Happiness is: this photo, just because

02/29/2012 at 9:06 pm | Posted in baby sunshine, Happiness is | 10 Comments
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Because I'm in the mood to have a little fun

02/29/2012 at 10:05 am | Posted in me | 9 Comments

Ten random things about me:

1. I was named for my Nana.
2. I love lima beans.
3.  Sometimes, when I’m drying my hair upside-down, I turn the heat onto my toes. They’re usually cold.
4. My dream day involves outlet shopping, french fries and a movie in the theater.
5. I played water polo in college, and since then have loved the smell of chlorine. And beer.
6. The Cracker Barrel is one of my favorite restaurants.
7. I talk out loud to myself all the time.
8. My favorite place in the world to be is at the beach. There is just something about the ocean.
9. I once jumped from a waterfall in Costa Rica. Like on The Bachelor. But without the fake boobs and TV cameras.
10. Sometimes, when my mind drifts, I wonder what celebrities are doing right this minute. Like last weekend when I was scrubbing the toilet, I wondered to myself, what’s Beyonce doing right now?

And here are my answers to ten questions from my friend Mandy’s “10 Things” post:

1. have you ever met someone famous?
Alex Trebec. Does that count? And I came within four feet of Eddie Vedder when I was in college. Which was life-altering back then.

2. what is your happiest childhood memory?
There are so many! My birthdays were the best. My family always made them so special.

3. favorite album of all time?
Ooh. This is tough. I have to declare a tie between Michael Jackson’s Thriller and The Immaculate Collection by Madonna because both bring back such awesome, silly memories.

4. are you a salty or sweet lover?
Both, equally. It’s a cruel cycle. I eat dinner, I want dessert. I finish dessert, I want Cheetos.

5. what is favorite guilty pleasure tv show or movie?
American Idol.

6. describe your favorite sandwich.
Granny smith apples, bacon and cheddar cheese between french toast slices sprinkled with powdered sugar.

7. what was your first pet?
A cat named Boots. Laura and I used to dress her up in doll clothes. She hated it, which made us love it even more.

8. what is your biggest accomplishment thus far in life?
Bringing Lily and Sophie into this world and being their mother.

9. what is the first blog you started reading?
dooce.com. I learned about her during her 2009 book tour, and it changed my life. I never knew this whole world of blogging existed. And that other women who had survived PPD were talking about! Online! I still check in with her blog nearly every day.

10. if you had to choose one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Yellow cake with chocolate icing.

Want to play along? Hop on over to Mandy’s blog!

Happiness is: beautiful new art

02/28/2012 at 9:40 pm | Posted in Happiness is | 1 Comment

I just bought this for the girls.
As soon as I saw it, I knew I couldn’t live without it.
Ever have that feeling?

(Wild Air by The Wheatfield on Etsy)

On letting go

02/28/2012 at 9:34 am | Posted in Motherhood | 11 Comments
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The steps are padded so she won’t get too hurt if she falls, I tell myself.

Sophie is climbing. Reaching up with little arms, grasping with determined fingers, pulling one leg up, then the other. Lily has already scrambled to the top. Kids swarm around them like flies on honey, scampering up the down part of the slide (why won’t their mothers stop them from doing this?), scaling the sides, stepping over my baby, pushing in front of Lily.

“Go ahead, Lily,” I say. “It’s your turn.”

She gingerly positions herself at the top of the plastic-coated padded “mountain” in the middle of her favorite mall park. Scoots forward, lets go.

I pry Sophie from the steps. She’s too little, I think. She can’t slide yet.

Lily climbs and slides. And repeats.

Sophie watches from her perch on the giant plastic turtle. Clearly discontent, she continues to try to crawl back over to the slide.

She’s too little. Right?

But maybe if Lily holds her. And I hang on from the side of the slide.

Maybe she can do this?

I follow Sophie over to the slide (how did she get so quick on her hands and knees?) and watch as she begins her ascent. This baby is fearless. So unlike her sister. She struggles with the last big step, so I pick her up and plop her between Lily’s legs at the top of the slide. I dash around the fake boulders and take Sophie’s hand. Lily pushes off and Sophie’s face lights up.

They squeal. My heart soars.

We repeat this a few times, then I realize my hand is no longer needed. Lily has a good grip on her sister. The slide is short. The landing is padded.

So I place Sophie in her sister’s lap.

And I let go.

Happiness is: Girl Scout cookies (and a giveaway winner!)

02/27/2012 at 8:35 pm | Posted in Happiness is | 1 Comment
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girl scout cookieThey’ll always be Samoas to me.

When I knocked on doors trying to sell Girl Scout Cookies 25 years ago, they were my favorite. And they still are. A close second? Frozen Thin Mints.

So how can the same girl who wrote this post be talking about Girl Scout Cookies? Good question.

I almost didn’t buy any this year. But then those little girls out front of the grocery store started doing high kicks and cartwheels, and my inner Brownie called to me and I just couldn’t say no. I only bought one box. I eat two (one serving) when I want to reward myself on occasion, and so far this single box has lasted two weeks in our house. A year ago, this would have been nothing short of a miracle.

All things in moderation, huh? I’m learning.

I finally remembered to draw the Blooming Tulip giveaway winner, and it’s Suz! Congratulations, lucky lady!

Happiness is: my little helper

02/26/2012 at 8:30 pm | Posted in baby sunshine, Happiness is | 2 Comments

This one’s a little blurry because the camera really wanted to focus on the cookware instead of the totally adorable baby right there in the center of the frame. I had to snap fast because baby is ON THE MOVE. She doesn’t have time to stop for the camera. It’s all I can do to keep up.

Whenever I start messing around in the kitchen, getting dinner ready or emptying the dishwasher, curious little Sophie scurries in to see what’s happening. I love this. She pulls up on the cabinets, plays with the magnets at the bottom of the fridge, or just comes over and plops down right next to my legs.

It’s amazing the difference in her energy level now that she’s feeling better. She’s constantly in motion. And I swear she looked at me and said “mama” this weekend. And maybe a bunch of other consonants. But “mama” was definitely in the stream! Can’t wait for it to happen again.

Happiness is: getting a big step closer to the Bridge Run

02/25/2012 at 7:59 pm | Posted in Happiness is | 3 Comments
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Cooper River Bridge Run bib

Look what came in today’s mail!

I was so excited to open it, I practically sprinted from the mailbox to the house. Also: it’s pretty cold outside.

I’ve been working hard to get ready for this race. I’m walking it so my goal is to finish in under two hours. Mostly, I don’t want to be the very last person crossing the finish line.

I’m so freaking excited. Would it be overkill to wear the bib to the park or the grocery store? You know, just pin it to my mom uniform.

Too much?

Happiness is: a long walk on a 75-degree February day

02/24/2012 at 9:38 pm | Posted in baby sunshine, Happiness is | 1 Comment
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Of course she didn’t go down for her real nap when we got home.
But it was totally worth it.
All that fresh air.
Happy baby, happy mama.

17 pounds

02/23/2012 at 4:51 pm | Posted in weight loss | 24 Comments
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I haven’t been writing about something very big in my life. I’m afraid of jinxing myself.

But today is the day! Because I’m excited and it’s high time I share this with you guys.

I’ve lost 17 POUNDS since Christmas.

That’s almost a whole Sophie!

And much to my surprise, it’s been relatively simple. No crash diets. No cutting of my beloved carbs. Although I haven’t had a biscuit or a piece of fried chicken in two months. Even I can’t believe that little fact.

I really have my husband to thank. He met with a nutritionist right before the holiday, and ever since then, he’s a motivated man. Don’t even get me started on how much weight he’s lost. Probably more than 25 pounds by now. His pants are falling off him.

The neat thing about what we’re doing is that it’s going to stick. We’ve changed our lifestyle — some big adjustments, some small — with the plan that this is how things are going to be from now on. We’re eating out less, we’re more aware of calories, we’re buying mostly whole foods, we’re baking fish and chicken instead of frying them, and we only indulge in “real” sweets on occasion (the rest of the time, it’s fruit, frozen yogurt, low-cal cookies, trail mix).

It was difficult to get used to at first because I LOVE to eat in restaurants, I live on sweets, and baked meats with steamed veggies for dinner sounded so boring to me. But as the weeks pass, I realize my tastes are changing. Vegetables actually taste good (epiphany)! Moderating cheese and bread and sweets isn’t that hard. We’re not depriving ourselves, so I think that makes a big difference.

In fact, our little family goes out for pizza every Friday night. But we load up on salad (even Lily!) and eat only a couple of slices.


This was my lunch the other day. No "diet" food in sight!

I’ve also stopped eating until I’m uncomfortably full. That never felt good anyway. And portion control has been really eye-opening. Until now I never knew a portion of meat was the size of a deck of cards. And a cheese portion is only a one-inch cube. Shoot, I used to eat a dozen cubes (with crackers) in a sitting.

I do miss cookies, though. And sweet tea. And cupcakes.

So I treat myself every now and then. And when I know I’m going to indulge a little, I just exercise that day or keep the rest of that day’s calories in check.

I walk a few times a week, and I have a little strength-training routine that I do while I watch TV. Before we began all this, I thought it would be impossible to squeeze exercise into my schedule. But it’s not. I use my lunch hours and the girls’ nap times. I do sit-ups before bed at night. I walk to the grocery store, often pushing one of the girls in the stroller.

My Fitness Pal is a wonderful app that’s helped me keep track of how many calories I’m consuming and burning. I also love Calorie King, especially when I’m trying to make healthy choices at restaurants. And I read The Mayo Clinic Diet cover to cover. It’s been a huge help.

My favorite foods right now are: Morningstar Farms spicy black bean patties (on whole wheat tortilla with salsa, lettuce, reduced-fat cheese and a bit of low-cal sour cream), Skinny Cow dreamy clusters and ice cream sandwiches (these little suckers are soooo good!), grilled fish, and eggs (I usually scramble one whole egg with one egg white). And my favorite breakfast is a whole-wheat English muffin with peanut butter and sliced banana. Protein really helps me stay full longer (which I thought was hooey until now.)

My goal weight is about 10 pounds away, and to stay motivated I picture myself fitting into shorts and a new swimsuit this summer. Once I hit the mark, I’ll still use these tools to maintain my weight. It’s so easy, especially with these apps, so I figure why not?

Above all, though, it’s so nice to feel good. Like, really good.

I don’t get winded after climbing a flight of stairs. I sleep better at night. I don’t cringe when I look in the mirror. And I hope I’m passing on to my girls the foundation for a healthy lifestyle and self-confidence.

I want them to love themselves much sooner than it’s taken me to do it.

Happiness is: a macaroni necklace

02/23/2012 at 2:24 pm | Posted in Happiness is, Small Fry | Leave a comment

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