could've put that $25 to something a little more useful, don'tcha think?!?" Mommy guilt is my nemesis. Hate her.

So then I began a little dialogue with myself as the massage chair worked it's magic on my rhomboids and I politely told mommy guilt to shut-the-heck-up. I'm worth a whole lot more than $25, and I would be seeing my toes, thankyouverymuch, and just so we were clear... that particular shade of turquoise would make me smile every time I looked down and caught a glimpse at how outrageous my little piggies looked. Bam! Take THAT. Putting mommy guilt in her place like a BOSS. LOL!

"Me time" doesn't have to include spending money, either. There have been days reeking of PMS, with all the rights and privileges therein, where I have declared a "do-nothing" day. After dropping the kids off at school, I have been known to pop an Advil or two and crawl back into my memory foam mattress and snooze until 2:oo p.m. Once again, I sacrificed the laundry pile and a spattered cook-top, but we were really no worse for the wear. And no one was killed in a PMS rage, so I consider that day a success. :)

I see more books downloaded to my iPad in my future. A little more window shopping at antique stores, and a little more yoga and fitness... because I did a lot more of those things before I was a wife and mother (except the books were actually paper back then, gasp!) and those things make me happy. And how does that old saying go? "If momma ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy." No truer words, friends. Put on your oxygen mask first, and then attend to your children. And be sure to wait until the pilot turns the seat belt sign off before walking about the cabin. ;) Enjoy your flight!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Music Therapy Thursday...More Rain!

Who else besides me is SICK of this rainy weather? It's enough to make one a little stir crazy, no? Well girls, for today's music therapy I chose a song that always makes me happy, no matter how much the weather is affecting my mood. How apropos that it's about rain... :D

The Weather Girls can flat out SING, peeps, as this live performance shows. The male dancers in their sequined tap pants are a little creepy, but it makes me smile all the more. What I love most is watching every.single. age. group in the audience rock out to this "single woman's" anthem... even the dudes. Gotta love the French. They embrace life like no one else!

So enjoy today's music therapy and boogie on down with our French friends across the pond. I'm feeling better already....