United States of Motherhood: December 2007

Monday, December 31, 2007

One Big Christmas Hug From My Family to Yours

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Belated Holiday Bragalicious Letter 2007

So, I'm not having much luck getting motivated to send out holiday cards, so I thought I'd through it out on the internetz. Please note that names have been suitably altered to protect minors and the innocent. Those categories rarely happen simultaneously, but I digress. I've cut most of the pictures because layout of pics in blogger truly frustrates me.

Hopefully, it will suitably impress get to all the people that are interested need to read it:

Happy Holidays, December 20, 2007

Can we say it’s been a crazy year?! To keep it short and sweet, let’s all sing along to the 12 days of Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas, my true loves gave to me…

One first lost tooth, one first bike ride without training wheels, and one first day of kindergarten for Li'l Man! One first day of middle school with only one missed bus this year and a first quarter GPA of 3.75. Go Eldest! Finally, one set of new glasses for Miss PB!

Two hard drives crashing—the second time was unrecoverable. Ohhh! The digital pictures for 2007 lost! Did Scout's Honor learn her lesson the first time and back up her laptop? Errr…no!

Three broken arms: PB's right upper arm/elbow required immediate surgery after a nasty fall at school off the dome. One week after PB's cast came off, Eldest's right wrist required three casts when a certain young man crashed on his blasted Heelies at a swim meet. A certain Mom didn’t realize how bad it was and had him swim a 200 backstroke and 100 free before the agony ensued. Yep, she is waiting for her Mom of the Year award to arrive any day. Finally, we had PB's left wrist break, requiring a paltry two casts, after her crocs tangled with a cart at the pool. She had the last cast removed this week, just in time for Christmas. Did we mention the kids are keeping them all as a cast collection? Or that our swim team gave Li'l Man the bubble wrap award at the end of the season party with the words “Save Li'L Man?” Hmmph! Where would that leave our cast collection?! I’m sure CPS will be calling any minute.

Four evening hours twice a week without CG who we are proud to announce was one of 100 out of thousands accepted to the University of Washington’s evening MBA program. He finished his first quarter a few days ago.

Five swim events that Eldest qualified for and swam at the Pacific Northwest Championships: 50 Free, 50 Back, 100 Free, 100 Back, and 500 Free. He qualified for seven PNS events during the long course season in July and entry to the Mid-Lakes Champs, but alas broke that darn arm the week before. Arrrgh! Did I mention PB won two races and placed fifth overall at the Mid-lake Championships—a little over a week after her cast came off. The orthopedist said swimming was the best physical therapy. Finally, Li'l Man joined the rec. swim team at age 5!

Six inches of hair Scout's Honor cut off…on her own head. She still needs to find a good hairstylist in the great Northwest! She continues to cut all the kids’ hair and keeps CG's more and more sparkling, graying hair military short. Her hair stays magically red as she turned thirty-five this year.

Seven hours commuting weekly to the never-ending, perpetual swim practices. Then there was double duty when the kids swam for two different teams over the summer. Li'l Man rocked his first swim races. Now we are back to normal, so we won’t discuss what crazy, demented mother agreed to sign all three kids up for basketball starting in January. Eek!

Eight emphatic “sorry, but no” replies by Scout to be on the PTA board, be a chairperson, serve on a home-owners committee, or head up a community-action group. With swimming, kitchen remodeling planned and granite samples everywhere, boxes still unpacked from our move over two years ago, CG's business trips and MBA, she finally held her ground and is taking a year off. We can’t say how many times CG cheered and patted her back for moral support with each, “No!” Although volunteer work is amazingly rewarding, it can be quite empowering to take back some time for our family. Okay, she did say yes to be party mom for PB's class—but that’s it!

Nine consecutive weeks straight (coming home only for week-ends) that CG traveled from January through March. Scout swears it felt like we were in the military again. All those frequent flier miles do come in handy though…

Ten blissful days in Florida in a historic, converted mansion. We hit every Disneyworld attraction twice. We may hold the record for 12 consecutive rides on the Kali River Rapids. We made sure to get nasty sunburns on the gorgeous, crushed white shell beach on the gulf before lugging our luggage on those tender shoulders to the airport. PB, of course, was the only one who didn’t burn. That amazing olive-complexion saved her. Another ten days were spent enjoying the company of grandparents when they visited. We hit the San Juans, Mt. Rainier, the Space Needle and every touristy part of Washington that we could get to on a day trip. Ten would also probably be the number of days straight Scout's poor parents slept recovering from their vacation.

Eleven hours on a death march…errr…”easy” hike while camping at Mt. Rainier. We started at the Cougar Rock campground and hiked straight up with a 2400 gain in elevation. Li'l Man and Scout almost expired, and PB tried a sit-down mutiny, but we finally made it. Okay, maybe it wasn’t eleven hours and it wouldn’t be a holiday letter without some exaggeration, but IT FELT THAT WAY!

Twelve hours driving and attending REI clinics, checking out equipment, packing for blizzards and every possible situation, then renting equipment for an amazing serene family snow-shoeing expedition in the Cascade Mountains. Now CG has the snowshoe bug.

Countless hours planning for three belated birthday parties over three weeks. PB celebrated age 8 by having 16 girls stay the night with homemade chocolate facials, polka-dotted manicures, and too much High School musical karaoke and high-pitched shrills to fathom. Eldest had a pirate-y party of TWENTY-FOUR 11-12-year-olds in costume. We sent them out on scavenger hunts before they pillaged our house with food fights, interrupted make out sessions (no, my dear, that hand doesn’t belong there.), and Wii playing by all. Finally, dear Li'l Man rang in the big FIVE with his own pirate party of fifteen 5-year-olds which seemed tame by comparison. Overall, the kids had “the best birthday parties ever,” and Scout received offers for her party planning services and cake making to which she promptly said, “No!”

So, there it is wrapped up in a nutshell. We live a lucky existence and try to remind ourselves
daily how very fortunate we are. We have lost two grandmothers in the last two months which remind us how fleeting life is and how fortunate we are to have such a strong family life. Our thoughts and prayers still continue for our troops overseas. We wish them and all of you a most wonderful holiday season and blessed New Year.

Warmest Wishes,
Scout's Honor Family

P.S. Did I say short and sweet?! Silly me! That’s nearly impossible when it comes to holiday letters. Want more? Emails us at (Actual emails removed to protect the innocent, very young, or very wicked.)

Saved From the Sickness or Cooties--Your Choice

We generally share germs in this house, unless I have cold sores. Then, I try not to kiss or share glasses with CG or the kids. Cold sores sucks. They are certainly not one of the gifts that keep giving that I want to give to our family. So, I hold back.

This must have rubbed back on Li'l Man.

Set Scene: Watching movies in cozy family room in front of fake gas roaring fire

8 year old daughter: Too lazy to go fetch her own water, grabs for glass of Li'l Man.

5 year old son with admitted mild, almost cured cough shrieks with outrage: "Noooooo!Doooonnnnn't drink that! It's FULL of my sickness."

In efforts to "save" said sister, he grabs for full pint glass of icy water and clinks glass against daughter's teeth. Said newly erupted adult teeth almost get smacked out of said daughter's mouth.

I want to believe he was truly trying to save her, but me thinks this is more about having sister cooties in his drink. Or maybe, I've stressed my cold sore germs too much and created a germophobe. You be the judge.

I was still pondering this when I took a big swig out of Eldest's glass that he offered because I'm too lazy to fetch my own glass. Crap! So much for not sharing germs.

Stop The Snarfing: A Dieter's Confession

From the comments on my last post, it seems we moms are queen bees when it comes to snarfling secretive, forbidden treats where questioning young eyes and judging husband eyebrows are absent.

Yet, something in me tells me it's not right. Just like it wasn't right in high school where I was a waif of 111 lbs. at 5' 81/2" on the, no joke, ice cream, diet coke and candy bar diet.

My friend Teri and I happened upon a truism in parenting at age 15. We learned that we really could ruin our appetite with sweets. So we did. We sipped a diet coke for breakfast. Had a 120 calorie Carnation ice cream sandwich from the vending machine for lunch. Snacked on a king sized M&Ms just before dinner and picked at our meals. You do the math. Less than 500 calories a day, yet we never were hungry. M&M's anyone?

So, I happened recently upon another teenager's method to lose weight. Well, perhaps weight-loss wasn't the goal, but still 40 lbs. peeled off her frame and another 10 lbs. was surgically removed in the form of a hairball. Yes, people, a hair ball. As in her OWN Hair. It seems she found it tasty. It seems that a 15 x 7 x 7 mass of one's hair is quite filling. Go figure! It's crazy what teenagers do to their bodies.

When I was an older teenager, I became a bit more seasoned. M&M's are bad for the pearly whites. I moved on to Mini-Thins.

Anybody heard of them? Not sure if they are still legal, but check 'em out at any truck stop or gas station. You'll be amazed at the number of truckers and people fueling up their cars that are afflicted with finger quote asthma finger quote. Hence, they resort to Mini-Thins. Legalized amphetamines baby. Technically, it's ephedrine.

On the package, the suggested dosage was one-half of one pill the size of the head of a pin. Most people just chuck 3-4 tabs (8 times the dosage) and stay up for days and shed pounds like crazy. I stayed a slim 125 lbs. on this substance for years, until a fellow Mini-Thin-er started to pee blood. Um, okay not true. I didn't stop entirely. I might have continued them recreationally during my time at Berkeley. There's nothing like a weekly reading load of 1250 pages to put you to sleep.

In my early twenties, I happened upon this amazing thing called exercise.

Damn! This stuff really worked. So much, I became a little manic about it as a freshman. In one quarter, I was enrolled in 3 yoga classes (1 hour-4 days a week; 2 hour on Friday), weight lifting, racquetball, step aerobics, Tai Kwan Do, and 3 fencing classes (1.5 hours 4 days a week; 2.5 hours on Fridays).

All. In. One. Eight Week Quarter.

At this time in my life, I ate fast food twice a day and never got around to breakfast. Yikes! The result was a very toned, very flexible, I can eat anything, very defined shoulders frame weighing in at a very reasonable 135 lbs.

Then there was a stint at basic training that took me up to the 140-150's. Their food was terribly fattening and you gulped it in six minutes. Listen to your body to tell when you are full??! No chance. But, it did include a mind numbing 8-10 hours of exercise and sleep deprivation. However unhealthy that last condition was, this was probably a very good weight for me.

At the end of my college years, along came baby number one. I hid my burgeoning belly for five months from ROTC instructors and ruck sacked on 12 mile hikes well into my fifth month. I worked out until my ninth month. After Eldest popped out, I was working out one week later and passed a Army Physical Fitness Test (a requirement of my being allowed to stay in the ROTC program) four weeks later.

Around this point I discovered my most beloved form of weight-loss--Breast feeding. Eat all you want and your progeny sucks it right out of you. Once on the lips, always on the hips. Snort. More like eat for three. Did I mention Eldest hit 30 lbs. at age 11 months? He was a massive little kid. My love of breastfeeding as a diet plan continued through each child. I shed all my pregnancy weight within a month with it. However, that scale number rose weeks after each child weaned. Arrgh.

Now, I am 35. I am too responsible and have too many little ones depending on me to eat M&Ms, ice cream sandwichs, Mini-thins, or the like. I don't have the time to exercise 6 hours a day and am so little motivated that the thousands of dollars in treadmill and weight bench in our home gather dust and we might as well have burned the $2400 in gym fees we paid last year for my paltry 10 visits. Despite treatment effects, I've even tried Alli, without much luck.

I'm in a rut people, but I am 35 and have too many little ones depending on me to stay at this weight. This weight will kill me if I don't stop it.

I know the clock is ticking and this extra weight is a time bomb.

So, in the New Year's tradition, I try again. As an educated, reasonably intelligent person, I will try to do it right with exercise and calorie-reduction. I will enlist CG to work his judgmental eyebrow best to keep me from snarfing those peppermint-chocolate chip cookies. I will work on using that treadmill as a butt-mover and not as a clothes rack.

I am also reasonable enough to know there will be setbacks, but I will work harder on self-forgiveness and persevere. I have a goal of 2 lbs. a week and hope to lose 50 lbs. by my 36th birthday in August. That 50 lbs. loss would put me in the healthy range again. I want to be where I was five years ago in the picture with CG. Not skinny. Not over-weight. Healthy. Funny thing is ... I thought I was so fat in this below picture!

Would I like to lose more? Sure. The adult in me says I will never see that teenage waif body again and thankful I don't think I would want it. All I want is to be healthy. Besides, I don't think I have the metabolism or pancake boobs of that teenage body I had 20 years ago.

So people, who wants to join me? I need someone to stop me when I get a hankering for hair-pie or any other hair-brained scheme. I know support is key in this struggle. In the end, I want to do this for me. I will be around for my kids.

I'm off to eat a bowl of cereal and turn my head away from the smorgasbord of peppermint bark, handmade truffles, cookies, and candy canes that adorns our kitchen island.

I will ignore that cinnamon roll calling my name from is porcelain pedestal next to the candy.

I will berate the eggnog in my fridge and sneer at the left over prime rib in the meat drawer.

I will grasp that jug of non-fat milk firmly. I will feed my body what it needs.

Blog Notes: Many thanks for the Flickr pics from Mar S , Robotconscience, i/f/photos, rkimpeljr, and neonwilderness.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Confessional My Ass

Sorry, that last confession was lame. What I really meant to confess was that last night I drank too much wine, watched way too many movies, and fell asleep on the couch with all three kids. CG was responsible and shit and went to bed early.

At 3 AM I rolled over on said couch and found Li'l Man asleep on the floor--no pillow, no blanket, and God knows how much dog dander he was inhaling, sleeping face down on the carpet. I haven't vacuumed in days. The dogs are shedding so much I could knit sweaters--that is if I knew how to knit . I left him there in my sleep-induced haze and yanked the couch throw tighter around my neck. What? What!! It's good for a five year old to sleep on the hard, cold floor during the holidays, isn't it? It breeds discipline, right?!

It gets better! I awoke to kids playing Wii around me. I creaked off the couch since I am still sore from skiing all day on Wednesday. I scurried to the bathroom and snagged a luscious peppermint chocolate chip cookie along the way. Yep, one of these babies that I made:

I ate every luscious morsel in said bathroom. Breakfast of champions. Then I came out and let the kids play for hours in the same clothing they fell asleep in the night before, while I sipped on coffee the husband made for me and caught up on blogs.

Did I neglect to mention that my daughter went outside to play in the freezing cold without a coat and then ate breakfast at 1:30 PM? Hey, personal responsibility people! An eight year old knows when she gets cold and hungry, right? I am teaching her to listen to her body.

Whoa Nellie! Can you tell it's winter break? I know what time it is:

Photo courtesy of The Rocketeer

It's a Warmest Holiday Memories Mother of the Year Award Moment!

Confessional of a Very Remiss Blogger

Hi! My name is Scout's Honor and it's been over two months since my last confession blog post.

I've been sulking. I admit it. I have sinned. I have taken the lord's name in vain. A lot!

I ended up losing my hard drive (physical failure--no recovery possible) and the entire last year of digital pics. I even lost all my feeds, so I've been reading blogs very sporadically. Luckily, CG quickly rebuilt my computer, but it seemed so overwhelming to start over.

So, people, twice is a charm. I am finally using this bitchin' back up service that mirrors my hard drive somewhat like Google Desktop. For $60 a year, it backs up all files, music, email, pics, and docs to the web with bank quality super-encryption. It's called Carbonite and it rocks.

If anyone is interested, I'll send you a link for a free three month subscription. If you sign up, I get 3 months added to my subscription.
And people, after my hard drive woes, I need every month of back-up I can get. Seriously, it's great if you are like me and have good intentions, but aren't really faithful about those back ups. Now Carbonite backs up every 10 minutes, so I can even save corrupted files or mistakenly deleted docs--if I am quick!

By the way, CG signed up after me and guess whose laptop hard drive violently expired with clicks, sputters, and one last gasp on Christmas day? Yep, CG. But like my little puppet, he had signed up for Carbonite and all is well. All is backed up. I like being the early adopter for once in our relationship.

So, people, I'm backed up and I'm back. I'll work on getting you caught up soon, but I need to work on Christmas cards. What? You say Christmas was three days ago? Really?! Shit! Well, maybe New Year's cards. Or a sanitized "winter card." The bragalicious, overly exaggerated holiday letter is written. The cards and ribbons are purchased. Someone just ran out of ink for the printer and stamps for the card. Bah! Little things.

P.S. Thanks for all the people who came out of the woodwork to encourage me to blog. I was surprised who read my blog and never mentioned it. I'm sorry if I didn't respond to you all. Most of you probably long ago deleted my feed from your list.

BUT, if you are still there, send a girl a comment to encourage me, eh? Let me know there are still people out there? It's been hard to get back into the bloggy spirit. Blo-ho-ho!

Blognotes: Photo by Meus Olhos ao Mundo

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