Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Call Me Maybe"

If I were to ever get a tattoo...I'm not really a "tattoo" kind of girl, but if I were to decide someday that getting a permanent bumper sticker put on my flabby, aging skin is a good idea...I always thought I'd want it to say something like "Bloom Where You're Planted"...

You see, I'm always in awe of positive, "enjoy the journey" kind of people. Those who can make lemonade out of lemons. The happy-go-lucky folks who can see the sun shine amongst all of the crap. I may not belong to the same club, but I did happen to give birth to one.

London is the little girl who was just born loving life. I really wish I could bottle up her enthusiasm, her confidence, her smile and hold it in my heart forever. When she descends the stairs each morning, I always hear "Here Comes The Sun" playing in the background. She can lighten any mood by simply walking into a room. She's so mature, such a good friend to others, and can whip out the lyrics to "Call Me Maybe" unlike any other! I will catch her on camera someday!!!

London just started kindergarten this year and we decided to enroll her in a different school outside of our neighborhood. We are happy with our decision, but with it comes some anxiety as parents: Will she thrive there? Will she make friends? Will it be a good fit? So, every day, upon picking her up, I'm drilling her about her day. I want to know if she's fitting in and making friends. I want to know she's happy. Yesterday, she got in the car and my usual string of questions followed. She surprises me when she says, "Mom, I made a new friend." Excited, I started to gather more information. It sounded like her new friend was a boy. So, I ask her, "Is XXX a boy or a girl?" She quickly answers, "Mom, it's a boy and he wants a play date, so I gave him my phone number." I couldn't help but laugh. This is SO my London. She is just blooming where she's been planted.

As parents, we are always hearing about our influence on our children. How we're taking these blank slates and creating a little person with morals and a value system. But on this particular day...And many others that have passed and many more to come...it feels like my kids have taught me the important lessons in life instead of the other way around. All I have to do is take one look at my middle child to be reminded to "bloom where I'm planted"....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jessica Simpson

Honestly, I don't even know why I'm attempting to write a new post right now. I have a screaming toddler, chasing the dog, with my ipad in tow. Seriously! What am I thinking??? Sitting here while complete chaos break outs beyond the small space of my office? Oh well. If I don't just "do it" then I'll never do it...because this is the norm around here....eventually some drama will ensue which will cause me to leave this (and my trail of thoughts) behind...So, until then!

Is anyone else totally sick of getting play-by-play accounts of Jessica Simpson's baby weight...and now post baby weight? It feels like the media can't get enough of it. They are enjoying all the torture (and maybe she is a little bit too...Afterall, no one is forcing "tweets" of her gigantic breast-feeding bosom to surface). I'm starting to feel bad for her. It's hard enough to have a baby, but I can't imagine doing it in Hollywood, with all the world watching!

You see, I have never been one of those "cute" pregnant people. Nope. I gain an immense amount of weight. Obscene, actually! With my first child, I gained 50 pounds. I was even 24, so age shouldn't have been a factor. At one point, I remember my doctor saying to me, "Well, you're gaining weight nicely." My response, "Really? Isn't it a little excessive by now?" And it was, but not because I wasn't taking care of myself...Just how my body reacted and I did manage to lose most of the weight, but as as any new mother will tell you, your body never goes back to how it was before pregnancy. Six years later, I gained 40 pounds with our daughter. I kept 10 of those pounds. Almost 5 years after her, I gained 60 pounds with our 3rd child. And I didn't shed a single pound...I'm not kidding. I couldn't get those pounds to fall off to save my life. This time I am blaming my age (35) and the fact that I had my first Winter baby, which meant I thoroughly enjoyed myself over the holidays...And every.single. day following!

At six months postpartum, I was still struggling to lose the baby weight. In fact, it was starting to affect everything about me. I started to isolate myself. Never in my life had I felt so uncomfortable within my own skin. Never had I felt so unhealthy--unable to climb stairs, keep up with the kids. You know you have a serious problem when your close friends don't even recognize you standing in front of them in the check out line at Cub. And it wasn't just the weight...although it did play a huge part in it...but the birth of Leyton had changed so many things about me. I really didn't know who I was anymore.

Starting last January, I knew I had to make some significant changes. It wasn't going to be easy, but I was determined to get "me" back. Not really knowing which way to turn, I started Weight Watchers. I didn't think it would be something long term for me, but I thought it would provide the motivation for me to get off the couch and start paying attention to what I was eating. It was a good catalyst, but I still wasn't happy with the results. At this time, I had a serious conversation with myself. I wanted to make changes, but I didn't want to set myself up for failure. I wanted all of my changes to be realistic ones, lifetime changes I could adhere and stick to. I knew that if I started down drastic routes of "cutting out carbs" or "spinning class two times per day"...I'd eventually grow tired of it all and I'd fail. Then I found a blog online. A woman, weighing over 400 pounds (now she's something like 150 pounds) lost all of her weight naturally by simply making a decision one day to get off the couch and walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes a day. 10 minutes!!!She made a small goal. She succeeded and now she's a normal, healthy weight. She's kept the weight off for years. She motivated me. After hearing her story, I asked myself, "What's a realistic time for you? How much can you seriously dedicate to the treadmill/ellipitcal per day?" I settled on 20 minutes a day. At this time, I decided to just make this change. I was only going to focus on one thing at a time. I felt an immediate difference...Big things were starting to happen--Not just within my body, but my mind as well. My mood was suddenly better, I was sleeping restfully each night. Then a friend recommended a free calorie-counting web site www.myfitnesspal.com that had helped her lose some weight and stay on track. I joined that day. Then bigger things started happening. Thus far, I've lost a little over 30 pounds. I still have a few more to go to get to where I was pre-Leyton, but I'm so much more comfortable. It feels so good not to hide anymore. I don't dread trips to Target  for fear of running into anyone I might know. I don't dread shopping for clothes.

What I've realized throughout this journey is that it wasn't ever about the weight. Sure, it felt like it, but it was really about losing myself. Suddenly, I wasn't taking care of me and the results were showing. I still like my Mountain Dew and Chocolate for breakfast. I'm not giving THAT up (After all, that would be craziness!) but I have made other changes. And I guess my point with all of this is that it doesn't have to be BIG things. Small changes can make a BIG difference!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"But I named you 'MOM'...

We were in the car, headed to the mall. Logan was 3 years old, sitting in the back seat of our VW Passat. He asked me, "Mom...Why are named "Stacey"?" I answered, "I guess because Gram liked the name." He says, "Well, she may have named you "Stacey", but I named you "Mom"..."

On this day, 12 years ago, Logan made me a mom. Little did I know then how much my heart would swell, how ferociously I would protect him (and the other two siblings to follow), how much I would love such a little person. From the day we met, I knew Logan was different. He is generous and quiet. He is sweet and sensitive. He is compassionate. He is my old soul. He love surprises and quiet mornings of nothingness. He loves waffles for breakfast and being read to at night. His eyes still light up when we plan "Family Movie Night". He loves staying up past midnight on New Year's Eve. He loves sparkling white grape juice in a champagne flute.
It seems as if I lost blocks of time during his labor and delivery, but one thing I remember so vividly is watching him being laid on my chest for the first time. Looking at Brad and seeing his eyes fill with tears and joy. I remember how naturally Brad took him in his arms and lulled him, trying to soothe him. I remember seeing my husband in a whole new way. We were a family and it felt so very meant to be.

As he blows out his birthday candles tonight, I'll be making a wish of my own: I hope you grow up and spread your wings, but always remember your roots. I hope you have a great experience at your first year of Middle School. I hope you will continue to hug me, even after you've grown taller than me (which will happen this year, for sure!). I hope, in the coming years, that you realize we may not always agree, but know that I only have your best interest at heart. But most of all, I want you to be happy. I want you to love life and only surround yourself with those who love you just as much. I love you, Baby Boy!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Is It Worth It?

There are things I really love about my 12 year old boy. Today, I had one of those moments.  And if you're the parent of a pre-teen yourself, you know that when you have one of those moments, you must write it down.

Logan: "Mom, what is the hardest job you've ever had?" 
Me: "Why raising the three of you"...is my answer.
Logan: "Do you think it's worth it?"
Me: "We all hope it is. This is why we invest so much in each of you...In hopes of the reward being greater than the sacrifice."
Logan: "What reward would make it worth it to you?"
Me: "If you grew up to be happy. If you are, overall, a good person."
Logan: "Yeah, this is why I'm NEVER having kids!"

Good grief! I guess I didn't get my point across very effectively!!!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Cell Phones

Brad and I have just entered the 21st century, which means we broke down and bought smart phones (and a Data Plan...super exciting stuff going on over here...). I don't know what took us so long, especially given the fact that my hubby is a "techie"....But I guess...while he may be a "techie", he also a "cheapie"....So, it really just came down to numbers for us (which would explain why the dish subscription is being cancelled along with our landline).

Speaking of landlines, we have a 12 YO in the house these days. A boy on the cusp of those awkward, I-just-want-to-fit-in middle school years. And this child of ours believes wholeheartedly he needs a phone...It has gone beyond "want" and it's now a "need"....We are mean parents who don't believe a child, especially one without a valid driver's license, needs a phone. We often tell Logan to "sell" us his theory. We always have a rebuttal in our back pocket. However, there has been a string of late night or naptime phone calls from quite a few 6th grade girls (and I don't know what it is about these girls, but I'm pretty certain we should vote them into office because they are strong-willed, confident people who do NOT give up easily nor without a fight!) and I have gotten pretty angry over it. Logan's argument is, "Well, if I had my own phone, you (or Leyton) wouldn't be disturbed by all their phone calls." True...And after a full week of summer vacation, his theory is looking more and more tempting....

Thursday, May 17, 2012


If there is one question I hear over and over again, it's "Why the age gap?"...My kids are spread pretty far apart. Logan is almost 12, London is almost 6, and Leyton is 1. This was not intentional. It just sort of happened this way. Logan, or our "pleasant surprise" as I call him, came at a very tumultuous time in our life. We had just lost a very dear family member. I had never seen my immediate family falling apart at the seams like they did during this crisis. My mom was deeply sad and emotional. My brother was struggling with the death of his "best friend". I was traveling back and forth between two different states to help the healing process, to be a means of support for my family.  During one of these trips, I forgot to pack my pills. And did you know you truly only need to forget a couple of them to become pregnant? Well, I have a daily reminder of it! Little did I know, Logan's arrival did prove to be the ultimate healing agent for my parents. And I know that everything happens for a reason and I thank God every day for him. He's truly a blessing. A pleasant surprise. And just to clear up one more burning question, I was 24 when he was born and had a college degree, a mortgage and car payments. I was very much an adult....

So, we really thought we were "Fertile Valley"....Then we attempted to get a pregnant a second time. It was on Logan's 2nd birthday that we decided to try for Baby #2. Really, this shouldn't take long, right? After all, I got pregnant while I was on the pill with Logan. It was a painful year of nothing. Each month, we were reminded again that our efforts were futile. We did try some fertility drugs for a few months, but nothing seemed to change. I was in a dark place. I needed a diversion...BADLY! I went back to work full-time, I bought a super small BMW that only 1 kid fit into. I bought a puppy. I was determined to make other plans. If life was going to throw me lemons, I was going to make lemonade. It was a big 'ol Pity Party for Stacey...Then I received news of a friend of mine, someone whom I had lost touch with, she, too, had been trying to have a baby. They couldn't conceive at all. Were trying to adopt, only to have their hearts broken over and over again. Birth mothers revoking parental rights, taking babies back. Babies they thought had made their own dreams come true. Their story stopped me dead in my tracks...I will never forget it for as long as I live...Logan was playing with Matchbox cars in front of me. It hit me...Wow, I'm so blessed. Even if all I ever have is him, I'm the luckiest girl in the world. This pity party is over. This was October of 2005. This was a moment of peace. I finally felt my heart accepting what my mind had been trying to tell it for years! The very next month, I was pregnant with London. She's our miracle and she was SO worth the wait. It took 4 years of trying, but if the end result is her, I'd do it all over again...every.single.bit.of.it! 

Then, there's Leyton....Oh my! Nothing like starting over! I had always felt like 3 was my magic number, Brad did not. Brad felt like we were biologically complete with our boy and our girl. I tried for a year or two to convince him otherwise, but he was standing pretty strong. I remember on London's 3rd birthday (Does everyone feel the need to expand their brood with each passing birthday?), I asked Brad (or maybe told him), "It's now or never! I don't want another six years to pass!" And still, he said, "Nope, I'm good." Then London was fully potty trained and we were out of diapers, formula, and bottles. Something clicked in me. I could see the light at the end of tunnel. I felt good about our family. We were complete. On Mother's Day of 2010, Brad told me how he felt a certain longing to having another. I was shocked and in a totally different place. I wan't quite ready to start over again, but the thought of one more was somewhat appealing. So, we agreed to try for six months. If nothing happened, we'd go back to how things were. It wasn't meant to be and I didn't want to fall back to that dark place of infertility again. Lo and behold...It took one month. So, he's meant to be here. We're happy to have this silly, demanding child throwing a wrench in our oh so perfect life. He's rockin' our world, Leyton-style! 

Part of the reason for this post is that I have a lot of friends who are struggling with motherhood, in one way or another...And I just want to remind them to NEVER give up, EVER! These kids are worth every cent, every struggle, every tear. A friend of mine (You know who you are) brought me back to reality a couple of weeks back. I was telling her how much "Trouble" Leyton is and she said, "But Stacey, he's worth every single bit of it" and she's right. So, whether you've just lost the light of your life (like no Mother should ever have to endure) and you've found yourself "mother-less" for the first time in years or you're struggling just to become a mother in the first place...Don't give up. It's the most rewarding, the hardest job on Earth, but it's worth it. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I love this woman...

I love this woman. So much. Not just because she's my mom and she gave me life. I love who she is, who she made me become. I love that she's my friend, my biggest cheerleader, my hero. I love her goofiness. I love her smile. I love the fact that she laughs the hardest at herself, that she gives all of herself to every person she comes across. She always sees the good, never the bad. She grounds me. She makes sure my head is on straight. She tells me the truth. Sometimes she tells me what I need to hear. Sometimes she tells what I want to hear. Very carefully, at times, she'll give me her opinion. She's hardworking, a survivor. I love how she jumped up and down with me on the night I told her Brad asked me to marry him. Then she quickly grabbed me by the shoulders and said, "But if you don't finish college, I'll kick your ass!" I love how we all cringe when she mentions a "new recipe". I love how she suffered so much so I didn't have to. She taught me to respect life, no matter how big nor small. She taught me to expect more of myself. To push harder. I love how she made me do my own laundry. I love how she let go at the right times and held steadfastly at others. I love what she taught me about being a woman, a friend. I love her hugs. I love her friendship. I love how eagerly she gives me her time. I love being compared to her...I only hope I can be as good, as pretty, when I'm her age. I hope my own daughter loves me like I love her.

Happy Mother's Day. I love you. I love how you taught me to rise up, to expect more, to never settle.