Monthly Archives: June 2008


When I picked Belle up at school today she ran over to her teacher and asked if she could bring “something-something” (I didn’t hear) home today. Teacher said yes, it was in her folder, and she ran over to get it.

While she was getting whatever it was, I asked the teacher about it, and she said that they had been making Father’s Day gifts today, and Belle quietly said, “I don’t have a dad.” While I definitely wish the teachers had remembered and taken this into account before starting the project, it sounds as if they turned it around nicely by telling Belle she could choose anyone to make the gift for. I was truly touched that she chose me!

It’s a laminated bookmark (Belle calls them markbooks, which we have taken to calling them in our house) with fingerprint bees on it, and the teachers wrote “Thank you for bee-ing my Mom!” on it. It’s very cute!

We sat outside after dinner tonight and Belle kept picking me clover flowers and shouting “Happy Mother’s Day!” Hey, I’ll take it!

How much would you pay to lose 5-10 pounds?

That’s the question I’m having an internal battle with myself over right now…..

There are 66 days until I leave for our family vacation. “Ragtopday, you’ve just reached Hump Day this week, what are you going to do next??”  “I’m going to Disney World!”  (in 66 days)

Yes, Belle, Krystal and I are going to Disney in August with our dear friends – there will be 10 of us and we are all so excited. But that’s not what I want to write about (at least not now). No, I’m here tonight to talk about weight.

I’ve talked about it before. And back oh, about 60 days or so ago, I was uber confident that I would be easily down 10 pounds in time for vacation just by paying more attention to what I was eating and laying off the junk. I lost a few pounds by doing just that, in fact.

I don’t want to lose the weight just for vacation, of course. But seeing as how we will be in Florida during the hottest time of the year, it would be nice to wear as few clothes as possible (meaning I’ll be showing much more skin than usual), and feel like I looked OK doing it. And also not feel my clothes digging into me when I’m sweating like a pig. I don’t know if it’s true, but if seems as if the thinner you are, the cooler you feel when it’s hot. I’d like to find out if that’s true anyway.

So, we’re at crunch time now. I could join Weight Watchers again. I have a good friend at work who shares the same struggles – we enjoy trading successes, failures, setbacks and little victories along our weight loss and fitness journeys. She had a baby last December and now weighs 10 pounds less than when she got pregnant! Frankly, I’m a little envious about how good she looks! She joined WW post-baby and is going to meetings instead of doing it soley online (which is how we both did it before). In WW, if you meet your goal and maintain it for 6 weeks, you’ve reached what they call “Lifetime” status, and don’t have to pay anymore, as long as you weigh in once a month and stay within 2 pounds of that goal. I’m intrigued, because there is a long term financial incentive built into that for me. I tend to lose a few pounds and then get over confident (see 60 days or so ago) and before I can say Dove Chocolate, I’m right back where I started.

The way I figure, I’ve only got about 5 pounds to lose. Ten would be nice, but honestly? I’m not sure I can maintain a lifestyle where I weigh 10 pounds less than I do now , long term. So let’s say 5. The current WW deal is $39.95 a month, so let’s say it takes me a month to lose 5 pounds. Then I have to maintain it for 6 weeks. That’s 10 weeks, and, rounding up, let’s call that 3 months. $120, give or take a few pennies. To lose 5 pounds.

When I said that to friend-at-work, she said “No, it’s to work on developing a healthier lifestyle that will then stay with you for the rest of your life.” And if Lifetime status means I can take advantage of the “member only” area on the web site forever, it might be kind of worth it.

Or am I buying into the weight loss industry hype and if I really do what I know I’m supposed to do…..

So, how much would you pay to lose 5-10 pounds? Or if you have more than that to lose, how much would you pay to get to a weight you felt like you could maintain for the rest of your life?

IPGMFTAYGTEI – or “I paid good money for this and you’re going to enjoy it!”

Snickollet has a haunting post about what she calls ME, or Misplaced Expectations and IYGIOIAO (If You Give in Once, It’s All Over). She is referring to parents who beat themselves up when a planned outing, large or small, doesn’t live up to what we expected of it, and the whole issue many of us wrestle with in setting limits for our children. I won’t attempt to recreate what she says here (click over to read it instead!), but I’ve been thinking about this a LOT over the weekend. I have come up with a corollary to these two syndromes, which I’ve given the horrendous alphabet soup acronym: IPGMFTAYGTEI

Belle is taking swimming lessons. Due to a scheduling error on my part, her current session is on Friday afternoons at 4 pm. This means every Friday I have to leave work early (by 3:20) to pick her up at school, take her to the Y, and then watch her half hour lesson. Both girls were previously taking them on Saturday mornings, but the whole baseball/ice skating thing got in the way (don’t ask!) and swimming had to move. Krystal doesn’t really need lessons at this point, and she’ll swim everyday at camp starting up here in another two weeks. I really, really want Belle to have some confidence in the water, and learn a bit at the same time. I am of the opinion that everyone should know how to swim – it’s a life skill like tying your shoes, riding a bike and sewing.

Anyway, Belle talks about swimming a lot during the week. Then once we get to the pool she has to be coaxed in. Not so unusual in a four year old, right? OK, and I’ve got no beef with that. But this time she perched herself on the top step and refused to go down into the water. The instructors all tried luring her in, using their sunshiny teacher voices. She was having none of it. I whispered to her that it was time for swim, and stepped away. Nothing. One of the teachers whisked her into the water, spinning her around, hoping this would make her laugh. Nope – it made her scream!  So the instructor put her back on the steps where she immediately scrambled back to the top.

At this point I’m noticing the time slipping away – it’s only a 30 minute lesson. I’m getting all worked up because:

  1. I paid good money for this and you’re going to enjoy it! (or at least participate for crying out loud!)
  2. I had to leave work early for this
  3. I have no idea how to fix this!

I was so angry I couldn’t see straight. I went over to the step and led her off to the side where I gave her a stern talking-to and I honestly could barely focus on her face I was so angry. Whatever I said ended up working, because she did get in the pool and had a fine 17 minute lesson. When it was over she was as excited as always, asking, “Did I do a good job?”

Yes, but Mommy didn’t. Need. More. Skills. And to learn to let go of ME, IYGIOIAO, and IPGMFTAYGTEI.


Last Monday, Memorial Day, I put the girls to bed after a busy three day weekend. I had a DVD from Netflix that I hadn’t gotten around to watching, and after surfing the web for a bit, decided to put it in and watch one epidisode of a new (to me) series, and then call it a night.

I put in the Season 1, Disc 1 for “Arrested Development“, and ended up staying up 2 more hours! There was no way I could stop after just one episode!

Seriously, have you seen this show?? If you have not, I highly recommend you check it out. I now have a crush on Jason Bateman, who plays the “one son trying to hold it all together”. I remembered him mostly as Mallory’s baby brother, but I must confess I was a tad disappointed when I learned he is married to Paul Anka’s daughter. Ah, what could have been!

This is a smart, funny show, with a different twist on things. In case you don’t know, the premise is a family business which has been rocked by the arrest of the father for SEC violations, and how his wife and 4 grown children deal with it all. The dysfunction is palpable, but part of the charm. Ron Howard (I almost said Richie Cunningham) narrates the show and the narration is hilarious – dry and obvious at times, which just makes it funnier.

Anyone got any other good shows to recommend?

Two Years (and wait, I gotta write that down!)

Two years ago today I met Belle for the first time. She was 28 month old.

Krystal and I, along with my dear friend Sandy, had flown to China. We spent 3 days touring in Beijing with several other families also adopting a child, and flew into her provincial city that afternoon. We were met at the airport by our guide, who immediately greeted Krystal by name, and she fell head over heels for him (he really was fabulous!). As we loaded into the mini-van for the hour long drive into the city, he briefed us, including the news that we were heading directly to the government office to meet Belle, rather than checking into the hotel first. GULP!

It was a soggy, heavy day, and we learned that it had rained everyday since January. That’s fine, but when you add the 100% humidity, it was just oppressive. The three Americans all had shorts and tank tops, and still were sweating buckets, but the locals all wore long pants and shirts – I don’t know how they did it.

When we got to the government building we were led inside. There was a sad girl sitting on a couch in an office, and in my panic, I turned to Sandy and asked “Is that her?”. No, it was a 7 year old girl who was waiting to meet her newly adoptive mom as well. After what seemed like a long time, a van drove up and a large woman walked in carrying a little sprite of a thing with a Pebbles-like pigtail on the top of her head. Belle. She was the most delicate creature. She had on two pair of pants and two long sleeve shirts. Wonder of wonders, she was sweating.

She mostly looked all around, and it was only when Krystal had a meltdown because she wanted to touch her, that she cried. And what a cry – it was an alto cry, a bass cry. My heart broke for her, thinking of all she had just lost, and the huge unknowns before her that she couldn’t even begin to comprehend.

We came back to the hotel room and Belle charmed us all by taking all our shoes and lining them up perfectly in a row (not sure how we lost that trait!). When she needed to use the bathroom she first tore off several squares of toilet paper and then perched on the toilet. I wish I had resisted my urge to interfere, as obviously she had been doing this long before me, but she was so tiny I was afraid she would fall right in.

Without Krystal with us, I’m sure it would have taken much longer to break through. Krystal had her laughing as they played endless games of peek-a-boo. Because Belle was not a baby when I adopted her – she was over 2 years old – she spoke toddler Chinese, mostly in the local dialect which I could not have studied beforehand if I’d known. But I had loaded a very common Chinese lullabye onto my iPod which I did use, with apparent success, a couple of nights to help her get to sleep.

Belle is a challenging child to parent, but she is no less a miracle than an easier child. She is bright and funny with a sweet heart. Belle – I love you.


We went out to dinner tonight to celebrate our two year anniversary as a family of three. While we waited for our food to arrive we had this conversation:

Belle – Willow’s mom has a baby in her tummy. She’s going to have a baby sister.

Me – Isn’t that nice?

Belle – I want you to have a baby sister in your tummy. <pouts>

Krystal – Mommy can’t. And these are the reasons. One, you have to have a mate to have a baby, and she doesn’t have a mate. Two, we have too much business to take care of another baby.

Me – (wishing I could stop time to write this all down so I remember it to blog about it!)

The ABC’s of Me

I got this one from Janet, who got it from someplace, who got it from someplace….and on and on. You know how these Internet things work!

It’s long, it was fun to do. Feel free to steal it for yourself – if you do, please comment so I can go check you out too. It’s fun to learn interesting things about people you didn’t know much about to begin with!

Accent: What accent? I don’t have one. Really. Despite growing up 30 miles from Boston, I do pronounce my R’s.

Bra size: 36 A or B. Mostly B, I guess. And ya know what? I have never wished for bigger ones. I like going braless as often as it is seemly to do so.

Chore I hate: Cleaning the bathroom – toilets to be more specific. Although maybe it’s showers now. But bathrooms for sure.

Dad’s name: Brian. Nothing too exciting there.

Essential make-up: Chapstick. I am practically addicted to the stuff. I keep a tube in my desk at home, my desk at work, my kitchen, my nightstand, and my keychain. Yes, I have a special “leash” (that I bought in a store – WalMart – 6-7 years ago that could use replacing but I’ve never seen it sold again) that holds a tube of chapstick. Vanilla Mint is my favorite flavor. But at my age I really should consider adding to my repertoire – I just never learned.

Favorite perfume: Scents actually make me sneeze, so I don’t wear any. However, I do like the teenage scent Love’s Baby Soft, and anything vanilla.

Gold or Silver
: In my younger days it was gold, these days, silver seems to win out.

Hometown: New England.

Interesting fact: I am distantly related to both Julia Child and Deke Slayton (one of the original astronauts).

Job title: Hmmmm. My official job title is so generic as to be meaningless. I usually say Project Manager, since people basically understand what that means.

Kids: two daughters, ages 4 and 7, both of whom I adopted.

Living arrangements: I’m a single mom living with my 2 girls in a single family home in a densely populated neighborhood in New England. No pets, but I’m getting heavy pressure from the kiddos.

Mom’s Birthplace: Boston, MA. How is this relevant to anything interesting about me, me, me?

Number of apples eaten in last week: 1

Overnight hospital stays: One. I was camping with my family at age 14 and had stomach pains – went to the hospital and they couldn’t find anything wrong, so the docs wanted to do exploratory surgery on me. By then (2-3 days later) I was feeling much better and convinced my mother of that, and she signed me out of the hospital against medical advice. Thirty plus years later and no lingering affects.

Phobia: I’m not very superstitious, and my kids often say in awe “You’re not scared of anything.” I am, but not the kinds of things I’m about to share with them (fear of dying while they are young, getting in a car accident, losing my job, stuff like that). It’s all context – spiders and snakes don’t bother me, unless they’re someplace they’re not supposed to be.

Question you ask yourself a lot: What was I going to do again? I swear, my brain is mush.

Religious affiliation: None. I grew up generic protestant, but don’t really buy into the organized religion thing.

Siblings: a younger sister, who died of cancer when she was 17 (I was 20). I also have two living step-sisters (a third died in a car accident shortly after my sister’s death), but I don’t think of them as siblings, so much. Which begs the question, why did I just mention them?

Time I wake up: Too early!! Belle is my alarm clock – I don’t even set one anymore. She just doesn’t need sleep. So we’re up most days between 6 and 6:30, plenty of time to get us where we need to go most of the time.

Unnatural hair color
: Oh, my natural color was beautiful – I even appreciated it when I had it! Then I started going grey, which started awfully young. I colored using a bottle for the first time around age 34 and haven’t stopped. I’ve just started having it done professionally, but I’m not sure it’s coming out any better than when I did it on my own, except I need highlights to make it more natural-looking, and that is VERY difficult to do on my own (I have done it – it takes forever and is a real arm workout). So I’m sort of a medium brown with caramel highlights now, but was medium dark brown with reddish highlights when I was natural.

Vegetable I refuse to eat: Brussel sprouts. Seriously – who likes these??

Worst habit: I’m inherently lazy. Oh, and eating too much junk food.

X-rays: Nothing unusual: Dental x-rays. Mammograms. I had an MRI 2 years ago after having a dirt bike accident where I tore my ACL in my right knee (just like a professional athlete!). I’m still hoping to avoid surgery on that – I still feel it, but I’m back to doing most of my usual activities – running, etc. Just can’t kneel and put weight on it anymore.

Yummy food I make: Guacamole.

Zodiac sign: Aries. Also, Year of the Rabbit.