Monday, July 26, 2010

Mommy knows best?

This weekend my family and I got together with many of my dear friends from college and their families.  What an amazing blessing to reconnect not only with my friends, but also to meet and get to know their kids.  The above picture shows the event, complete with the 8 dear friends, their spouses and our 21 children!  Our kids had so much fun together!  Each one had several other kids his/her age (or close) and they naturally broke into play groups accordingly.  While looking at this picture, and thinking about the fun my kids had with the other kids, I started to wonder whether maybe some of these kids would be friends when they are old enough to choose.  Will any of them go to the same college?  Will Gregory play college baseball with Jesse McGovern or Brennan McFarlane?  Maybe Mary and Maggie Mann or Abby Borwick will be college roommates someday.  Could Ruthie reconnect with Zoe Henke or Maggie Gladding in General Psych?  What about dating and marriage?  How much would I love it if Ruthie married Marshal Wiegand or Mary married Silas McGovern?

If I could choose my kids' friends and spouses, would I do it?  Gregory's oldest friend in the world is Emma (daughter of Alex and Melissa -- not pictured).  He's known her is entire life.  I like to say that Emma was the inspiration for Gregory!!  The day Emma was born, Gary and I went to the hospital.  I held her, and then nine months later -- almost to the day -- Gregory was born.  lol  When Gregory and Emma were younger, they talked a lot about getting married when they grew up.  It seemed to just be a foregone conclusion. Melissa and I tried not to encourage or discourage, but to just rejoice in their friendship.  Now that they're older (Emma is almost 10, and well, you know, Gregory is nine month younger), they talk less and less about getting married.  I'm not sure if they still assume that to be true, and are just embarrassed to say it, or if they really aren't thinking about it anymore.  I would love it if Gregory married Emma!

Emma and Gregory

Ruthie had a great time this weekend, playing for hours with Marshal (son of Mo and Amy).  How fun would that wedding be for me, if they grew up and decided to get married?

Marshal and Ruthie
(also pictured: Mary and Silas)

But does that really happen?  We all love to talk about it, but do you actually know anyone who has a child who married the child of a good friend?  And now, I'm back to my question: Would I want to choose for them, if I could?  More than anything, I want my kids to be happy and healthy, and I want them to grow up to be productive and contributing citizens.  I like to think that I know (or will know) the best path for them to reach those goals (of mine).  Sometimes I'm tempted to think that if I could always choose for them, then they wouldn't have to worry, and could just be happy.  I know, though, that life is about carving out your own way.  Making choices, and living with success and failure, is the way to learn and grow and be happy!  And while I know I would dance an extra little happy dance at the wedding of Gregory and Emma, Ruthie and Marshal, or Mary and Silas, what will really make me happy will be seeing the happiness that comes to them from creating their own paths and making their lives what they dream them to be!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Sometimes I control food...

...and sometimes it controls me.

For those of you who don't know, I'm a lifetime member of Weight Watchers. Ten years ago, I lost 35 pounds.  It was the year before I got pregnant with Gregory.  Three kids later, I can say that I've been losing and gaining those same 35 pounds for 10 years -- quite literally!  Now that I'm done having kids, it's not really all 35 pounds that come and go, but there are always about 10 with which I am constantly fighting.  Sometimes I feel like I'm on a roller coaster of weight loss and gain.

The reason WW works for me, is because I'm required to keep track of everything that goes into my mouth.  It doesn't all have to be good stuff, it just has to be counted.  There are days when I'm completely on board with the program and feel energized by feeling in control.  There are other days, though, that I feel completely overwhelmed by the prospect and just eat without care!

The truth is that my love of all things edible is what has led me to my dependence on running.  I think I'm now addicted to running, but one reason I need to run is because I love to eat!   I tend to gain the weight in the winter and take it off in the summer.  It's so much easier to run and to do other outdoor exercise when the weather is warm.  (There are also plenty of yummy fresh fruits and vegetables in the summer).

When I first lost the weight, I didn't have any kids and my husband worked all the time (as a brand new attorney in Chicago).  I worked in a school and was home by 4pm every day.  I had all the time in the world to exercise if I wanted and to spend lots of time preparing very healthy, low fat meals.  Now it's a lot harder.  I have to get up early to exercise before Gary leaves for work.  I make meals for five people, not just me, and I keep a much larger variety of food in the house.  I just plain don't have as much control over my time and my food as I did when I didn't have kids and all my free time was my own.

I recently made it back to my goal weight, for probably the tenth to fifteenth time in my life (no joke)!  And I know that those bad 10 pounds will sneak their way back on at some point (probably when winter comes again), but I'm trying to concentrate on controlling the things that I can (getting out of bed to run, tracking the food that I eat), and letting go of the things that I can't (mainly the fact that I'm responsible for more than just myself).  If I can let go, then I won't: 1) resent my kids, and 2) get overwhelmed and eat without care!!.  I just have to take it one day at a time, and hope that on more days than not, I'm the one mostly in control!

Here's my most recent set of before and after pictures! lol
The first was taken April 2009, and the second July 2010.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

July 4th Weekend

I was bummed that we didn't have any plans to go anywhere this July 4th weekend, but we ended up having a really great time here in StL!  Gregory and Ruthie went to golf/tennis camp last week.  On Friday we got a babysitter for Mary, and Gary and I picked them up from camp and stayed and played 9 holes.  Gary's been playing golf with the kids since they were really little. We figured out that I hadn't played in 3 years! :)  It was a little chaotic at times, but we had a lot of fun, and I felt so thankful to spend this time with my two big kids, who are growing up so fast!

On Saturday Gary took all three kids downtown (on the train) for the air show.  I joined them later, and we had a great time doing the free kid stuff, eating lunch at the new downtown eat-in Schnucks, and playing at Citygarden.  We were heading back to the train, when Gary decided it would be fun to stay downtown for the Cardinals' game.  Gregory and I weren't interested, but Ruthie was, so she and Gary stayed.  They bought tickets, watched the Brewers beat the Cardinals, and then saw the StL fireworks from their seats.

On Sunday we went to a BBQ at the home of one of Gary's coworkers. There were three other kids the ages of G and R, a blow-up water slide in the backyard, amazing food, and some really fun fireworks.  Everyone was happy!  The best part for me was the fact that Gary's coworker's wife is opening a pie shop in Webster Groves, and she's very interested in selling my cookies!!  Look out, world, here comes EllPie (one small pie shop at a time)!