Monday, May 4, 2015

Reality Check #5342

Worried about flabby arms, double chins, stomach rolls and giant boobs.
Photo courtesy of Casey Chapman Ross Photography
The title of this post refers to the number of posts I've titled "Reality Check" and then never actually finished. It's referred to all different sorts of reality checks like going back to work after a vacation, realizing my daughter knows how to spell z-o-o and p-a-r-k, finding out my favorite band broke up and an all-too-humbling trip to the doctor.
But let me back up.
Listen To Your Mother was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I'm sure I sound like a broken record but to have been included with all of these amazing and talented writers was beyond a dream-come-true. I enjoyed bonding with my castmates before the shows and mingling with them afterwards. The second show was such a whirlwind with the amount of "my people" who showed up that I barely got to meet "their people," which I regret. I came to think of us as a sisterhood and I wanted to meet their families. I think we should have a reunion of sorts.
But the reality check came as I walked to the podium to share my story: my doctor was in the audience. It's extremely jarring for me to see an authority figure out of context, like when my 5th grade teacher came into the restaurant where I worked in high school. Since I whine to my doctor a lot about weight loss and depression, I felt odd sharing a humorous story about wanting an only child. It was even odder because I had an appointment scheduled with her four days after the show. Knowing she was in the audience led me to believe that she was judging my every motion. Breathe too deeply, and she'll think I have some sort of pulmonary disorder. Cough and she'll think I started smoking again. Exhale my gut and she'll see right through my Spanx.
After our performance and we took our bows, I looked around the post-show reception to see if she was there. I was relieved that she wasn't. So I continued to bask in the warm glow of validation that I so desperately craved after being on-stage. I was great! Buy me wine!
Flash forward those four days. The doc kept me waiting for over an hour. But she was super-apologetic about it. And when I asked her if she was at the show, she beamed and said that she goes to it every year and really enjoyed my story. We settled into comfortable chit-chat about how i've been doing. I started going to a therapist again which is great for everyone around me. I mentioned my breast cancer scare and my mom recently having a stroke. Then came the subject I was dreading but knew was important: weight loss.
I want to love how I look and embrace my body no matter what it looks like. For the most part, that's easy...except for the days when my pants are cutting into my c-section scar and I feel like a sausage at the end of the day. I've bought bigger clothes and avoided the nagging feeling that I need to get my wedding ring sized up. I haven't worn my watch since we moved to Austin because it just doesn't fit. But I convince myself that I look good and I'm happy and healthy. I'm boosted by women like Amy Schumer, Elizabeth Moss and Abbi Jacobson – they look like normal women! But the reality is I'm not as healthy as I should be. For someone with a family history that reads like A Series of Unfortunate Illnesses, I need to get my shit together. Doc suggested I kickstart weight loss with a diet program and then try the Mediterranean diet to maintain that loss. Here's the thing: I'm lazy. I have no willpower. I've TRIED to do the self-appointing diet plans like Weight Watchers and I'm notorious for cheating.  I like to drink. I like queso. I like the guac that costs extra at Chipotle. But I decided that I'd rather live long enough to see my daughter graduate from beauty school than keep eating like crap.
When it came time to do research and choose a weight loss plan, I leaned towards the cheapest one, Nutri-System. But when I saw what the photos of the food looked like, I backtracked. They looked like the worst school cafeteria food combined with the leftovers at Luby's on a Tuesday night.
Jenny Craig has better food reviews so I signed up, ordered 2 weeks worth of meals and now...I wait. It's hard to be spontaneous about eating when there's shipping involved.
I don't want this to be a weight loss "journey." This is just me being accountable for all the damage I've done to my body with burgers and pizza. And I know there are better, "healthier" ways to go about this but again let me reiterate: I am lazy. I don't cook. And I can't afford to shop at Whole Foods for every meal and then cook said meal.
Also, this isn't a cry for compliments. You can say I look great and I will be forever in your debt for that! But know that this is more for my insides than my appearance.
So please don't judge me for Jenny Craig.
And let's keep the Kirstie Alley references to a minimum...I'm more of a Valerie Bertinelli girl anyway.
Stay tuned for bikini pics! *Totally Kidding*

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Listen To Your Mother

Me during rehearsal. I didn't know what to do with my hands.
Photo courtesy of Casey Chapman Ross
This Saturday, I have the honor of performing in Austin's Listen To Your Mother show. It's really happening; I've gone to two rehearsals and they haven't politely asked me to leave so they're stuck with me.
It's a surreal feeling to be chosen for this show. I'm sharing my story amongst these remarkable women whose stories are so profound.
Mine is not as profound. I don't do deep, usually.
I'm not nervous about performing or being onstage.
I'm nervous about fitting in and looking good and not embarrassing myself.
I'm nervous that my jokes will fall flat and that my husband will roll his eyes.
I'm nervous that my therapist will come and tell me afterwards that there's no hope for me.
I'm nervous that I'll trip on my way to the stage. Sure, it's endearing when cute, young Jennifer Lawrence does it but when a 38-year-old me does it, it won't be as adorable.
I'm scared I'll miss it completely. True story, I have nightmares about this all the time. That I'll just forget to show up.
I'm terrified that nobody will be proud of me.
I'm nervous my dress is see-through and I'll wear the wrong bra.
I'm nervous my Spanx will cut off my circulation.
I'm nervous my shoes won't be the cutest. Judging by the photos we've been sharing, there's no way my shoes will be the cutest. These gals have some serious shoe game!
I've been told they're laughing at me for my words and not because my fly was down.
Photo courtesy of Casey Chapman Ross

Mostly, I'm nervous that I'll be exposed for the fraud that I am. I'm not a real blogger; I barely keep up with Hip-Baby Mama anymore. Writing was supposed to be my outlet but I put so much pressure on myself to be good at that I blank at every second. If I update once a month, that's lucky.
If my blog traffic increases, will my new readers even like what they see? But that's a whole other area of insecurity.
So this is my pre-show freakout. I know I'll be ok the moment I step on that stage. I'll have the support of my amazing castmembers and our producers and my family and friends in the audience. I'll look great, my Spanx will do its job and if the polish on my pinky is chipped, nobody will notice.
And somebody will be proud of me.
If you want that somebody to be you, please buy your tickets and come see me. 

I mean, just look at these wonderful women! Award-winners, published bloggers...all that and they have amazing taste in shoes!
Photo courtesy of Casey Chapman Ross

Friday, March 27, 2015

Is My Child Gifted?

For some reason, I never unsubscribed from BabyCenter alerts. Today this one showed up:
13 Signs Your Child is Gifted

I giggled my way through it because it's about as arbitrary as you can get when it comes to five-year-olds. But I'm sure there are tons of parents out there who obsess about this once they see those two pink lines on a pregnancy test.

I really didn't think I would have to worry about L.E. being gifted until 2nd grade. But what the hell, BabyCenter, I'll bite.

Let's see if L.E. is gifted.

  • Thinks abstractly – that is, she grasps advanced mathematical and linguistic concepts and can talk about such complex issues as ethics, morality, and religion. The other day, she asked me why the sun shines and then said, "It must be because it's smiling so much its face hurts and then it farts so it goes away." Mind-blowing, eh?
  • Has a specific talent, such as the ability to perform mathematical calculations in her head or understand concepts like multiplication before they are taught in school. I asked her what 2 x 2 is and she said 4. I asked what 3 x 3 is and she said 4. I asked 1 x 1 and she said 4. 
  • Is able to concentrate intently on one activity for long periods of time. Give her an iPad and she won't move for hours.
  • Has a large vocabulary and understands words not typically used by her peers. A car was coming as I was backing out of the driveway so I hit the brakes quickly. L.E. yelled, "OH SHIT!" I couldn't even get mad at her because her context was perfect.
  • Is a leader who often organizes group activities, such as initiating games with other children. "Mom, wanna play Hide & Seek? Mom, where are you going? You can't hide in the bathroom again!" Much door-banging ensues.
  • Is confident in her accomplishments and ideas "I'm the best drum-playing ever!" "I'm great at putting my shoes away." "I'm so good at drawing!"
  • Performs well academically. I can read her writing so that counts.
  • Is creative and loves to tell stories, draw, or compose songs. This is the story she told me the other day: "There is a rabbit named Jack. He is not a Jackrabbit. The end."
  • Has a sense of humor and appreciates wit. She giggles at farts. And the Silas Ramsbottom part of Despicable Me 2 reduces her to hysterics.

  • Prefers to spend time with older children and adults. As an only child, she has no choice most days.
  • Performs academic work that is two years ahead of her grade level. I can't figure out how to answer this because I don't know what 2nd graders learn. I'll take a pass on this one. Is this one of those "answer yes to more than five of these?" or is it "answer yes to ALL of these?"
  • Is sensitive to other people's feelings. "Mommy, you know what will make you feel better? Giving me jelly beans!"
  • Memorizes facts easily and can recall them and relate them at appropriate times. "Mom, please don't let George out the front door because then he runs away and you leave me in the yard like you did that one time." That happened over two years ago. And she told the story to my parents during Christmas dinner so she doesn't necessarily have "appropriate" down yet...
So what do you think? Should I be contacting MENSA? Does it really matter if she's gifted?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


L.E. is five today.
Deep breath.
I don't have the normal anxiety I do about her birthday. She's five and that's a pretty incredible age. She still needs me and is still filled with wonder about the world.
Her class held a special celebration of life today and I was invited to share her story and photos. I don' t know how I didn't cry!

Her classmates each volunteered to say something nice about her.
"I love her so much."
"I like it when she chases me."
"I like it when she laughs."
"She is the best girl in the class."
"I love her."
"I like it when she catches me."
"I love her smile."

Then her teachers:
"She brings such joy to the class."
"I love her clothes because they are so her."
"She is so smart and loving."
"She brightens our day every day."

Next it was my turn.
"I am so lucky to be your mom. You are the sweetest and best little girl in the world. I love how you are such a great helper and you make me laugh more than anyone. I love you."


Tuesday, March 3, 2015


I let L.E. be my #ToddlerStylist for five days. I figure it's win-win: I don't have to stress about what to wear and she gets to earn stars for her chore chart.
As much as I would love this idea to have been 100% mine, it wasn't. Summer from The Girls With Glasses got to write about her experience on a much larger scale but that still doesn't mean the rest of us can't join in.

L.E. seems to get laziness from me because she didn't want to bother with clothes in my dresser. It was closet only. The results were pretty great! L.E. has paid attention to things I like to wear and she did an awesome job of putting things together, including shoes and jewelry.

Day 1: All three pieces are from CAbi but weren't made to go together. Surprisingly, this worked though it's very uncomfortable to wear non-fitted jeans tucked into boots. Also, tube top.

Day 2: CAbi again! This is a top that's meant to be worn post workout *snort*. She picked the navy sweater and said "black pants." 

Accessory close-up: The necklace Daddy got me and my Vinca USA unicorn ring.
My earrings are custom-made by my sister.

Day 3: This was as wacky as she got. Pattern-on-pattern is not something I would have tried alone. It didn't look too bad! Cardigan is from ModCloth. Tank is – you guessed it – CAbi.

Jewelry included more earrings by my sister and my ruby anniversary ring from Red Envelope.

Day 4: Giving the kid credit: she pays attention to my favorite pieces – CAbi again. But I wouldn't have paired it with pink shoes. One of her classmates told me it was the wrong season for high heels. I told her every season is ok for high heels!
I didn't get an accessories close-up but I'm wearing Stella & Dot earrings and a Kendra Scott necklace. #basicbitch

Day 5: She grabbed this blouse out of my closet and said, "This! Aunt Margie got you this!" Yes, it's my dear friend and sister-wife who is the only person allowed to buy me clothes. I've been unsure about this top – from JCrew – because I feel like it's not flattering. But my stylist proved my instincts wrong and yanked the black cardigan off the hanger and said, "You love this shirt so wear it too!" The kid gets me...

She did not dress me in this photo but she dressed herself and loved that I'm also wearing navy and white stripes. My dress is from StitchFix, which is my latest addiction. If you are lazy and hate the frustration that goes with shopping – fitting rooms, too-small dresses, yelling for the 20-year-old size 00 workers to come help you get out of the too-small dress, sweating, sobbing....StitchFix is for you.

Click here to get started.

All in all, it was a really fun experiment! I learned several things from letting my four-year-old be my #ToddlerStylist.
1. I take terrible mirror-selfies.
2. Nobody at work ever notices my clothes.
3. I only own jeans and leggings.
4. I love my red hair.
5. Red lipstick can pull a whole outfit together.