20lbs later -MFP

Today I stepped on the scale a and saw a glorious number – 132. I got here a couple days before Christmas, but between being off schedule and spending all our days at other people’s houses, I ended up just being grateful that I maintained 133.

I took this week to get back on schedule and ended up a pound down, which is nice. It still feels a bit surreal, to be this skinny after all this time. When I fell off the wagon back in June, I thought for sure I wasn’t going to be able to get myself back on track. But I did, with a lot of hard work and focus.

My Three Biggest Lessons

1. No pop, more water. I have pretty completely cut pop out of my life. I can’t believe I used to drink TWO a day!! Husband has cut out pop as we’ll and the headaches he was having disappeared. I realized the other day that I was tracking my water all wrong and I drink closer to four or five glasses a day. By putting it in the tumbler I got from my sister’s wedding, I find it easier to suck down water while I’m busy at work. I also got a water bottle at home because having a large glass of water on the table made me nervous.

2. Eat less and smart At the very beginning of all this, I was very focused on eating whatever crap I wanted while trying to stay under 1200 calories. Not only was this hard, but it also didn’t make me feel good all the time. The second time I started up I focused on eating lots of salads and lighter fare; I think that helped me make better choices in general and feel lighter and less “stuffed”. I also read quite a few articles that said eating 1200 calories if healthy food and 1200 calories of sugar and fast food will also yield different results.

3. Focus on more than the number I was getting a little too obsessed with the scale before. I try now to focus on other physical results that losing weight gives me. Baggy jeans, loose dresses, and jutting hip bones are just a few! I tried on a dress I wore to my wedding rehearsal dinner and it was TOO BIG! Now that’s results!


glimpse of an alternate future

I sometimes wonder if I’m covering too much of the same topics over and over on here. Then I realize I’m the only one reading this thing, so it’s okay. YAY!

Yesterday Stepson had a wicked case of pink eye in both eyes and since Husband had a day off on Thursday, I had to call in to work so I could stay home with him. The original plan had been for him to come to work with me, but obviously that was off the table.

After I called off, which until that point I had a one and a half year streak of NOT doing at all, I had to bit my tongue before I said, ‘That sucks. I really don’t like doing this.’

Now, a lot of people may call me crazy. So many people would love to stay home with their kids, and seriously, the fact that he only had pink eye meant he was really on the up and up everywhere else. (It’s really the main reason pink eye sucks so much: only 10% of your body is infected, but 100% of you has to stay home.) But I like work, I had been getting my babies on amazing schedules, and I really didn’t want to lose any of that momentum.

Plus, I have four months left before my personal time renews and this was really putting a dig in that.

So we spent the day together.

And people … *big gulp* … it was all kinds of boring.

Not for him, of course. We played games, did some worksheets, crafts, trains, and some of the educational games for his Tag. I kept the laptops (our ‘tvs’) closed because we had rented a movie for that night and I figured that would be enough screen time for one day.

But doing all that was not enough for me. On top of that I was also baking cookies, running a load in the dishwasher, washed and folded four loads of laundry, and keeping the house clean as we moved from activity to activity.

And I was still having this anxious, ‘what’s next what’s next’ feeling inside me.

I think the big highlight of the day for me was when I decided (this is how much I needed something to do) that he was going to have a bath. Unfortunately I am a terrible person and put bubble bath in there. And he threw a tantrum. So I gave him the bath while he sobbed, then dried, dressed him, and carried him to bed for a nap. He slept for an hour 45 and I had to wake him up.

((I think the holidays have been crazy for him, because he went to bed at 9:30 last night and he’s still passed out.))

I’m getting to a lesson, promise. I read so many mommy blogs – stay at home moms, working moms, work at home  moms, and they all seem to fight to keep their lives balanced and take care of their kids.

(Can I just say though that I have no sympathy with stay at home moms when it comes to saying they can’t get any work done because of their kids? This is a cop out. I do so much at work while I watch the kids, and I have done so much at home while Stepson is around.)

So anyway, with everything that happened yesterday I realized that having kids really isn’t for me. It’s enough that I have to go through it with Stepson. I don’t want to stay home all day with a kid (even though I would probably have things planned and a car yada yada yada) and I also wouldn’t want to have a job because it would mean spending all my personal/vaca time on sick days and the like. Boring!

I just don’t see kids in our future. I feel like there is supposed to be some sort of tug within me anytime I’m around kids to make me want my own, and I never have it. I think it’s because for me, personally, I’m with so many kids all the time and with Stepson, so I know what I’m getting into and I’ve already done that, thank you.

Husband and I were talking about how nice it felt to be the hip couple in Chicago, and how nice it’s going to be to invite people over, to have our niece and nephew come for a weekend, to have Stepson come with friends (maybe?) someday, and how we’ll be able to say ‘yes’ to so much because of no kids.

That’s a future I’m looking forward to.

holidays when divorced

Husband and I don’t talk about his childhood on a regular basis. I know enough details to get through it, but basically, it was the complete opposite of mine. He moved about four times, his mom got married a few times, he lived with his grandma in a different state from his mom for about three months, and he rarely saw his dad.

Saturday, we were driving to his mom’s for Christmas at her house, and we were discussing how crazy it is that some years we get Stepson for like a week and a half at Christmas, and this year we got four days for the entire month of December. (Not an exaggeration. 31 days in December, we only have Stepson the 21st through the 24th.)

So I asked him, ‘How was it spending Christmas with your dad? Did your mom mind much?’

And I asked this mostly because his mom called him and threatened to write him out of the will (honest truth) if she didn’t see Stepson enough during the holidays to her satisfaction. She was not joking.

To which he replied, ‘I didn’t.’

And friends, he did not. He spent every holiday of every year with his mom. Which was why it was so fuckin’ crazy for everyone when we actually went to his dad’s on Thanksgiving.

He only had a couple weekends a month with his dad up until he was ten, when the visits tapered and eventually ended.

Husband’s biggest personal goal is to be a really great dad to Stepson, and to be more proactive and present than his dad ever was with him.

So for us, holidays are about showing Stepson that you don’t hoard it all out at one person’s house the entire time. That you spread out your time and see everyone.

Which is why we fight for our weekends and fight for equal time.

Which is why we say ‘yes’ as much as we can to extra days with him.

Which is why we said ‘yes’ when his dad invited us for Thanksgiving.

Which is why we take four days and split it between two families.

I am always thinking ahead. I think ahead to seven years from now, when Stepson gets to choose whether or not he wants to see us. I want him to have a good time with us and want to keep coming back.

I think ahead to ten years from now, when he’s an adult and possibly married. I want him to make time and see us during the holiday season.

I write a letter to my future self: be patient, take what you can get, be grateful. Whether he comes on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or some weekend surrounding, I will accommodate. Whether he comes for the day or just a meal, I will be grateful for his presence. Whether he comes bearing gifts or with empty pockets, I will welcome him with open arms.

Divorce kids carry a large, adult given burden. Everyone wants a piece of you, everyone wants to be your favorite, everyone wants you to hate someone else, everyone wants your secrets, everyone wants you to be on their side. In the past, present, future.

I read about it in my research about divorced kids and families. I saw it first hand when we went to Stepson’s Christmas pagent and while four sets of grandparents descended down on him, he just buried his face in Husband’s shoulder and wanted to go back to his friends.

That’s a lot of love, my mom says.

That’s a lot of pressureI bite back.

Husband and I discuss it a lot. We want to make sure we’re doing it right, that we’re giving him the space he needs and lifting some of that pressure off. Lately, I’ve taken to making lots of eye contact when Stepson talks and encouraging him to keep talking, even when someone else starts talking over him. We keep our questions general and try to keep my MIL from asking so many ‘What does mom do?’ questions. I don’t want him babied, or unnecessarily praised, but we are trying to keep calm and steady when he gets in trouble. I can tell already that he is the type of kid (much like I was) who will cover up and hide things out of fear. I want him to know he can come to us.

It’s exhausting. We are raising a child.


the better picture

I’ve already expounded on here a little about how much I love my new iPhone. I finally got a case for it, which was pricey but worth it. I’ve read so many blogger posts about how fun it is to have multiple phone cases, but the white one I got works just fine. My biggest issue was that I wanted one that didn’t affect the camera, and the girl I talked to at Best Buy was great about finding me one that wouldn’t cast a shadow or affect the coloring, while still protecting my phone.

I’ve been testing out my phone in a variety of settings, to see what it can do and how well the picture quality will be. The results are below!



This is the second picture I ever took with my phone. The only light was from the tree and the hallway light you see in the background. Every other light in the house was off, and I took this at about nine at night. The 5s does a great job of finding the light. When focusing your picture, you can click on lighted areas to darken the edges, or you can touch on darkened areas to open up the light already there (like the tree lights). There was no flash on this picture, and no prominent yellow tint on the photo or fuzzed tree lights. I love it.



Brother is constantly in motion, but I only had to take five shots to get this great picture. The 5s has a great shutter release, so unlike my old camera, I didn’t have to wait for him to get almost still to get a good shot. This is a great phone camera with kids. (The blurred area was a filter from Instagram.)



This is a tiny jellyfish from an exhibit at Brookfield Zoo. The precision and clarity, despite being on the other side of a thick, finger smushed, glass, is amazing. I pretty much stopped taking pictures of animals at the zoo unless they were sitting or sleeping, but this shot is making me rethink that. I can’t wait to go back to the zoo and get photos of moving animals.



This is one of those shots that I constantly see on Instagram and think, how did they do that? There is little light in a movie theater and mostly it’s a weird yellow. In this case, the exit sign in the corner was the biggest light source. I didn’t do much adjusting with the light, and it turned out great.



I feel very pretentious and lame if I take pictures of food while I’m out, but our brunch was so good! I discreetly and quickly fired off one picture before we got up, and it turned out so good! I have to say, we were right next to a window and got excellent light on this one.



Around ten o’clock Thursday night, I was laying in bed trying to settle down and thought, ‘I wonder how the phone will handle this darkness.’ The only light in the room was the computer – no exterior lights, all the lights in the apartment were off. Right from where I was laying, I opened the camera, let it adjust, and took a picture. Amazing!


There are still a few shots I want to try out with the phone — more in motion shots and city lights, for example. But the above gives me confidence that this phone can handle pretty much anything. I can’t wait to see what other memories this phone will effortlessly capture!


what’s funny, what’s not

Husband and I have been to the Laugh Factory once before over the summer, when my sister came by unexpectedly and we were looking for something to do. That night we went to the 8 o’clock show, the comedians were generally good especially with a headliner who months later now has his own show on TBS! They gave you a voucher for two free tickets if you proved you liked them on Facebook, which we did.

Last night we went back before they could expire.

I am no comedic expert. I am amazed when people laugh at things I say. When this happens, I usually try to log in my brain why I think they laugh – is it because I had good timing, was the story relatable, etc. I usually watch my older sister for comedy ‘genius’, because she is generally apt to making people laugh more than anyone. She was in improv in college and so on.

The point is that I do know that comedy and what makes people laugh is subjective. For instance, I don’t think Sarah Silverman is funny at all, but Tina Fey and Amy Pohler always makes me laugh, Kristen Wiig is hit and miss. Will Ferrell is hit and miss, I love Jim Gaffigan and Bryan Regan, but I never found Jimmy Fallon funny (his tendency to constantly break in SNL was never amusing to me and I felt really unprofessional).

But a joke about raping women is never funny.

I have strong feelings when it comes to rape. I feel that a woman should be heard, every case should be treated as seriously as a murder investigation, and that a rapist should face serious consequences if found guilty. HOWEVER, I do think that radical social justice people need to acknowledge and accept that women WILL LIE about being raped, especially young women in college and high school who don’t know what they’re talking about and the consequences of what they’re saying. They also need to accept that it is really hard to prove rape (just like it can be hard to prove abuse) and you can’t throw every guy in jail just because a girl points a finger at them. That said …

Last night, one of the comedians told a rape joke.

His whole ‘theme’ of comedy was that he was very negative and narcissistic. I didn’t really like him off the bat, and the audience as well only mildly chuckled through his routine. I can’t remember his segue way, but all of a sudden he was talking about how women get raped, and it was because men couldn’t control themselves, and only 4% of men rape, and doesn’t that show that 96% of men can control themselves, and how nice is that?


It was dead silence. Everyone just stared at him. Number one, I felt like he was using an old, outdated ‘excuse’ that many people have already shut down and said was a disgusting excuse for allowing rape, etc. Number two, it was the 8 o’clock show, so the room was full of couples and a few older (like 50ish) people. This is NOT the crowd that will laugh at a rape joke. Number threedoes he not know rape jokes are, in my opinion, way too controversial?

Husband thought I was wrong about this, but I feel like after this whole Tosh thing where he told the rape joke and everyone went into an uproar, you as a comedian would look at your joke list and be like, ‘Better cross that out’.

But I hoped he learned his lesson because it took him a couple jokes and actually taking ‘a break’ of drinking some water to talk about something (‘Why are we all on FB if we hate it? I’m gonna delete my profile … five hours later still scrolling …’) that actually made the audience laugh again. It was ROUGH.

Funny is subjective and we all laugh at different things. But when it comes to rape? No one should be making jokes about it, and only immature frat boys will be laughing.

high school weight: mfp

Getting back into My Fitness Pal has been an easier transition than I expected. I’ve streamlined what I’m eating everyday, and though others might find my eating habits ‘boring’ or ‘monotonous’, it keeps me on track and gets me back to what food is: fuel. I also enjoy what I’m eating. During my slump in the early fall, I realized that I was eating my emotions. I was frustrated, stressed, and sad. I haven’t lost this, by the way, hence my complete disappearance from MFP during the week of Thanksgiving. I was freaked out about spending almost the whole weekend with Husband’s family and started Wednesday night with a Portillo’s fully loaded hot dog, cheese fries, and chocolate cake shake.


But my goal is that Monday through Friday I eat really well, and I give myself leeway on the weekends. Does that mean I pig out? I really, really make it a goal not to. But I don’t count calories.

Anyway, it’s been going good. I stick to pastry crisp for breakfast, bistro salad for lunch, and homemade salad for dinner, recently adding soup. I’m really trying to cut out red meat, again, M through F, and only eat chicken or seafood. I cut out pop completely during the week, and really only drink it when we go out. Water has been my go to, and occasionally milk.


I was 133.8 this morning. I’ve been making it my goal that during the week I only eat 1,000 calories a day. I don’t do it all the time, and I don’t beat myself up if I don’t. But again, I’ve been focusing on using food as fuel. 1,000 calories keeps me pretty full. MFP doesn’t like it, and tells me that daily, but it also hates it when I eat 1,195 calories, or 1,210, so there’s that.

I am now at my high school weight. Husband has never known me this thin. BMI wise, I am at a healthy weight. Now that I’m so close, I think 130 is a really reasonable goal. And going below that? Well, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to 130.

It’s all a bit surreal, but I’m really happy about it all. It’s work, and discipline, but the end result is definitely worth it!

why we bought new phones

We’ve been having a lot of talk about priorities lately. There’s so much we want to do and get, and it seems like everything barrels in at the same time. I think it’s one of the hardest things about marriage; sitting down and coming to a compromise about what you value and what is good to spend money on.

You also have people on the outside who will want to insert their opinion on what you’re doing. Or maybe you will just ask what they think and get a lecture about priorities in return.

Husband and I had been discussing getting new phones since the new iPhones came out in September. But we also knew that we wanted to buy a new car by March, and that we’d have to buy a lot of Christmas presents in the coming months. We still were paying off my Air, even though we only had a couple payments left.

So we decided to wait.

And our phones, got shittier.

My phone was bought in 2011, but had the technology of a phone from 2009. Now, in 2013, I was demanding things of it that it couldn’t handle, like taking decent pictures and handling about a dozen apps. Since the summer it had been going haywire, opening apps while it was supposed to be in lock mode and also randomly deleting them. It was struggling to make clear phone calls and the navigation system took forever to sort anything out. By November, the battery was draining itself fairly quickly. Husband wanted us to Google Hangout and my phone couldn’t seem to figure out how to send messages from it. I would get notifications of texts hours later from when they were sent.

Husband’s phone was in better shape than mine, but he had dropped it a number of times and the wear and tear was starting to affect the phone.

Our phone bills were hysterically high. I payed almost $60 and Husband paid $70. If you didn’t pay the day it was due, the next day the service cut out, no warning. Forgetting was not an option. When Husband went over his data plan, they’d shut down half his phone until he threw more money at them.

There’s a lot to be said about technology in today’s world, and how sucked into it we all are. I am completely guilty of getting immersed in my phone. But for Husband and I, the small amount of technology we do have, we use to full potential (I feel, anyway).

T-Mobile had a great family plan option where (it’s not a contract) two phones were only $80/month. This is even though I got an iPhone 5S and Husband got a Nexus 5. And if you go over data, they just slow down your connection speed as ‘punishment’. And if you’re late on a payment, they give you a few days instead of next day shutdown.

Yeah, we basically both got the best phones currently on the market. I really wanted a Moto X, but we would’ve had to pay for it online and then go into the store and we would’ve missed the deal for Husband’s phone.

But the point is that our phones were shitting and interfering with the daily routine of our lives. And the plan is to hold on to these phones for three to four years. We’re not turning into the kind of people that run out every time a phone is released with one new feature. We were talking last night about how the recent phones are all basically the same, i.e., his Nexus and my iPhone are only really different because mine’s Apple and his is Android. I love love love the camera on my phone, and that’s really what I was looking for.

For months now Husband had been trying to convince me that my HTC had just as good a camera as any other phone. And in theory, it did. And by theory, I mean if you were outside in the daytime standing with the perfect angle and holding perfectly still so the camera wouldn’t shake while your photo subject held still as well. It was why my Instagrams were so few and far between — I was taking dozens of shots that were all for shit, and gasping when I accidentally got something legit. The end.

So that’s our story. We went out yesterday with my family and I took some great pictures — while moving, while the subject was moving, in a low lit area, etc. Not wanting to be obnoxious, I only posted two to Facebook, but I knew as I cropped and got them up on Instagram, that if I’d had my old phone I wouldn’t have gotten any of these shots, or if I had, they wouldn’t have been as well lighted or clear.

I also can send nice emails with photos attached from my phone, comment on Facebook and keep up with Messages, all while surfing the web with ease. It’s amazing what I use to have to tell people to wait until I got home from work … now bam! I can do it right then and there. I sent my sister the pictures I took of her kids on the way home, then hopped on Pinterest to create a board for the birthday party my mom and I are planning.


Man, technology, right?! Still kind of boggles me that I can do all that on something small like a phone!