Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all

Yep, that's a big giant dead bird on the table in the back thar. We ain't pullin' no fancy dinner here, but we did pull out the matching non-plastic plates even if we don't got no matching serving dishes. A crock pot full o' stuffing, a giant plastic water pitcher. Tha's all we need. And just pretend you don't see that baby sitting in a Bumbo chair on a raised surface. I promise, no infants were harmed during the making of this picture. Exactly one turkey was killed, tho.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bumbo safety recall

Bumbo Baby Seat has a new warning to prevent injuries from falls, recommending placing a warning label on the seat itself to not place it on tables, counters, hard surfaces, etc. The baby can arch its back and pop right out of the foam seat, causing head injuries when falling back onto a hard surface or off a high surface. The similar product, Bebe Pod, has similar safety issues. So, do I need to order away for the sticker? Does she look like she's going anywhere? Do I look concerned?

And check out the adorable knuckle suck!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

She's cute, and can indeed smile

So here's the proof that I do in fact still have a baby, that she can in fact smile, and that I remember how to blog. She's been "real" smiling in response to our smiles since September 1 (about 3 weeks old), and has been smiling spontaneously since about 5 weeks old. She's now almost 4 months old, and doing all sorts of neat things like sucking on her index finger knuckle rather than her thumb, rolling over, and blowing these really cute spit bubbles while she babbles that I'm sure only a mother can appreciate.
So quit your complaining. I don't feel bad about not posting cutie baby photos, because I don't care about disappointing all 3 readers of this blog, and because she's screaming at me lying on the floor as I try to type about how cute her smiles are. Excuse me while I go play with my adorable baby and see if I get her to smile again, all for your reading pleasure. The things I do for this blog.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Me too, me too!

While taking some smiley photos of the baby, the big sisters wanted in on the action. It's hard for me to take snapshots now, and I find my life's photo history slipping away because I want everything that comes out of the camera to be awesome. But usually, the best photos are those that just happen in a click, because photos are more about how we feel when we look at them rather than all the technical wonderment. Because let's face it, very little of what comes out of my camera is awesome, and this is really how I comfort myself.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Yo-yo dieter

Technically, purely, I am a yo-yo dieter. Given the extenuating circumstances of 5 children in 10 years, I forgive myself. But it doesn't make losing weight over and over again any easier. With each year I age and each child I bear, it gets harder, and harder, and harder. And while I absolutely refuse to publicly share my before/after progress photos (a la Body for Life bikini clad overweight model), I will share my CURRENT weight graphs.

My goal progress graph: losing weight is more like skiing moguls than downhill
And my weight loss graph from the past 12 months. Note the pregnancy curve!

While I have the photos, and I can see the progress from 170 to 140 pounds and back and then back again, it's still hard to be high again. While I know I've done it before, and I have the knowledge, tools, and confidence to do it again, it's still hard, every time. While I know it's hard, it's difficult, it sucks, and I hate it, I also know that I've been there before, and it is all worth it! Nothing tastes as good as being thin!

This time around I have changed up my plan a bit, gravitating even more toward the bodybuilding school of thought: lifting heavy/low reps, intense cardio, eating extremely clean (high protein, loads of veggies, eating most of my fruit/carbs around my work outs). I think it suits my body style well, and I've had good success with it before. While my weight loss is slower with all this weight lifting, from the photos I am pleasantly surprised to see the difference in body composition at the same weight. Muscle really does weigh more than fat, and is a whole lot prettier!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Cancer sucks

My friend Susan Cummings Grover, age 38, died of breast cancer last Saturday Nov 1, 2008, after 7 years of battle. She leaves behind her husband, Doug, and 3 young daughters age 9, 7, and 3.

Seven years ago, I got a phone call from my friend Susan. We had been trying to coordinate babysitting and date nights, and she told me she couldn't do it then or in the near future, hinting that all was not right. It sounded like some sort of flu, and I offered any help I could to her, taking her children, bringing her a meal, which she refused. She finally broke and told me just how sick she really was, that I couldn't bring in food or take her kids because chemo depressed her immune system, and asking me to keep it quiet as long as I could. She assured me that through fasting and prayer and blessings she knew it wasn't her time, and that she would be around years yet to "afflict" me with her friendship.

Susan lost her mother in a car crash 8 years ago not long before she was diagnosed with cancer. Shortly after, my own mother was diagnosed with cancer, and Susan was the first person I called. If anyone could understand losing a mother too early and that cancer SUCKS, it was her. She didn't tell me I had to enjoy all the time I had left with my mother, that at least she wasn't diagnosed at as young an age as Susan, she just cried with me and kept saying, "Oh, Emma, this sucks!" She listened, she understood, she sincerely grieved with me.

Perky didn't begin to describe her, and optimistic underestimates her. Yet never fake, never false, always sincere with a quirky sense of humor that left us wondering how she could pull it off. She was passionate and driven, and modeled perfection as closely as anyone I have ever met. We shared so many of the same ideas on raising children, marriage and family life, the role of women, finances, politics, religion, yet she bettered me in all of them without ever making me resent her for it. In fact, it made me marvel and inspired me to be more like her. She was so unique, I fear I will never find another friend like her, and regret that I can not count her as a closer friend, that I let that chance slip away, because I know she would have welcomed me as openly as she welcomed everyone with her gracious talent for friendship. Even before she got cancer she was an amazing and inspiring person. Even after she got cancer she was always optimistic and sincere.

Over the years, I have pushed Susan away, not because I thought she would die, but because as her fight started going downhill I was afraid to talk to her about my own mother's losing battle. My mom had pulled away from her cancer support groups because she couldn't handle everyone dying, and I thought Susan would feel the same way getting bad reports from me. My mom always asked about Susan when we talked, and Susan always asked about my mom. I also didn't want to "bother" Susan, because through her amazing gift of friendship you either thought she was your best friend or you wanted her to be. I figured she had myriad people better than me to occupy her precious little time, and I didn't want to steal any time from her family. I didn't want to burden her with me, and in the end I realize that says a lot more about me and my feelings on friendship than her. There was never anyone more genuine, more upbeat, more empathetic, and more supportive than Susan. I realized too late how much I valued her friendship and her unique perspective on everything. How many times did I think, "I need to call Susan for advice," and then not call her? She had a way of giving advice that made you want to do it, that made you believe you could do it, yet never made you feel guilty you hadn't been doing it that way all along!

On one of the occasions I did ask her advice, because I asked as often as I hesitated, regarding marriage and how she and Doug had such an amazing relationship, she replied, "I don't know. He's kinda perfect." It was the only bad advice she ever gave me, because both Doug and I were already married! Her insight, wisdom, and commitment border on supernatural. It seems unfair that someone so gifted at helping other people had to be taken so young, taken away from us who could learn so much from her. Yet that enduring perfection must be the very reason she was called away so early, that she didn't need more time on this earth to accomplish her eternal goals.

Good-bye, Susan. I mourn what we have all lost by losing you, yet even in death you continue to motivate and inspire to me to become better, to not regret the opportunities lost with you, but to seek out every chance to befriend and support those around me. If I cannot find another friend such as you, I will try to emulate you and become that sort of friend to others, no matter how impossible. Because you helped me see what I could accomplish, and how the effort is more important than the result; your valiant battle with cancer proved that to me.