Monday, January 30, 2012

a weighty issue.

I was pregnant for most of 2008. When I wasn't pregnant, I was nursing and figuring out life with a newborn.

In 2009 I was figuring out how to work fulltime and be a mom. 

In 2010 please see above reference for 2008. 

In 2011 I was nursing for most of the year and also moving my family 1000 miles away.

Welcome to 2012.  The year I get my body back.  I am not growing a child. I am not feeding a child.  I am feeding my face to provide for me and only me.  And I'm going to lose 15 pounds. 

I am not fat.  I know that I am not fat. I don't look in the mirror in disgust.  But I also know I weigh 25 pounds more than I did when we got married almost 7 years ago (what!?!?).  My diet then of slimfast, lean cuisine, and alcohol isn't sustainable and no one should actually exist on fewer than 1000 calories a day and lots of exercise. 

It starts today.  A sustainable diet and exercise.  Nothing crazy.  Fewer carbs, calorie counting, and good old fashioned workouts.  I will not cut out any one food group nor will I cut out alcohol.  We will still eat out and I will have cake on my quickly approaching 31st birthday.  Sustainability is key. 

About a year ago I did this same thing and lost 15 pounds.  I have just hung out there.  So I will do it again.  And pray to maintain.

I have issues with my weight.  Not like eating disorders or anything. I don't need counseling.  I have a blog instead.  But I'm tall.  And big boned.  I never weighed 120 pounds.  I'm not ever going to weigh that.  My goals are realistic ones.  But I still have issues.

I was a chubby prepubescent.  And I have a few vivid memories from middle school when kids were mean.  I remember one time in eighth grade walking up the stairs and hearing two of the popular boys guess how much I weighed.  That'll mess with your psyche. 

I am a sizist.  Just for myself though.  I watched a lot of Stacy and Clinton in my day and I know you should dress for the size you are because you actually end up looking skinnier.  But I won't buy a pair of pants if I have to go up a size.  Won't do it.  I know that's irrational.  I know that all manufacturers have different measurements.  I also know that the size of clothing isn't found on the outside of the pants for the world to see.  Like I said, issues.

When I get on the scale (which is too often... this new diet I will weigh myself twice a week, not twice a day praying for a miracle each time) I hold onto something and then let go like it will trick the scale.  Or myself.

It was just recently that I realized it's normal for adults to discuss challenges with weight.   That no one is going to judge me for admitting I need or want to lose a few pounds.  It's not something I have ever discussed in depth with anyone.  Until now.  Because more and more I am realizing that this is normal.  That most people (save a lucky few) have this challenge.  I am not alone.

I am writing about it, saying it 'outloud', to hold myself accountable.  There won't be weekly updates.  But I will celebrate small victories. 

it starts today.

Saw this on Kim's blog and then on Pinterest. Found it appropriate and motivating.

So there you go.  It's out there.  On the table.  Time to be accountable. 

15 pounds, I'm coming for you.  Cause come vacation time (yes, people who live in FL still go to the beach for vacation) this mama is gonna look like she did before she was a mama.  Or at least resemble that young svelte 26 year old.  

Monday, January 23, 2012


That's what he called me.  Coralee. 

"Coralee" he would say. "Coralee, what is the meaning of this?" as a giant smile spread across his face. 

umpah and i circa 1988

I called him Umpah. Thereby paving the way for all the grandkids who followed to also call him that. Umpah.
Umpah passed away this weekend.  I said goodbye.  We all did.  Doesn't make it easier.  But knowing he's at peace now, that he can rest now, that makes it a little easier.

I share this not to solicit sympathy, but to share a life.  Share a passing, and a lesson.

Frozen bananas. He would unpeel them and wrap them in saran wrap.  Then freeze them.  And eat them.  All the time.

umpah at penn state in 1942, before the war.

Penn State.  Jo Pa.  Umpah graduated from Penn State in 1948, a year before he married my grandmother.  And the year before my Dad was born.  My grandfather was a Nittany Lion to his core.  He bled navy blue and white.  And he loved Joe Paterno.  Joe Paterno died on Saturday night too.  The coincidence didn't escape any of us.  And it's comforting in a way.  To know Umpah and JoPa are up there, having a beer, talking about tackles. 

He ate salad but never vegetables.

My grandfather loved swimming.  The sport.  With a passion.  He groomed my dad, uncle and aunt to be amazing swimmers and athletes.  And he loved the beach. 

Cold beer.  Miller lite more specifically.  Or gin.  Football.  Ice cream.  Those hats with the mesh in the back.  The weather.  Crossword puzzles.  Shooting the bull.  Watching his stocks.  Newspapers.

My grandfather shaved every single day.  He retired 27 years ago and shaved every afternoon. 'You have to shave, Cor.  Everyday.'  he would respond when I asked what he was going to do at two in the afternoon on a Wednesday.

umpah and my younger brother circa 1988

The last few years Umpah had become less active, and less interactive.  He had Alzheimer's, forcing him to take a backseat in conversations, do a lot of nodding and smiling, and talk about the weather.   Alzheimer's takes away the person.  The personality.  Not the life, but the life.  The life like the energy.  The passion.  The enthusiasm.  And he struggled to get around.  It's not how he would want me to remember him.  And it's not how I will remember him.

umpah, grandma and my parents after my parents were married

Back up a couple weeks to Christmas week.  We spent it at the beach with my parents and my dad brought along home movies (formerly VHS tapes converted to DVD, for posterity).  We went back to the 80's.  When I was 8 and my brother 3.  When slouchy socks and tube socks were cool, horizontal stripes in bright colors were worn with stirrups and Keds, and when you drove a wood grain station wagon (you know the ones where the way back seat faces backwards and you stare at the people behind you) instead of a minivan if you had kids. 

And when Umpah was healthy. 

When he played tetherball with us, took my new rollerblades for a spin, let my brother tackle him while they played football in the backyard.  When he walked miles a day and went for a daily bike ride to Publix to pick up a paper and chat with his buds.  When he said things like, 'thing of it is Cor...' and 'Well I'll be darned...'.  He's in those videos the way I want to remember him.  The way he would want me to remember him. 

My grandfather fought bravely inWorld War II.  And the Battle of the Bulge.  He earned a bronze star and a purple heart. He came home, married my grandmother and started a family.  Three kids.  Six grandkids.  Two great grandkids.  All because two people loved eachother.

He wrote notes.  Lots of them.  His wedding gift to us was a fireworks show at our wedding.  Fourth of July style.  A loan from him enabled us to buy our first house.  He sent me one of those quarter collection things (when they first came out with the 50 states quarters).  He had filled in about 60%half of it.  The rest was up to me.  Dan finished it.  Umpah would be proud of that.  When I was in college and we would talk he would ask on the regular if I was Suma Cum Laude.  I, of course, was not, but he wanted me to know he wanted me to work hard.  Study hard. 

umpah around 1927

My grandfather met my children.  Not many people can say that.  Sure, my kids might not remember, but I will.  And I have the pictures to show them some day.  The pictures.  Not an online album that will someday go the way of the dinosaur.  An actual physical picture that I had printed and I dutifully filed away in an album.  A real album. 

We will celebrate his life soon.  The way he would want it celebrated.  With family and friends and cold beer.  Not crying over a coffin in a church.  We will toast him.  And remember him.  And honor him.  The way he deserves to be remembered and honored.  We will laugh about his quirks and habits.

We will wrap my grandmother in love and support.  Her parnter of 63 years is gone.  Her high school sweetheart.  My heart hurts for her.  His wedding ring rests on her ring finger, next to hers.  They will be together again (but not anytime soon!).

Here's the lesson. 

My dad sacrificed his coolness card and hauled that enormous video camera just about everywhere.  Didn't care how silly he looked doing it.  And sure then, it may have been a joke among us.  But now?  Now I am so very thankful to have those memories, those times when Umpah was healthy.  So thankful. 

Take videos of your kids.  With your parents, with your grandparents (if you're as lucky as I am to still have grandparents), at family get togethers, or just on a random Tuesday afternoon.  Doesn't matter who's watching.  Your kids will want to watch someday.  And they will appreciate it.
And take your camera.  Everywhere.  Take pictures.  And have them printed.  And put them in an album, or a box, or on your walls.  Have them printed.  Or have a photobook printed every year.  Just have something you can touch.  Memories you can actually hold on to. 

And.  Tell people you love them.  Out loud.  Don't assume they know.  Tell them.  Because it's what makes the world go round.

all because two people loved eachother

I love you Umpah.  And miss you.  And will hold hard to those memories.  Forever.  We will take care of Grandma.  Rest in peace. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

perfect parent. I am not.

I am not a perfect parent.  I lose my temper sometimes.  My kids eat pancakes for dinner (ahem, tonight).  I am not sure I say the right thing all of the time.  The list goes on.  But.  I am doing my best.  We all are. 

Or most of us are.

I try to be understanding of people's situations, or my lack of knowledge of people's situations.  Try not to jump to conclusions.  Try not to judge.  Because I don't know.  I don't know what people go home to at the end of the day.  I have no idea what goes on behind closed doors.  So I try not to judge (at least not immediately).

This time.  I can't help myself.

It was a gorgeous 70 degree Florida winter day and we took a jog to a nearby playground to meet some friends, play, chat, burn energy.  While chatting, a little boy (he's probably 5) runs by myself and a few friends and slams his shin bone into the edge of a stone wall.  I heard his bone hit the wall.  There's no padding on your shin bone.  That hurts.  A lot.  He reacts as any child would (I probably would have reacted this way as well) and falls down and starts crying.  We ask him if he's ok and then see his mom come sauntering over.  Not as quickly as I might have sauntered (I would have run if my kids bone had hit the wall like this, fully expecting it to be exposed and bleeding).  She picks him up and walks right by us saying to her son, and I quote, "Stop crying.  Boys don't cry.  Don't be a sissy."  End quote.

Cue jaws hitting the floor.  Or the synthetic playground surface.  This wasn't a playful conversation (as though those words coming from a mother could be playful).  This was a direct order.  Do not cry. You are a sissy.

She called her son a name.  Sissy to be exact.  She called him a sissy.  And told him not to cry. 

My dad cries.  My brother cries.  My husband has cried a few times. (sorry to give you up guys).  Real. Men. Cry.  Real men express emotion.  Gone are the days where men don't have the right to be sad or to show how they are feeling.  Gone is the stoicism.  Real. Men.  Cry.  And wear pink.

I'm not an expert on bullying, but I'm pretty sure this is how they are born.  Hell, his mom just bullied him.  So when this kid, sees another kid hurting, get hurt, or in pain, how will he react?  Will he run to his aid (as I hope my son would do some day) or will he laugh and call him a sissy? 

I have a son.  We are working hard to make sure he grows up into a kind, compassionate, ambitious, loving, passionate, considerate, good natured, sincere man (LBS if we achieve a quarter of those we'll be successful).  I know we won't get there by calling him names.

I'm not a perfect parent.  I let them watch too much tv.  I bribe with suckers all too often.  And I have never forced a vegetable.  I'm not a perfect parent. 

I'm just saying.  I judged her. And she deserved it.  That and a swift kick in the ass. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Absence make the heart grow fonder...?

I have been noticeably not around these parts of late. No particular reason. That whole not boring you with uninteresting things just to put up a blog post is the reason.

Can dogs live without a tongue? Cause around 3 this morning when the dog was licking his nonexistent balls for the third time, I considered grabbing the scissors from the knife block and taking care of it once and for all.

Had our first friend over last week without his mommy. It went swimmingly. Sure they destroyed the place but there was someone else to entertain. Pretty awesome. Have a playdate at a friend from schools house this morning. I don't know their last name and asked via text if she wanted me to stay or drop Cannon off and pick him up. I am sure I sound like mom of the year. I'm just saying. They live close. It's a christian school so surely they are good people. And I have laundry.

We are preparing for 8 days of visitors and I can not wait. Rooms have been painted. Menus are being planned. So excited to have old friends visit our new life. Friends who are really family.

I took pictures (shot photos... captured images... whatever you prefer) of food yesterday afternoon. And I really loved it. Little more creative. Little less pleading with small children.

I wrote an open letter to Trader Joe's basically pleading them to open a store here. Publishing it on another blog I write for. I am certain they will see it, read it, and instantaneously make making dinner at the Best household easier.

I put on a sweater last week. One time. We have turned the heat on twice this winter. True stories. Both of 'em.

The Best part? The friends coming south to play.

Monday, January 2, 2012

O&R new year's edition

Happy new year friends.  Hope it was fun.  And safe.  We celebrated at home.  Amongst luggage, laundry, boxes, and the Christmas turmoil we left behind when we set off for vacation.

We shared a bottle of champagne.  Good champagne.  And both still had a headache yesterday.  I have heard that to tolerate champagne you have to drink it on the regular.  Not sure I can afford that.  And know I can't tolerate that slight headache it brings me for long enough to 'build a tolerance'.

Thought today was a holiday.  As in no trash collection.  Was wrong.  Oh and not only was I wrong about trash but they rounded the corner to pick up Christmas trees too.  Know what happens when you see them three houses away and undecorate your tree in five minutes?  Not pretty.

So thankful to have had the last two days to recoup/regroup/clean/organize/get life back together.  Also so thankful school resumes on Wednesday.  Even if it is only three hours this week.

Never missed the dog so much in my life.  He's been at 'camp' since Christmas eve.  Never realized exactly how much food he cleans up off the floor until now.  When one year olds walk around with pretzel sticks it's not pretty.  At all.  He will have a smorgasbord in a few short hours.

E is definitely my daughter.  And not just because we look alike.  The child loves to eat.  Anything.  Anywhere. Anytime.  If you have food, she wants it.  And let's you know it.  This is endearing now.  When she's 12, probably not.  Hopefully she has her father's metabolism.

Do you know what a 'willit' is?  Apparently it's a yellow and blue snail like creature that spits on three year olds in their dreams.  Have a half asleep three year old tell you that at midnight and try not to laugh.  Dare you.

There is a 'hard freeze' here tonight.  Apparently that means you get out all your ugly old sheets and put them in your front yard.  Interesting.  There are sheets I should have saved for such an occassion.  My apoligies ahead of time to those of you who may be visiting us in the coming weeks.  Promise to wash them.  Swears.

Promised Dan I'd watch more movies with him this year.  I don't really love movies or even like them.  But he does.  Started last night with Horrible Bosses.  Hilarious.  Hoping he returns the favor by partaking in this season of the Bachelor.

Doing ok so far on my promise to blog more. You can thank me now.  Or later.  Whichever.