Signed, Sealed…

It’s official!  The first batch of our paperwork is taking the first part of its journey to Eastern Europe, by way of our adoption agency here in the states.  This means that we have a ton of copies of all of our paperwork apostilled, which is a certification of notarization so the documents can travel out of the country as “official” as well.  What’s lovely is they put this very becoming gold sticker right over the edge to make you feel oh so fancy:

This is what thousands of dollars looks like. A small price to pay for the barriers it knocks down.


What that means for Thadius is that we are officially requesting a referral from his country to come visit him and confirm that, yes, he is the one we will commit to.  That could take as little as two weeks to receive, or maybe up to eight weeks.  We have no way to know.  

These little hams really get it. They asked, “Mom, is this the paperwork that brings Thadius home to us?” Yes, my darlings, it is.

But we do know one thing.  We’ve got the first part of the song down, “Here I am baby, oh yeah, signed, sealed…(soon to be) delivered…” We can’t wait to add the best part: “I’m yours!”

Path of Destruction

When I woke up this morning, I had a rare, overwhelming moment of cleaning inspiration.  The big kids were immediately sent to get dressed and make their beds, and the littles tried their best to do the same.  I was so wrapped up in getting one more thing done, multitasking with every pass from one room to the next, I noticed that the kids were all, suddenly, nowhere to be found.

My husband’s closet is clean, all the beds are made, and the sinks have been wiped out.  And this is what it cost:

25 minutes unsupervised downstairs.  

Oh Heck, I’m beat.

The Perfect Day

I always seem to know when I’m having a bad day.  Because it deviates from my perfect day.  So what is my perfect day?  I honestly don’t know.  I’ve never written it down before, but I do know that other people seem to have them as their “normal days,” with the “tough days” occurring at the frequency of “some,” as in “some days are like that.”  Well, my “less than perfect” days are the standard, if I’m honest here.  So, to have a frame of reference, I think it would be good if I actually wrote down what this mythical perfect day actually looks like.

7 AM: Wake naturally from the sense that it is morning and I own this day. Next to me is my husband, who is holding the baby/toddler who wandered in last night and wanted him, not me. I get dressed, make the bed, and have coffee brewing. I eat a bagel before going back upstairs to brush my teeth. Check facebook and email and only encouragement is waiting for me there.
8 AM: Children wander downstairs already dressed. They sit at the table and respectfully ask for cereal and juice and say “how’d you sleep mom? I dreamed I was a tiger!” Husband leaves for work and has lunch in hand that I thoughtfully individually proportioned for him while putting away dinner last night.
8:45 AM: Children have placed own bowls in sink and dog has not finished anyone’s cereal from off the dining room carpet. Everyone has used the potty without me telling them to.
9 Am: Children sit around table for morning routine (we read the Message Bible for like a minute and a half–the word devotional is ridiculous) and children seem to listen and don’t need scolding to sit still. Baby plays independently and doesn’t climb up sister’s and brother’s backs in his pursuit to ascend the table.
10 AM: We have gotten through two homeschool lessons with each child working with minimal assistance outside of instruction. All pieces of whatever I slaved over laminating are back in their bag. No one has a crayola mustache.
10:30 AM: We have snacks and the children actually go outside when I tell them to. I somehow discover the inner desire to wash the windows and vacuum our barely messy living room that only requires two minutes to pick up toys (which I will sigh messily over, thinking how wonderful I am for allowing the children to be children). I don’t need to bring out the carpet cleaner to suck up orange juice that isn’t allowed in the living room anyways. I don’t have to extract tape from every soft and hard surface a 4-foot reach from the ground.
11 AM: After the children don’t bring anything living or sand-based back from their outdoor adventures, we all go down to the basement and clean up together. I get a brilliant idea for lunch, and they continue cleaning and start an impromptu play while I go and fix a lunch that doesn’t involve a packet of cheese powder.
Noon: Children eat meals without crying. Hoss and Lumpy go down for nap at same time.
1 PM: Cal and JR and I bring out the microscope and investigate small creatures and household dust.
1:30 PM: We all sit down in the clean house and I fold a load of laundry while they watch and educational program. I finish folding and lay down next to them for a 30 minute power nap.
2:30 PM: Littles wake up and we all go play outside. Hoss doesn’t attempt to eat anything made of earth.
6:30 PM: Dinner is ready and made and I’m not exhausted.
7:30 PM: We play a family game. No one walks away crying.
8 PM: Bedtime routine.
8:30 PM: Kids in bed.
9 PM: Kids asleep. Pops does dishes while I write pithy blog post that receives 400 hits and adulation.
10 PM: We feel no guilt from avoiding doing something today.
11 PM: We head to bed and read for half an hour, until Hoss has his nightly wake-up, from which he will let me set him back down in his crib in peaceful rest.

I don’t think it’s too much to ask. Actually, it’s kind of boring. It’s not even that funny what the children aren’t doing. My perfect day is kind of…pathetic.

I don’t know what that means, but I have to say I still want it. Even when I’m typing here at 9:25 AM while the kids are still watching TV in their jammies, unfed, un-diapered, and I think I have a tinkle bed to change upstairs. Maybe we still have a chance at our perfect day, but I doubt it. Is it my fault? Probably? But, are we all going to be here, a day older and crayola-covered by the time it’s night again? God-willing. Most days we just get through it. But even when the perfect days are few and far between, we seem to fake it with moments of perfection.

Cal writing a book for her brother while I’m rocking the miserable baby Hoss to sleep for 45 minutes.
Lumpy laying herself down for a nap when she feels tired.
JR getting himself dressed and throwing his tape leftovers in the trash instead of in the couch cushions.
Hoss bopping to a song playing on Pandora while I try to come up with something for dinner at 6:25 PM.

Maybe the moments are all we can hope for. But I’ll always compare the bad days to the perfect ones that never seem to happen.

One Little Thing Un-Diet

For about a year now I have boasted to myself that I am happy with how I look, and content to be functional at any weight.  And it’s worked.  I am.  But, there also has to be a way to lose weight without hating yourself, without playing the game.

So, I am attempting to uncover it.

I don’t want to poison my heart by reading books about weight loss that start with the premise that your current lifestyle is disgusting, needs to be purified, or that you need to purge all of your current happiness to create the pristine, perfect, thin version of you.

The one book series that qualifies, I read many years ago.   They were recommended by a nutritionist whose name I forget, but whose unashamed love of Kellogg’s Pop-tarts was unforgettably comforting.  It was written by a woman who was tired of female dieters destroying their metabolisms to get ahead.  She also wrote a book on how mothers’ relationships with food influence their daughters.  And then, a follow up book about how women store fat and lose weight differently after pregnancy.  Here are their little pictures, so feel free to read them on your own, but just know they are the influence behind my current pursuit: The One Little Thing Un-diet.

So, here’s my idea. We all hear about crazy things that people do to radically change their lifestyle and become super-fit. But, I’m not interested in radically changing anything. But, I have gained maybe 10 pounds (just guessing, because I haven’t weighed myself in months) since starting the adoption journey. So, I am going to try to play a little game of Kerplunk and pull the right stick to make the marbles fall.

Maybe I’ll fail miserably, but I have nothing to lose, as my plan in the meantime is to continue doing nothing in pursuit of losing weight in a way that I wouldn’t worry about my daughters doing some day.

Here’s how it works.  First things first: the second I decided to do the idea, I started.  I didn’t wait until Monday, because if it was something I would have to work myself up to, I would not still be pursuing it on Tuesday.  I pick One Little Thing that I think has been making me gain weight.  I am a scientist.  I was trained that you need to only change one variable at a time and see what works.  What if I cut out all dessert only to find out that I could have kept my unadulterated, good metabolism going by only cutting out dessert twice a week or moving my dessert to before dinner?  Completely purging “bad” habits from an eating lifestyle is irrational, and punitive to me.

I am going to change that One Little Thing, and only that One Little Thing, until I don’t feel like I struggle with it anymore.  I will keep doing only that One Little Thing differently until I stop losing weight/fitting into my clothes better, or whatever benchmark you use.  I will not be using a scale.  Well, maybe once a month on the Wii.  Nope, maybe not even there.  I think I am going to mess with the whole system and just go with how my jeans fit right out of the dryer (right now: snug).  Yeah, that’s better.  No scales.  I want to see if I am faithful to this system, if it might work.

So, here’s my first Little Thing.  I am cutting out all beverages but water, calorie-free tea, and black coffee.  No Crystal Light, no diet Coke.  No milk in the coffee.  The goal is to cut off the “flavored beverages make everything taste better” effect.  That means no milk with my cookies.  I do think milk is a really nutritious food, but I am trying to kill the little fizzy release of feel good chemicals that happen when I eat a bite of cake and drink half my glass of milk.  I am only going to eat milk in my cereal with a spoon.  I am not adding it to my coffee because coffee becomes my vehicle to down three gulps of French Vanilla goodness in between bites of my buttered bagel.  I am not having watered-down, freezing cold apple juice with my macaroni and cheese (don’t you judge me), because it balances the cheesy goodness so very well.  I really, really love the way flavored drinks pair with food.  So, let’s take a break from that.  Maybe forever.  I don’t know.

And when I feel so sad about this One Little Thing (which I have been doing since Sunday afternoon with Andy), I will console myself like I always do when the food release I had longed for wasn’t there.  I will eat a buttered bagel with a glass of water.  I will eat three cookies with a cup of black (or, as I call it, blech) coffee.  I will do whatever I want while I mourn this loss, because I don’t have to stress about the other things.  Just this One Little Thing.

Last night, I only ate one of my insanely delicious Pampered Chef Avocado Lime Fish taco.  Ten minutes later I was almost uncomfortably full.  With a Dr. Pepper in hand, I would have eaten three of them.  So, there it is.

I have to just try one little thing, because what if this One Little Thing is the ONLY thing holding me back from being the size I want to be?

Don’t be fooled, One Little Thing doesn’t make it painless.  I just makes it manageable, focused pain.  It alters one variable to see if that’s the culprit.  I think it makes sense.  I don’t think shakes and 1,200 calories a day do.

And in case you’re wondering, here are my next little steps:

1) Cut out beverages with calories.
2) Move 90 minutes more every week, at least 30 minutes at a time. (Yes, exercise.)
3) Stop eating after dinner.
4) Only eat one dessert food a day (hehe, suck it all you haters–I eat dessert like 3 times a day now! I told you I had a great metabolism considering how much I eat!)
5) I can’t decide yet, there’s so much stuff I eat that people whould gasp at, I just can’t even think of what to do next!)

What I won’t be doing:
1) Removing food groups from my diet, cutting out fat or carbs
2) Calorie Restriction of any kind
3) Powders, shakes, meal replacers, pills

I’ll probably come up with more, but that will do for now. I also have to say that I really don’t expect any adulation for these barely-noticeable changes. Nor do I expect extreme, impressive results. I am not even doing this to be healthier. I think my body is pretty good at filtering out the garbage I generally put in it.  I just want to fit into a slightly smaller size of double-digit pants.  I want to establish the “rules” that work for my body without speculating on the the rules that work for yours.

And for today, and if it works, then for forever, I am doing that One Little Thing at a time.