Wishes for my daughters

Like so many of my posts, they usually originate during a phone call with my BF.  Sometimes I can get three or four posts out of one of our conversations.  It's crazy, but so true.  She's not surprised when I sometimes exclaim, "Well that post just wrote itself!".

So last week we were talking about the cake batter pancakes I had made for dinner the previous night. When your six year old tears the recipe and picture out of Parents magazine, I'm pretty sure it's a sign from Heaven that this is dinner.  So I made them with a side of eggs to fool myself into thinking that pancakes, made with an entire cup of cake mix in the batter and sprinkles, were dinner worthy and not dessert.  I then made the remark that my kids are like garbage disposals and have the worst eating habits.  Which obviously is in direct relation to the fact that I can't eat anything that's actually delicious in the world.  For example I gladly buy things like birthday cake Oreos, S'mores pop tarts, and powdered donuts, which whoops sometimes get served for breakfast.  So as the BF and I talked about the garbage her kids eat, and my kids eat, I said this:

If I could have one wish for my daughters it would be that they are super tall and have awesome and speedy metabolisms.  

Are you freaking kidding me?
That's my wish for my daughters?

God forbid that I wish them to go on to secure themselves scholarships to Ivy League educations. Certainly I should wish that they go on to do great work in the world, love Jesus, and be kind to their fellow man.  No, no, my wish is that since they love to eat, that they have quick metabolisms.

What is wrong with this picture?

For starters, I remember what it's like to go through school as the fat girl.  The fat friend.  You want to know why I adore Fat Amy so much?  I was Fat Amy for years.  I was always the funny one, the one with the fantastic personality, but never the one.  Kids are cruel.  So, I worry, constantly about the day, where the word Fat becomes the worst "F" word in both of my daughters vocabularies.  So why wouldn't a mother who still battles her own bulge today, wish for the simple pleasures of a life with out the dreaded "F" word.

I realize I make it sound that my kids always eat crap.  They do eat fruits and veggies.  I promise.  We don't eat at McDonald's every night.  However I will admit that they love sweets and snack foods.  I know that this is partly my fault, but while we are all trying to eat better, and on most nights eat at the table, I still worry that I'm not leading them in the best direction food wise.

So perhaps the wishes for my daughters would be that they learn moderation, that they learn to love exercise, that they love to move and be outside.  I would wish that they would always love their selves, that they would find comfort in their own confidence.  And they would always be proud of who they are and what they are doing.  Even they aren't a size two, and aren't 5'11.

So by the end of my conversation with my BF, I realized that there is nothing wrong with wishing that your daughters don't have to go through the same ridicule that you did at one time in you life.  There is nothing wrong with wishing that your daughters will never have to worry about what the scales says, or what the boys say.  There is nothing wrong with wishing all those fears away.

I realize that those wishes are for me.  Those wishes are for Mommy and my heart, not them.

Because my wish for them is to be whatever they want to be.
Ivy League schools and any size dresses included.

Mom's Paleo Apple Crumble

Last week on Instagram I posted this:

And wouldn't you know, there were peeps out there that wanted the recipe.  Which always surprises me since I'm a firm believer that the food I eat is boring and drab.  I eat twigs and berries.  I eat clean, and grain free, and sugar free.  Why would anyone be interested?

Well you were, and thankfully my mom, who started Paleo the 2nd week in July, has been on culinary adventure with the Paleo diet.  This is great for me, because I rarely have the time or the energy to test recipes that are foreign to me.  But mom, in her leisure, does.  And as if I didn't love her enough already, she then goes on to make delicious deserts like Apple Crumble that make me love food again.

As a side note, I super proud of my mama who took my advice and started the Paleo diet to help with her diabetes.  So far she is down to only one insulin shot a day, and she has lost 15 pounds.  Food heals friends, I'm telling you!

This recipe I'm sharing is originally from the book Practical Paleo.  I bought it from Amazon, and it not only has delicious recipes that are easy, but it has lots of info on how to heal your body with food.  If you've been on a long journey with diabetes, digestive issues, or any type of auto immune issues, this book could really help.  And just so we are clear, they are not sponsoring this post in any way shape or form.  I'm just happy to be eating things like this Apple Crumble.  If you have the book, or buy it in the future, this recipe can be found on page 406, as Fresh Blueberry Crumble.

Mom's Paleo Apple Crisp

6 medium apples, peeled and sliced (Mom used Granny Smith)
Juice of one lemon
1 cup Almond Flour
1/4 cup coconut oil melted
2 TBL maple syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 pinches of sea salt

Peel and slice your apples, coat them with lemon juice to keep them from browning.  Once coated layer them in the bottom of a 9x11 baking dish.  In a bowl combine the almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, and sea salt, until it resembles a crumble.  Sprinkle crumble over the apples, and place in a 375 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, Mom says in her oven it only takes 30 minutes.

Enjoy and let me know if you try it.
I'm pretty sure I'm going to be eating this all season!

Let's talk about Thursday {the only schedule I keep}

As I write this, it's Thursday, hence the title.  However you will not read this gem of a post until Friday.  I thought about writing a post I've been slowing putting together in my head, but I don't have the energy for that.  Then I thought, well maybe I'll recycle a post.  Nah. Then I was like, why don't I just tell them about my day.  It could be like a coffee date chat/life lately/let me bore you with my mediocre life.  Take it or leave it, it's all I got.

As I write this, I'm still in the sports bra I wore while working out this morning.  Tank top too.  I washed my face, brushed my teeth, and added deodorant.  That was about the extent of the beauty routine today... Oh, wait, my hair is in a pony tail.  I'm also wearing yoga pants, because it legitimately feels like Fall outside, which is a false promise from Mother Nature, as its Fresno, and it will be 85 by Sunday. Bummer.  But for now, this is about as much as I can muster on a Thursday.  In fact I will not be surprised if I sleep in this.

Mac and I went from dance class to my Grandma's house.  It was fun to read her pile of "news" magazines, you know OK and Star.  I got to sit on my butt for awhile and let them entertain my three year old. I got to watch the Chew with my mom and my Grandma, which is a hoot, considering my Grandma will bad mouth Mario Batali every chance she gets.  She'll also tell you that the tall blond guy, has a boyfriend, but she's not sure if he's the wife or the husband.  I couldn't make this up if I tried.  But I love my Grandma, and at 81 years old, I cut her the slack that she is due.

I left Grandma's with high hopes for the rest of my day.  I'll start dinner now, you know prep it and such.  I'll do the dishes.  I'll write a blog post.  I love to pep talk myself.  It makes me feel like I'm one of those motivated mothers with her shit together.  I'm not in case you haven't noticed.  I did do the dishes.  I cooked some chicken for me. And then I turned on my laptop got to the blogger landing page, and read some of my favorite blogs.  I even left some comments.  Because today there content is way better than mine.  I get it folks.  If you made it this far, you're my hero.

As I was looking to Facebook and Twitter for motivation (instead of writing a post of any kind, sadly you got this), I realized that tonight is the season premiere for almost every show I love.  Big Bang Theory, Parks and Rec, Glee, Greys Anatomy, Parenthood. Shonda Rhimes obviously knew I could not handle Scandal on top of all of this and pushed that premiere until next week.  Seriously, though.  Most of that mess is going to have to live on the DVR until the weekend.  And what's up with the TV powers that be that have put my favorites on at the same exact time???  Hello?  Can you help me out here?  

Well once I figured out that I have a full schedule of TV watching tonight, I've decided that the blogging has to happen now.  The crafting for this adoption fundraiser is getting moved until tomorrow.  And my family will have to suffice on grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken nuggets and sliced apples.  

Because mama's got a schedule to keep.
Which tells you how amazing I am as a wife and mother, since the only schedule I do keep, is the one based on all my favorite shows.

Come back next week where the content will be amazing.
Except for Sunday.
Homeland premieres on Sunday.

Getting my oil changed

If you think that this post is about my car, you'll be very disappointed.  This post is in fact about my annual exam, because I hold nothing back on this blog.  As I age, every year my trip to the OBGYN is a new adventure in the land of reproduction.  It's like going every year after you are a certain age, is both annoying and depressing.  So why not share what many of you have to look forward to as you age gracefully, or as it is in my case, not so gracefully.

It became very clear to me the morning of my appointment that Wednesday mornings are OLD LADY DAY at my OBGYNs office.  Not a pregnant belly in sight.  Which I have to say was pretty refreshing, because those baby bellies leave me envious as I walk in to my "old lady oil change" appointment.  Instead I was seated across the room from a woman who was, wait for it, painting her nails.  Yes.  I swear on Brazilian waxes everywhere.  She was in the the waiting room painting her nails.  Then, when her name was called, she acted all put out that she couldn't grab all of her things with wet nails.  Holy Shiz.  I couldn't help but laugh and then post it to my Facebook status.  I mean, I get having pretty toes at an oil change is important, unless it's the dead of winter and you get to wear socks in the stir ups.  But nails, are you serious?  Then after she left, two more ladies walked in and were confused by the noticeable smell in the air.  I explained what happened and they were both shocked as well.  As Tricia commented on my Facebook, I get all the winners.

Once I was called back I had to step on the scale so they could tell me how much fatter my ass has gotten in the last year.  Don't ever go on a diet that tells you that you can eat all the avocados you want.  Those a-holes come back to haunt you.  Also, word to the wise, don't try to tell a woman that it's water weight.  It's not.  It's fat.  We know it's fat.

Once we established my weight gain, and talked about my over all "lady health"; I then sat for 45 minutes in a paper dress, that opened in the front with a paper sheet over my lower half. That bench/table is not comfortable.  It's not even long enough to accommodate a short person like myself.  So I sat there Facebooking, Instagramming, and generally cursing everyone since I was freezing my ass off in a paper dress.  As a side note, I didn't Instagram because I didn't even think about how flattering my paper dress would look.  I mean that would have been on hell of a WIW post.  

Now for the real reason I'm boring you with this oil change story.  Once my nurse practitioner took my general health again, asked about my "cycles", and if I had any concerns; she started the conversation on NovaSure.  Now I'm not being paid by anyone here, I really do want your opinions on this procedure.  Never heard of it?  According to the lovely brochure I received, it's Endometrial Ablation.  In other words, they laser and burn down your baby maker.  Ok, not really, but they do laser the uterine wall to remove the lining, which will make your periods almost non existent.  Which according to my NP will also basically sterilize me.  Uh, huh?  I was just asking about an IUD, I wasn't looking to burn down my uterus.  Or was I? 

I told her I'd have to talk it over with the Hubbs and seriously think about it myself.  I mean for the love of God here people, I have to be done right?  I feel done with this baby making business.  But then I see a newborn on Instagram or hold my neighbors baby, and I'm pretty sure I ovulate on the spot.  But then I think about the all day sickness, the sleepless nights (during pregnancy and after), and the fact that we are done with bottles and out of diapers.  I mean seriously people we are almost to the stage where every family member wipes their own butt.  

Plus the more I read about ablation, the more I hear stories about women getting pregnant. Oh, lord, you mean it's not 100%???  I'm pretty sure my uterine lining is a deserted isle anyway, and my eggs are way past their sell by date, but if you are going to laser and burn down my baby maker, you better make sure it's full proof.  

Until then I'll be over here, still counting days between cycles, and making sure that the Trojan Man is living up to it's reputation.  Because we can almost wipe our own butts, and if that's not freedom, I'm not sure what is.

What do you think?  Have you had an ablation?  Heard of it?  Know someone?

PS:  did you notice that I didn't use the "V" word once?
That's because I'm trying to limit my search terms.
Happy Thursday.

Products I'll actually use {ParadiseVoxBox}

This is a sponsored post.
All products provided to me by Influenster
via the Paradise Vox Box.

Wait!  Before you click out of this page because you just know this is going to be a super boring product review, let me say this:

I actually like these products, and not just because they were free.

About a month or so ago, I received the Influenster Paradise Vox Box in the mail.  And like the horrible blogger that I am, I failed to fill your tweets and Facebook feeds with products.  My apologies.  But I can barely tweet my regular posts, let alone products.  So I decided to pay Influenster back for these free bees by dedicating an entire post to some products that I may have never known about!

I'm going to start with my favorite product from the Vox Box, the Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion styling oil.  Seriously this is my new favorite hair product.  I was a little worried about it since I have oily scalp, so I only applied it to the ends.  The best part was that I let it air dry.  Usually when I do this, my hair ends up stringy and frizzy.  Not with this stuff.  My hair was shiny and seemed thicker and not a fly away in sight.  Also a plus, on a day that I let my hair air dry in the morning, I flat ironed it in the afternoon.  It came out perfect.  My hair looked like my gal at the salon had done my hair.  I'm telling you, this hair oil is tops.  It retails for $5.98, which is a steal!  And with only 2-3 pumps per use, seriously you may never run out!!

My daughters love the Goody Tangle Fix brush.  That would be that blue thingy up there.  Caitlin has so much hair, and combing it is such a chore, and a fight, and a cry session, that sometimes I don't comb it at all.  Truth.  This brush did ease some of the pain, but did not work in Caitlin's thick hair when it was wet.  That's a word of warning to any of you readers with super thick hair.  Now for Mac's super thin hair, it works wet or dry.  Caitlin like it because she could use the brush and comb her hair herself without pain.  Score one for mommy.  I'd recommend this brush to someone with medium or thin hair.  It retails for around $7.99, so it would be worth it.

My second favorite product was the Olay Fresh Effects/Shine Shine Go Away Shine minimizing cleanser.  That's a mouth full.  All you really need to know is that it has great lather (a little goes a long, long way) and is great for taking off your makeup.  Since I don't wear make up on a regular basis, I can't say I noticed a huge difference in my pores, but I did like the way my skin felt.  I'd be interested to know how the rest of this line works.  It's an oil free line which is great for me, since I still break out like a 16 year old.  This cleanser retails for $6.99 and you get a ton for your money.  

Included in the Vox Box was an NYC New York Color Sparkle Eye Dust Eye Shadow in Smoky Topaz.  What that means is that it was a tube of shimmery dusty eye shadow with it's own applicator.  I liked the color, it was pretty neutral which is right up my alley when I'm wearing eye shadow.  What I didn't like is that when I opened it, dusty sparkles went all over my counter.  This may be my own inexperience with new beauty products.  I mean if I'm being honest, I haven't bought new shadow in a year, let alone eye shadow in a fancy tube.  Also the color wasn't as intense as you would think by looking at the tube.  That was ok for me, but someone else may be expecting more.  Overall I like the concept and the idea.  I wasn't searching for brushes at the bottom of my make up bag.  Plus at $2.99, who can complain???

Finally, I received a package of Dr. Scholl's For Her High Heel Insoles.  My only complaint is why couldn't these have come to me in time to use in my "ankle breakers" that I wore in Vegas.  A little soft gel in the arch never hurt anyone.  These would have been perfect for the late night dancing at the club.  Or all the walking to and from the Casinos.  But if you have an event coming up where you need to wear heels or wedges and be on your feet, these just may be your new best friends.  They are the most expensive of the products at $10.99, but really can you put a price on comfort?

So yes, this absolutely was a product review, but I promise, I really do use all of these products.  If you are a blogger and would like to review products for Influenster, check them out here.  You can also like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.  If you'd like to read more reviews about any of the products mentioned in this post, search #ParadiseVoxBox on Twitter.

What do you think?  Have you tried any of these?
Will you try any of them now?

Thief {the weight loss journey}

"Comparison is the thief of joy."
Theodore Roosevelt

This has to be one of my favorite quotes.  I had seen it on Pinterest, but it brought me more meaning at the Elevate Conference last May, when Ashley talked about blogging truths.  She used the quote to reiterate: This [blogging] is not a competition.  She was so right, but the quote has stuck with me and has popped up in other areas of my life.  Financially, emotionally, and as of late physically.

A year ago, I had just run Color Me Rad.  A huge feat for someone who swore on her iPhone that she hated running.  Training for Color Me Rad taught me that if I started slow, I could fall in love with running.  I may have been running at a snails pace, but I still ran that whole thing, which took me about 30 minutes.  The fact that I ran for 30 minutes was cause for celebration, but so was the size of my thighs.  The ability to fit in a smaller sized pant.  A body that I really liked.

That's pretty much my routine.

But like most things in my life, I fell off the wagon.  I got busy.  The rest of my life got in the way, and since there was nothing to "train" for, I let it go.  I ran occasionally when I had the chance, but never with the same intensity.  Sadly I didn't change my eating habits but, given that I already eat pretty clean, I eat a lot.  I can sit down and eat a large piece of chicken, salad, an apple, half an avocado... I could go on, but even writing that here makes me feel pretty gross.  It's just I've never been able to control portions.  I'm sure this is nothing new to any of you who have fought the weight loss battle before.

So fast forward to June.  After a few months sitting at a desk for a part time stint at my seasonal job.  Late nights, super early mornings, and the obsession that I had to drop 10 pounds, only to gain 5 instead.  I made excuses to avoid exercise, and even when I did, I complained.  I let Jillian kick my ass for 2 full weeks before I gave up, promising myself I would get out there and run.  I think I ran twice the entire month.

Every morning, every night.

Even when I was prepping for Vegas, I ignored the creeping scale.  I ignored the tightness in my shorts.  I blamed it on my almost 40 metabolism.  I blamed it on not having the time to cook.  The hot Fresno summer being too hot to run, or walk or do anything.  I blamed everything and everyone except myself.

Hello self.  Get your shit together.

My friend Julie started the 10 pounds by 10/10 program on her blog, just about 4 weeks ago. It was a way to motivate us bloggers that were looking for a reason to get moving.  For those of us who felt like we needed to drop some pounds.  I joined in thinking this was just what I needed.  Thinking I would push myself to lose those last 10 pounds that are threatening to ruin fall and jeans weather for me.  As of now, I only have one pair that fit.  One pair.  And it's not the pair that still has the tags on them!  So 10 by 10/10 was going to work for me.

But here I am.  No obvious changes.  I have been working out for 40 minutes 4 mornings a week.  I've kind of changed my eating habits by cutting out things like nuts and raisins.  I've cut back on the avocados.  Added in some more eggs whites and taken out some egg yolks.  

I mean really.  How awesome would this be??

Friends, the scale has not budged.  My jeans don't fit any better than they did 4 weeks ago. I'm still hungry when I go to bed.  And I've been so frustrated.

Then last week I went for my annual exam (blog post to follow on that trip).  As I was ushered back to step on the scale, I whined, Do I have to?  And the nurse, so sweet and polite, said "If I looked like you, I'd weight myself every day".  Perspective can punch you straight in the nose people.  

For the stranger that sees me, I'm sure they see a skinny bitch with nothing to complain about.  That would be true.  However no one knows how tight my jeans and shorts are.  No one knows how different my body looks behind closed doors.  No one knows how it feels to know, you have let yourself down.  But I needed every bit of that comment from my nurse that day.  I needed to be reminded that it's not about being skinny, it's about being healthy.  It's about feeling good, and moving.  Even if you move at a snails pace.  It's about acknowledging that bigger jeans aren't the end of the world, even though they feel that way.

That night after my annual, I went for a run.  I was surprised that I could run for long periods of time, with little walking breaks in between.  It felt great.  Just me and the pavement.  Music blasting in my ears.  And just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore, Holy Grail came on. And I pushed myself.  Giving it all I had.  Because I was tired of comparing myself to a jean size.  A portion of food.  A picture of a person who is five inches taller than me and 10 years younger.

Comparison is a thief.
And I can't let that bitch steal from me anymore.

Love and Football

Fresno State 41.  Boise State 40.

Yes.  We most certainly are: That Couple.

Celebration Selfies.

If you don't live in Fresno, Boise, or have a football team in the Mountain West conference, then this may be news to you.  On Friday night, after eight, EIGHT years of heartbreaking losses, Fresno State, my Alma Mater, finally beat Boise State.  Like I said this may mean zilch in your college football loving heart.  You may care less about college football than you do about the NFL, and that's ok, but this game meant more to mean than just a long awaited win. Once it sank in that we (Fresno State) had finally broken the curse, I realized that this game symbolized so much more.

The last time Fresno State beat Boise State, I was a newlywed.  Just seven months into my blissful journey as Mrs. Crutchfield.  I was bright eyed, bushy tailed, and so very naive.  We, the Hubbs and I were both in that sweet spot.  Still living in the bubble of just wedded bliss. The, I wish you would pick up your socks, put the seat down, please but I'll let it slide because I love you so much bliss.  You know what I'm talking about.  That time when you will do just about anything to make the other one happy.  Even biting your tongue until it bleeds. Eight years ago it was just me and The Hubbs.  No babies, just us, living the dream.  And when Fresno beat Boise, seven months into our lives as husband and wife, we were unstoppable, on top of the world even.  But like so many games, or in our case challenges, in our married life, victory wouldn't always come so easy or so sweet.

What followed were eight years of not so wedded bliss.  Like Fresno State we put our best foot forward.  We fought the good fight, but our victories were sometimes hard won.  Other times there were no victories (like the games against Boise).  What no one bothers to tell you is that marriage is hard work.  So hard in fact that sometimes you want to throw in the towel. That you say horrible things to each other.  That one of you nags the other constantly, that one ignores the nagging constantly.  No one tells you that sometimes you have to fight one yard at a time.  That many times you are 4th and inches, and sometimes you go for it, and sometimes you don't.  No one tells you that every yard gained is a small victory even when your are just shy of a first down.  

Friday night was a huge win for Fresno State, but also a huge win for us.  The Hubbs and I have been working towards our own win since 2005.  After eight years of marriage we are back where we started.  We remember why we took those vows, we remember why we like each other, and want to spend time together.  For all the crap I talk about football season, the tailgates that start at dawn (I'm only kidding a little), and the late nights in the stadium; I love Fresno State Football.  It reminds me that at our core, we are still those college kids cheering on our Alma Mater.  We are still those newlyweds without a care in the world.  We are still those parents that can sneak away for a Friday night to cheer on our team as they win big, bigger than they have in eight years.

Because my marriage won big too.
And just like our team, we've worked so very hard for this win.

I believe in {InstaFriday}

Letting my kids ride the germ infested vehicles at the mall.

Forcing the Hubbs to take selfies.

Making your own game day shirts, even if it means 
stealing a sequin bulldog from your daughter.

Letting your kid destroy your cabinets so you can blog.
Even if it chaps your ass that you have to rewash every single thing.

Big bows and sunnies.

Early morning photos even if one kids hates you for it.

Chucks with princess dresses.  Forever.

Being that Mom at the restaurant.
As long as the kids stay quiet.

More game day selfies to prove its date night.

Cutting my own bangs with a razor, as directed in Redbook.
Yes, a razor you use to shave!

Being Cheer-tastic from the get go!

Playing Where's Caitlin at Toys R Us.

Letting Mac eat powdered donuts for breakfast.
Even though I know that they are covered in crack.
They have to be.

Posting selfies and realizing it takes work to get the right filter 
and the right angle to hide your mustache and old lady neck.
Ahh, selfies after 30.

Side buns.
Because why not?

Waxing despite the hot lava situation.

Old Lady magazine day.
I don't even miss Glamour.

Crafting for a cause.
Especially when it involves buttons and fabric like this.

I believe in Thursday nights filled with Fast Food and TV,
because Friday can't come quick enough.

I believe in Friday night football games.

I believe in weekends spent in PJs, spent in the driveway, spent eating ice cream.

I believe in messy, imperfect and happiness.

How about you?

Link up with Jeanette at Life Rearranged for InstaFriday!

The Dress {a short story} Blogtember

Hello dear readers.  Today I'm trying something completely out of my comfort zone.
The prompt for today at Blogtember is to write a short story using a specific sentence.
That means that every blogger linking up today with Jenni, will have written a story 
that starts with the exact same sentence.
Very cool, am I right?
When I saw this prompt, I knew.  I knew I wanted to take this challenge,
and give my writing skills a challenge.
But I've been scared to hit publish.  I'm not sure fiction is my thing.
So I'm leaving it up to you.  I trust you.
Be my editor, give me a review.
What do you like?
What do you dislike?
And if you are interested, check out other entries here.
The Dress

To say I was dreading the dinner party, would be the understatement of the century.  I was already sweating, one of my many postpartum perks.  I could feel my makeup threatening to smear as sweat started to bead on my nose.  My hair, already damp at the nape of my neck, was starting to frizz.  This is exactly why I stopped bothering with things like showers and makeup.  My hair dryer was as shocked to see me as I was to see it.  Why, why, why did I agree to this?  Why did I say yes?  

As I sat on the bed to wrestle myself into my Spanx, I could hear Addy crying.  Addy always cried, and Caleb always tried his damnedest to comfort her.  But we both knew what she wanted.  She wanted me, always me.  No matter the time of day, no matter the situation, Addy always wanted me.  It was never ending, and I was suffocating.  Her crying only added to my anxiety as I pulled and tugged the beige spandex.  Was it possible that I was so out of shape that Spanx were going to do me in?

No, this dinner party would be my demise.  But I had no choice.  Melissa was turning 30, and that in itself was a crisis.  She was the last to hit the big three-oh, and had been having a daily meltdown since January.  In the last 3 months she had received 2 botox treatments, a chemical peel, and for tonight's party, a spray tan, a Brazilian wax, and new highlights.  She was also back to her prebaby weight, her baby (a month younger than Addy) was sleeping through the night, and was exclusively breast fed.  She was a walking advertisement for perfection, just as I was a walking advertisement for failure.  But she was my best friend, so I had no choice.  Oh yes, this was going to be a great night.

Looking into my closet for the umpteenth time, I again realized that nothing I owned would do.  In this closet were the clothes of a size 6 person.  She was long gone.  Thrown out with the placenta just over six months ago.  How could we have lost her so quick and so suddenly?  Replaced by this zombie in spanx and heavy eyeliner that would hopefully give off the impression of well, happy, content.  Hopefully.  I looked to the closet door and saw my newest enemies.  One red dress, one black dress, both sized 12. Double digit enemies bought at bargain basement prices.  

Black dress, red dress, fat, fat, fat, I sang softly in my head.

"Jenn, where are the bottle liners?", Caleb bellowed from downstairs.

"In the pantry, second shelf, left hand side, next to the formula", I bellowed back, which only tipped Addy to the fact that I was still in the house.

"Thanks", from a frustrated sounding Caleb.

Caleb was dreading tonight as well, but for different reasons.  Caleb had to put on a happy face.  Caleb was going to have to lie.  For me.  For every How are you, we would, conspiratorially, say Fine.  For every How is Addy, we would nod in unison Perfect.  It would be a Christmas and Anniversary present rolled into one.  I had asked him, no begged him to do it.  Please for the love of God, don't admit that we co-sleep.  Please say we are still breastfeeding, please say she sleeps through the night, please say...  So Caleb, with nothing left to lose, was going to lie for me.  Because we had stopped talking.  Because we hadn't had a night out in, how old was Addy?  Because Caleb, I was convinced had given up on me.

Black dress, red dress, fat, fat fat.

I longed for my sweats.  Couldn't I just wear sweats?  I mean my hair was freshly washed and combed.  No, sweats would not do.  Melissa had sent me a text of the new dress she bought from Banana Republic.  Tara would wear something that looked like something her mother would wear.  Nina would wear jeans, because Nina always wore jeans.  And yet all three of them would look flawless and comfortable.  I was pretty sure I was going to look like a sausage, screaming to break out of it's casing.  Hopefully I'd look like a pretty sausage though.  Black dress, red dress, fat, fat, fat...  I grabbed the black dress just as the door bell rang.

"Jenn, are you ready?  Mandy is here", Caleb, his I'm tired of waiting voice.

"Five minutes, give Mandy the rundown and the numbers", me in my hold your effing horses voice.

Tonight.  A dinner party for someone else's life.  Certainly not mine.  A dinner party for someone without 15 pounds of baby weight.  A party for someone who had slept more than four hours a night.  For someone who could wear a dress in a single digit size.  For someone with a baby who didn't cry all night, for someone who did feel like and look like a Holstein cow. A party for put together, well adjusted people, who were not Caleb and I.  

"Jenn are you ready?", Caleb, I'm ready to kill you voice.

I looked in the mirror.  I'd never be ready.  Certainly not tonight, and maybe not ever.  I wasn't looking at Jenn, I was looking at someone new.  Someone named Mom.  And just like my new black dress, that name didn't fit either.

Currently {According to Mac}

Listening to:
the Cup Song and trying to do the words;
Demi "Low-bottom", Heart Attack.
Anything on Kids Bop, including Justin "Tumblewake".

Grilled cheese sandwiches.
Powdered donuts, before dance class, and they make her crazy.
As evidenced in the above picture.

Fruit Beer (translation, Root Beer),
Blue Icees,
Sweet Iced tea, especially before 7 am.

Sweet swag.
Glitter hand bag.
Hello Kitty sunnies.
Sparkly sandals.

And Chucks and princess dresses.
Of course.

Happy on non school days.
Sad on School days.
Tired after a hard day of playing.
Grumpy if she hasn't slept enough.
Really pissed if she hasn't eaten recently.

More ways to destroy my kitchen.
Play food of any kind so she can make dinner for you.
A jumbo pink play kitchen from Costco.
More clothes for Black Baby.

An iPad of her own.
More prim and proper dresses that make her look like a lady.

All the toys she owns.
Her princess rocking chair.
And a TV in her room.
Yeah, because I'm that mom.
When I asked her to clean up this room, she said,
"But it's comfy like this".

Currently, I can't argue with that.

I have to thank Chelsea from Sunny with a Chance of Sprinkles.
Read her original post about her daughter here.
It's adorable, and her photos are amazing.
Thanks Chelsea!

How I've Changed {Blogtember}


Last week's prompt for Blogtember was How has blogging or social media changed you.  When I read it, a million ways flooded my mind.  There were too many to put into words and so I just sat here.  At the keyboard with a blank page.  How do you count the ways that blogging, simply self publishing your words, has changed you?  It's almost impossible.  

Recently I've been going back and reading some of my posts from my first year blogging.  Let me tell you, it's been an experience.  Some of the posts are so very long.  Some ramble a bit.  There have been typos, and run on sentences.  Rookie mistakes.  It was also refreshing, as I could plainly hear my voice.  The one I'm still using today.  The one that many of you comment that you love.  So while many of my posts are riddled with poor spacing, unedited photos, and mismatched fonts, it's very plainly me.

Sadly, as I go though my second year of blogging, I see the blogger I didn't like.  The one who was concerned with the numbers game.  The one who wanted in on every giveaway, wanted to sell lots of ad space, the one who was looking for any gimmick to grow her blog.  It was sad.  Pathetic.  I was so lost, and regrettably so was my voice.  Looking through them I'm surprised I got any comments at all, that I had any traffic at all.  Because who really wants to listen to someone go on and on about products they will never use again, ad space they are so desperately trying to sell, blog hops that will "maintain" their readership?

So here I am now.  Close to three years into this gig.  I still make zero money on this blog, save the occasional product review, the occasional partnership with another blogger.  I still have the same amount of followers I had close to a year ago.  Holding steady in my GFCs (which are useless now), and once in a while gain a reader or two on Bloglovin.  But those numbers don't mean much anymore.  Now I find meaning in comments and interactions.  Now I find meaning in making new friends and helping them grow their blogs and shops.

I've also found new meaning in words.  What I write.  What I say.  I've found new meaning in my voice and staying true to it.  I've become more confident, writing with my heart on my sleeve.  Bringing brutal honesty to an entirely new level.  Much to my husband's dismay I might add.  Confidence that has allowed me to drop the occasional eff bomb.  Confidence to admit the cracks in the exterior.  Confidence to be me, and continue to explore the new me.  The one that is still an imperfect mom, the one that is still not the best wife, the one who is still trying to hold on to her type A personality, in a type C (for chaotic) life.  Confidence that allows me to live this life, as imperfect that it is, and to share this life with you.  To show you that we all have similar stories.  That we are mostly on the same page.  To show that you and I are not alone in the journey that is motherhood.

Oh, how blogging has changed me.  Not just as a writer and a blogger, but as a person too.  I'm a better mother and wife, because I can share personal failures here.  Only to find they aren't that bad.  I can share stories that aren't really funny, but find a way to laugh at them anyway.  Blogging and writing has a great way of pointing out the silver lining.  Which is great, because most days I need that.  

I was so afraid to start a blog way back when.  Which seems so silly today.  But like with anything, there is always a time, and always a place, you just have to get there.  Blogging is now the thing that saves me.  The thing that motivates me.  The thing that brings me great joy and satisfaction.  Because every time I hit publish, I've done something.  Made something all my own.  With words, and a voice, and a feeling.  With passion and emotion.  With honesty and sometimes sarcasm.  

I guess the real question is,
Are there ways blogging hasn't changed me?

The fantastic blog Story of my Life
is hosting Blogtember.
This was the prompt for 9/12.
There are still prompts to participate in,
check it out!