Super Inspired Writer

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Thursday, June 27

And with your Spirit

I'm not sure what disturbs me more...the fact that my baby just turned 6, or the fact that my eldest will be 8 in the morning. I HAVE AN 8 YEAR OLD! I can't believe it, I just can't. In my mind my husband and I are still those goofy college kids sneaking liquor up to our rooms in brown paper bags, having just flirted on AOL instant messenger.  But it's true, and even though I still often wonder how the hell I got here so fast, here I am. You may or may not know that my firstborn was and still is a bit of a hot head. He is super independent  competitive, and knows way more than me to the point where he will burst into tears arguing me like a judicial figure. But keep him I will. Every moment that I am not screaming or laying dramatically with an icepack on my head, I am wondering at the marvel of the miracle of life. The miracle that something so intricate and wonderful is possible. And something wonderful is possible for you my son. Someday your independent personality will take you places. And when you get there, remember to call your Mother on Sundays. 

My first baby, one day old.

Taken from a Facebook Note I wrote in 2009 (4 years ago):
I remember when I was a child accusing my mother of not knowing what she was doing. My little brother was often so wild she would pull at her hair and throw him to the couch saying, "don't you move!" At times like that I would promise myself that when I had a child I would discipline them out of being so wild like my brother was, that my mom had to have been doing something wrong to have a brother that she could not keep calm and controlled.
I also knew the type when I was a teacher. They were those students that required a little more redirection. They were the students who always "forgot" to raise their hands or walk quietly in line. They were also usually the most creative students who had the most fun during activites. Unfortunatly, sometimes their "spirit" got in the way and too much discipline would be involved.
I knew my baby Vinny was different from the get-go. He was generally quiet in my belly, until several times a day he would begin to move somewhat violently as if he was tired of floating around in my womb. The day he was to be born he screwed-up all of our plans of a natural childbirth by laying in an unfavorable way which would not allow him to come out properly, his shoulder jokingly pinching my epidural space so that no pain relief would flow. I knew from that point on I was in for it. 
I have no memory of this baby during the delivery at all. My first memory of Vinny was when I was in the recovery room, weary, and he was wraped up in Brad's arms. His eyes were wide as saucers as he surveyed the room. I wondered what the heck he was looking at, or more importantly, what he was looking for. He continued to be alert most of the time, eyes wild, and constantly searching. 
By the time Vinny was three months old he no longer wanted to sleep. By six months he was rolling around the room grabbing for stuff. At nine months my baby crawled up the stairs and hid from me. By his first birthday, i was officially done for. Vinny had now denounced strollers, shopping carts, sitting still basically anywhere, and letting me hold his hand. He would run so fast sometimes I would gasp for air trying to catch him. As much as I loved my child, I was already getting the impression that this was a long road. At 18 months his first words were, "I do!"... and at 24 months naps were a thing of the past.
It was pretty much then I started to make excuses about taking him places with my friends. Their kids would sit in strollers happily drinking from sip cups while my son screamed to get out and then ran like a Hell's Angel from me. I tried to take him to Mommy and Me classes where the others would sit in their parent's laps like kids do on TV to sing the songs while mine ran around the room climbing everything in sight. It was at those times I would get in the car, strap him into his carseat, and begin to sob. Why was I the only one???
I then came across a quote that would become my mantra in caring for my son. 
"Stop thinking about the baby you thought you would get and learn to love the baby you did get." Another was the suggestion not to use the terms "naughty" or "bad" but rather to substitute "spirited" in for a child who was a rebel without cause. So "spirited" my son became and "spirited" he still is. 
Today my son turned 4-years-old. I would say that out of a 7 day week, 5 1/2 are spent chasing, disciplining, sobbing, and searching for a way to contain his energy. I still don't go to the mall, zoo, pool, or anywhere else for that matter with the two children by myself for fear he will dissapear off the face of the earth while I'm tying my shoe. My friends often laugh at me about this, but my fears of tantrums, chaos, and loosing my boy are enough for me to have learned to just take a pass and stay home. Home is where I have controll, maybe a little, but some.
"But he's wild!" I cried to my pediatrician, "I can't discipline him any more!"
"A boy like this becomes a CEO while the others sit back and watch." the doctor had said.
The only other thing than a lot of support that has kept me going through these 4 long years is that I made him. Yep, that's it put simply...I MADE HIM. Whatever he is, or whatever he becomes I have to hang on and keep him. I will keep trying forever to shape him, mold him, and keep him safe. The knowledge that he came from me helps me to take a breath and enjoy the things that are so wonderful about my son.
Vinny tells the best jokes, and makes up new ones daily. Vinny loves to play games and is very smart and competitive. Vinny makes up the best and most fantastical stories. Vinny draws great pictures of boats, monsters, fish and dinosaurs, then makes them come to life with his humor. Vinny always tells me I'm beautiful even when I feel like I have given up. 
I will need more than strength in the years to come, but for now the boy I made is mine to have, the good and the bad, the fun and the challenging. It's true we want our children to be assertive, strong-willed, and independant, but as mothers we have a hard time adjusting to these things in the early years.
Regardless, I love you Vinny for who you are. Happy Birthday, Buddy.

Wednesday, June 26

Rain Delay

This weather sucks.

Like every other unorganized mom out there I got our pool passes after they opened for the season and therefore paid the premium instead of getting the early bird price and now it is the last week of June and we have only gone twice. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20. Hopefully we all will stop getting drenched in downpour and will start enjoying our summer.

The rain is also my very valid excuse as to why I can’t exercise. The only exercise that I enjoy is a walk outside, by myself with only my iPod to keep me company. I was told point blank not to try and compete with the people on the Biggest Looser and instead focus on a workout that you love, and I can honestly say I LOVE to walk.  It’s not my fault then that I’m stuck inside while the sky cries. I mean, let’s be honest, I can easily pop in my Billy Banks DVD and kickbox my way to six-pack abs in my living room, but I just don’t feel like it.  

Here are other things I don’t feel like doing.
1.     Cleaning though and packing up my school stuff for the summer
2.     Researching another teaching endorsement
3.     Getting the furniture in my garage on Craigslist so I can get rid of it
4.     Organizing my flip flop and sandal tub
5.     Staining my deck
6.     Watching the Le Mis DVD that I got for Mother’s Day

Here are the things I do feel like doing.
1.     Buying an old school coffee maker again so I can make a big pitcher of ice coffee to keep in my fridge
2.     Watching my mindless reality TV shows I have recorded on my DVR until I fall asleep on the couch
3.     Trying an at-home gel manicure
4.     Collecting yet another maxi dress I have no occasion to wear to
5.     Making a pizza
6.     Reading a trashy novel

This summer just feels weird. I don’t know if it’s the soggy landscape, the supermoon, or my new fascination with tofu noodles.

Friday, June 21

To INK or not to INK?

 As I spend more and more time at the pool this summer, I am always people watching. It's one of my favorite activities and our pool seems to be a damn art gallery of options to observe and analyze. What I love about our pool is that no matter what you look like, where you are in your weight battle, or if you care at all about your size, everyone there looks real with real bodies. I also love our pool because in today's modern age the ink is extraordinary. No stranger to tattoos myself, obviously I'm checking out the gallery out on lawn chairs from behind my mirrored sunglasses.  I am always looking at the ink of others, the good the bad and the ugly, and wondering what inspired them to make their choices. Did they just walk into a tattoo shop half tipsy and chose a pic off the board not caring about future regret?? Or did they go in with a special sentimental meaning in mind? All three of my tats were well thought out and mean something special to me. Being a collector of all things metaphoric, it only makes sense to use artwork to represent special milestones in your life in my opinion, that is if you can stand a little pain. But I think for the most part what tattoos offer is a subtle voice. An icon that says, I have a story. Like an app on an iPad, they are a symbol of something much deeper, a backstory. And here is my pictogram explanation...

My first Tattoo, 2003, married 1 year. I chose this cardinal because it was my husband and I's college mascot and as you are well aware, we are star-crossed college sweethearts. I am too superstitious to put his name, because that can only lead to bad things...but regardless of what the future brings, the cardinal is who we are...forever.

My second Tattoo, 2008, after I had my kids. This symbol reminds me of them because when my son was born his eyes were wide open ready to see the world. My little one was born asleep, and stayed asleep for nearly 5 days when she finally opened her eyes. To this day they are my sun and moon, bringing balance to our everyday life. 
My third tattoo, 2013, after my Lap-Band surgery. The quote, from my favorite musical "RENT" speaks for  itself, don't you think? 

Sunday, June 16


I got this at Weight Watchers in 2009 and it 's been banished to my junk drawer. It's back out bitches!!

A little quiz, and here’s the clues.
A list of things, follow the cues.
Something about me, you soon will find.
I’ve joined the ranks of the following kind.

A 50/50 chance of rain, means weathermen don’t know.
Hawaii 5-0, a police drama show.
#50 is the atomic number for Tin.
Buy one get one 50% off , you are sure to win.
A $50 dollar bill has Ulysses S. Grant.
50 Cent the Rap star is sure to rant.
50 years of marriage is anniversary golden.
50 Shades of Grey your carnal attention be holden!

And now for me, 50 pounds lost!!
I’m saying goodbye no matter the cost!
So I banish you away baggage of my past,
This girl is finally in charge, BAND help make it last!

(I’m a geeky writer, but you already know that. I have seen this number on the scale a few times in the past week but was afraid to REALLY see it, to believe that it was already there after 4 short months, and as to not jinx my success, I waited to post. But it IS there, and I AM here.)

Friday, June 14

Living Doll

I wrote this story in 2009 when my daughter turned 2-years-old, using a Facebook Note. I know this is a categorized weight loss blog, but it is my story and my journey and every piece of me makes up the puzzle of my life. This was my last pregnancy and my last baby and set in motion a spiral of events that have led to this very moment, including my decision to get a lap band. When I delivered my daughter, I was the same starting weight as when I got my band. I was able to lose 80 lbs on my own using Weight Watchers and it took me two years to take off the weight. After that and some other post-partum baggage I was dealing with I put on that same weight again in about nine months. So if it's true, that life has no regrets, that all the stepping stones of your life lead you to the present, then I'm glad all that has happened because without that experience I would never have had the courage to have weight loss surgery. A baby is a blessing, but there is always more than meets the eye. The time of Carmen's birth was the most stressful of my life so far, but I kept swimming kicking as hard as I could and here we are now. Happy Birthday to my baby girl. 

Story of my Second

The day Carmen Rose arrived was both predictable and routine, two attributes I had found comfort in during a stormy Spring of 2007 of problems with Brad’s job. I had June 14th marked on my calendar for months by that point. It would be the day I went in for my scheduled c-section and came home four days later with our little girl. A girl we had named Carmen after the opera by Georges Bizet. She would be independent and strong, just like I always hoped to be. 
The decision to do a repeat c-section was what was natural for me at the time. I had just had a c-section 24 months before with my son due to his defiance in the womb and refusal to present in order to come out properly, so it was familiar to me. Never being one for surprises, I told the nurse at my very first appointment to never ask me again if I wanted a VBAC, although she said I could change my mind at any time. 
Brad had been home an entire month before the baby was born which was less of a blessing than cumbersome. Instead of the joy of having him to help me with my final preparations, I was flooded with emotion, worry and doom about the bad luck this baby had brought me. A baby I wanted and planned for, and the proof that even the most well-thought out plan can create a drift in karma. So home we sat while I ate everything in creation, rolling from here to there after my toddler, and finding rest only in the family room recliner at night. 
Two days before my big day, Brad heard news of a new job. This was it; it was what I had been praying for. The baby, so quiet in my belly had unfortunately been somewhat neglected from my thoughts, a pregnancy not entirely filled with joy but more of a situation, and on that day I sobbed for her and said a tenfold of prayers to make up for what I had missed. But we had work and security, and I was ready to be a mom once again.
When the day had finally arrived I walked into the hospital after a well calculated morning, and said very calmly, “I’m here to have a baby.” It was surreal. There would be no labor, no wheelchairs, and no natural delivery, something I would never experience. No cavewoman pushing and screaming for me, just control and routine.
Strapped down like Jesus Christ on the operating table, I heard the doctors talk about their summer plans. It was as if they were making dinner together, talking and laughing, while I lay there with tears in my eyes. I did what a good Italian Mama does and said an “Our Father” followed by a “Hail Mary.” What was different this time around was that I was not fatigued from 18 hours of labor as with my last child. I was wide awake, just laying there strapped down…observing. 
During surgery, Brad stroked my arm which was pinned down with straps and tried to tell me play-by-play what was going on. After I puked twice and was told to just “turn my head” each time, which incidentally was the only part of my body I had physical control over, it was finally time to see the baby.
“HOLY COW!” the doctor exclaimed. What the hell did that mean?
“Does she look normal?” was my only question. It was also the very first thing I said when my son was born. 
“Yes! And she’s…wow…she’s got to be ten pounds!” She was 9.11 to be exact. 
When they brought her to the side of my head, I craned my neck as far as it would go to see her. I had no words to describe her at all. She was the largest baby I had ever seen with a face as round and full as a melon. “Now you stay with her Brad, leave me here.” I had said. Dutifully he went and the doctors went on to put my insides back together and stitch me up. As they laughed and told more stories, I lay there, numb. 
In the recovery room I really got a good look at my baby. She was huge. Her lips were red and her eyes were closed, her face and body still swollen from being in a bag of water for 9 months.
Once we got to my room everything became familiar to me. Because this was my second baby, the nurses let me be and didn’t ask me a million questions. Likewise, I didn’t ask a million questions either because I knew what to do; I had been practicing already for two years. 
When Vinny came to see the baby he had a very monotone reaction. “Oh, that’s Carmen,” he had said, “Can I have my McDonald’s now?”
On day 5 Carmen did something that I had been waiting for. She finally opened her eyes. We had just gotten home and I laughed as I looked at her complete face for the first time. She looked like Brad, a face I fell in love with years before that I could fall in love with again, this time in the face of my new baby girl, and it was then I loved her. 
We settled into a routine and the sleep deprivation nearly killed me this time around. My toddler was up from 8am until 8pm with no nap while I still had to get up four times a night for feedings. I was a zombie, and depressed, talking to no one unless they asked me a question. 
Caring for the baby was robotic. I just went through motions all day and night without feeling. Feed baby, dress baby, entertain baby in some sort of containment device while I clean and take care of other child, put baby down to nap, repeat, repeat, repeat. Eventually things got better. It took just over a year for me to begin to enjoy my new baby, I just never seemed to have the time. 
Carmen was always unique. Just as it had taken her 5 days to finally open her eyes and face the world, she would always be just as cautious with everything else she did in her life. She would sit in the laps of my family members like a China Doll, quiet and content, and observing. People would ask half-sensitively and half-alarmingly, “What does your baby do??” to which I would reply, “Nothing, she just watches.” 
When she was 11 months old she crawled for the first time, and shortly after her first birthday she stood up on her own one day and walked. She always knew how to do it, she just hadn’t been ready yet. While my son is always running from me, Carmen is always running toward me. Carmen does her own thing when it’s best for her, she is easy going, mild, and the sweetest little girl I have met so far. I can’t wait to get to know her even better as the years go by. She brings such sunshine to my life.
Happy Birthday Carmen, June 14, you are my last baby, and the perfect addition to our family.
I love you.

Sunday, June 2

Three Month Rambles

Tomorrow is our LAST day of school which to a teacher is pretty much better than Christmas Day. The students will only be there an hour and a half for the traditional, here’s your report card now clean out your desk and enjoy your summer. Now, I fully realize those of you who aren’t teachers and are thinking a whole bunch of things like why we need summers off so bad, or that we are spoiled, or that we get paid PLENTY since we only work part of the year but to those I say in the nicest way possible that jealousy is a terrible thing and I chose my career and you chose yours. (I remind my husband this ALL the time LOL). To my friends who ARE teachers…WHOO WHOO BABY WE MADE IT!!! Time to bust out those new Capri-Sun ‘esq frozen Bacardi pouches and sit on our asses for a while. We deserve it =)

Tuesday is my three month Bandiversary. I can’t believe that it is going by so fast and I really can’t believe it has been as easy as it has. Of course, I am still in the newlywed phase and a lot can and will change along the road, but for now I’m still very much in love with my band “Lola.” Don’t ask me where I came up with that name, but there are forums online where other band patients share what they have named their bands and some are much tackier. I guess you would have to be in the band to understand. And then again, people have always named weird things like their cars and ships and their genitalia, but we won’t get into that in this blog.

Tuesday is also my next maintenance appointment with the surgeon and I hope he will give me a second fill. At the present time I am only filled 1cc (or ml) in a 10cc band. No one that I have ever heard of has ever gotten the whole device filled, most only getting a ½ or 1/3 fill total to get to what we call the “green zone”. The green zone is where you are able to eat appropriate amounts (that’s just one serving kids) and feel satisfied and not hungry again for 3-4 hours. Being able to eat a whole Jimmy Johns sub means you need a fill. Not being able to get down a bowl of cereal means you are too filled and will get an un-fill. This is the biggest reason why I chose this procedure from the other options, because of the ability to modify my band according to my needs.

And the biggest reason why I continue to blog about my journey is because I attract other weight-strugglers like a magnet. Because people want to KNOW they are not alone in feeling helpless because they can’t lose weight on their own. Because I am an open book and not pretending I’m doing it by hitting the gym every morning at 5am. Here are my FAQs from various people during the past three months:

How do you feel?  Fantastic, because I can goddamned breathe now.

Can you see your port?  No, but I can feel it right under my skin and I feel for it all day long, it’s a security thing for me now….yep, it’s still there.

Have you thrown-up?  Nope, not yet, but we’ll see what tomorrow brings. And there are worse things than throwing up. Like being fat for instance.

How do you have so much control? I don’t, that’s why I had to get banded!!

How do you get through the liquid diet?? You just do. I promise.

Are you happy? Fuck. Yes.


Happy Summer Break =)

Saturday, June 1

Let the Choir Sing

Unless you went to a small private college in one of America’s best cities to raise a family, you don’t understand. Last night my friends and I said goodbye to one of the most wonderful, caring, inspirational choir directors that has ever been and it was a very bittersweet evening. All of the alums sat together in a special section, and during the last song of the concert were invited to go up and sing with the choir. As more than sixty of us went up on the stage, emotions were running high, and as we sang for the last time with this great man, the tears began to flow as we held on to one another for support.

Because what we were was a family. We weren’t just some students who were at the same place at the same time with some non-committal faculty that was there to punch in and punch out. We were sisters and brothers, with professors that were like parents to us when we were away from home. They not only educated us, but also taught us life-lessons, and made an effort to get to know us on a personal level. They weren’t just THERE, but they were PRESENT, always available for a late night chat or a cup of coffee at the campus diner. They were with us as we grew into our own, celebrating successes and living through failures, navigating our accomplishments, and falling in love.

And so we BECAME. We became teachers, professionals, actors and singers, Moms and Dads, homeowners and travelers. As they raised us, we became adult versions of ourselves.

All the while I was watching the slideshow last night, looking back at my past life, I was remembering the best times of my life, the times that made me ME. And I was thinking how I would give anything to just go back one more time and do it again. Wake up one morning and be 20 and live with my friends and sing every day and have my worst problem being what to wear on my next date and if I was going to get nailed for not practicing piano again that week. And then we sang, and cried, and hugged each other and I now know the truth of it all. We can’t go back in time, but we WILL go through it all again. We will be the families in the audience, the professors, and the choir directors.

And the circle of life will go on.