Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Girl In The Poncho

I don't remember having this picture being taken, but I do remember the poncho. It was an orange plaid with an orange tassel trim. It was the perfect.... albeit ugly garment for this period of my life. But fitting.  It was the beginning of the end in some ways and the
beginning of forever.
I believe the year to be 1971 and I am 10 almost 11 years old.
My unkempt hair and the perennial one knee sock halfway down lets you know that I probably didn't look in the mirror much.  I didn't really feel the need. I actually liked who I was. The bulging poncho not yet a problem but soon to be one.
Puberty was setting in and it would not be pretty.
My once thin and limber body was now thick and more sedentary.
My mom was an expert dieter and on the Weight Watcher bandwagon at the time. I saw the horrible frozen cod fish fillets she steamed 5 times a week,
and the chicken liver she tried to gag down once a week.
The smell of that liver and the sugar free Trident spearmint gum still take me back to those days.
It didn't take a rocket scientist to see that with each pound she lost she was happier and lighter both literally and figuratively (no pun intended)
But I also watched my rail thin older brother. 16. Able to pile his plate so high with beautiful fluffy mounds of mashed potatoes and gravy and consume them before I had even gotten started.
I can smell that in my memory as well.
Two divergent paths.
One much simpler than the other.
And so began the journey that to this day I am still trying to hack through the weeds and debris to see my path clearly.
My daughter, my first born, my Jeopardy champion, British loving, amazing girl is chronicling her similar journey and I could not be prouder.
I think that people believe that the best moments with their children come with society based achievements and awards, bumper sticker moments of honor rolls and most points scored.
For me, I have decided that the real pay off as a mother is watching them overcome their own struggles alongside me while I work on my own.
Side by side.
Sisters of the Ponchos.
Check out her blog here....

Love you moonbeam!

Monday, June 10, 2013

All you need is LOVE!

This is a picture of my parents on their wedding day.
They have been married for 59 years.
And today is their anniversary.
Most people never get to celebrate such a milestone.
Either because of poor heath or poor relationships.
It is not an easy road, marriage, even in the best of circumstances.
But through good times and through the bad I always knew one thing for certain.
My parents loved each other.
Not perfectly but completely.
It's hard to imagine a world without that.
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.
Cuddle on!

Friday, June 7, 2013

To Drink or Not to Drink.....that is the question.

So I have a bit of a drinking problem.
Isn't that the first step to recovery?
Identifying and admitting your issues?
Problem is that I am not quite sure that I want to be cured.
So I probably will get bogged down on one of the 12 steps I would take.
I like carbonated diet drinks.
Not an actual picture of me but a representation of what some people choose to see.

I think I know it's origins.
I didn't like carbonated drinks as a child.
We rarely had access to them since my mom was on a strict budget.
But once in a while they would bring home a jug of root beer from A & W and everyone in the family would be elated.
Except for me.
It hurt my mouth and nose and stomach and I didn't really care for the taste.
So this problem didn't arise from my parents putting diet coke in my bottle or serving it at dinner as a young child.
(I hate to admit it but Diet Coke didn't even exist until I was a young adult. I can hear the guffaws from my children right now as they read this. One time I told them that there was no egg McMuffin until I was an adult and they belly laughed and snorted for a week)
But when I turned 11 or 12 my once skinny frame began to put on the pounds.
My mom who was constantly on a diet would buy Tab as a treat for herself.
This is not an actual image of what Tab looked like when I was a teenager. We didn't have the pull back tab on the lid like this picture shows. we had this....

Yea kids.....yuck it up again about how old I am but you don't know what you missed. This little object could be made into jewelry!! Rings and chains and it was FUN!

In the 70's we were not as worried about the dangers of our food and beverages.
No one told us that it would burn through our insides or give us headaches or ruin the enamel of our teeth.
Back then sugar was the not only gave you cavities but it made you FAT!
So since I was battling the battle of the bulge myself
And had a mouth full of fillings, I saw my path clearly
I was enticed by the fact that Tab only had 1 calorie.....let me say that again 1 CALORIE
Do you know how rare a thing that is??
1 Calorie
That meant that no matter what other enticing food I could not have in copious amounts...
For anyone who has EVER restricted their calorie intake you know what an amazing statement that is.
And so a habit was born and formed and forged in the fires of 1 calorie
Am I addicted?
Maybe not
My baby girl Lauren challenged me to give it up for one month.
So I did.
I did not turn into a grouchy, headachey monster. (since that seems to be my lot, drink or not)
I did not feel withdrawal symptoms.
I felt fine.
But what I did learn was that I was lazy.
Without someone to hand me my beverage filled to the top with Sonic Ice, flavored with just a hint of cranberry every day, I had a problem.
This ban meant that I had to get a cup out of the cabinet, walk over to my refrigerator door, fill my cup with ice that I did not like, then open the said refrigerator door and pull out the pitcher with the 1/2 cup left of flavored water that someone did not replenish the night before, then go to my pantry, rip open another bag of flavoring......well you get the picture.
So after 30 days I went back to Sonic with the smug satisfaction that I was NOT addicted only lazy.
What a proud proud moment.
That is until the manager of my Sonic was so RUDE that I just HAD to boycott them.
No worries I just took my business to my newly opened Murphys gas station who had flavoring and pellet ice and make friends there.
Only problem was that they did not have the right cups.
And so my search began.
For a large enough mug to get me through the day, yet with a large enough opening to fill it to the top with ice, without looking like I was carrying a construction workers playmate cooler.
I found one at the dollar store that I LOVED!
It was beautiful  crystal clear green with a sturdy green handle, and a wide enough mouth to accommodate the flow of ice but not too large to attract attention.
And it was 1 dollar! That is almost as great as 1 calorie!!
I only bought one so that I could take her out on the road and give her a test drive.
It did not disappoint.
I went back the next week to my Dollar Tree ready to purchase 5 or 6 of them.
GONE! They were all gone. And in their place was a small necked jug that sprayed ice all over the gas station. (Yes I tried it, the worker even gave me a paper cone to use but it just got jammed up in the soggy pulpy paper)
But that was okay.
I still had my lean mean green mug.
I would cherish it and keep it clean and glory in the fact that I had the perfect beverage holder.
I came home one night to this.

When Todd empties the dishwasher he puts the things he doesn't know what to do with on the counter.
This was just sitting there on the kitchen counter waiting for me.
I I mean audible gasp.
To which he replied, "What? What's wrong with it. Is that not the way it is suppose to look?"
I think the least he could have done was to give it a proper burial in the trash can outside so that I didn't have to have this image embedded in my brain.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Deep Thoughts.....

I have been really spilling my guts lately.
Important, serious topics.
And anybody who really knows me knows just how serious and deep a person I really am.
So here are some of my really deep thoughts.
If you had to photograph this house for your job and you were all alone and walked up to the door and this is what greeted you, would you feel a wee bit scared?

Do soup and salad and God stories really go well together?

Would you EVER buy a house or a business on Pansy Street if you were a guy?

Why do you want to just reach out and kiss babies toes but can hardly stand to glance at adult feet?

When did we progress as a society from the stick figures to represent the number of people in our family to including their hobbies and how many accidents happen while people are following them and trying to figure out just what is in the fathers hand?

Why are clowns freaky in any format and at any age?

Why does Dad look like a nerd and Mom look like she's 16 and what is wrong with the boy on the end....weight problem?

What DO newborns really think and dream about?

These are just some of my deepest thoughts.
Thanks for listening.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

On this day 21 years ago I cried. Part TWO.

Another milestone for me...
I mean my daughter Lauren.
But also for me.
To continue the story....
I had not prepared for natural labor.
For me the most natural of all labor would be pain free.
On whatever they felt necessary.
That would be the most "natural" state that I would choose.
If you ask me pain is the most unnatural thing I know.
I always asked the OB if it was possible for the anesthesiologist to just meet us out in the parking lot.
Thus saving EVERYONE time and hassle.
Anyway, because she was born 40 minutes after arriving at the hospital
(and a 20 minute drive to the medical center that is fondly recalled as "Mr. Todds Wild Ride")
there was no time for anything other than catch the baby.
The last few minutes I begged for something that would dull the pain.
The doctor gave me a shot of something through my IV and now it was........
I was still in pain AND I felt loopy and out of control.
I heard or thought I heard the doctor remark to Todd,
"She's not much of a drinker is she?"
And then Lauren was born.
They layed her on my chest and I saw this chubby cheeked beauty with full pouty lips and a head of beautiful dark brown hair.
Problem was that my arms were now like two rubber bands.
I tried to wrap them around my new little squirmer but it was if they no longer obeyed my brains commands.
I was relieved when the nurse took her from me.
And disappointed that I did not have the tearful moment that I had with the other two at the instant of their birth.
I felt cheated by the stupid shot given me literally one minute before she was born.
Maybe I had used up all of my tears the day before.
Maybe there is only a finite number before your body refuses to yield any more precious bodily fluids.
They wheeled her away from me to the nursery while I was being attended to.
Then they took me away to my room in the towers.
Finally after what seemed like hours they brought her into my room and placed her in my arms.
Swaddled in her pink and blue blanket and her hair washed fluffed and combed into a little ridge atop her head like a little dinosaur.
Todd tired from his night of being a knight in shining armor asleep in the uncomfortable chair beside us...
My other two children being well cared for by their Grammy at home.
A huge storm complete with horrible lightening and thunder roared outside as the rain beat against the window.
Everyone I loved was safe.
And the tears flowed.

Lauren my sunshine. You have been a light and a joy to our family. No one loves fiercer and more fully than you and I am honored and grateful to be your mother. You completed our family and I will always count June 2 as one of my favorite days. Happy Birthday sweetheart I love you :)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

On this day 21 years ago I cried.

I use to mark time by my chronological age.
At 4 I broke three fingers by going down a spiral slide in the fun house at Lagoon.
At 5 we moved to New Jersey and celebrated my birthday in a New York City apartment waiting to move into our house.
At 8 I was baptized in a random Stake Center while our family was traveling on vacation.
We moved to Houston when I was 11 and I celebrated my 12 birthday by going to Astroworld.
And so on and so on.
Then I became a mother and my actual age became fuzzy in my mind.
I could tell you in months how old each child was
But I couldn't tell you my own age without thinking really hard.
One year I actually forgot and told one of my friends Jawan that I was a year younger than her.
She was not happy when later she found out we were actually the same age.
I now mark my life by imaging my children.
For example:
A doctor asks me if I have ever had any surgeries to which I reply
"Why yes I had my gallbladder taken out."
What year was that?
"Hmmmm...uh....awhile ago"
Like how long was awhile ago?
"Well maybe 5 or 10 years ago....maybe 15?"
(doctors disgusted look)
"Ok Ok well let me think about it. Lauren was 4. Todd had taken Jack 7 and Megan 10 to the Astros game and my mom had to come over" Sooooo it was 1996!"
A look of pride on my face while the doctor just shook his head.

So today as I was driving to the store I reminisced about just what I was doing 21 years ago this very day.
It was etched in my mind like acid on glass.
I was 9 months and 1 day pregnant.
It was my third delivery and my gynecologist had determined from the moment I walked in that I had gestational diabetes.
She needed no tests to confirm it. (athough there would be a plethora of tests at the end)
She just saw that I was overweight.
And she was thin.
I explained to her that my body actually performed miracles when I was pregnant.
That is was a cosmic joke that when I was pregnant....
I lost weight.
My skin cleared up.
My energy level increased
and given enough time I could have probably brought about world peace.
I always told people that if I could mentally and emotionally deal with a dozen or more children that I would choose to be pregnant forever.
(to all of the people for whom pregnancy is a b word...I profusely apologize for my actions)
After she diagnosed me she let me change from the paper thin tiny gown to my clothes.
As I walked out she sat talking to the nurses eating a bag of Fritos.
During the last three months of the pregnancy she had me take monthly glucose tests and weekly stress tests.
My only REAL stress was her.
The only bright silvery lining to this thundercloud was that I was considered "a higher risk pregnancy"
Why would that ever be good?
Well I had had two other pregnancies.
Megan 43 weeks and
Jack induced at 42 weeks.
This was my ticket to be induced at 40 weeks whether the baby was determining whether to take up permanent residence in my uterus or not.
June 1, 1992
The day my sweet little girl would be born.
I counted down the days.
They told me to call at 6 am to St. Lukes that morning to make sure that all was ready.
I knew that I had them by the diabetes and would not take no for an answer.
The nurse then said,
"I'm sorry you can't come in today. We are so busy that we are not doing inductions.....(and then a pause) unless they are high risk pregnancies.
A smile spread across my face as I said,
"Oh but I am....I have gestational diabetes." I said while trying to stifle the excitement in my voice.
Let me look at your chart.
To which the nurse smugly said,
You are not diabetic. Your glucose levels are fine. Maybe in the higher normal range but definitely no risk at all."
And that is when the crying began.
I cried all day.
I had never cried more in my life.
And as I rested my head down that night knowing that this baby would NEVER come out, I cried some more.
Then as if she could no longer tolerate staying inside of such a big baby, in the middle of the night at 2:41
Lauren Winn
made her debut into the world after a record 40 minute labor.
Thankfully my OB was not on call that night to deliver her.
She would not have been happy when my foot slipped and kicked her right in her Frito loving face.