Love is What I Got.

stop-hating-your-bodyToday’s the day! I’m back to my pre-baby weight (again) and done “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” to quote Albert Einstein. 

Why is this time different? For starters, I’ve taken a radical* approach:

I’m self-motivating with love. By being kind to myself. By not beating myself up. For the first time EVER. 

I was motivated by negative feelings during my life on a diet. Being motivated by ill feelings I had for myself and my predicament lead to decades of yo-yo dieting. Hating your body as a motivation is very short-term. What’s more, when you’re fueled by negativity, you are more likely to self sabotage and beat yourself up when you have a “bad” day. You never feel worthy. It’s no wonder the weight always returns. The workouts wane. The cycle continues.

Then I gave love a try.

And I got real. I convinced myself I was worth loving at any weight, any health, any age. I realized getting real and finding love was the ONLY way I was going to endure yet another attempt at getting healthy. Big picture? Love is the only thing that will make my goals worth maintaining into the future. Because if you reach a goal by constantly being vengeful and hateful toward yourself, what are you left with? What is going to motivate you to maintain your goals? More berating? Exactly. So love it is.

And I embraced the fact that I’m a proud owner of a body that:

-Will never look like something out of a newsstand magazine without major surgery (or Photoshop!). And made total peace with that. Studies have repeatedly shown that plastic surgery does not make people happier overall, anyway, so F that noise. And besides, as one of our generation’s greatest wordsmith once said, “silicone parts are made for toys.” 

-Has borne two beautiful, healthy children, with a body to prove it, and I’m grateful. And damn, I have some incredible kids.

-That just is what it is because, genes. And the aging process. And gravity. That’s not some stark reality, that’s a gift – living is. Not to mention, my body’s inherent characteristics are not flaws. Besides, they have nothing to do with my actual character. I choose to love this body and use this love to motivate me to improve it in realistic, healthy ways. I am GOING TO BE HERE FOR A LONG TIME, YO!

So that’s it. Love. When I’m tempted to dig into myself, I just remember that nothing I can personally do will ever, ever, ever change my DNA and that what I’m dealing with is a 36-year-old, living body that’s been through a lot and will get through a lot more to come – and that’s amazing. There is no shame in that. Hell, that’s worth celebrating. I carry around the proof of life – a good life full of love, even at my darkest times – and that motivates me every day now.

That said, this whole loving-your-body thing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. All that self-love in the world is in vain if there are haters taking us down – think about that. It’s no accident that I’m powered by love. I surround myself with positive people and things by design. If you are constantly bombarded by things that trigger negative feelings about your body – be it from a partner, family member or friend, even (especially?) the media –  you will be up for an additional challenge to achieving your goals. Plus, that’s kind of crappy – jerks trolling your life, bringing you down, you know? So in addition to loving yourself first, if you have haters in your life, poof, be gone!  I mean, come on. F those haters.

Till the next goal!

*Loving oneself should not be radical, but because we’re socialized to hate our bodies and pick on others’ bodies, particularly women, I’m calling for a radical change in the body-talk, body-relationship narrative. Won’t you join me?

 

And now, some relevant motivational quotes from the web! 

Love-Your-Body loveyourbody quotes-body-01-bloom-600x411 love-your-body-17 LovingYourBody1 PLPT Love Note 122112 Love-your-body-quote Quotation-Harry-Papas-life-good-love-self-diet-understanding-inspirational-Meetville-Quotes-218569 b6cd86f3aff37e94285420acc3d8e382 stop-hating-your-body

Nogurt.

213406_7960Ollie and I went grocery shopping the other day. Just him and me. I told him he could pick out some things. Not “treats” for being good or just because – I wanted him to be part of the process of finding food for the week.

He wanted yogurt. I got him Dannon Oikos, one strawberry pack, one blueberry pack, which have about the fewest sugars of all the options I found (holler at me if you know of a lower one that does not use artificial sweeteners). He’s had a cup with every meal since we got them. He is a fiend. He scrapes the container for the very last bit. You know the milk mustache? I’ve been wiping off a yogurt ‘stach since yesterday. Immediate reaction: This brings my child so much joy and I’m a total jerk for not regularly buying yogurt. It’s JUST YOGURT.

Well, there is a pretty good reason.

I take issue with the marketing of yogurt as a healthy, wholesome  low-fat snack packed with fruit, calcium and probiotics. Talk about a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Your average fruit yogurt has as much if not more sugar in it than a candy bar (I’m talking 30+ grams of sugar – yikes!). I wouldn’t give my kids candy as a midday snack or a side to a meal.  That’s basically what we’re talking about.

Not trying to make yogurt out to be a sort of pariah of the food pyramid. Like candy or ice cream, it’s fine as a once-in-awhile treat or snack. Personally, I buy plain Greek yogurt and use it as a sour cream sub. It is great in dips, on tacos, etc. You can also make your own flavors using plain yogurt and adding in  fresh fruit and spices, and have control over the amount of sweeteners you use.

There is something novel (not to mention convenient), I suppose, about a single-serve, ready-to-eat cup of yogurt, and that’s why it’s so popular – and that’s why my son is obsessed with it. I just hope people will heed  the facts. As for me, for  30+ sugars, I will take a Snickers bar, please.

A Cookie Story

Photo: BeeInOurBonnet

Photo: BeeInOurBonnet

Ollie and I made oatmeal cookies last night. They turned out misshapen and crumbly. Kind of an aesthetic disaster, but tasted fine. We kept them. I ditched the recipe.

I dubbed them Ugly Cookies and got in trouble. “That’s not a nice thing to say,” Ollie said.

Stupid is a bad word, too. Sometimes J or I say something is “stupid” in conversation with each other, and you’d be surprised how many times you hear “stupid” on TV, even (especially) kids’ shows. The Bad Word Police corrects us. He’s got some serious radar for forbidden words.

Mean words, bad words – whatever you call them at your house – they hurt, period. And I’m glad we’re making Ollie aware (and he, us). Kids, with their innocence and lack of a filter, say things that hurt sometimes out of sheer ignorance. That’s why having these discussions, often, matter. You know, so you don’t end up with a bigger kid with a  mean-word problem (aka: a bully).

I think Ollie has a good handle on things, but we will continue our diligence. And he will continue his.

The part that kills me is that I can’t control what other kids say to my child. In my personal experience, as a sensitive kid, mean words hurt, fester, then dissipate, but never actually leave. If you’re dubbed “dumb,” “ugly,” or “fat” among peers (or god forbid, adults), even if you aren’t, even if they grow up, even as time passes, even if they forget – you never forget. Even though mean words are completely illogical, completely absurd when you think about it with your adult mind, your child mind still hangs on.

I guess we just have to watch what we, the adults, say at home. Make sure we’re very careful about throwing around mean words, even if it’s a joke. Even if we’re literally poking fun of cookies – that we made. And keep nurturing confident kids and keep building our kids’ self worth so if mean words come their way (and they probably will), they feel good enough about themselves to know better. It’s all we can do. Now excuse me, I’m going to go have one of those, um, cookies.

Girls’ Bathing Suits That Don’t Suck

It’s 2 degrees today in the Chicago burbs, but there’s an overnighter at a water park on my family’s horizon. We cannot wait!

D needs a new swimsuit. I struggled with how to present the utter disappointment I felt searching for one online. I have to assume if you like my blog, you would agree it’s not OK clothing designers sell string bikinis, high-cut bottoms, halter tops and so forth FOR BABIES. But that’s what I kept seeing over and over again online. Grrr.

For people who are curious as to how real this issue is – thinking maybe I’m exaggerating – google-image search “toddler girl bathing suit.”

I take solace in the fact that many of you parents with girls have crossed this horrifying bridge before – probably at least once a year. It just doesn’t seem right.

Well, instead of focusing on my icky feelings, show you some shocking examples and proceed to rant (I think I’ve done enough of that), I’d wanted to create a resource for parents seeking baby and toddler girl swimsuits that are age-appropriate, closer to the middle on the gender spectrum, affordable and cute as hell. And I have to say, putting this together demonstrated to me, to my relief, that there so many good options  that fall under one or more of those categories, I had trouble narrowing them down. Focusing on the good!

 Here we go:

One Piece 

Suit5

One Piece with Sarong 

suit3

Two Piece/Tankini

suit6

Suit with Rashguard

Suit2

Suit with Swim Brief

suit1

What’s Really Scary About Halloween

Image

This Halloween has been kind of, well, scary.

First, while researching Halloween costumes for little girls, I google-imaged female comic book characters. Oops. Mostly erotic fan art of our beloved princesses, heroines and lady sidekicks. It breaks my heart a little seeing one objectified female character after another online. The geeky art lover in me and the protective, feminist mom in me are torn. OK, there was that one somewhat tasteful, cartoon pinup of April O’Neil, though.

Secondly, that Fargo, N.D., woman and her fat-shaming letter to parents of obese kids? (I’m not even going to link it – google it if you have a burning desire to be angry today.) Mission accomplished. She’s a troll and she won. And even WAY before the actual holiday. People, please stop perpetuating people like her by reposting their stories. She’s literally one in 314 million Americans. Stop making assholes Internet infamous.

Third, if your town is banning teens from trick or treating, that’s super lame and I’m sorry. Slow clap for the people in charge of your town who made that rule. I don’t know the magic age, but 12, 13 and 14 year olds? They are kids. Let them enjoy the day. I was still playing with Barbie dolls at 12. I was certainly trick or treating.

Fourth, let’s talk about news outlets posting sex offender maps this time of year. It’s public information being used as a scare tactic on a slow news day or to boost online content. Pretty sure those losers are not opening their doors to trick or treaters today (by law). How about a useful story about coming up with a game plan for trick-or-treat scenarios like a creep inviting them into the house? Or what to do if they get separated from their group? Oh wait, you can’t simply grab that off of another site, lazy, mediocre journalists? (Yes you can.)

We have a lot of Halloweens ahead of us. I love this holiday and I refuse to let the media, and a very insignificant group of “authorities” and creeps take the fun out of it for my family and me. I hope the same is true for you and yours.

On a lighter note, and speaking of creepy stuff, this year I have been obsessed with vintage Halloween pics. If a gang of shorties showed up at my door tonight in some old-timey masks, I would surrender all of the candy. Enjoy!

And Happy Halloween!

Photo: http://horrorhomework.com

Halloween Mixtape!

halloweenLeaves rustle and the chill of the autumn breeze tingles your spine. Aliens, superheroes, wild beasts, curious creatures and masked monsters are at every turn – EEK! It’s Halloween! On this magical night of kiddie cosplay, a child’s imagination is king. Our Halloween Mixtape is chock-full of  tunes by musicians who dare your little trick-or-treaters to dream, dress up, be thankful for their treats, share their treasures and of course, dance and sing along like it’s Saturday night, every night. No tricks here, just good jams:

Side A: Boos and Ghouls

  1. UFO – “Did they pull us into space? Or am I just a head-case? Or maybe I’m now part of the alien race?” Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights, from “Bandwagon” 
  2. Superhero You “Doing this, doing that, doing all that we could, using our power for good!” Steve Songs, from “Orangutan Van”
  3. Wild Things – “I love when they do the wild romp in the jungle and the swamp.” Miss Nina, from “Sha Doo Be Doop”
  4. Space Monkey – “If I could hang please from that big piece of cheese, I’d be the first monkey on Mars.” Jambo, from “Hootenanny”
  5. What Do You Wanna Be?“Farmer, doctor, fireman, what do you want to be?” Milkshake, from “Got a Minute?”
  6. Song in the Trees – “There’s a song in my dreams, it’s calling me … it’s singing ‘oooooh.'”  Preschool of Rock, from “Everything Makes a Sound”
  7. Share“Share, you’ll get a turn, too.” Renee & Jeremy from “The Best Foot Forward Series: SHARE!”
  8. Tyrannosaurus “You’re the mightiest beast to ever feast!” Alex & The Kaleidoscope Band, from “I’m So Glad”

Side B: Tricks, Treats and Treasure So Sweet

  1. Tattoo Me“Tattoo me with dragons and skulls that stick right to me.” Recess Monkey, from Deep Sea Diver
  2. Walkin’ The Dog“If you don’t know how to do it, I’ll show you how to walk that dog.” Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble, from “I Like Everything About You (Yes I Do!)”
  3. My Treasure“You’re my treasure, carried you the whole way home to my dresser.” Recess Monkey, from “Desert Island Disc”
  4. Move Like Saturday Night“I can see by the look in your eyes, you’re ready to move like Saturday Ni-i-ight. “ Francis England, from “Blink of an Eye”
  5. Itsy Bitsy Spider“The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout, down came the rain and washed the spider out.” Frankie D & Steven Bernstein, from “15 Songs Every Kid Should Know (and Will Love!)
  6. The Colors of the Sky“When nighttime arrives, the white moon shines above.”  Johnette Downing, from “Reading Rocks”
  7. Only Take What You Need“Choose a little, use it a lot and only take what you need.” Earth Mama, from “The Best Foot Forward Series: Gratitude Attitude”
  8. Whatever I Want To Be “Let’s run around and be just what we want!” Young Avenue Kids, from “Whatever I Want To Be”

CDs

Photo 1: http://mrpottersfuntimeblog.blogspot.com; photo 2: Mommy’s Alright.

The Tails of Abbygail, Episode 1: Dreams Come True

amoc1hcc8o3ijyamcbf3What little kids don’t daydream their favorite toys will come to life? Movies have been built around  such youthful fantasies (“Toy Story,” anyone?). Abbygail, a spunky little Jack Russell terrier, is no exception.

In the newly released live-action DVD, “Tails of Abbygail: Dreams Come True,”  the protagonist pup Abbygail watches her ultimate dream come true as her toy dogs and horses – including a cotton candy pink poodle, two giant draft horses and a Bernese mountain dog adorably named “Girlfriend” – magically come to life and embark upon an exciting journey with her. Along they way, they meet new furry faces and learn important, relevant lessons relatable to children ages 2-10.

My four-and-a-half year old son went on this 34-minute adventure with Abbygail and her canine and equine companions, completely enchanted with the storyline. When asked who his favorite character is, he naturally said “Abbygail,” and that his favorite parts were when the gang found treasure and threw a party.

The fun continues with four more episodes from the award-winning “Tails of Abbygail” series. For more, visit weloveabby.com and be sure to like facebook.com/thetailsofabbygail on Facebook!


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