Thursday, February 24, 2011


Our invitations arrived this week. They looked good upon first glance, but then I looked twice and they were misspelled. She misspelled the words "reception" and "immediately." Seriously? Why is everything bridal so difficult? How can it take 16 weeks to ship a dress, or really, anything? Why am I supposed to spell out the year any time I write it? And do they really expect me to wear a tiara?  All of that's just not happening for me.

From the very beginning of all of this, I didn't want a "wedding." Sure, I wanted to get married but I didn't want a wedding. We're doing this mostly for other people, which sounds terrible but is true. The second we told people we were engaged we were SWARMED with people asking for a date, what our wedding was going to be like.

As if I ever thought about it!

FYI, I hate talking about all that junk with most people. I will not have a china pattern. I'm not using calligraphy. I hate roses (in almost all instances of design) and I hate gold tones. I hate antique-y. I hate shabby chic. I'm not one for Victorian, tulle, pouf, or white "chocolate." (How do they even call such a thing chocolate?)

I wasn't the type of little girl to imagine her fairy tale wedding. I don't want to look like a princess or a confection. I've never been to a wedding that I thought was beautiful, because it's always so... grossly over the top. I HATE HATE HATE that everyone is going around saying that this will be "my day" so I should have it be "perfect."

First of all, it isn't my day. The wedding industry tries to sell me the idea of "it's all about you, you should get your every wish!"  But it's Jared's day too. And Oliver's. It's everyone's day to celebrate the existence of our awesome family and to be happy that we're together. Who am I to expect it to be all about me?

Secondly... Perfect? Really? They want me to expect perfection?

I know it's not going to be perfect. We're inviting both of our families, after all. Things don't go "perfectly" when family is involved. I have to work on seating charts to segregate feuding factions. At least 4 family members have put in requests demands for things that I just have to do. And outside of that, with such a huge event on such a small, home made budget - things are bound to go wrong. I've never done anything like this before and I can't expect it to run smoothly at my first crack. The only professionals involved are the cake people and the hotel people - the rest of this is just me making stuff up. Things will go wrong, and that's okay.

It might sound like I'm bitter about this, but I'm not. I'm fine knowing that my wedding could be a complete disaster - at least it'd be interesting. I don't want all the pressure of "perfect" when "best I can do" is good enough for me. I just feel like it's not good enough for everyone else.

It's everyone else's expectations that crush me and make me feel pressured. I'm terrible about feeling like I've let people down, even when I know it's not my job to please people. It's that damned Catholic guilt that just keeps coming back again and again to punish me.

So, please, if you're coming to my wedding please just try to relax and have fun. Leave your wedding expectations at the door and come looking for a nice party instead. It won't be perfect but it's as good as we can get.

Monday, February 21, 2011


I really hate food right now. Stupid healthy food ruins my shopping lists and destroys my schedules. I'm not going to complain about healthy food being more expensive, because.. well.. if that's your priority then you just gotta pay for it and save money somewhere else. I can understand that, and I can deal with that.

But the time? I can't make up for the time. And when I'm hungry, it's hard to wait.

Fruits soupify and mold on the counter if I look at them the wrong way. Veggies wilt and decay in my fridge at the drop of a hat.  Canned stuff is 1.) gross and 2.) usually packed in syrup or loaded with salt anyway. Frozen stuff is alright if you're going to cook it or throw it into a recipe. But if I want fresh produce, it means I have to grocery shop a lot more often. And let's face it, grocery shopping, for as much as I love it, is a HUGE chore with Oliver. And living in Minnesota? That doesn't help matters, either, when the winter seasonal choices are severely lacking.

Making dinners from scratch with whole ingredients takes twice as long and makes twice as many dishes to do afterwards.  The things that frequently make dinners taste good are the things that I'm not supposed to eat much of, anyway. And there is definitely nothing worse than striking out on a new dish after putting so much money and effort into it. Arghkalkhee.

My biggest problems are during the day when I'm here with Oliver. He doesn't let me work much in the kitchen. I want things that are quick, and hopefully easy to share with him.  I desperately need more veggies and fiber, but I don't like raw vegetables unless I can cover them in cheese or some sort of dressing. I can manage to get a serving or two of veggies into dinner usually, but that doesn't go far enough towards my recommended amount.

Like everyone else in the world, I like carbs a lot. Just because my pasta and bread is whole grain, doesn't mean I can eat it all the time. I love milk more than I should and I have to stop myself from having 4 or more glasses a day. After eating a good meal, I ALWAYS want something sweet for dessert regardless of whether I am hungry or not. There are a million ways I could fail but only one way to succeed: will power. I need a lot more of it. 

Working out is easy. Eating well to support the work outs is hard. And, no matter how hard I work, if I'm not eating well I'm just wasting my time.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


After several days of nice weather, we're expected to go back to "normal" February temperatures. Everyone is angry.

I'm not. I like winter, in a strange sort of way. Every fall, I enjoy preparing for the cold. Noticing how all the leaves are gone and the air is getting crisper tickles my insides. I look forward to the feel of heavy coats and mittens over my fingers. It is such a relief to escape the oppressive heat that I feel like I can breathe deeply after months and months of congestion. When the first snow finally falls, my thoughts light up with visions of cocoa and snowmen and sledding.

It's more than that, though. Every winter I live through makes me feel like I've endured some hardship, and won. It's like I've earned a greater patience while waiting in the dark. Winter is a challenge I overcome, again and again. I come out on the other side feeling stronger, older, wiser - changed for the better. I feel rebellious every time I bundle up and go outside for recreation's sake, like I'm shaking my fist at mother nature.  If nothing else, winter makes me appreciate the spring with a brand new exhilaration each and every time. I don't know how it works.

Obviously, each year I know winter is going to end and spring will come, but as the days get darker and darker... I forget. I'm so busy pushing through the cold with my head down that I'm suddenly shocked by a spray of green poking up through the grey and white. It makes me pause to look up at the sky and truly notice, as if for the first time again, how beautiful this place is. Once you've noticed one sign of spring, suddenly you see them all. You get drunk on it. It's such a wonderful, reaffirming feeling.

That feeling was so intensely magnified the year Oliver was born. Winter seemed so much more foreboding. He was so tiny and fragile in the face of all that cold.  I truly felt like I had to batten down the hatches in preparation. That winter seemed so cold, so restrictive, so dark. Finally making it through to the spring was so very special - taking Oliver outside for the first time with his skin exposed to the light. Setting him down in the grass, watching his reactions as he touched it and tasted it for the first time. I felt like we both were strong to have made it that far, and we were.

We'll both feel even stronger when spring comes again this year, one more notch on our belts.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How I win at going to the gym EVERY SINGLE TIME.

For a couple weeks now, I've been in a class at Life Time. We meet three days a week. It's just me, two guys, another lady, and our trainer. We do strength training and then we do cardio. Oliver hangs out in the childcare and gets to play with other kids.

When I first met with the trainer, she asked which class time I  was interested in joining. The words "8 o'clock" came out of my mouth before I even thought about how early that was. I accidentally thought with my logical brain, instead of my real life brain. I mean... yes... 8 AM is great for getting up, getting your workout done with, and being back in time for Oliver's nap.... but really? 8? In the morning? You're kidding me.

The first couple of times I dragged myself out of bed, I thought there was no way. 6:45 is just too early. I'll wake up at 6:45 when I'm in a nursing home and my bladder can't wait any longer. Until then? No thank you.

But then I did it anyway. And I did it again. And again. And I don't even think about it anymore. I get up at 6:45 and I don't even mind! You guys, I am a fricking superhero. Somebody give me a medal RIGHT NOW.

My first workout was rough. I was dying. I thought I was dying. The tiniest movement of almost any muscle in my body made my insides weep. I actually dropped Oliver because my arms gave up holding him. For a while, Oliver would taunt me from far away. "You want me to stop pulling on the shades, fatty? Come get me. I dare you."  Then he laughed and ran away before I could even stand up and say "OwmybuttI'mdying."

But now, just  a couple weeks in, I'm getting better at it. I don't feel like I'm going to die anymore. My muscles don't hurt as much when I'm done. I don't dread working out. Today, when Ashley asked, "Can you do this?" I actually said yes - And then I did it!

I mean, it's not like I'm a rockstar or anything. I can't do pull ups or push ups. Not yet, anyway. My plank exercise today topped out at 70 seconds or so, but when you consider that my first 20 second plank made me collapse... well, yeah. I take that back. I am a rockstar.

Anyway, I've found the key to my success in the gym is to make myself feel good. The entire time I'm there, I'm constantly thinking of tiny things that prove I'm not as bad as I thought I was.

For instance, a typical day in my brain at the gym goes like this:

1. I only need one towel to cover myself in the locker room. Great success!
2. I have no rolls of fat that I need to wash under in the shower. 10 bonus points for me!
3. I didn't make any grunts or groans when I sat down this time, yes! A+
4.  Look! That guy is going slower and sweating more than I am! That puts me in at least 5th place!
5. I look cooler than that person because I know how to use my fancy heart rate monitor. I'm pulling into at least 3rd place!
6. Watch me as I drink water without stopping on the treadmill! (3x multiplier bonus for good form!)
7. I just completed my scheduled workout all the way through. I win! ERROR. ERROR. TOO AWESOME TO COMPUTE.

And so, somehow, amazingly, I manage to win at fitness every single time.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

This is what we did at Christmas.

Oliver can sometimes be really naughty. A lot of times, actually.

And although this picture isn't really of him being naughty, I thought I'd share it with you in all his (elf bedecked and no I did not buy him that outfit) glory.

So classy it hurts.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Family Dinners

All of you who've had experience with feeding Oliver know that he eats a lot. (I mean a LOT.) And he isn't too picky about what he eats. In the last couple months, though, he's changed. He has been spitting out his food. And he's decided to not eat meat. Or most vegetables. Or, sometimes, anything but bananas.

I've been expecting this to happen, because supposedly even the best eaters can turn into picky toddlers. I just shrugged and tried to find new ways to sneak vegetables into his food.

Lately, though, we've started eating dinners together at the table, and guess what!? He'll eat anything we're eating. I used to make him a separate dinner and feed him first so that Jared and I could eat "in peace." We usually ate grown up dinner after he was in bed and we could watch a show on TV. I've always felt that family mealtimes are very important, so I decided he was old enough to stop that. I set him up in the booster seat at the table, and I cut our adult food into pieces for him. I hand him a fork and say go for it. I figured he'd either eat it or not eat it, and I prepared myself to be okay with either outcome.

So many times I've offered him broccoli, and he has refused it. It was one of his most hated vegetables. Then this week, he saw Jared and me eating it, and he wanted some. He asked for it.

I gave him a piece, ready for him to scrape it off his tongue with his fingers. But he didn't. He chewed it and he ate it. He asked for more. Since then, he's eaten eggs, pork roast, a bit of salad, tuna... almost nothing has been refused.

Dinnertime is now my favorite time of the day because we all get to sit at the table and be together. Dinner talk mostly revolves around, "Oh... you read a book today about ducks? That's great!" But still. At least we're all sitting there doing something together.