Ten Commandments of Weight Loss

I saw this on the Dr. Oz show.  I’m not particularly a huge fan of the show or anything.  To be quite honest, he can be a little cynical and annoying, but he comes on right before Ellen and I’m too lazy to turn the channel.  Yes… my son watches Ellen with Mama.  He loves the dancing! Anywho… on the brink of me leaving for San Juan to embrace bikini beaches…  I thought I’d share some things that I thought were good reminders (to myself!) of how to shed those LB’s and keep them off.  I like this because its not the typical “eat less, exercise more” no-brainer advice that I’m use to reading.  So, without further adieu…

1. Thou Shalt Not Wear Pants that Stretch

Your clothing is an early-warning system for weight gain. When it’s getting hard to snap your jeans, you know it’s time to be vigilant. Wearing stretchy clothes allows you to live in ignorance of how your body is growing, making it easier to pack on pounds without knowing it.

2. Thou Shalt Not Keep Bad Clothes in Your Closet

When you keep the clothes you wore at an unhealthy weight, it gives you a back-up plan if the pounds don’t come off. Instead, force yourself to stay on track by 86ing your “fat pants.”

3. Thou Shalt Not Eat Meat That Walks on Four Legs More Than Once a Week

Meat that comes from an animal with 4 legs is higher in saturated fat (the unhealthy kind) than that which comes from 2-legged animals such as chickens, or animals with no legs, like fish. Plus: women who eat large amounts of red meat more than once a week have a 50% higher chance of dying from heart disease and have higher cancer rates.

4. Thou Shalt Not Graze

Plan your meal before you open the refrigerator, get what you need, and close the door. Opening it throughout the day leads to impulsive choices and overeating.

5. Thou Shalt Not Eat After 7:30pm

When you eat late at night you are more likely to be eating in front of the TV (when you won’t pay attention to how much you’re putting in your mouth) and you’re more likely to pick high-calorie snacks.

6. Thou Shalt Not Pile Food More than 1 Inch High or Within 2 Inches of the Plate Edge

Larger portions equal more calories. ‘Nuff said.

7. Thou Shalt Not Chew Food Less than 20 Times Per Bite

Chewing allows your body to realize that you are eating food, prompting it to create a sensation of fullness at the appropriate time. When you don’t chew enough, you get ahead of that process, eating well past when you are actually satisfied.

8. Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Plate

Spend your day nibbling bites on someone else’s sandwich or afternoon snack, and you will add on 1,000 calories easy.

9. Thou Shalt Not Carry Small Bills

Nothing loves a small bill better than a vending machine. When you have them at the ready, you are one step closer to an impulsive, calorie-loaded afternoon slip up.

10. Thou Shalt Not Eat While Standing Up

Eating sitting down enables you to be aware of what you’re eating and eat it slowly so that your body can tell you your full before it’s too late.

Happy Half Birthday!

Dear Parker,

You are my sweet sunshine, my bundle of happiness, and your youthful joy brings me a new found happiness.  I never knew our lives could be so enriched with you in it.  Here on your six month birthday, I write to you to let you know how much you mean to me and your daddy.

I can’t believe it’s already here.  The six month milestone… the stage that I’ve heard of many times. “Oh, he will be able to do this better by six months”, and “Oh, just wait until sometime after six months”… and all those six to nine month onesies?  Well, I thought they would stay in your brand new dresser drawer a little longer, taking on the smell of the wood.  But no, you had to grow up so stinkin’ fast!  Where has the time gone?

When you were a newborn you were such a sweetie pie.  You were very go with the flow.  You adjusted well to the family pet Lizzie, even though all she wanted to do was slobber all over your face.  I think you and Lizzie will become great friends.  You smiled right off the bat.  So what if you were just exercising your facial muscles.  I knew right then that you would be a happy baby.  You absolutely loved your bouncy chair.  We’d put you in it night and day.  Mommy and Daddy even caught ourselves dancing to the little fisher price tune the bouncer made and we instantly became those goofy parents that you would probably be embarrassed of.  I don’t think you cared though, you just enjoyed the vibrations and sometimes you would even drift into dreamland in that thing.  It was the only think that seemed to calm you when you were having those gas pains.  That and the bicycle that Daddy would do on your legs.  You always loved that.

You know another thing you loved?  Watching TV. When Mommy needed some rest, Daddy would take you downstairs and you guys would hang out like pals.  Daddy would put you in the boppy and snuggle you in real good, or sometimes, Daddy would let you sleep on his arm.  I’m pretty sure daddy’s arm fell asleep along with you, but he didn’t mind.  He loved being with his little guy.  You guys would watch movies like the Goonies,  and shows like Pawn stars and 24.  Those were some of Daddy’s favorite shows.  We both loved sleeping with you.  You slept in our room in a bassinet until you were four weeks old, and then we moved you into your crib in your very own room.  We still let you nap where ever a that point and we loved letting you sleep on one of our chests.  I miss that a lot.  I’m sure daddy does too.  We use to swaddle you too.  It took you a few nights to get use to it, but after that, you couldn’t go to sleep without it.  You loved to be swaddled.  So much in fact that it was hard for you to sleep when we weaned you from it around three and a half months.  You also loved the hospital pacifier too.  We had to buy extra though because  Lizzie also loved to eat them.  I’m not sure if it was jealousy, or if they were just the ultimate chew toy, but it helped having a spare.

You were an okay sleeper as a newborn.  From the beginning you were a pretty alert baby.  They say its because your really smart like your daddy and curious about your surroundings.  I’m sure they’re right.  We tried to put you some sort of routine around eight weeks, and it took you a few days, but we finally got the Eat, Awake, Sleep part down.  You were sleeping about six to eight hr stretches on good nights, and that was much more than I could’ve asked for.

You have been a breastfed baby from the start.  In the beginning  I had a lot of trouble, none of which had to do with you feeding properly because you were always a great eater, but the problem was a struggle for Mommy.  Fortunately, we got through it.  You were a trooper in the meantime.  You also had some reflux, so a lot of the time I would put you in the baby bjorn so I could wash bottles and do other mommy things.  You loved being in there.

When you were a little over a month old, you had your very first Halloween were we dressed you up as Roo from Winne the pooh.  We called you Parker-Roo and everyone who saw you thought you were too cute for words.  We’ll let you be the judge.

When you were around three months old, that’s when we really started to see your personality shine.  You were smiling and laughing and you would look at us and start babbling.  We loved it.  We also took you on your very first plane ride to Orlando, Fl.  Your daddy had a business trip to go on, so we decided to tag along for it.  We learned some new things about you.  1.  You don’t like airplanes.  2.  You love sunny FL (so do I, so the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!) 3. You love the pool.- Again, something that I love too.

You had your very first Christmas with us, and you seemed to think Christmas was pretty cool.  You were passed around like a hot potato and everyone loved how cute you looked.  Unfortunately though, you had a pretty bad case of reflux that day and pretty much spit up every half hour or so.  Some of which landed on some dear family members.  Your aunt Angie said I should give you a spanking for it, but I just let it slide with it being Christmas and all.  You were an angel during the Christmas eve service at church and you were dressed to impress with your white sweater and worn jeans.  You were the cutest baby there.  I wasn’t the only one that thought that.  People came up to us reminding me how cute you were all night.  You didn’t mind the attention one bit.

Your Aunt Jenna and Uncle Jon came down with your six cousins in January to celebrate Christmas at our house.  We really enjoyed that a lot.  You really loved it because Aunt Jenna spoiled you to pieces.  You got so many gifts that you were set on toys for a long while.  Nana and Poppy visited too and stayed in our guest bedroom.  You were going through this “phase” at the time that involved screaming in the middle of the night for no apparent reason and it would set Mommy and Daddy into a frenzy.  Turns out you were hungry and going through a little spurt, but it didn’t make for very good sleeping for Mommy and Daddy or the guests.  They loved you all the same though.  You and Poppy hung out and he loved holding you and chatting with you.

Daddy and Mommy both have our favorite things we like to do with you.  Daddy’s enjoys going to gun shows and browsing the pawn shop up in Dawsonville.  So, you both have gone on a few boys only outings that involved…well, boy stuff.  You’ll learn about daddy’s hobbies soon enough, no need for me to elaborate now.  Daddy said that you really enjoyed it.  I know you guys are going to have many more outings as you get older.  When Daddy is away on business you and I are like two peas in a pod.  We do everything together.  We grocery shop, we go on walks, we have even done a mommy and baby fitness DVD.  Trust me, you loved it.  We have gone to Mommy and Me connection group, and we’ve gone to the Mom’s group that is through our church.  You love riding in the car and going wherever I take you.  Except around nap time.  You prefer to do that in the comfort of your own crib.  Right now, a lot of your little friends are older than you, but when you get bigger, it won’t matter so much.  We’ve had some play dates with Pace and Campen and we even like to visit your little gal pals Sophia and Olivia.  All your little friends  have really cool parents, so I think you’ll get along great with them when your older.

We go to the library every week or so and you seem to enjoy getting out and also the new stories we read together.  When daddy was away on one of his business trips he brought you back these little finger puppet books, and you just love them bunches.  Sometimes when your less than interested in story time, I make the little finger puppet books come to life and you’re all ears.

You love family time as well.  We enjoy going to the park and having a picnic, and we’ve had a few spurts of nice weather, where we’ve been able to do that.  Daddy and I like to take you for a walk in the jogging stroller with Lizzie.  You seem to like that a lot.  Occasionally you can’t wait to get out, so we hold you, and tell you about the trees, squirrels and birds.  You definitely bring out the silliness in daddy and I.  We love singing, dancing and doing things to make you laugh.  I know all your tickle spots and when your in a bad mood, you still can’t resist laughing when I do the belly chomp chomp.  You love the mirror too.  When mommy goes to deposit your cloth diaper in the hamper in the bathroom, we stop for a second and have giggle time singing “who’s that baby” to the tune of some annoying commercial that comes on regularly. That is a sure way to send you into giggle land.  And yes, you use cloth diapers.  Mama isn’t cheap, well…actually I am, but we decided to use cloth diapers because its more eco-friendly and we thought it would be more comfortable for you.  So far, I don’t think you mind.

Every day I wake up happy to see your face.  You never cry when you wake up, you only coo and babble until one of us comes in to get you.  And when we do you’re all smiles.  You grin so big and do this high pitch coo that I can’t replicate if I tried.  It’s just too stinkin’ adorable.  It makes both Daddy and I so happy to come get you each and every morning.  You are a super sleeper too.  You LOVE to nap and sleep.  Except you like to give Grand Nanny a hard time when she comes to visit and put you down for naps, but I guess that’s sort of like the kids giving the substitute teacher a hard time…it comes with the territory.  You guys have a lot of fun playing and Grand Nanny loves to sing to you and read you stories.

Your favorite toy right now is your jumperoo. Once you realized that toy was made for jumping, jumping is all you do.  Mommy and Daddy love to join in with the silly songs that plays, and act ridiculous.  We’re just cool parents like that.  We’d do anything to make you laugh and make those river dance toes hop to our goofy dance moves.  That’s how much we love you.  We still love to read to you and sing songs.  I still wake you up at 5am to feed you.  I love our time together because you’re so sleepy that after you eat we snuggle.  You’re always so sweet and just lay there and let me love on you.  I’ll never get tired of that.

A lot has happened in six months.  You flew in your first airplane, had lots and lots of shots, tried your first foods (working up to that b-day cupcake for your first birthday!) got your first haircut, you’ve smiled, laughed, rolled over, sat up, and all of major milestones- you’ve reached them.  I just wish I could freeze this moment in time with you for just a little longer because before I know it it’ll be a year and you- my sweet little Parker pooh will be a toddler.  I truly love you more and more each day and I can’t wait to see what the next six months will hold as you continue to grow and explore this world!

Love always,

Mama

Say Goodbye to my little Mullet

I know mullets are making a comeback, but this was one mullet that needed to go.  Parker was in need of his very first haircut so we decided to take him to Pigtails and Crew Cuts for a little trim.

First, we waited and Daddy read me a story.

Oh, fun! Can I get my hair cut in here?

Do you see this mullet thing I got going on here?  Yeah, my thoughts exactly!

Mommy is talking to the lady about the best way to trim my hair.

This is fun!

Lord, please don’t let her cut off my ear.  Thanks!

Trim, trim, and a snip, snip!

It’s not so bad!

Look, my mullet is gone!

See how handsome I look?

Auuuww Yeeeeeah!!

Give me a Five

It all began in winter of 2004. As a college student, I lived alone in my loft apartment nicely decked out with bohemian tapestries and other vintage lovelies with my BFF rescue kitty Chleo.  It was then that I decided it was time to join the new millennium by getting this new phenomenon called the internet on my old yellow tinged piece of junk some would call a computer.  Although it was widely used throughout the world in 2004, my little hotel front desk income could barely pay the rent, so I was a little late getting the internet. When I did, I decided I would explore a little bit. I became curious of things like Yahoo chatrooms. One in particular caught my eye. “Advice Central”  is where people can go to give or receive advice on any topic they wish or just view the open chatroom board. I chose to view the board to to see if there was something that caught my eye. That’s when I saw “Nocturnal_Poet” post A/S/L. Which means Age/Sex/Location (for those of you who are not familiar with chatroom lingo) which turned out to be 29/Male/Roswell, GA. Hmm…Roswell GA? I know where that is! I live less than twenty minutes from Roswell. So I instant messaged him and that’s when it all started.

We stayed on neutral topics and discussed things like favorite movies, favorite bands, what we did for a living, what I was studying in college, etc. I thought he was very interesting and enjoyed the online attention I was getting.  I found myself excited to login to see if he was online so we could chat and catch up on our day.  Even though I thought there may be a connection there, I was leery of giving my phone number out over the internet and I mentioned this to Dan when we were chatting. So, instead he gave me his number. I was unsure of whether or not I was going to call him. I actually sat on his number for a few days. I’m not sure if it was because I was afraid of what I might hear on the other line, or if I was afraid that we wouldn’t connect over the phone like we did over the internet.  That was until one beautiful unseasonably warm winter afternoon. I went for a walk in beautiful Soap Creek which has amazing trails through what I’d like to call an enchanted forest. It has old paper mill ruins with knee high fields of grass with beautiful overgrown wildflowers and a creek with rounded pebbles and gentle rapids. A tranquil setting that I have made my little sanctuary away from home to talk to God, clear my thoughts and get some exercise. It was there that it was made clear to me that I was suppose to call Dan. It became SO clear in fact that I started to get excited. I jogged back to my car with a spring in my step. We later talked on the phone and he asked me to join him for dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse.  Of course, I accepted and looked forward to that night.   As soon as I walked through the door I saw him right in front of the hostess stand with his arms open. I gave him a hug. It was with that warm embrace that I felt something different. I knew, without a doubt, that I was suppose to be there. I was suppose to be with him. The dinner went really well. So well in fact that we decided to continue the evening by going to see a movie. We saw Big Fish, which now is one of our very favorite movies.

About a week later I wrote in my journal. This is what I wrote:

2004-Our first picture together

2/03/04

“It’s been a little while since I’ve written and I can’t believe I have waited so long. I met the man that I’m going to marry about a week ago. I know those are very serious words, but that is honestly how I feel. There is absolutely not one aspect about him that I dislike. Dan has every quality that I want in a man. He is a Christian, he’s smart, successful, polite, handsome, funny, and so much more. He went to church with me this past Sunday and met my Grandma and Grandpa and spoke to them when we all went out to lunch. I could tell that they approved of him. I am so very thankful that I met him and I cherish every moment I spend with him. I am so in love…my days are filled with many smiles.”

I later went on to graduate college in Spring of 2004 and landed a job with a local interior design firm that specialized in hotel design.  Dan was working locally for a company that specialized in digital certificates.  We began to attend Peachtree Christian Church as a couple and it just happened.  We fell for each other hard and fast. We were engaged by late spring and married by March 19th the following year.  We got married at Peachtree Christian in its beautiful main sanctuary with amazing stained glass windows and we had our rehearsal dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse where we had our very first date.  Our wedding was beautiful yet small and modest.  The most important thing to us was that we made a commitment to each other and God in front of our friends and family in the house of the Lord.

Its been five years. Yes, FIVE I say. I can’t believe it. Never did I think that I would find someone who was so right for me. Someone who is such an intelligent, handsome, and good hearted person who has an incredible sense of humor and a wonderful father.  Now, five years later on our anniversary, we get to celebrate our love.  Nothing could possibly make me happier.

…and then there were Two.

When you’re a teeny bopper and approaching college age you’re bothered by questions like “So, what do you want to major in when you go to college…” or “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Then once you get that figured out, and you move on and meet someone very special in your life and it’s “So, when are you both planning  to get married?” Then after you get married of course the inevitable question “So, when are you guys planning to have kids?” you wait until the time is right and have your very first child and then the questions continue “So, when are you planning for number Two?”

Of course, me being the “planner” that I am, I have already thought about this.  We have both always wanted our kids close together, but now that I see how much work goes into one baby, the thought of having two excitingly terrifies me.  Confused?  Me too.  Let me break it down for ya.


Pros of Parker having a little sis or bro close in age…

-Parker will have a friend to play with that is close in age.  My brother and I are 18 months apart and we were very close growing up.  We had some of the same friends in highschool and I even borrowed some of his Quicksilver t-shirts.  We were pals and having a big bro close in age was ‘da bomb.

-When our kids are school age, they’ll be school age around the same time.  I won’t have to worry about taking care of an infant and missing out on chaperoning a school field trip or getting involved in the T-ball team.

-Once they’re out of the infant stage  and potty trained, I can put away the exersaucers and diapers and never have to see them again.  I won’t have to break them back out  a few years later when we decide to have number two.  Having them closer together could mean that they’re interested in the same things (ie Sesame Street) around the same time.

-When we’re on family vacations, having the kids close in age will allow us to enjoy activities sooner without having to wait for the youngest to be “old enough” to be out of infant stage and able to go to theme parks or rides.

-The price of health care keeps going up, so why not take advantage of the lower rates soon before we loose our shirts on the increase in rates in the years to come?

-You’ll be younger if you hurry up and have your kids together.  You don’t have a big gap when the second one moves out and goes to college.  You can begin to plan retirement sooner.

Cons of having a little sis or bro close in age…

-Life will be pretty chaotic during infancy and will I possibly be able to give them BOTH enough of love and attention if they’re both so close in age? Will I be taking something away from Parker by doing this?

-Being pregnant can do a number on your figure.  Having babies close together can make it harder to lose the baby weight in time for baby number two, and even harder to shed the LB’s after the baby comes.

-Dan travels a lot during the week, which will basically mean that I’ll be by myself with two babies under the age of two.  Is that doable or will I literally go insane?  What about when Dan is home?  Will he ever be able to be on a conference call without having to lock himself into his car inside the garage?

-When they’re close in age, they may like the same things, but they also may fight over them too.  I know my brother and I had a fair share of giving each other wet willies and backseat fights.  We were constantly trying to push each other’s buttons and trying to drive our parents insane.

-Of course there are the financial implications of having them close together.  There just isn’t as much time to save money for nursery furniture, baby wardrobe (especially if its a girl) and all the other baby essentials.

-Having them close together would mean having two kids in this small townhouse (I say small, but I guess 2,2oo sqft isn’t TOO bad) without a real yard to play in.  I’m not sure if waiting would mean that we would be in a different home though. With the housing market the way it is, we could be here forever!

-I’ve heard that its not fun having two kids under two and having to run errands where you have to bring them along.  Actually, I’ve heard it sucks really bad.

Wait a minute… how did the Cons get so long?  We’re praying about it to see when the best time for us will be.  We were thinking about starting to try around Summertime or Fall, but we’re  not sure yet.  We shall see.

First Solids

Over the past week or so I’ve begun to make my own baby food.  I’ve been steaming and pureeing apples, pears, broccoli, sweet potatoes and squash and placed them in ice trays to freeze.  Parker hasn’t tried any of that yet, but we did give him a little soupy mixture of brown rice cereal and breast milk for the very first time today.  Let the food exploration begin!  I’m excited to see what new foods he’ll enjoy and what new faces he’ll make during this new adventure.


Tea Party

Last week my aunt Marie came for a visit for the first time since before Christmas.  We haven’t been able to get together to exchange Christmas presents until now and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw what my aunt had gotten me.  The start of my very own collection of vintage antique tea cups.  All different shapes, colors, and designs and all stamped with some important family name brand of England’s bone china collection.   I’m not really so concerned with how much they’re worth or how old they are.  I just love the way they look and I appreciate the unique character that each one has.  These teacups aren’t just beautiful, they are useful.  They won’t collect dust in the attic, I plan to use these tea cups! 

I wouldn’t consider myself a tea connoisseur.  I don’t buy raw tea leaves to steep and strain. But I do love Yogi Tea’s Green tea, Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time, Mighty Leaf Organic Spring Jasmine, just to name a few.   I love how drinking tea makes me feel.  Unlike coffee, tea has a therapeutic affect on me.  If I’m not feeling well, it can give me that warm comforting feeling.  If I’m lagging and need a boost, there’s a tea with a bit of caffeine that can actually be good for me.  There’s even a tea that helps lactating mamas with special herbal ingredients!  Who knew? There have  been numerous studies that show the anti-cancer properties of the antioxidant polyphenols, which is found in some teas.  Studies also suggest that it may reduce the risk of  gastric, esophageal and skin cancers, if you consume 4 to 6 cups daily. I’m not sure that I’ll be drinking that much tea, but when I do, I’ll be doing it in a stylish way!  Come join me for a spot of tea will ya?

All this tea time talk got me thinking… how come us Americans have so many places devoted to coffee, but only a few devoted to tea?  I would love a cozy place in town with plush sofas where they have tea time in a vintage-euro setting.  They would serve an array of different teas from Oolong and Chai to English Breakfast and White Pear in the cute European tea cups. And what if they also served cupcakes and danishes?  Hey, it could be called Cupcakes and Tea Cups!  THAT my friend…would be heaven.