Friday, September 30, 2011

SHOTS ANYONE?

And I don’t mean grey goose, chilled patron, or kamikazes.  [those were the days] 

We weren’t doing shots at the bar. 

Rather, we were doing shots at the pediatrician’s office: DTaP, Hib, Hep B, polio…and none of these require a chaser.  Though, Little Mister probably would’ve appreciated one.  Shots in his adorably chunky thighs provoked a fire-red face, trembling arms, and a 911-worthy shriek that I’ve never before seen or heard.  The corner of my own eyes got weepy. 

Reminiscing on Little Mister’s first rite of passage somewhat made me giggle later that evening.  Funny?  Ok, well maybe not funny, but there was some comedy in the moment….the look, the noise, the drama.  The way I saw it, this was just the beginning.  Life is full of good times and hard times.  And as his Mommy, I wish Reef the whole spectrum -- the most wonderful experiences to enjoy, and difficult times that will make him stronger.  Every day is a gift, and you must find the joy/ meaning/ strength with each experience dealt to you (good or bad). 

Here’s to life!  Now who wants a shooter?

OFFICE AWARD

Thursday, September 29, 2011

BABY WEIGHT

The most frequent question from both my prego friends and my non-prego friends is “how did you take off the baby weight that quickly?”  First of all, I haven’t completely shed it all. I gained 51 pounds when pregnant; started out at 103 and ended at 154. Yowza is right!  I’ve lost 37 ‘ell bees’ thus far, but I’ve been parked here for weeks and am somewhat starting to panic. I’m unable to exercise because of my abdominal hernia, and the lack of activity is weighing on me.  Literally speaking.

I’ve never really cared about the number on the scale, so long as I felt good in my clothes -- but after baby #3, I was worried about my body’s ability to bounce back. It took me just a matter of weeks to lose all of my baby weight with Keegan and Bailey (without any dieting or exercise) but being 10 years older with baby #3, I assumed it wouldn’t be as easy.

Quite the contrary.  Breastfeeding is the solution, ladies!  It’s been the common denominator in all three weight loss achievements. Breastfeeding is not only wonderfully nutritious for baby, but it’s fabulous for you, too.

I’m certain, however, I’ve now plateaue’d.  The remainder of my baby weight is not showing any signs of falling off on its own.  It’s going to take exercise to get where I want to be. My girl, Tracy Anderson, will make a regular appearance in my living room just as soon as my hernia is repaired. I’m also trying to eat healthy in the interim…appropriately portioned meals and water. Now…don’t get me wrong…I am proud of what my body has accomplished, even if it is a lot softer and squishier than it used to be. But I very much hope that I can get back to my desired weight so that I can enjoy wearing all of my favorite jeans again.

______________________________________________________________

You know you’re dieting when…
  • You see a broken nacho chip on the floor at work and actually consider picking it up to eat it.  Seriously!  This has happened.
  • A few sips of a beer or margarita now gives you a buzz because you haven't been able to properly carbo-load beforehand.
  • Your jaw hurts from chewing so much gum.
  • Instead of wiping the ice cream off your child's face, you kinda get the urge to just lick it off.
  • You bark at your children to clear their plates and then RINSE them in the sink, mainly so you don’t feel the urge to pick at their leftovers.  (Thankfully, soggy food is not appealing to me…at this point in my diet, anyway.)
  • As you are in the grocery store line, you see the woman ahead of you buying cans of Spam and actually ponder what it tastes like.  A nice Easter ham?  And then you proceed to fantasize about Easter dinner...Thanksgiving dinner...Christmas dinner...
  • You poop lettuce.


Monday, September 26, 2011

BACK TO WORK

Everyone asks how I’m doing leaving Reef with the nanny and returning to work.  I explain that it’s like so many other things in life…it is what it is.  I don’t have a choice and instead of focusing on the negative, I’m focusing on the fact that #1) I have a job in this economy and #2) that we’ve found a wonderful nanny – it’s the best of both worlds, really.

I somewhat miss the fun at the office, of being a big beach ball with legs. Mornings being a challenge in dressing my baby belly, and later have coworkers awe in what I could stylishly throw together, proving that pregnancy clothes can still be cute and not necessarily come from maternity stores. And now…I’m just a regular ol’ working gal again.  

Anyhow.  I’m grateful to my coworkers who stepped in and picked up my slack while I was out.  But now it’s time to get back into a routine – no more lounging in pajamas and smothering “baby cakes” with kisses any time I want.  However, I enjoy the work that I do and earning a salary is part of mothering my kids.  My fear was wondering if I’d lost my professional mojo. I am used to being good at what I do, and I am generally able to juggle work and family life relatively well, but all of life’s little bumps in the road (i.e. the addition of another child, the scare w Reef’s hips, my hernia, my skin cancer, Keegan’s concussion, medical bills, etc) within the past 9 weeks had really rattled me. 

I woke this morning with the adamancy that I would squeeze my postpartum body into something office-appropriate and muster up the confidence to march into work as though I still got it.

I fought off most of the anxiety of it all by reminding myself that it’s good for our souls to stir the dust up a bit. Change brings growth. And our ultimate goal is growing little girls and little boys and this life we’ve made into something bigger than it is today.



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

ALL THINGS MOMMY

Most expressions with the word "mom" or "mommy" in them -- mom hair, mom shoes, mom jeans, soccer mom, hockey mom, mom's night out-- conjure up an immediate image, and it's not exactly a positive one. Rather a one-dimensional, pathetic, frumpy, unhip, conformist, soft, lacking identity, and selfless image.

Other than the blatant "dead-beat dad," why don't we use the word dad or daddy in derogatory ways?

Mama's boy? “Ick.”

Daddy's girl? “Awww, how sweet!”

Whose permission do we need to “be a mom?”  As far as I’m concerned, mom’s rock! And I’m proud to be one.

Monday, September 19, 2011

2 MONTHS OLD

My newborn who did nothing but eat and sleep all day is morphing into a busy little guy.  He still eats and sleeps a lot, but he has added a few new tricks to his repertoire.

He Talks. Reef has a lot on his mind. Mostly he says "ah goo." But sometimes he mixes it up and says, "coo coo." He uses his voice to get my attention -- which is good because he has some stiff competition from his brother and sister when it comes to commandeering attention.

He Grows . . . and Grows . . . and Grows. His 3 month clothes are starting to look snug. We have a check up next week for an official weigh in.

He Smiles. He has a few different versions. Sometimes he does a subtle curl of the lip, as if to say, 'Oh, hey there Mom." But more often Reef flashes an exuberant, gummy grin that screams, "LIFE IS GOOD!"


I can no longer remember what life was like before him.  It obviously wasn't as spectacular as it is now.




Saturday, September 17, 2011

BYE BYE BABY

Yesterday was my last official day of maternity leave. I’ve spent the last 8 weeks living on planet mama and spending my days consumed with chubby baby thighs and first smiles and late afternoons snuggling on the couch. We’ve stayed up late, we’ve slept in, we’ve gotten to know each other on a very intimate level.  And though I'm working from home this first week, this Monday morning, I’ve got to somehow figure out how to turn my “real world” brain back on. I’ve been feeling anxious about it -- but the one thing that keeps me from getting too worked up is that the nanny is located minutes from the office.  That is pretty much best case scenario for a working mom -- that I can visit my gummy bear on a whim.  But dang!  I miss him already!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

SKIN CANCER. IT'S REAL.

You live with the hope that you are going to be one of the “lucky ones.”  The ones that don’t get cancer.  I should know.  I am was one of them. 
I opted to visit the dermatologist a couple of weeks ago, simply as a preventative.  I did, in fact, have a questionable mole on my back, but still 99% certain it wasn’t anything to be concerned about.  Rather, the doctor questioned the WHITE, FLESH-COLORED bump on my nose.  A bump no bigger than 1 mm in diameter.  “Oh, that’s nothing,” I said.  “I think that maybe I had a pimple there about a year ago that I happened to pick…leaving a little bump-like scar.  I'm now a recovering picker.”
[paraphrasing]  “That’s a text-book story for skin cancer, Mandi.  Let’s scrape it off and send it in for biopsy,” the doctor says in response.
***
We think we have it so hard
Maybe you've got a test next week, maybe your best friend is being a b word, maybe there's some repair you need for your car that costs $1000, maybe your cat is sick, maybe your boss is a prick, or maybe your tooth has a giant cavity.  Life is just so terrible.  You want to die. (dramatically speaking)

And we go on like this for years.  YEARS!  Going from one so-called crisis to the next. Then one day you get a phone call, and you have cancer.  BAM!  Like a hit from a baseball bat to the head. CANCER.  Everything spins for a minute.  The world seems to jolt to a stop. 

Everything changes.  It sucks.  It sucks so bad, that unless you've been through it, you can't even begin to fathom the feeling.  It hollows you out in a split second.  It's like being struck by lightning. 
Yes folks…I developed CANCER.  Fortunately, I'm not going to die, or have to suffer through chemotherapy treatments.  Mine is a mild form of skin cancer.  Not that there is any good cancer or bad cancer – a disease with the word cancer as it’s suffix…well, is shitty no matter how invasive.  But in my case, I’m not having to prepare my family that they may potentially lose their mother/ wife/ daughter/ sister/ friend.
I spent most of my childhood and adolescent years playing sports and partaking in outdoor activities.  So, sure, I can recall numerous burns.  Floating the river, swimming everyday during summer break, and playing volleyball at the beach from dawn til dusk -- occasionally burning so badly that I couldn't move the next morning.  But it healed and I got a nice golden tan, never once concerned I was doing insurmountable harm to my body.  But I was no George Hamilton!  Still, I was playing Russian roulette with my life.
***
I am one day post-op today.  A specialty surgeon downtown performed the MOHS procedure on my nose to remove the cancer.  Once I was completely numbed, they switched on the bright light and laid the surgical scalpels and tools on my chest and proceeded to reconstruct the tip of my nose.  It’s a slow process, lasting 4.5 hours in my particular case.  Small amounts of the diseased skin are removed and then reviewed in a lab, until traces of cancer are no longer identified.  I heard the Dr. snipping through my skin. I felt the tug and pull of the stitches - both sub dermal and dermal.  In the end, I estimated I had about 18 shots in my nose, and 5 sub dermal and 7 dermal stitches.
People, don’t be fooled by the simplicity of my description.  The aforementioned surgery was nothing short of frightening.  Google the MOHS procedure and you’ll see why.  There was such potential for a far worse wound/scar than what I have.  I am, with no doubt, a “lucky one.”
My diagnosis is basal cell carcinoma (aka cancer).  It’s not likely to metastasize, which means that unlike its evil cousin, melanoma, it doesn’t travel to other organs. However, no one should take it lightly. Like the spreading roots of a tree, basal cell carcinoma can work its way throughout the basal skin cells much farther than the visible spots extend. Let it go too long and you could lose chunks of your nose, ear, leg, etc; a Google image search reveals horrifying pictures in which it’s consumed large portions of someone’s face. When I think about possible skin cancer scenarios, I thank God for what he spared me from.
One misconception is that this cancer only affects those over 40.  False.  There are over 1 million NEW diagnoses every year.  It’s simply those over 40 that truly begin to see doctors regularly but many times have cancerous conditions that they’ve been living with for 8-10 years.  My surgeon operates on patients as young as 16 from time to time.
Another misconception is that one had to have been a sun-worshipper to get skin cancer.  False again.  About half of my surgeon’s patients are not sun-bathers.  Some, he described, are simply runners, golfers, bikers...and those that typically wear clothing and ball caps while performing their activity
You must wear and REAPPLY UVA/UVB sunscreen when outdoors; even when you don’t think you need it.  A one-time application is not sufficient.  Avoiding the sun between the hours of noon and 3 is extremely helpful.  Wearing a broad-brimmed hat can do wonders, considering most skin cancers occur on the face, ears, chest, and shoulders.  Most importantly, get checked by a dermatologist yearly.
Jerry Seinfeld even wrote an episode around it. It was the one where he dates the dermatologist and calls her “Pimple Popper MD” because he doesn’t think she is a real doctor. After all she wasn’t saving any lives, right? That is what he believes until he meets the man she saved from skin cancer.
Folks, skin cancer is a REAL CANCER.  It’s a deadly foe that we actually can help prevent


Excuse the no makeup me, but this is 2 days post-op...


2 days post-op

Friday, September 9, 2011

BUCKET LIST

“You’ll be on your way up!  You’ll be seeing great sights!  You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.” –Dr. Seuss

I’m very fortunate – truly the luckiest girl.  Nothing is more important than having children, healthy children, and witnessing all the significant moments in their lives.  Or finding the love of my life and sharing a home with an inviting, joyous, comfortable, loving atmosphere.  Those are tops, most certainly!

I’ve experienced an abundance of so much in life already, and often times with the help of family and friends.  I’ve gone on a plethora of vacations, participated in all my favorite sports, scuba’d beautiful ocean waters, took guitar lessons, swam w/ sharks, had a pillow fight…I couldn’t possibly list everything.  And my ambition and hard work has definitely allotted me numerous achievements (various degrees, job opportunities, home buying, etc).  Life has so much to offer.  Your riches may entail sofa surfing, and that's totally cool.  As for me, there is more to be had in life and I want to achieve as much as I can.

My bucket list grows still, but here's a start…

·         Visit my hair’s homeland, Norway
·         Go on a canopy tour
·         Learn Italian, more than just curse words and maybe enough to understand Opera
·         Go whale-watching
·         Destroy the Tom Selleck (the mustache, not the actor).  Those bastards need to be fried with a laser.
·         Go to a masquerade
·         Learn to yodel
·         Spend a day, a regular day, traveling around doing my normal everyday things…but in a jet pack
·         Dive the Barrier Reef (Australia)
·         Skydive.  (I know, hard to believe I haven’t already, eh?)
·         Ride a unicycle
·         Attend a murder mystery dinner
·         Win over $1000 in a lottery or raffle
·         Join a disaster relief program
·         Grow a Bonsai tree
·         Eat something I’ve grown (tomato, berries, cucumber, even herbs will do)
·         Take my kids to Disney World
·         Watch turtles hatch and run for the ocean
·         Go to the Kentucky Derby
·         Go deep sea fishing in the Keys
·         Learn to say “no” without feeling guilty
·         Learn to play chess
·         Take a helli ride in a Hawaiian volcano
·         Touch an iceberg
·         Ski the top ten resorts in the country
·         Organize my pantry and have it remain for at least 1 year
·         Have the gall to break out in a rendition of The Wheels on the Bus while riding public transportation
·         Juggle (hence this year’s birthday present from Pete)
·         See the Coliseum in Rome
·         Pull a Gaga and arrive somewhere in an egg
·         Initiate more with friends, be the one to call, the one to invite out for dinner…
·         Learn to play the drums
·         Appear on a JumboTron for doing something stupid
·         See a Broadway play (on Broadway)
·         White water rafting
·         Ride in a hot air balloon
·         Hike in the rainforest (Panama, Costa Rica, Maui, Honolulu, Borneo…any of these will do)
·         Most importantly, I want to live an extraordinarily creative life

This is in no particular order, not in any way complete, and is subject to change.

Got a bucket list?  What are some things you’d like to do before you kick it?  Leave me a comment.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

6 WEEKS OLD

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

GOOGLE'ING

Ive discovered, while researching various things for the kids' homework, is that you can type in the beginning of a question on Google and see what the most popular derivatives of that question are. At first, it was humorous. Now, I've retracted any faith I once had for our society.

Today the question I went with on Google was “Am I…” to see what the most commonly asked “am I” questions are. Here are the results.



I think what we can all take away from this is that we’re all relying a little too much on Google. We’re forgetting about common sense. I’m afraid we’re going to evolve into a society who can’t figure anything out on their own without Google, to the point where we can’t even figure out what the Google website is because we need to Google it first.

Regarding “am I pregnant.” Ladies, if you’re Googling this, get off your computer and into a free clinic. Trust me, every second counts.

And “am I fat?” This is an easy one. You don’t need to Google this. Look down.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

BIRTHDAY


view full image
"Happy birthday, hunny!"

Saturday, September 3, 2011

LIFE IN PICTURES




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