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Category Archives: Opinions

I was the skinny kid who could eat a whole pizza and then an ice cream sundae and still fit into a size 4 all through high school & most of college. I am sure there are leagues of people who wanted to beat me up for that. After marriage & with the addition of a sedentary job I didn’t really like I packed on a few pounds, but was still considered very thin. Then, one summer, out of the blue, it no longer mattered if I ate only candy bars or if I ate only salad. For some reason, my metabolism finally realized that I had, at one point, actually eaten The Earthquake from Swensen’s. Single-handedly.That’s 8 scoops of ice cream and 8 toppings. And I did it in 17 minutes. It was part of a college tradition. Here’s a picture of it, although mine was far more chocolatey:

(I snagged this image from the Swensen’s homepage. If you have one nearby, go eat a cheeseburger & their awesome fries. But, bring friends if you intend to eat an Earthquake. The Creole Creamery in NOLA has the same sundae, but they call it a Tchoupitoulas. If you eat it all, you get your name on the wall. Man, I wish my name had been on that wall! But, I digress….)

I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and that, combined with the condition called Not-Having-A-Teenager’s-Metabolism-Anymore meant that I was no longer going to be one of the skinniest girls in the room. Then, I had 2 pregnancies and they weren’t very spaced out. (My girls are 17 months apart.) I hadn’t lost any baby weight from Bean before I got preggie with Peanut. I tried and tried and tried dieting and exercise and whatever. It never seemed to work.

(Here’s a pic of me the summer of my hypothyroidism diagnosis. That’s me in the black shirt. That’s the lovely Tulip & Cliffie next to me.  At the time, I thought I was huge. Don’t worry, I am virtually slapping myself right now on your behalf.)

I spoke with my Endocrinologist (the thyroid doc) and asked if it was my hypothyroidism that was keeping me from losing weight. He said once I was on the right medications, I shouldn’t have trouble. I told him I was on a diet of about 1800 calories a day. He told me to cut it… Down to 1200 if necessary. I now think he was a crazy man.

(There I am with teeny Beanie. She was mad because we had just bathed her. Lately she has the same aversion to water. I hated posting this online because my face was so big. And it’s a weird angle. But, then again, I had just had a baby…. I really need to get over myself.)

Hang in there with me…. this isn’t just a post lamenting my lack of weight loss…. there’s a point coming….

(Preggie with Peanut…. The cute Bean in the foreground is to keep you from noticing how wide I thought I was becoming….)

After the conversation with the crazy doctor, I did cut my calories to 1500 a day and in the course of several months I lost a grand total of one pound. I did go walking with the girls regularly, but due to several factors, I wasn’t able to exercise at a gym or with a class or something. Then, we moved here. I started going to Zumba classes at the library. (Yes! The library! How funny is that? But hey, they are free!) So, intense workouts once a week, other exercise when possible, and healthier eating should equal at least some weight loss, right? Nope. I’m still the same now as when I moved here 2 months ago. Not one ounce different.

Perhaps it’s not meant to be.

(This was taken at a dear friend’s wedding when Peanut was just a wee one. See the pained look on my face? I was thinking “I hate photos! I’m so big!” When I saw them later, I was convinced that the dress I chose looked like a circus tent. I have not worn it since. Yes, I know that I’m not all that huge. I repent of my foolishness…. keep reading….)

But, I don’t say that with a fatalist attitude. I’m not going to stop exercising or trying to eat better. But I must change my expectations. No matter what — even if I only eat 1200 calories a day and exercise for hours – I will never be a size 4 again. It’s not in my genes and it just isn’t reality. I’ve been thinking this over (ok, obsessing) and vacillating in my opinions for weeks. Should I just give up exercise? Shouldn’t I just eat whatever? Or should I just try harder? Am I just lazy?  Tonight I read this and it made me want to stand on the couch and shout “I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN!”  Fit doesn’t always mean skinny. Fit and healthy rarely means scrawny and bony like a model. (You may pause here and read the article. Pretty please remember to come back when you’re done! Otherwise you’ll keep thinking that this post is just about me whining.)

I knew that my whole motivation needed to be health and not looking fabulous, blah, blah, blah, but let’s get real: I hated seeing pictures of myself or posting them on Facebook because those friends from high school might notice and say “Dude! She’s puffed up!” (Immature mab replies: “Oh, yeah?! Well, you’re puffy too! Ok, some of you. Some of you still look great. After a bazillion kids. And you just posted a recipe for fried bacon on your site. That’s it! I’m unfriending you!!!”)

(Great pic of us, right? The fabulous Katie Hodas took it. But I won’t have it printed for my hubby to put on his desk. Peanut isn’t covering enough of my chunky rolls. This line of thinking is getting seriously ridiculous, isn’t it?)

So, here’s the point to this long post: Let’s change what we think about how we think we should look. Let’s stop worrying that someone might not like me/value me/appreciate me because I have pudge. And, although my belly fat does make a nice rest stop for my computer mouse while I type, that fat doesn’t define me. (Can I get an Amen?) Our culture beats us up enough because we aren’t Heidi Klum or whoever. I’m not going to join in on the beating.

I will stop being the one who avoids the camera — and not just for me. My kids need to have memories of me as they were growing up. It was really tough to find pics for this post. I’ve been hiding for years. My photo I use on Facebook & everywhere… a fabulous one Britty took of me 3 years ago. I’ve been too chicken to change it. I will also stop giving the stink-eye to those folks who still have a quick metabolism or who are able to lose 3.4 pounds in their first week of dieting. And when Raylo says “You know, I think I lost 5 pounds since we moved here & I haven’t even been trying,” I will not hit him. (Seriously he said that. I seriously wanted to go all postal on him.)

Today I weigh only 5 pounds less than I did the day Peanut was born. She’s 2 1/2. But my worth didn’t diminish as my waistline grew. It’s going to take awhile to change my thought patterns on this, but I really want to let go of that skinny kid I used to be. Instead of thinking “That’s how I should look,” I have to think “That’s how I did look. Now I look like this.” And then I need to get on with life.

I’m not writing this post for comments of sympathy or for anyone to try to boost my self-esteem. I know some of my past thoughts are ridiculous or incorrect. (And by “past thoughts,” I also mean the ones I thought just this morning.) My motivation is this: Let’s learn to love ourselves the way we are. Pudgy Fat Tom bellies and all.

Who’s with me?


*Full Disclosure: In exchange for writing this post, I am getting 50 free Christmas cards from Shutterfly. But, they’re not telling me what opinions to say. You know I have lots of opinions and will share them freely. And, I like free stuff. But, only free good stuff.*

Every year my BFF Britty makes our Christmas card. Last year, they turned out pretty awesome! She designed them and then I went to find a place to print them. I don’t want to badmouth the company that printed them, so we’ll just use an alias. I sent her gorgeous file off to an online photo place we’ll just call SlapDish. I ordered them just a few days after Thanksgiving. They arrived soooo late that we couldn’t give any to our neighbors here. They had all left to be with family already. My family got all of their cards hand-delivered. Many people didn’t get them at all and those who did got them late. I still have a stack of them in the back. Grrrrrr!

This year Britty has a new beautiful baby girl. She’s quite busy. I know she’d have time to work her fabulousness on a card for me, but that would only work if I could actually get some good pictures sent to her. I decided to make life easier for all of us. I am happily ordering cards from Shutterfly.

A few years ago I made calendars to give out and we had them printed by Shutterfly. I think I had a coupon or something. Anyway, the service was fabulous, the colors and quality of the finished product were amazing, and the price was reasonable (even before the coupon). Last year, in addition to the card fiasco, I had a coupon to SlapDish and got calendars from them. Bleh. They were late, they were not so great.

I’ve learned my lesson. I should have known! In the past few years I’ve ordered prints, calendars, and even books from Shutterfly. I am always 100% pleased with the service & especially the shipping time. So… if you are like me and haven’t ordered Christmas cards on the 10th of December, check out Shutterfly. Or, need calendars? Photo books? That’s my new 100% go-to source.

Which card have I picked this year? I’m going for this one (I think):

Since the photo below is one of the best ones I got out of the photo shoot with Bean and Peanut, I think I’ll see if they can send it to me with those cute and well-behaved sample children’s pictures on it….

It was a lovely shot…. they were posed nicely. Until I asked Peanut to get closer to Bean and she refused. Bean’s feelings were hurt, so she gave her that look. And blurry sisterly conflict was captured forever.

Then again, this is real life around here. I think I may blow this picture up and put it on our wall with their honkin’ huge wall decals.

Ahem. I got sidetracked.

Here’s a list of quick linkies to different spots on the Shutterfly site. Seriously…. if you’re wondering what to get your sweet Aunt Ethel, you KNOW she wants a coffee mug with your kids’ mugs on it. Calendars are always a hit, too. In fact, I’m not getting around to making them this year. And I fear disinheritance because of it. (Sorry… sidetracked again. On to the list!)

Click here for Christmas cards.

And here for calendars.

Right here for photo books.

Here’s the clicky link for honkin’ huge wall decals.

And that mug for Aunt Ethel? Here you go…

 

P.S. Wanna know more about the Shutterfly 50 free  card deal? Here’s the linky for that.


Dear Smug Young Judgy People,

Today I brought my two kids to the cafeteria here on campus. You seemed offended. Suck it up. We live here, too.

When my youngest began screaming “Kek-kek!” over and over and weeping inconsolably because she wanted her piece of cake before she even ate a tiny bite of her food and I told her to first eat her beans, you looked at me as if I had just peed on the floor. Let me explain your two options:

1) I can give in and let her have the cake before her meal. It will solve the immediate problem. You can once again begin discussing philosophy, theology, and the Jersey Shore uninterrupted. But, if my child learns that she can scream and get anything she wants, she will become a spoiled, horrid brat. And someday you may run across this spoiled, horrid brat and she’ll be spoiled and horrid. And bratty.

2) I can pick her up and remove her from the situation until she calms down. Then, I can explain that she has to eat her food before she can have kek-kek. She will moderately calm down and she will learn obedience, discipline, and the necessity to eat more than just sugary yum-yum.

I chose the latter. Because I’m a good mom. And you’re a smug young punk who finds thirty-something moms like me hopelessly out of touch with the world and basically useless. May you remember today when you have a screaming kid in a public place.

And then may your kid stomp on your toe, bite your arm, and throw up everywhere.

Sincerely,

Angry mab

(Sigh. Well, I feel better now! Thanks for letting me vent. By the way, I am by no means calling all twenty-somethings smug or judgy. Nor am I really just referring to twenty-somethings, I guess. To all of the people who were kind, understanding, and supportive today: THANKS. To the rest of you….. Pbbbbttttt!)


I have a pet peeve! I can’t stand it when people use too many exclamation points!!! I think it diminishes the value of the exclamation point and makes it too commonplace! Plus, it makes the person sound too perky! Or too sacharrin-sugary!! Or just plain obnoxious!!!

But, as is usually the case with a pet peeve, I’ve noticed lately that I am prone to exclamation point over-use! In fact, most of the comments I leave on other peoples’ websites involve at least one exclamation point! If not two!! Or maybe more!!!!!! So, I’m going on a fast from exclamation points! Well, unless I’m quoting someone who is yelling!!! Or if I’m so giddily happy that I would like to yell if I were talking instead of writing!!!! That way, I’ll use this exuberant form of punctuation properly!!!! So, one week — no exclamation marks!!! Unless ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY!!!! (LOL!)*

 

*We’ll cover the over-use of capital letters and LOL in the future!!!!!!

P.S. I did great at the Craft Fair!!!! Check out my bidniz blog to read some more! I’ll try to post pictures this week!!!!!!!


The other day, someone asked me an innocent question that really peeved me.

“So, are y’all going to try again for a boy?”

I replied that we’ve thought of having another child, but not for the near future, and that we don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl. Then, I walked away, confused as to why I was so mad. This was a mother of two girls around Bean and Peanut’s age, so I know she wasn’t trying to do anything but make conversation. Still, I kept thinking about it. Finally, I’ve put words to my frustrated thoughts…

The question implies that Peanut was a mistake. It implies that we needed a boy to complete our family and since she wasn’t a boy, we’d try again. I suppose that if we had another girl, we’d have to chalk her up as a mistake and try again.

I know some families try again to have a boy or girl and I know that they love whatever comes, but I’m just not comfortable with this. No offense or judgement here if this applies to you. For me, I’ll take what comes. I have enough friends who have dealt with the pain of infertility — each child is a tremendous blessing. I adore my two girls. I am so glad that they are girls. They’ll be close sisters all of their lives (except for when they’re fighting and hate each other, no love each other, no hate each other, sigh… it will be like middle school in our house all the time). I would not trade Peanut in for anything or anyone — EVER. She is no mistake.

The innocent question touched in me a nerve that is still raw from pregnancy. When I told some people that I was having another girl, they responded by telling me “Better luck next time.” One person even laughingly told me I was worthless. (I guess this person didn’t get the memo that my baby’s gender isn’t biologically up to me.) Of course these people were kidding. Of course they think my daughter is wonderful and perfect. Of course they wouldn’t trade her in for anything or anyone. Then, why the comments like this? Is she somehow less because she was a second she?

So, for the record: I will not try again to have a boy since I didn’t try again in order to have a boy in the first place. God blessed us with our daughter Bean and then blessed us with our precious daughter Peanut. We joyfully accept these gifts from Him. If he allows us to have another child, we’ll take whatever He gives. I’m not filling out a Target registry for baby’s gender. (“Let’s see… I’ll use this scan gun to choose a smart, athletic boy who will have dimples as a baby and chiseled good looks as a man. He’ll be a doctor or lawyer or Nobel-prize winning scientist who will take good care of us in our old age. “)

When we were overseas, our friends and neighbors prayed with their palms open to heaven. I asked why and my friends told me it was a symbol of being open to receive whatever God gave. I’ve adopted this position often when I pray. I’ve certainly adopted it in regards to my children. I am open to whoever God gives me.

And I really hope He waits a few years to give to me again.


Butterflies in the sky… I can fly twice as high…

Ok, who else remembers Reading Rainbow? Come on, didn’t the ba-da-bum that played whenever the kids gave a book report just jump into your head? You know it did….

Anyway, I’ve finally had more time to read. I set a goal of 18 books this year. I knew it would be a stretch, but I didn’t know how tough it would be! Usually one book a month would be no trouble at all. With 18 as my goal, I’d just have to read 1.5 books a month. Pretty decent for a readaholic like myself.

But I can’t blame Peanut. Or my active little Bean. It’s been la•le that’s slowed me down. I’ve thrown myself into my bid’niz this year and am trying to make it work. (As you can tell from my numerous bid’niz related posts….. By the way, I still have a Giveaway going on. Ok, the shameless plug is over….)

Back to the books! I finally hit 10 and I am surprised by what I’ve read this year. One characteristic: They’ve all been short. Also, I’m surprised by how many nonfiction books are on the list. I’m normally not someone who enjoys nonfiction (except a good memoir or biography).

So, out of the 10 books I’ve read this year, here’s my top 3.

boundaries

Boundaries with Kids by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

I really don’t read a lot of parenting books. I don’t like books that tell you what to do and act as if they have the only right way. This book is absolutely not like that at all. It talks about setting healthy boundaries for your kids, helping them to know consequences, and preparing them for an independent life as an adult. Lots to think about for a mom of a 2 year old, I know. Still, I’ve already used several of the techniques it talks about with Bean and it absolutely works. She understands what it means to obey & disobey, she knows that I love her and therefore want her to learn how to be a disciplined person, and she accepts her consequences much better. It’s not a terribly long book and it’s written in a very conversational manner. I’d highly recommend it to everyone who either has kids, works with kids, or knows kids. In fact, if you even encounter a child in a grocery store or walk within 100 yards of them in any public place, you’re better off if you read this book.

Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boomtenboom

Here’s the sequel for The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. It’s got some amazing stories about this great lady. She has some stories of forgiveness that amaze me and bring chills. This simple book of simple faith stories sticks with you — I often remember what she went through. She’s also incredibly real. At no point does she claim to have it all together or claim perfect holiness! She’s frank with her weaknesses and with God’s power to heal and help. This book is a great faith-builder.

horse

The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis

Oh, I love this story. Some people have called it the weakest of the Chronicles of Narnia. I couldn’t disagree more. It is truly the most different in character and tone, but the story is so beautiful. The way Aslan is portrayed in the book is heartwarming and fierce and beautiful and strong. I re-read this one more than any others in the series. Love it. Love it. Love it.

Yes, I ganked the pictures from Amazon. No, I don’t have permission. Feel free to turn me in.

I have a couple of other books I’m reading now, but soon they’ll be finished. I’m stumped as to what to read next. What are you reading now? What suggestions do you have? I’m ready to get back to fiction. What are some great stories you’ve read? Warning: I find 92.7% of all “Christian” fiction to be absolute drivel. A roomful of monkeys with typewriters could come up with better plots. Just because I have several “Christian” books in my list doesn’t mean I only want to read spiritually-themed books. Suggest books you’ve enjoyed regardless of the faith of the author. If it’s actually good and not craptastic, then suggest it — even if it is “Christian” fiction. Why do I use the quotes? Well, that’s a topic for another post….

Hooray for me blogging about something other than my shop or my kids!


One of my biggest pet peeves (and please take no offense if this applies to you) — people who have music that automatically starts when you open their blog. People, please! I don’t want to hear the love song from Titanic or Jesus, Take the Wheel or whatever crap song inspires you.

Even if it’s an awesome song, I don’t want it to suddenly start playing. Why? Because my kids are probably sleeping and it might suddenly come on really loud and wake them up. And, because if the music starts suddenly and shocks me, I may wet my pants.

So, good people of the internet, disable this feature! We don’t want to hear your music!

Thank you, faithful mabBlab readers, for allowing me to vent.


If you’re not one of the ones that has voted early or absentee, please vote today. But, if you’re uninformed, don’t go randomly pick someone. Just don’t vote if you don’t know what’s up.

Best scenario: Get informed. Then vote.

To help you out, here’s a list of how NOT to pick a candidate. Consider it a civic service offered by The mab Blab.

  • Don’t pick someone because of age.
  • Don’t pick someone because of the other guy’s age.
  • Don’t pick someone because you like their color.
  • Don’t pick someone because of the other guy’s color.
  • Don’t pick someone because of something someone said somewhere about the other guy. Substantiate your facts, please.
  • Don’t pick someone because the other guy has an ethnic middle name. He didn’t pick the name, his folks did. That’s not a reason to choose/not choose a candidate.
  • Don’t pick someone because you’ve always voted for that party.
  • Don’t pick someone because your parents always voted for that party.
  • Don’t pick someone because your parents never would vote for that party.
  • Don’t pick someone because NBC said to.
  • Don’t pick someone because FOX said to.
  • Don’t pick someone because you think that the guy/girl who impersonates the candidate or his running mate on Saturday Night Live is really funny.
  • Don’t pick someone based on any information you learned about a candidate on SNL. It’s just a comedy show, folks. It’s funny, not facts.
  • Don’t pick a president for any reason other than their platform, their stance on issues important to you, and your belief that they are the best person for the job.

And remember, if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain. In fact, if you don’t vote and you complain, I won’t listen to you. So there.

Now, go forth, get informed, and vote!


Well, we’re out of our house. We’ve sold everything we could and given the rest away. Now we’re in the Big City staying with some good friends. The hub & I were saying last night that every time we’re here it’s like a breath of fresh air.

The house isn’t fancy, it isn’t immaculate, it doesn’t look like a show room — but the people are gracious and kind. We watch movies, we eat together, we laugh. This is a home where we can be comfortable just sitting on the couch and hanging out. I always want my home to be the same to anyone who comes over.

Now that I’m officially homeless — or transient at least — I’ve been thinking quite a bit about homes. Sure, we have the house we’ve been staying in while we’re in Waco, but we have to move out in about a month. Then, we’re planning on moving to the hub’s home town for about 2 months or so. Then, there will be another move, possibly to New Orleans, possibly somewhere else. Where will the next home be?

The hub & I have been married almost 8 years. In that time, we’ve had 5 major moves. The worst part of any move is after the furniture is out and you’re dealing with all of the little stuff. If you’re moving in the States, you just throw it in a box and decide to deal with it later. When you’re moving overseas, you can’t do this. There are weight limits to think about, so every item is carefully chosen. “Do I have space? Do I have weight?” — These are the questions I asked about every item I came across. One bag we re-packed 3 times just to make sure it was efficiently done. (Thanks, Lindsey!) So, as the furniture was gone and I was facing piles of random items that had to be packed, tossed, or given away, I prayed & asked God to please allow me to stay in a place more than 3 years.

It’s been 3 years to the month from the time that we moved to Sea Town. Almost 3 years to the week. Of course, part of that time we were nomadic, but still…. this house has been home to me longer than any other house. I still can’t believe that we’ve left it for good.

I feel good about moving on. I feel it’s the right thing. And, God has blessed us incredibly! Otherwise, how could we sell everything, clear out our house, and say goodbye to most of our friends in only 2 weeks? That’s impossible. But, it’s been done. One amazing thing: I’ll get to keep my Mama Chair! Our friend here told us about a company that will pack a crate for us. We’re sending the chair, Bean’s bookshelves, boxes full of my ceramics and our books, all of our rugs, and lots of other random stuff back. I left a tall stack of items in the corner of my living room for the cargo guy to come get next week. There’s tons of baskets, boxes, and tubs and I was sure that it would cost a fortune.

If I couldn’t bring the Mama Chair back, I was going to buy a new one. The chair would have cost $249. The slipcover that made it so special is $79. That’s a total of $328.

Shipping the entire crate from our home in Sea Town to my in-law’s house, putting it through customs, and unpacking it will cost less than a brand new Mama Chair.

In so many ways, big and small, I am feeling blessed tonight.


“I hear your daughter is sick. Are you not looking after her?”

Sigh. That’s what I heard today. Too many people here equate a child’s illness with a mother’s lack of care. (Note to the panicking grandparents: She just has the sniffles. That’s all. And she’s teething, so she’ uncomfortable. It’s nothing major. She’s fine.) It’s no wonder that mothers feel a need to demonstrate their fitness as a parent by stuffing their kids in parkas and wrapping woolen scarves around them well into April. My child is just wearing long sleeves and a light jacket. This is a lot considering that I’m in short sleeves. Still, she sniffles, so my parenting is called into question. Can I get a collective “Grrrr” from all of you out there? Thank you.

While I won’t miss unwarranted questions of my parenting, I have realized many things I will miss. Here’s a list of some of them for you:

* Stinky cheese. Man, this stuff is good.

* Sour cherry juice

* Having a market on the 1st floor of my building

* Looking out of my window to see the ocean

* The wonderful strawberries

* Sitting on the balcony in the summer eating grapes, drinking fruity fizzy water, and talking

* The slower pace of life that’s more people-oriented

* My dear friends here

I know I’ve griped about some things over the years because griping makes better posts. But, overall, I’m really going to miss some things about this place. I wish all of you could have come to visit before our move — you would really like it, too.

In other news, I got another offer today for the entire house. These people are so behind! The good news: My hub is out with a friend right now arranging to sell all of the rest of it. Hopefully by tonight people will start to come and take it all away!



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