Summer Ends, Second Grade Begins

Second grade. Second grade!  I will probably say something to that effect every year, won’t I?

Liam started second grade on Thursday of last week.  He wasn’t nervous, he wasn’t worried, it was no big deal to him. He hopped on the bus and headed off to school without a backward glance.

The other mothers and me? Cheering. The bus driver was laughing her head off at us.

He likes his teacher, knows all his classmates, and seems to have settled into the routine of school without too much trouble. Last year was a difficult transition. He has spent a year going to half-day kindergarten and then he transitioned to full day first grade.  That first month of school was brutal with him. He was tired and cranky and difficult. This year is another story.  He seems to be falling back into the school routine with almost no trouble. *knock on wood*

Today begins the first full week of school and, looking back on last year’s post from this time, it was not an easy week last year. I hope that it’s easier on everyone this year.

Here’s to school and an end to The Crap Filled Summer of 2012!

Ready to head to the bus stop!

Jamie got in the way but it’s too cute not to share.


This Side Of The Fence

If you read this blog regularly you know that I’ve talked about my struggles to lose the weight I gained with Jamie.  It’s been a topic almost from the inception of this blog.  However, as much as I think about it, I post about it a lot less.  Who wants to read that anyway? Weight loss and fitness are decisions I made for me not anyone else.

But I have some things to say.

Weight loss has never been easy for me. Ever. I can’t say that I was always overweight or that I’ve never been skinny but I can say that I’m one of those people who carries her weight in such a way that most people don’t see me as obese or even overweight.  Since my teen years, I’ve spent a lot of time fighting my urges to devour delicious food, avoid exercise, and trying desperately not to grow to gargantuan sizes.  The only times in my adult life that I’ve been free of weight worry were during my pregnancies.

The older I get the harder it is.

I have been stuck in the same place for well over a year now. I lost about 18 pounds in the space of 6 months or so. Those pounds were NOT easy to lose.  Then I stalled out something fierce.  Life got in the way, I was busy, we had calamities, and my weight loss and fitness became the last things on the list.

This summer has been the most stressful I’ve ever lived through. Some of what’s going on is not suitable for blogging so I haven’t talked about it here.  It’s simply not my place.  But it has affected me profoundly and I’ve spent a lot of time eating my feelings.  As a result I’ve gained 8 pounds in the last few months – that’s nearly half of what I fought so hard to lose in the first place.

Let me be clear about something. I am painfully aware that this is my own fault.

Now we come to the crux of this post. From my side of the fence? Weight loss is the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do.  I struggle with it constantly and I keep failing. Worse, I know that it’s my fault that I fail.  I castigate myself all the time about how I eat and how I can’t make myself exercise after a long day with the kids.  I want so desperately not to be this person who fails and yet for all my good intentions – I fail.

People tell me I’m not fat. Right. But then I go to the doctor and get yelled at to lose weight.  My BMI is 29. I weigh 178 pounds. By all standards available, YES, I am overweight.

I feel like every bite of food that enters my mouth is judged by SOMEONE; that people look at me and think “yup, pretty clear why she’s overweight.” I think that about me, why wouldn’t someone else?

Little changes DON’T add up for me. Not weighing myself DOESN’T work (all I do is get fatter).  I am well aware that a number on a scale or my BMI are not fantastic ways to measure my progress but they are the only concrete ways I have to do so. It’s all I have to work with and I have to pay attention.  That’s just how it works for me.  I hate it intensely. But ignoring it doesn’t make it go away or make me do a better job of losing weight.  I’ve tried that, too.

I get it that skinny people don’t always have it easy, either. They get told to eat a sandwich or people assume they have eating disorders. Allow me to be honest though – in our society, it is far, far easier to be skinny than to be fat.  It’s annoying that people feel free to comment or make assumptions but skinny people don’t get little kids pointing at them when they’re in a bathing suit (yep, had it happen). Skinny people don’t get stared at in the same way. They are objects of desire, the goal to be striven for. Some thin people have worked damn hard to get there and some are lucky enough that they don’t have to work at it to stay that way.

From here? From the fat side? I would take all those consequences in a heartbeat if it meant I could just “throw away the scale” and “go by how my clothes feel.”  If it meant that I could dispense with feeling like the whole world judges me just by how much I weigh.  If it meant I could stop feeling like a failure every. single. day. because I hate how I look and I’m losing faith that I can change it.

From my side, that’s how it feels. That’s what it looks like. Maybe it doesn’t look that way for you. Me? That’s the hand I got dealt and I keep trying to shuffle the deck only to come up with the same stupid cards every time.

A Post More Than 2 Years In The Making

Yesterday Liam took his final color belt test in Tae Kwon-Do to earn his third (and last) black stripe on his red belt.  From this time on, there will be no more tests until he tests for his black belt. We anticipate that happening in April of next year as long as he keeps up the hard work.

I admit I was a little apprehensive about his performance at this test. After his slip up at the last test, I wanted to make sure he felt confident in all the patterns he had to do. We threw an extra class in here and there over the last 2 months and that seemed to prepare him.

He had to do 2 patterns that he had done before for other belt tests and one brand new pattern – Chin-Moo. Which, I am shocked to say, he learned in its entirety in a single class. That kid has a mind like a steel trap.

(A word on the videos – I did the best I could but an adult who was testing kept getting in my line of sight. Also, I got a little wobbly. Sorry, folks.)

First, he had to do Te-Ge.

Next was Fur-Ahn (I missed the first couple of movements in this one).

Last, Chin-Moo.


After he performed patterns they sparred in groups.  My pictures from that are mostly blurry but he did a pretty good job.  Then, it was time for breaking, which he crushed.

Like a boss.

Finally, it was time to be awarded with his stripe.

Three! Three black stripes!

When it comes time to test for his black belt, Liam will have to perform all nine of the patterns he learned to earn his black stripes. It’s a good thing we have 8 months to prepare!

I know he can do it, though. He started out 2 years ago having no real idea how to make his body be so coordinated. He was so awkward – all elbows and knees sticking out. But he kept at it. He worked hard. He did all they asked him to do. He practiced at home. He went to class twice a week every week; summer, fall, winter, and spring. Now he is poised to prove he’s worthy to wear a Young Brothers black belt. I know he is. I can’t wait to see it happen.

A Week With Cousin Becca

Last week our niece came to stay with Grandma and Granddad for a whole week and my kids got to play with their cousin almost every day. All the kids loved it and we met up to do some fun things while Becca was here (the last of which being Kennywood).

One morning we headed to the playground for some climbing, sliding, running, and swinging.

Another day we headed to Soergel’s orchard.  I had no idea this was an attraction for the under 10 set but it is. Playgrounds and farm animals!
Waiting for Grandma and Becca

Driving the tractor.

You’re taking our picture? 
Locked in jail!

The kids had a fantastic time hanging out with each other. Next summer should be even better as Jamie will be older (and hopefully napless) so we can do more things with less tantrums.  This year, Jamie went three days without a nap and it almost killed him (and us).

So, now we’re on the home stretch before school starts.  We have two full weeks plus a couple of days and then it’s time to put Liam on the bus for second grade.


On Saturday – the most blazingly hot day I’ve spent outside in years – the extended family went to Kennywood.  It was the first time our kids had ever been there and they had a blast.  I would have enjoyed it A LOT more if the weather had been a tad more cooperative. Over 90 and high humidity made me feel like crap.  I’m surprised we didn’t collapse on the way back to the car.

On to the pictures!

Liam and I preparing to ride the ParaTrooper. NOT OUR BEST DECISION.

After riding the ParaTrooper. NO ME GUSTA.

“MOTORCYCLE!” Jamie screamed and had to ride it.

On the Orbiter

Liam and Cousin Becca on the flying elephants.

Pretty girl Becca 
Granddad, Scot, and the boys on the S.S. Kenny

Scot just loves this ride!

I don’t know why Liam is making this face but it’s hilarious.

Loving the Lil Phantom!

A sign we did Kennywood right.

I’d be willing to take them again next year but when it’s COOLER.  Hauling 40 lbs of Jamie around in a wagon just about killed me (and says a lot about my lack of fitness).  However, they’re never going to get me to ride the big coasters with them. NOT A CHANCE IN HELL.  They’ll just have to figure that out on their own. Seeing as Liam wasn’t a super fan of the ParaTrooper either, I’m probably safe. At least for a little while!

7 Quick Takes

The concept of this post was stolen from Jayesel who did it on her blog (and I believe she stole it from someone else, too.  Ahhh, the internet!).  Seven quick little things I want to talk about but really don’t merit their own whole post.

1. Today Scot begins his new job. Huzzah! He took the last week or so off work to get a bit of a break, rest, and recharge. He spent some of the time out of town visiting friends of ours and being leisurely. He so needed it as the last 5 months have been the very definition of stressful. (No really, look up the definition and you’ll see “the first half of 2012 for the TKandB family.”)  I’m desperately hoping that this is the start of things looking up. We have some adjusting to do to get used to a new schedule and I’m hoping the commute won’t become overly onerous for him.  But, yay! New job!

2. I reported Jamie’s daycare to the state.  I wrote a long letter detailing the whole sorry mess and sent it off last week. I haven’t heard anything since so I don’t know that anything will actually come of it. Still, it made me feel better to lodge a formal complaint. At least it will be on record.

3. Jamie is now fully registered for pre-school.  I can’t wait to get him started.  I saw the facility and it’s amazing.  AMAZING.  I have a parent orientation meeting in a couple of weeks where I assume I’ll get all the details on daily routines and whatnot. He starts on September 5th and he’ll be going Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00 am to 11:30 am. I’ve already started making a list of things that need to be done while the kids are out of the house.

4. Speaking of school, Liam starts school on August 23rd. Just 22 more days and he’ll be a second grader.  A SECOND GRADER. I think it just hit me now – I’ve been looking forward to him starting school again because we’re in the middle of end-of-summer-sassmouth but I failed to realize that OMG, SECOND GRADE.

5. I think we will only get one pumpkin from our plant this year. The one I hand pollinated is doing fabulously. But while the plant keeps setting fruit, for some reason the female flowers aren’t actually flowering and then the fruits wither and fall off. I’m not entirely sure what the problem is (got any ideas, internet friends?) but at this rate only Liam will be getting a home grown pumpkin this Halloween.  I’d like to try this again next year because it’s been such a fun experiment this year and if we do, I’m going to plant it in a different spot where it has more room. The place it is now, it just doesn’t have enough room to spread out and I wonder how much that has to do with the lack of pumpkins. So, next year – larger area for it.

6. Liam passed his swim lessons with flying colors. Next year he’ll be in Level III and in the mean time he can jump off the diving board and go down the big water slide all by himself. He’s proven himself to be largely safe in the water and it’s a huge load off my mind. Also, with Jamie now in a traditional pre-school, he’ll be able to start swim lessons next summer – a year earlier than Liam did.

7.  I haven’t talked about my diet in a long time. There’s a reason – I’m a mess. The stress of the summer has finally overwhelmed me and I started gaining instead of losing. I was already thoroughly stuck where I was and now I put on at least 6 pounds. Frustrating beyond measure. I’m starting to climb back up on the horse but I don’t know that I’m really making a lot of progress. Also, with two kids home full time, exercising has been almost non-existent. I’ve gotten some in here and there but really – I’m lucky to do it once a week, IF THAT. So. Yeah. I have a looooooong way to go and I feel completely and utterly defeated.  I wish this wasn’t so damn difficult.