Picture Post

Sometimes, I want to reach into my computer and throttle Blogger by the neck. Tonight is one of those times. These pictures are all out of order. I don't have the time or patience to make them right. Maybe I'm discounting your intelligence. I'm sure you know the dirt came before the grass. Still drives me bonkers and I edit this post with dissatisfaction in my bosom. 

These kids just love helping Allen in the yard. There is almost no task they can't or won't do with him. Sure, it takes some extra time. But, what great memories!

Three months old today (May 20th). Woot! Woot! We survived.
I think I ruin her life every day.
Mini mom. I needed to check on Addie and when I came back, this is what I found.
Addison helped Allen until the job was done. She really is a good little worker.
Mostly uninterested. 
Everybody does their share of the work.
My glorious hydrangea. Every time, and I mean every.single.time. I go outside, I tell the girls, "Do you know how long I've wanted these plants in my yard? Ten years. I've waited ten years for a place to put them." The girls have started murmuring, "uh, huh, 10 years, sure mom..." when I start talking about them.
This is the correct way to unload a pallet of sod. Remember when we did it this way?

Our neighbors, who have become our good friends, came over to help.
More jumping rope.

Of her own volition, she grabbed her tools and went to work.

Within minutes, the kids were enjoying the new grass. Savannah and Addie are the exact same age and love having each other right next door to play with.  
Fascinated by the truck dropping off the sod.
Dan, Allen and Emmy hard at work.
We went to the police station with Addie's preschool class.  I didn't mean to, but I totally dressed Emmy in pinstripes. I think it's fitting.
Yay! The kids are in heaven.


I Can't Stop Laughing

At Sofia's blessing, we had some family pictures taken since the whole Riddle clan would be together. The photographer took something like 170 pictures. Emily did not smile in any of them. 

I mean, not a single one. 

Rather, we got:



That would be "Mother of the Year". This title is usually reserved for those of us that manage to royally screw up in one way or another. We assign it to ourselves with much snark and shame.

I earned that title today.

My oldest kids have given up juice. The dentist told them it could cause cavities so they stopped drinking it immediately. Emily has decided to follow suit.

Up until two days ago, Emmy loved her juice. Now, mind you, she gets about 90% water and 10% juice in her cup. But still, she loved her juice - watered down and all.

You guys also know Emmy has a big time speech delay. In the last year, she has improved by leaps and bounds. She can articulate herself in ways that have allowed us to know if she's sad, mad, uncomfortable, hurt, etc. Six months ago, she had no way to tell us those things.

So, in the last two days, she's not had any juice. Well, this morning, Allen gave her juice again.

Fast forward to this evening. I'm downstairs trying to soothe the screaming baby. I hear Emmy at the top of the stairs crying. I yelled at her to go to bed. And she says through tears:

"But mom! My bum hurts."

I head up the stairs to take a peek at the problem. Physically, there's nothing going on that I can see. I ask her a series of questions to try and decipher what is going on. Mind you, I have a screaming infant lying on the floor while I try to comfort my poor toddler.

I told her I couldn't see anything, I couldn't help her, and she needed to get to bed. She crawled into bed and begged me, "I want you hold me. I want you hold me. I want you hold me."

With irritated sympathy, I explained, "I can't hold you. I have the baby. She's upset and hungry. I need to take care of her."

I grabbed the baby and left.

After I calmed Sofia down, I heard Emmy still awake in her room. So, I went in to see how she was doing.

She's trying to stay strong. She knows I can't understand her well. She knows I'm tired and cranky. Her little features crumble and she says through her sobs:

"Daddy gave me...Daddy gave me...Daddy said no...Daddy made me have juice today. He no let me have my cup and I had to have juice. It hurt my bum. My tummy..my tummy...my tummy... hurts."

How long has my poor Emmy had an upset tummy but didn't know how to make the words to tell us? Usually, an 12 or 18 month old kid can at least get that across to their caregiver. But not Emmy. She didn't know how to make the sounds to tell us words.

So basically, I've been giving her something that has been causing her pain for almost her entire life. And when she tried to tell me tonight, I yelled at her to go to bed. I left her crying because I was frazzled.

All you mommies know exactly what I'm talking about on this one.

Like I said, MOTY.


The Last and Final Leg

A couple of years ago, I started the Medifast 5 and 1 program. I lost 59 pounds in 7 months time. I actually had to stop the program because I got pregnant. I was 16 pounds away from my goal weight and end goal of 75 pounds lost.

I ended up miscarrying that pregnancy after 8 weeks. Then, I got busy, put my money elsewhere, and didn't start the 5 and 1 again. I didn't gain any weight during that time. Then, ended up pregnant again.

I gained nearly 30 lbs. during the pregnancy. I was at 20 lbs. up until the last week and then the water weight came on like gangbusters. Thank goodness Sofia came 2 weeks early or I'd of looked like the Goodyear blimp.

In case you're just tuning in or missed the post, this is what I looked like on the actual day of delivery:

I've lost all but 15 pounds of that weight. I'm not too upset about all of that. But, pregnancy makes girl soft. And jiggly.

Me. Now.
I've decided that gauchos are not my most flattering pair of pants.  My legs look like little wooden stilts sticking out of there. I am actually quite embarrassed to post this picture. I'm nominating myself for What Not To Wear at the end of this whole deal.

See, the legs. I'm at the same weight here and even in the same shirt as above (my post pregnancy wardrobe is very limited) but I think look much less fat. Why do I wear those damn gaucho pants?!? But, I digress.

 If you've ever had a baby or young children in your care, you know you're eating left over peanut butter sandwich crusts and apple slices in between changing diapers, making bottles, feeding the baby, hiding in the bathroom, doing laundry, browsing pinterest, breaking up fights, filling juice cups, staring mindlessly at the ceiling, washing dishes, tending boo boos, checking facebook, cleaning up accidents, and any other catastrophe that might arise during the day.

That kind of eating doesn't make a body feel good, and it leaves a person hungry.

After stuffing my saggy body into my yoga pants and jeans for the last 10 weeks, I've decided enough is enough. It's just as easy to eat a bar or shake as it is to eat fruit snacks. One makes you fat, one doesn't. One fills you up, one doesn't. Might as well eat what will fill you up, and not make you fat. You gotta put something in your body, right?

Finances aren't ever going to be ideal to afford Medifast, but over this summer, I get a break from the preschool tuition, and that makes it just barely doable for me. Plus, this is an investment into my health. My physical health. More importantly, though, my mental health.

Also, during the summer, I have tons of motivation (the thought of donning a swimsuit puts fear into the heart of every woman alive, and can be very persuasive as you stare down a piece of chocolate cake). I can create a much more manageable schedule since I'm home with the kids, and not running around as much. Salad is desirable during the heat. Grilling is easy with the weather. The season alone lends to having lean and healthier foods on your plate.

I've decided to lose 40 pounds over the summer.  This accounts for the 15 left over from the baby. It is 10 lbs. over my original goal weight, but it puts me at my ideal BMI. When it's all said and done, I will have lost 99 lbs.

Last time around, I lost 50 pounds in the first 4 months so I think losing 40 in 3 months is very realistic. I wasn't perfect on the program, and still had great success. If I can minimize my "cheats", I might be able to even achieve goal before my August deadline.

I do really well with this style of program. I learned a lot my last go around. I know I can keep the weight off on maintenance because I did it before. I feel really excited to get this last bit of weight, and be done with the weight-loss phase. I look forward to knowing I can maintain, and not compromise because of pregnancy. Every other time I've lost weight or gotten in shape, I've known pregnancy would put a pause to all of that. I can buy clothes and keep them. Come September, when I'm at goal weight, I can start working out again and get firm and not lose that tone because of another pregnancy. This is jump-up-and-down-pee-a-little exciting to a girl who has spent the last 10 years putting aside her vision of beauty to get this family grown.

I share this with you because 1. this is my blog. I can put whatever the crap I want on here. No seriously, it's also our family journal. I want to remember this part of my life. 2. I do well when I make a public commitment to something. Otherwise, it's too easy for me to renege on the commitment. Now, I'm accountable. 3. Maybe someone else out there is on their own journey to health, and will find support on this blog.

With a new baby in the house and me on this program, you can be assured for the next 3 months you will hear and see nothing but baby and weight loss posts.

Hang in there with me if you can stand it!


I Looked In the Mirror - Mother's Day Repost

A while back, I was getting ready for my day. The marks of a body that has hosted another seemed to overcome any semblance of the body I knew to be my own. I began to fall prey to the counsel of the world and see only imperfections in the reflection.

I was doing the things girls do and lamenting my baby ravaged body.

Suddenly, in my mind's eye, I was sitting on the corner of the master bath tub of my childhood home watching my mom get herself ready for the day. The tilt of her head as she applied her mascara. The "o" shaped mouth that all women adopt to apply the product flawlessly. She seamlessly moved from one task to the next to make herself ready for the world. I remember seeing some of the same tokens of motherhood on her own body.

Suddenly, I was staring at my own reflection again. I took a deep breath and let out a sigh.

"I am my mother." 

Yeah, and?
I am my mother.
Again, I am my mother.

I am intense, focused and driven.

I like money. I especially like to spend your money.

I am a doer. And that means I want you to be one too. So hurry up.

I have an innate love of animals and their welfare.

I'll take the shirt off of my back to clothe you.

But if you piss me off, I'll yell at you while I do it.

I like to function. It keeps the hamsters in my brain quiet.

I can cook a good meal.

I am driven to protect the weak.

I am a problem solver.

I am a mamma bear.

I'm particular and I don't mind letting you know it.

I expect the best from myself.

And from the people I love.

I love teaching and am pretty good at it.

When I do love, and it's not something that comes quickly or easily, I do it fiercely.

I don't have tons of friends, but the ones I hold dear have earned their place in my life and are some of the best people in the world.

I'm my own biggest critic.

I value education. I strive to keep educating myself as I am asked to take on new responsibilities and enter into new chapters of my life.

I'm not afraid to seem weak by living a faith based life.

I'm so very proud to say, "I'm totally my mother."
Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

(originally posted 5/11/2011)


The Nana

When I had Sofia, Marti was able to stay for 10 whole days. She completely took over all motherly duties while she was here. All I had to do was take care of the baby and myself.

When Marti left, my mom swept in to pick up where she'd left off. She was planning on staying for 2 weeks. But, then, she had a feeling she should stay longer. So she did. She stayed for 3 weeks total.

During that time, she woke up with the girls, helped get them ready for school, got them going with breakfast, took them to school, cooked, cleaned, ferried kids back and forth, helped me get to and from last minute doctor appointments, walked the baby late at night, took the kids on special play dates, shopped for our family, did the wash, and anything else you could possibly imagine that might need done.

It was amazing to have so much support. I had a rough delivery, and the healing process was really slow even without having to do much besides take care of the baby. Mom had a c-section with Marti and she knew what I was feeling. She has a soft spot for the kids, too, and she seemed to never tire of walking, consoling, appeasing, and loving them. At 8 at night after 14 hours of helping, she'd grab the baby and sweet talk her while she screamed while Allen and I coma-ed out on the couch.

I think I posted this before, but it's cool enough to have here twice. Marti loved open gym. I'm not sure who had more fun, Marti or the kids. 
Mom went to Walmart super late one night because we needed stuff. She had overheard me talking about how I just wanted a dumb Cadbury egg. I was totally hopped up on drugs still and couldn't drive. So, she brought some all stealthy like when she got home.
Nana is not a lover of holiday. Never the less, she dutifully watched us dye eggs for Easter.

At temple square in Salt Lake. The four of us met up for the wedding of Travis Williams. 

Thanks mom for all of your help. We know it was a sacrifice to be away from home for so long. Your being here made a huge difference in our experience.

About Me

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What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.