Friday weigh-in

09/30/2011 at 9:29 am | Posted in weight loss | 21 Comments
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Those are my feet. Pretend they’re on a scale. Because I’m way too chicken to publish THAT number right now.

I also took some delightful “before” photos. Those will be revealed eventually. When I have some “after” shots to soften the blow.

The first week of my weight loss/get healthy experiment? Not too bad.I’m just so happy to finally get started.

Here are the stats:

The scale says:  0 (no loss, no gain)
Fried chicken count:  0 (this is big)
Exercise:  none (yet …)
Highs:  Writing this post; getting so much support; finally taking action
Lows:  Having to unbutton my pants on the way home from work Tuesday; the woman at the Gap searching loudly for size zero jeans
Moral victory of the week:  Walking right past Gigi’s Cupcakes without setting foot inside

How was your week? What steps did you take toward healthiness?

Little helper

09/29/2011 at 4:15 pm | Posted in Small Fry | 1 Comment

This is what happened when Lily decided to help me with a special project.

And then she couldn’t get the bag off her head.

I love this kid.

Happy birthday to my love

09/28/2011 at 9:26 pm | Posted in Love | 5 Comments
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Happy birthday to the man of my dreams.

The teller of stories, the assembler of toys, the tickler supreme.
The chicken nugget chef, the bottle-clad dad, the king of midnight feedings.
The dropper-offer, the picker-upper.
The maker of ponytails, pb & j’s, Lite Brite masterpieces, Dora hair-dos.
The creator of happy memories, living-room football plays, baby speak.

A whistle always on his lips. So much love in his heart.
The fisherman, the IT geek, the devoted father, the caring husband.
The nurturer, the peaceful soul, the hippie.

Happy birthday to the man of my dreams.

Suzanne vs. the scale

09/28/2011 at 9:23 am | Posted in weight loss | 28 Comments
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Well, here it is.

The post I never thought I’d write.

It’s too personal. Too embarrassing. And nearly everyone I know reads this blog (including people who see me on a regular basis at work or elsewhere).

But, it’s time.

I need to lose weight. My self-confidence is plummeting fast, and most of my clothes don’t fit (thank god for yoga pants).

Here’s where you come in: I need to be held accountable. I’ve tried this so many times by myself, but I usually hit a plateau and have a hard time staying motivated. Or I go and get pregnant and embark on nine months of binge-eating fried chicken and cupcakes.

So I figure if I write about it here, I’ll be forced to follow-up. To be honest and stay the course.

I’ve always been big. Not fat. Big.

And I’m mostly proud of it. I love being tall and athletic. I love that my heritage shows through my features. I love feeling strong, carrying my babies, pushing them out into the world. And now, lifting and chasing and loving on them.

But right now, I don’t love my weight. Or my belly.

You might hate me for saying this, but I’ve never had a belly. Even after giving birth to Lily, it shrunk right back (thanks to a steady diet of depression, anxiety and sleeplessness). But today? I weigh the same amount as the day I left the hospital with Lily. And that is a scary thing, y’all.

I overcompensated for breast-feeding all summer, figuring I could eat more because I was burning so many extra calories. And I’ll readily admit that I’ve maintained my carb-and-sugar pregnancy diet. I was so sick for most of my pregnancy that I ate only the things that sat well: bread, pasta, cookies, cupcakes, pizza, chicken biscuits. Lord, the chicken biscuits. It doesn’t help to work right down the street from Bojangles and to live around the corner from Chick-Fil-A.


There’s also this: I’m an emotional eater. If I’ve had a bad day or a really good day, I feel like I deserve that huge sweet tea or that cookie the size of my face.

I’m not surprised to be in this situation. After four months of scrutinizing my diet at every single meal because everything I ate affected my baby, I felt deprived and angry. I gave up dairy, chocolate, any source of caffeine, any food that may possibly give Sophie gas or prevent her from sleeping. So those fatty foods I actually was allowed to eat? I ate A LOT of them. Vanilla sandwich cookies by the sleeve. And the aforementioned chicken biscuits.

But I’m ready for a change.

I bought a scale, started a food diary and officially swore off fast food (it’s a start). I’m trying to figure out an exercise plan. And I’m taking you along for the ride. Thanks in advance for bearing with me.

I want to lose 20 pounds by Sophie’s first birthday: May 7, 2012.

Here we go …

On the farm

09/27/2011 at 9:45 am | Posted in family, Love, oh the places we go, snap happy | 4 Comments
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My grandparents’ farm is a little slice of heaven. Complete with astonishing views of rolling hills, a menagerie of animals, a red barn and a living room so cozy I almost always fall asleep on the couch.

Not to mention my Nana, who names the animals after the kids and sings The Twelve Days of Christmas with her own special flair.

For our family, the farm is …

being so happy you just can’t help running with your arms up in the air
catching up with family over a glass of sweet tea or a plate of barbecue
riding a big green tractor

rolling in the grass
talking to the burros
gathering on the porch

feeding the goats
hanging out with cousins
eating until your pants pop
playing bocci on the lawn
breathing fresh, crisp air

picking grapes, raspberries, blackberries
rocking back and forth and back and forth
listening to the animals talk to each other


For us, the farm is love.

(Hurricane Irene kept Marc at work during our most recent visit to the farm. How we missed him!)

Twinflowers' memorial

09/26/2011 at 11:41 am | Posted in Love to Zaria | 7 Comments
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I’ve been struggling to find the right words to describe the memorial Saturday for Abigail and Zaria.

Beautiful. Warm. Peaceful. Painful. Cathartic.

In the middle of the damp woods, at dusk, with a fire blazing, under a cozy shelter. Food, family, friends, kids running and squealing through the trees. Engulfing hugs from Hope and Luke that brought tears to my eyes. Hearing their words, seeing the pain etched into their faces. Squeezing Lily every chance I got.

The most striking part of the memorial was seeing and touching the teeny-tiny baby things. Zaria’s entire diaper fit inside the palm of my hand. Her blood pressure cuff was just big enough to wrap around a couple of my fingers. Her teensy hat, smaller than some of those that belong to Lily’s baby dolls, was big on her head, Hope said. And the footprints. They were most heart-breaking.

I’m so afraid that sharing these feelings is going to somehow hurt my friends, or make them angry. The grief they carry in their hearts is impossible to imagine. And my sadness almost feels selfish.

At the end of the ceremony, we all walked a knotty, muddy path down to the river. Hope, Luke and their children climbed out onto the wet rocks and gently placed beautiful little boats — pieces of tree bark adorned with flowers, baby’s breath, leaves — into the current.

I watched as they floated downstream, punctuating the dark river water with little bursts of red, orange, yellow, white. A living memorial. A blessing.

Love to Abigail and Zaria.

When art is a contact sport

09/24/2011 at 2:12 pm | Posted in Small Fry | 10 Comments
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It started innocently enough, her first experience finger-painting.

Sweet little swirls on paper. Red, yellow, green, blue.

And then?


Bubble girl

09/22/2011 at 9:17 pm | Posted in baby sunshine | 3 Comments
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This baby is full of all sorts of cool tricks.

The latest? Bubble-blowing, complete with sound effects.

How I adore her.

Love to Zaria: grand total + prize winners

09/21/2011 at 12:54 pm | Posted in Love to Zaria | 5 Comments
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More than 300 donors.

30 lovely sponsors.

A bajillion Facebook posts, tweets, blog posts, emails.

$8,372.32 raised for the Love to Zaria fund.

One family grateful beyond words.

And one overwhelmed, humbled blogger.


A million times over.


Below is the list of prize winners. You all will hear from me soon, with details about how to claim your prizes.

– Lisa P: Svan high chair from Scandinavian Child
– Stephanie G: Touring Tote from Petunia Pickle Bottom
– Blair M.: $100 gift certificate from North American Bear Company
– Maggie A.: $100 gift certificate from Jam Jewelry Designs
– Sarah M., Suzanne L., Susan M., Laura B.: One of four zipper pouches from Charm Design
– Alethea P.: $50 gift certificate from Modern Nursery
– Elizabeth H.: $50 gift certificate from Emma Dear Vintage Goods
– Angela B.: Custom name banner from chock full of …
– Joel C.: Set that includes headband, earrings, ring from Hot Pink and Sequins
– Julia A.: Watercolor flowers pillow from Michelle Smith Designs
– Carla H.: $40 gift certificate from Sweetpea Prints
– Connie S.: New baby gift basket from Epona and Oak
– Katharine G.: $25 gift certificate + vintage apron from Roulette Vintage
– Chelsey S.: $25 gift certificate from Brilliant Handmade
– Melissa H.: Set of personalized stationery from The Blooming Tulip
– Jocelyn R.: Set of notecards from paperbird (available at Epona & Oak)
– Jamie R.: Family 4-pack from Marbles Kids Museum
– Sarah R.: “Kindness Feels Pretty” necklace from ssd jewelry
– Andy M.: Set of gold and silver leaf crosses and heart from Kaye Lambert Sculpture
– Denise B.: Bath and body products from Earth Mama Angel Baby
– Erin C.: $25 gift certificate from It’s a Blessing
– Carrie A.: Serigraph from Studio Laura Loving
– Michelle M.: Custom initial necklace from It’s By Design
– Amanda S.: $100 gift certificate from Silver Satellite Studios Photography
– Erin S.: $50 gift certificate from Zizzies and Izzies
– Rebekah M.: Cuff bracelet from Hothouse Posey
– Lisa M.: $15 gift certificate from Ducky Stuff
– Brian M.: Ticket 4-pack from the Carolina Rollergirls
– Debra Q.: Wrap, blanket and knot hat from Moby Wrap
– Susan S.: Set of 10 notecards from Cards by Jodi

Now for the nitty-gritty. Here’s how the giveaway shook out:

I transferred all of the donors’ names from PayPal into an Excel spreadsheet, and I added extra entries for anyone who left a comment that they had publicized the fundraiser in some way. Then I eliminated anyone who asked not to be included in the drawing. (Then I had a stiff drink and remembered why I did not major in math).

The prizes are recorded in another excel spreadsheet. So I worked my way down the list of prizes, drawing winners at random for each prize. It does worry me that someone with no kids might end up with a fancy high chair, or a man might end up with a ladies’ purse. But I just have to believe that these wonderful prizes will land in the right hands, in some form or fashion.

Hope and Luke and their family are holding a memorial service for the twins this weekend at a beautiful local river park. I cannot wait to wrap my arms around my friends. And if I can get through my tears, I’ll try to write about the experience for you guys. After all, you’ve been with us every step of the way.

Thank you again. And again. And again.

This has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

Why hello there little fox

09/20/2011 at 3:23 pm | Posted in Bloggy | 6 Comments
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Anyone who’s been reading this blog for more than, say, a week knows that I like to change the design ridiculously often. Which goes completely against my Virgo nature. But I can’t help it.

I like to keep things interesting. And I get twitchy if my banner starts to feel old.

Enter the amazing Jess.

She’s a designer and author of the blog IROCKSOWHAT. She created mister fox up there, as well as the funky social media buttons to your left and my new badge, way down there at the bottom. She’s also agreed to indulge my multiple personalities by giving pretty*swell a new look every so often.

I adore her work, and I’m really excited to have original art in my header.

I already can’t wait to see what’s next.

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