Saturday, January 30, 2010

BBB Round 2: Week Three.

At long last, my sisters and brothers in weight loss, we've reached the last weigh-in of January. By now, according to all the weight loss "experts," we should all be finding it easier to stick to our healthy (okay, healthier) habits.

After all, three weeks is supposed to be the magic number. That's how long they say it takes to re-train your brain. So, in other words, we should be starting to find it easier to pass up the ice cream in favor of a yogurt by now, and less difficult to haul our butts to the gym instead of to the couch.

How 'bout it? Are you finding this to be true?

I've yet to have three weeks of good health this year, so I'm not really sure it applies in my case. However, I did feel guilty about the ice cream I ate last night (and only had a small bowl). And when picking up a rotisserie chicken for dinner the other night, I got some sweet potatoes and salad stuff to go with it instead of potato salad and cole slaw.

So I guess I'm learning (again).

The scale says I'm doing something right. I was down 3.6 pounds this week. I'm pretty sure that fleeting stomach bug I had was at least partly to blame, but gives me hope. Maybe I really will be back in my skinny jeans by April.

Talk to me, people. How did you do this week?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Writer's Workshop: A Wise Woman Told Me...

“People are going to start pressuring you to have another baby, but don’t rush into anything. Two is way tougher than one.”

My sister-in-law shared those wise words of advice with me during one of the few quiet moments we had together at Christmas. She’s got two girls, born just two years apart, so she knows what she’s talking about.

Truth is, I don’t know if I’ll have another baby. After all, I’m not getting any younger. And as much as I love Tori, she’s a heck of a lot of work. Right now, she demands my attention almost constantly. In fact, if I walk out of the room she’s in, she almost always crawls right after me, crying ”mamamamama.”

I simply can’t imagine juggling the needs of two munchkins at once. How is it possible?

Plus, there’s the money issue. Sure, we have all the gear now, but there’s still daycare to think about. We’d need a bigger car, for sure. We’d also lose our guest room, so we’d have to buy a sleeper sofa. And then there’s college. With my luck, they’d both want to go to expensive liberal arts schools that I’d have to re-mortgage my house to afford (hi mom!).

But then, as I hold her sleepy body in my arms, my heart flips. She’s brought so much joy into our lives. How could we not have another one?

Reading things like this, and seeing pictures like these don’t help matters. To tell the truth, they kind of make my uterus hurt.

But, oh, the work. The not sleeping for months and months and months. The aching joints and constant indigestion and leaking boobs and eight-week C-section recovery and year-long post-pregnancy diet and, and, and…

Yeah. I’m not going to rush into anything.

Now head over to Mama Kat's and see what the other workshoppers have to say!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wordful Wednesday: A Glimpse of Paradise.

At this time of year in the Midwest, it can be difficult to remember what it feels like to be warm. It's cloudy so often, it's easy to forget what the sun on your face feels like. As you pull on your winter boots and wrap your scarf around your neck, it's almost impossible to imagine wearing shorts and flip flops, or cute little sundresses and strappy little sandals.

So, to all you winter weary souls out there, I give you these:




Remember, the sun is still out there somewhere. And sooner or later, spring will return. I promise.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Seven More Things No One Tells New Moms.

Back before Tori was born, I thought I knew it all. Then, about three weeks in, I realized I knew nothing. At about six months, I started to get a little more confident, and at almost seven months, I thought I knew enough to warn other mothers-in-waiting.

Oh, how naive I was (and still am, I'm sure). It turns out, Tori only had more surprises in store for me. So here they are—seven more things no one dares to tell new moms.

The more your baby eats, the worse her poop will smell. Yeah, I know. Even at the best of times, baby poop isn't an aroma you'd want to bottle and sell as perfume. But once you start in with the "real" foods? Her diaper will begin to smell like trash that's been left too long in the sun. Mmmm, trash.

All those food rules? Aren't worth the paper (or computer screen) they're written on. I know. You're only supposed to introduce one new food every five days. They're only supposed to have fruit after they've eaten vegetables. Sugar is the enemy. Right. There are only so many times you can watch your kid purposely vomit up a food she finds nasty (yes, really) before you start to bend the rules.

You only think you want your baby to crawl.  Sure, it sounds like a good idea. Who wouldn't want their child to be able to move themselves from place to place, grabbing their own toys and making their own fun? Any parent who wants to stay sane, that's who. Once your baby learns to crawl, you will never sit down again. Ever.

Think carefully before teaching her a game. She will want to play it endlessly. Jumping up from behind the couch to play Peekaboo is fun the first 500 times. As is Walk-Around-The-House-Holding-Mommy's-Hands. And Chase the Kitty? Hours of fun. Eventually, though, your body will have had enough. But your baby? Can play these games forever. She doesn't even have kneecaps.

Two years is a looooong time to go without relying on ye old boob tube for some free babysitting. The American Academy of Pediatrics says kids shouldn't see any TV until their second birthday. Supposedly it slows their development and all that. But, you know what? I don't believe those Academics have ever had to take a poo (oh yes I did say it) while alone in the house with a kid who refuses to sit still for more than five seconds. Unless, that is, the digital babysitter is on.

Like a puppy, your baby will chew on anything. Teething infants and teething puppies have a lot in common. They will gnaw on anything they can get their mouths around. Shelves, chairs, molding, shoulders, noses...nothing is safe. Put your antiques away, people.

You will never realize how dirty your house is until your baby starts exploring. I don't care how often how you vacuum, sweep or mop. After a day spent crawling aroound on the floor, your baby will look like a human Swiffer pad. Or is that just me? Don't answer that.

There's more. Oh so much more. But if I spill any more secrets, the lynch moms might come after me. So you'll just have to wait in suspense for the next edition of Things They Don't Tell You. Unless you have your own observations to share?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

There's No Escaping the Guilt.

As a working mom, I often feel like I'm shortchanging, well, everyone. I run out of work as fast as I can so I can spend time with my daughter. Then I half-ignore her so I can get some housework done. And my husband? Well, let's just say it's a good thing he's a patient man.

But the one person who almost never gets any attention at all My hair hasn't been cut in almost three months. My makeup supplies haven't been replenished in six. Since Tori was born, I've been out with friends all of twice. Maybe three times. I'm lucky to get one book read every month, and naps (which used to be a treasured part of my weekends), have gone the way of the dinosaur.

Sometimes, I get to feeling like I'm running on fumes. Like I've got nothing left to give anyone. Like I just. need. a. break. If only for a couple of hours.

Today was one of those days. Tori's teething, or fighting a cold, or possessed by demons, or something (maybe all three). My house is a pigsty. My laundry pile is reaching epic proportions. And my husband was annoying me just by breathing (which does not diminish my love for him, right honey?).

And just to make it worse? There was no fricking coffee. Or tea. Or even coke (the caffeinated beverage. although maybe I need to consider investing in the other kind) anywhere in the house. It was a bad scene.

So, pretending I was heading to the grocery store, I left. And headed directly to Starbucks. Where I ordered a giant vat of caffeinated goodness, plunked myself down at a table and opened my book. It was heaven. Before I knew it, over an hour had passed.

As soon as that realization sunk in, guilt raised its ugly, snaggle-toothed head. How dare I neglect my family this way, it asked. Wasn't I always complaining that I didn't get enough time to spend with my daughter? I was a baaaaaad mom, it asserted.

So I called home and told my already fed-up sounding husband that I had lost track of time and would head to the grocery store immediately.

But I didn't. Instead I went to Kohls. Not looking for anything in particular. Just putting off the inevitable. Because I? Hate grocery shopping. Besides, I wasn't anywhere close to feeling recharged yet.

Unfortunately, Kohls had nothing I wanted to buy. It's that terrible time of year where I can't stand to look at sweaters anymore. But spring? Could very well be years away, so there's no point in buying any cute duds for that supposedly upcoming season.

Finally, I took myself off to Kroger, and after loading up on supplies, headed home. Where Tori was plunked in front of the TV (which she ordinarily is not allowed to watch. ever.) and my frustrated-looking husband was trying to pull a (wickedly delicious) chicken out of the oven.

Oh, the guilt. It hit me like a tsunami. I was asking too much of my husband. Caring too little for my child. How dare I leave them for that long? Bad person! BAAAAD person!

But the guilt was accompanied by a wave of resentment. Why shouldn't  I take some time out for myself? Didn't I count?

The only solution was to pour myself a biiiiig glass of wine. Which I eventually did, and am, in fact, currently sipping. But the frustration hasn't left me yet. It's just been pushed to the back of my mind and put on simmer.

So I'm asking you again, oh wise women of the Internet. Is it possible to find balance? Do I just need to get better at ignoring the guilt? Does it eventually get easier? Enlighten me. Please.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

BBB Round 2: Week 2 (Seven Ways To Stay Motivated).

January is winding down to a close. You know what that means, don't you? Most people who made New Year's Resolutions to lose weight and get fit are...losing their resolve.

Not me. I'm still going strong. And the scale rewarded me - I'm two pounds lighter today than I was this time last week (you can all clap now). Those descending numbers are, in and of themselves, motivating, but lord knows, they're not always enough to keep you going.

So I thought I'd take a few minutes to share some of the things that help me stay strong when I want to quit.

Take your measurements - The scale doesn't always give me the positive feedback I need. But that doesn't necessarily mean I'm not slimming down. That's why, at the start of any diet, I take all my measurements: bust, waist, hips, arms and thighs. Sure, the numbers make me want to cringe, but when I slide that tape measurement around my waist and see a smaller number peeking back at me, I can't help but smile.

Track your food - I know, this might seem counter-intuitive. After all, there's nothing more discouraging than realizing that you've blown your calorie budget five days in a row. But, if you keep it up, you'll notice that your habits are getting healthier. That you're learning how to eat better. So, even if you have to admit to eating three pieces of cheesecake, you'll have all that written proof that your dessert overload is an aberration, and not the beginning of a pattern. Sometimes, that's all it takes to stay strong.

Schedule workouts - and tell someone about it  - Penciling a workout in isn't enough for me. Because when I'm tired? I don't really care that my calendar says I'm supposed to get to the gym. My husband is my secret weapon. I tell him I'm going to go, and then I tell him to make me do it. Sometimes, this forces him to call me some fairly nasty names, but in the end, I go.

Every once in a while, slide on those skinny jeans - At first, you may not be able to get them over your thighs, let alone button them up. But over time, they'll get closer and closer to fitting. And that? Is sure to make you feel good.

Set mini-goals, and reward yourself when you reach them - Right now, I'm shooting for a 5 percent loss. When I get there? I'm going to treat myself to a salon color job (instead of reaching for a box). That gives me something to look forward to...and motivation to get there before my roots start showing (Tori's turned me gray!!! But that's a gripe for another post).

Put a picture of your skinny self on the fridge - I have this photo of me in a bikini. An honest to god string bikini. And I look good (which is hard to imagine right now). But proof that I can look that hot will (sometimes) keep me from reaching for the ice cream.

Give yourself a deadline - For me, that's Tori's first birthday. I'm hoping to fit into my pre-preggo jeans by then, but really, my goal is to just not look pregnant anymore. Because on her first birthday? There will be pictures. Lots of pictures. And I don't want to cringe every time I look at them.

Those are my tricks. But I'm sure you guys have your own. So spill it. What keeps you motivated to lose weight?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Love in an Elevator...errr Pitch.

As many of you know, I'm a copywriter. Which means, of course, I sell ideas. And those ideas? Are only good if you can clearly describe them in a sentence or two - fast enough to be sold during an elevator ride.

Oh, the elevator pitch. Many well-loved ideas have died a fast, though not painless, death because of my inability to describe them quickly enough. Over the years, I've gotten better at it. In fact, in my professional life, I try not to present any concept before I give it the elevator test.

But my blog?

My blog has never been subjected to that particular test. So when people ask me what I blog about, I hem and haw and give them a muddled answer. "Well, I blog about my baby and my family, but I'm not a true mommy blogger, because that's not all I talk about. I post videos and write comedy sketches, and write about work..." By this point, most folks get a glazed look in their eyes and I give up.

This lack of focus is probably why publishers and PR folks aren't exactly clamoring for my attention.

So today I spent some time thinking about it. I even took a ride in the elevator at work, looking for inspiration (which is especially dumb, considering I work on the second floor of a two story building).

I came up with a few ideas:

"A cranky copywriter turned mommy writes to keep her sanity."

"A blog all about life, love and the pursuit of advertising."

"The adventures of a clueless new mom struggling to navigate motherhood, wife-hood and person-hood."

I think it's a little bit of all those things.

There are days when I scream my frustrations out into the blogoverse.

And others when I think out loud about the kind of role model I want to be for my daughter.

There have been times when I've talked about my own struggles with depression.

And posts where I've just been plain silly.

I've forced you all to read along as I indulge my inner sketch comedy writer...

And begged you all for advice.

I've lived my life out loud, in public. I've gotten to know myself a little better and made friends with a lot of incredible women. My blog? It's me. The virtual incarnation of Amber Page the writer. Of Red the drama queen. Of Amber the mama, the wife, the daughter, the sister and the friend.

Amber Page Writes is about all the sides of me. And I? Am not that different from hundreds of thousands of other women out there. So, therefore, Amber Page Writes is about all of us ladies struggling to figure out what life's all about.

Who knows. Maybe together we'll get somewhere. You think?

This was written as part of Mama Kat's Writing Workshop. The assignment? Write an elevator pitch for your blog. Now head over to Mama Kat's and read all the other bloggy wonderfulness.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Because We Are All Blessed: Help Haiti.

We all experience little earthquakes in our lives. Jobs are lost. Loved ones get taken too soon. Homes demand expensive repairs. Dreams are destroyed.

But the people in Haiti? Are experiencing all these things at once. Their homes are destroyed. They no longer have any source of income. Chances are, they've lost members of their family—after all, more than 72,000 people have died—and those are just the bodies that have been recovered.

And the earthquakes keep coming.

So, no matter how bad you think you have it? There's probably not a person in Haiti that wouldn't give a million dollars to trade places with you.

Take a moment to count your blessings. Then take another to reach out and lend a hand—by opening your wallet. I did...and I'm not someone who donates very often.

I don't know. Maybe it's because I'm a mom now (it's true what they say. things do hit you harder), but the thought of all those orphaned children and shattered lives turns my stomach. If, by giving up a couple of pizzas and a few lattes, I can help make their lives even one tiny bit better...well, I couldn't live with myself if I didn't do it.

Here's a partial list of organizations involved in the relief efforts. For more, go here:

American Red Cross
Doctors Without Borders
Mercy Corp

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Just Try and Keep a Straight Face.

I'm not going to lie, kids. This evening finds me in a serious funk. Maybe it's the weather, and the long months of winter that still lay before me. Maybe it's the ridiculous deadlines I'm trying to meet. Maybe I just woke up on the wrong fricking side of the bed.

Whatever the reason, I need a laugh. And you know what always does the trick? This video.

See? Never fails.

But I could use some ideas for more lasting funk relief. What do you guys do to cheer yourselves up when you're feeling down?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Things to Remember: Part Three.

It’s funny how time warps, isn’t it? It seems like just last week that I was laying on the floor with Tori, cheering her on every time she managed to turn her head. That’s it. Just turn her head. From one side…to the other. And back again.

Surely it can’t have been three months since she spat out her first bite of solid food. Or two since she finally figured out how to crawl…forward (she was a master backwards traveler for a while).

Time is going so damn fast, it astounds me. As I watch my baby become a little girl, I just want to say, “Stop! Stop changing so fast! Can’t you just stay small for a little while longer?”

I don’t mean it, of course (except I do).

So before I find myself handing her the car keys, I thought it might be good to stop for a minute. To try and capture a few of those little things that make her so special right now, before she becomes someone new again. Things like…

Her Vietnam-soldier style crawl—she can crawl all regular-like, but that’s just too boring for Tori’s taste. Instead, she prefers to keep her belly low to the ground, traveling arm over arm as her legs kick frantically behind her. Sometimes she'll peer at us around corners or from behind curtains, just to check and make sure the enemy's nowhere to be found, I guess.

Her sentences of gobbledy gook—some would say that she can't talk yet. I beg to differ. She does—it's just in the language of Tori, and we don't know how to speak it. She'll put together whole sentences, complete with emphasis. Things like "Ah ba da da zaz GOO!" Then she'll turn around, for all the world looking like she expects you to know exactly what she said.

Her tendency to occasionally spit out a real word, out of nowhere—Once, when I came to get her up for the day, she looked right at me and said, "Hi!" Which is my usual greeting to  her. I've also heard kitty and oggy, but not more than once or twice. And yesterday? Yesterday, Brian was waving bye-bye at her, and I swear, we both heard her say "bu-bye."

I don't know, maybe it's my grandma's genes talking (she always insisted her dog could say mama, but no one else ever heard it), but I think that kid's working up a heck of a vocabulary.

Her preoccupation with climbing everything—Over Christmas break, she learned how to pull up on things, and now? Nothing is safe. She climbs along the couches, of course. And she likes to try to pull up to the table using the tablecloth (results? not good). But that's just the beginning. My pants, the rocking chair, the mop bucket, even the toilet. I kinda wish those eyes would hurry up and grow on the back of my head.

Her insistence on "walking" everywhere while holding my hands—Once she's tired of perching on whatever semi-stable object she's managed to climb, she holds her hands out to me so I can help her walk to her next destination. And she? Never tires of this game. Unfortunately, my back can't say the same.

Her suddenly toothy grin—No more gummy smile for this baby. She's got three teeth, and she's working on the fourth. I haven't gotten a good picture of it yet, but that grin is fan-freaking-tastic.

Her sweet babyness—Every once in a while, when she forgets she's supposed to be a big, brave girl now, she reverts to my little baby Tori. Like last night. I was feeding her a bottle, all snugged up on the couch, when she reached her hand out to my face, closed her eyes, and promptly fell asleep. We snuggled for a good hour, long after my arm went completely numb, but nothing could have convinced me to move her. I'm going to miss those moments when bottles go the way of her pacifier...

I could go on. And on. And on. But since no one is as captivated by my baby as I am, I'll stop now. Now if only I could stop time from marching so fast...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

BBB Round 2: Check In.

Yes, I know. This post is late. After being non-functional for a week, a girl's kinda got a lot of life to catch up on, you know?

So yeah, that's the good news. I'm back to feeling like a h421u563+.... sorry, that was Tori's contribution. What I meant to say was human. I feel like a human again. So I can get back to doing all those things that are meant to make the pounds drop off.

But this week? Was a wash. My scale says I lost 23 pounds...but I'm pretty sure it just needs batteries. You'd think with a baby in the house, I'd have plenty of those, right? Yeah. Not so much. I'm just not going to count this past week.

If all goes well, I'll head to the gym to re-start the Couch to 5K program a little later on, but I've got a teething baby today, and all she wants is mamama. So we'll see.And since I'm typing one-handed, I'm going to go ahead and cut this short again.

Who's got news to share?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Writer's Workshop: A Snapshot of My Life.

This week, Mama Kat asked us to give the us of five years ago a snapshot of our current lives. Here's my take on it.

Five years ago, I was living in a drafty townhouse in Cincinnati, slogging through slushy puddles as icy rain poured down from the sky to a job, which, although I'd only started four months before, was already beginning to seem like a Huge Mistake.

My house in Michigan still hadn't sold. My 401k money was almost gone. My husband, who had just joined me there, had found a job, but it was in retail, meaning he was gone most nights and weekends. I was alone, lonely and feeling sorry for myself.

I was desperate for hope, but positive that I was deserving of none.

So if the Me of Now had appeared before the Me of Then and told her that in five years I'd be living a life that made me happy, she would have scoffed at me. She would have asked me if I was smoking something. Then, rolling her eyes, she would have asked for proof.

So I'd have to pull out a whole wad of pictures. Not just one, because the Me of Then? She knew about Photoshop.

First I'd have to show her my house. Not to brag, but because that girl was living in a place so small, her dresser only fit in the living room. Her kitchen had about three inches of counter space. Her bathroom was so tiny, she could pee while washing her hair. And her yard? Was about six feet wide.

So to show her that five years later she'd have a house with both a living room and a family room, three whole toilets (you have never known desperation until there are two people in a house with diarrhea and only one toilet), a fireplace and even a walk-in closet, would have rocked her world.

Then I'd have to show her some video clips of the office. One of her cackling with an art director over an assignment (back then, her partner made her want to stab things). Another of the Great Toilet Paper Discussion. And a third of a client actually praising her work.

By this time, she'd be smiling a little, but still skeptical. So I'd pull out the Big Guns. The Secret Weapon. The Pictures of Tori.

I'd show her a picture of her scrunched up, screaming face when she was freshly hatched.

I'd show her the pictures of her first smile. The first time she stuck out her tongue. The first time she sat up. Of Halloween, and Thanksgiving. Of her sleeping with her daddy and pulling her mommy's hair. By the time I showed her this one:

She'd be grinning from ear to ear, hope restored once more. And my job? Would be done.

Now head on over to Mama Kat's and check out the other entries!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Look Out: It's Time For Another Virtual Temper Tantrum.

If you're offended by foul language, you might want to stop reading now. Seriously. Well, okay, but don't say I didn't warn you.

When Tori's upset (or even just a tiny bit bothered), she throws herself backwards on the floor, arches her back and screams for all she's worth.  And you know what? That's exactly what I feel like doing right now.

My insides are still a mess. I have no appetite, and probably have not eaten more than 800 calories in the last five days, but I'm so ridiculously bloated that my pants barely fit. That fucking sucks, people. Everybody knows that if you can't eat, the reward is supposed to be artificially loose pants.

Fuck you, body.

And you know what BabyCenter just sent me? An email with an article titled, "Why you might still look pregnant." I clicked on it, thinking it might make me feel better about myself, only to find the following gem of advice, "it might take weeks for your belly to go down to pre-pregnancy size." Weeks? Weeks? I'm on month nine, people, and my belly is nowhere near its pre-pregnancy size.

Fuck you, BabyCenter.

Oh, and speaking of Internet fails, today's How To on my iGoogle page is "How to Sleep When You Are Not Tired." Really? Google, the king of data collectors, can't sort its content better than that? I mean, come on. Even the text ads next to my facebook profile know I'm a tired, fat new mom who hasn't gotten enough sleep in the last 18 months. Are you telling me google can't figure that out, too?

Fuck you, google.

Oh, and you know what else makes me mad? NBC. They're threatening to bump Conan in favor of Jay Leno. NBC, you know what? The reason you have to cancel Jay Leno's show is because he's not funny anymore. Say it with me. Jay's. Not. Funny. Don't go replacing actual wit and humor with the vapid nothingness that is Jay Leno's show. And Jay? If you still feel the need to work five days a week, have some respect for yourself and go be a greeter at Walmart or something.


You thought I was going to say fuck you again, didn't you?

Okay, fine. Fuck you, NBC.

Sarah Palin. She makes me want to stab things. Why won't she go away?

Also, the racist idiots of the tea party. They need to go drown themselves in a big vat of tea-flavored urine.

Glamour magazine? You make me mad, too. How many years can you continue to recycle the same 14 stories? There's a world full of freelancers out there. Find some with original ideas.

Authors of parenting books? Stop making me feel like I don't know what the hell I'm doing (I don't. I know it. You don't need to remind me).

Makers of baby products? Stop making me feel like I'm depriving my child if I don't have the thousand dollar stroller, the five hundred dollar car seat and whatever gee whiz super cool gadget you're going to come out with next.

World? Stop looking at me. You're making me paranoid.

I could go on, but I think I've probably alienated enough people already. So I'll stop. Normally, this is where I'd go pour myself a big drink, except for the fact that my fucking body is fucking messed up and in need of prescription meds to continue to function.

Fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

See? The F-bomb. It has magical healing powers.

Monday, January 11, 2010

How to Get Helped in the ER (without having to wait).

Maybe it was the tight grimace on my pale face. Maybe it was my hunched over, 95-year-old lady stance. Maybe it was just the pajama pants with mismatched gym shoes look I was sporting. Or maybe it was the constant whimpering that emitted from somewhere deep inside me every 30 seconds.

Whatever it was, when I walked into the ER on Friday night, there was no hesitation on the part of the staff. They had me checked in, registered and into a room (with an actual door) before I could say, "somebody hand me one of those pink buckets. I'm going to puke again."

By the time I got there, it had already been a long day. A day that had started seven hours before when I walked into an urgent care center, thinking I had some sort of weird bladder infection and could get myself some antibiotics and back to work before the clock ran out on my lunch hour.

Yeah. Not so much.

Truth is, no one there could figure out what  was wrong with me. Everything checked out fine. Meanwhile the stabbing pain that had driven me there on a day full of deadlines grew worse...and worse...and worse...until it was all I could think about.

Finally, they sent me home with some painkillers, shrugging their shoulders and wishing me good luck.

I would have thanked them, except I was too busy vomiting on the bushes outside.

Home we went, where I alternated between laying on the couch, pacing the floor while foaming at the mouth and rocking myself like a crazy person, completely consumed by the searing pain that wrapped around my middle.

I was certain my appendix was rupturing. Either that, or I was dying. And at that point? Anything that would have ended the pain would have been welcome.

So off to the ER we went, hoping to find better answers. I didn't get any of those, at least not right away. But you know what I did get? An IV full of beautiful, merciful drugs. The dry heaving stopped. I could open my eyes. Granted, I didn't want to, as I was floating on a pink fluffy cloud of narcotics, but I could.

Later, they did a bunch of tests and determined that no, actually my appendix wasn't about to burst. They sent me home with some more drugs, instructions to "wait and see," and an appointment scheduled at some far off date in the future. And in the meantime? My insides continue to torment me, with no clear end in sight.

But that's okay, because I've discovered the secret to good service at the ER. It's not about the amount of blood. It's about how crazy you look (and sound). And I? Am very good at acting crazy.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Banishing the Baby Belly Round Two (BBBR2): Week One.

Well, we're one full week into the new year. How did you guys do? I'm down three pounds. Which is pretty awesome. However, I can't take all the credit. I've been having some health issues that sent me to the ER last night...and have made it impossible to eat.

But, hey, I'll take what I can get.

However, that's a story for another post, and right now, I'm too drugged up to do it justice.

At any rate, I was having a good week before all that went down. I stuck to the healthy eating regime, and even hustled my butt into the gym twice. I think I'm off to a good start. Think I can lose ten pounds by the end of January? That's the goal. I think I can do it (especially if I continue to not be able to eat).

But, as I said before, I'm not exactly clear-headed right now, so I think I'll cut this short. Discuss among yourselves, and tell me what you've been up to this week.

Or just tell me a joke. I could use some cheering up.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wordful Wednesday: Four Generations Together.

My grandma, as it's well known, is not usually a very nice person. Her face is set in a frown so often, we've been known to warn her that it's in danger of getting stuck that way.

But for a few precious hours on Christmas Eve, she was transformed. She finally got to meet her  great granddaughter—and at the sight of her, she was so overcome with joy, she actually cried.

I'd never seen her be so patient. She didn't pick at my appearance (usually my weight is a prime topic), or badger my mother, or bad mouth the relatives who weren't present.

She just sat there and played with Tori, letting her grab her nose, her chin and even the glasses off her face. And the expression on her face?

I'll never forget the absolute love that shone from her eyes as Tori reached out to touch her cheek. I wasn't able to capture it on film (or on memory card), but that's the image that will stay with me as long as I live.

Now go visit the other participants at  Seven Clown Circus and see what they have to say for themselves!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Things That Make Me Happy: The Award Edition.

When the days get short and the temperature plummets, it's easy to lose sight of the good things in life and focus on the negative. Lord knows I'm guilty of that particular sin. In fact, I was in danger of falling into just such a funk when my friend the Mommyologist gave me an award.

And not just any award. This is an award about happiness:

When you get it, you're supposed to list ten things that make you happy. And that is, ahem, something I'm happy to do.

My fireplace—my office is kept at about 20 below zero, so when I come home, I'm freezing. Enter the gas fireplace and its lovely instant flames. Nights like this find me, my dog and both kitties crowded in front of that precious spot of warmth.

Flannel pajama pants—My husband hates them. Hates them with a capital H. And I know they're pretty much the opposite of sexy. But really, is there anything more cozy on the face of the planet? I don't think so.

Sally's Spa—It's a game for the iPod Touch I got for Christmas. And it's completely silly—you just run around trying to give people facials and pedicures and things—but also strangely addicting.

New running shoes—I'd been making do with the crappy ones I bought before I got preggers. But my feet grew during pregnancy, so my toes were constantly bumping the top, giving me blisters. Then last week I finally broke down and bought some new ones.  My feet haven't stopped thanking me yet.

My daughter's laugh—I'm pretty sure there's no better sound on the face of the planet than a baby's laugh. No matter how bad my day has been, that little giggle never fails to make me smile.

A really good F-bomb—I know the f word is not a nice one to use. But when you're really angry? Nothing's more satisfying than a really loud "what the F***, you f'ing f'er! That f'ing sucks!" Am I right? I am, I know it.

My husband's cooking—If it were left to me, our weekly menu woould consist of baked chicken, pork chops and stuff out of a box. A great cook I am not. Luckily, he is something of a foodie and amateur chef, so our meals are much more adventurous. Not to mention yummy (who me, sucking up? Nah).

Flannel sheets—Kinda like flannel pajama pants, but better because they cover you from head to toe in coziness. A much better alternative to cold cotton sheets in the winter, don't you think?

The return of funny TV—I don't know if you noticed, but John Stuart and Stephen Colbert were gone for three weeks. Three weeks without the Daily Show makes me a sad panda. Thankfully, they're back now, and I can once again be lulled to sleep by their sarcastic jokes.

Dropping numbers on the scale—Okay, I haven't seen that yet. But I just did the first run of the Couch to 5K program, so it's only a matter of time.

I know. That's a pretty random list. But heck, it's the little things.

Now as part  of this award, you're also supposed to pass it on to ten other blogs. But you know what? You all make me happy. So consider yourself awarded!


Monday, January 4, 2010

Jealous Again.

This morning found me getting ready for work for the first time in twelve days. Twelve days might not sound like much, but it was just long enough. Just long enough to get a solid routine going with Tori. Just long enough to start to feel like a real mom again—not just a part-timer.

Just long enough to get used to not working.

So when the alarm went off this morning, I awoke with a heavy heart. For the last twelve days, it had been Tori's voice that woke me up. Granted,  it was usually far too early, but her little bababa's are always  a more pleasant sound than that annoying buzz (side note: someone should invent an alarm that you have to throw against the wall to shut off. It's what I always feel like doing to mine).

This morning, she decided to sleep in (her timing is wonderful). So  I had to wake her up. Had to try and shove oatmeal down her throat while she was still rubbing her eyes. Had to bundle her in her coat and strap her into her car seat when she was just getting ready to play (and that makes for one unhappy Tori).

It kinda sucked. Okay, it really sucked. So much so that halfway to the babysitter's house (with a still screaming Tori in the back seat), I almost turned around and went home. 

But people were depending on me to show up at the office, so I resisted the urge (that good old Midwestern work ethic, you know). Instead, I dutifully trudged to my desk, fired up the computer and logged on to twitter (ahem, after I checked my work email, of course).

And twitter? Was full of tweets from people celebrating kids going back to school and bemoaning spouses going back to work. Tweets about missed naps and temper tantrums and teething kids. Tweets from fed up moms who would probably have loved to switch places with me for a little while.

But I couldn't help but be jealous of them. Couldn't help but wish I was still at home, tapping my keyboard while Tori tried to bash the space bar in. Would have given anything to be looking at another day full of nothing special.

Does anybody have a rich (and frail) relative I could adopt? Or a winning lottery ticket they're not using? Because I'd really love to turn my high heels in for a pair of worn out sneakers.

No? Darn. Guess I'll just have to start planning that next vacation, then.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Who's Ready for Round Two? Banishing the Baby Belly Returns.

The holidays are over. It's time to put down the eggnog, throw out the cookies and start focusing on the big picture again. For me, that means getting my ass in gear and getting small enough to toss these damn fat jeans out the window.

For reals.

And this isn't some stupid New Year's Resolution. I don't do those. Everybody knows the only reason to make a resolution is to have an excuse to quit three weeks later. For instance, I guarantee you when I go to the gym tomorrow, it will be packed. But come February? It'll be a ghost town once again.

That's the way it goes with New Year's Resolutions.

So this is not that. This is...just getting down to business. As Jillian Michaels says, if you want a good body, you've got to fight for it. So in the Page household? It's on.

For me, Plan A was to spend the next 30 days Shredding. Like 584492070549670543 other people before me, I went out and bought the 30 Day Shred DVD. I popped it in and got ready to sweat like there was no tomorrow. But the Shred? Does not work for people with blown knees.

I got oh, maybe five minutes into it and my knee started clicking and clacking and threatening to pop. And since, as I may have mentioned a time or 500, The Great Knee Blowout wins for worst pain ever in my book (and people? I was practically cut in half about nine months ago), any protest from my knee brings all activity to a halt.

So instead, I popped in my new Leslie Sansone DVD, of Walk Away the Pounds fame. This one is some sort of five mile walk, and let me tell you, it kicked my ass. I know she's not nearly as cool as Jillian, but I've used her DVDs for years. When you do them consistently, you really do see results.

So Leslie continues to be my girl.

I also signed up over at Spark People. Have you heard about this site? If you haven't checked it out, you should. It's huge. I haven't had a ton of time to explore it, but there's a food tracker, a weight tracker, an exercise tracker and a whole bunch of community type stuff. Plus it's free. Free is good, right?

That's my plan. And this time there is no room for failure. Anyone with me?

Oh, and just to be politically correct, I guess I ought to tell you I was not compensated in any form for mentioning any of the above products. Just in case you hadn't guessed that already.