Thursday, January 28, 2010

On Daughters and Sons.

When I was pregnant the first time, I decided I didn't want to know our baby's sex. But, in all fairness, it was our baby, so when Darrick insisted he Had To Know, I acquiesced. See, my thought process was this: in pregnancy, 99.9% of the decisions go to the woman. Sure, I included my husband in every discussion and decision, but ultimately I was the one the midwife was looking to for the final word. And so, on this one issue, where he and I did not agree, I gave in to him. Our ultrasound was about a week before Christmas, so we had the tech keep the info to herself, and print it on a picture which she sealed in an envelope, intended to be opened on Christmas.

Every day between then and Christmas, Darrick worked on me to try to get the envelope opened sooner. He begged. He bribed. He threatened to do it when I wasn't looking. He tried to barter. I didn't cave, until Christmas Eve Day, when I agreed to let him open it so that we could tell our families via blue or pink gift on Christmas morning.

We sat on our bed together, and he handed the envelope to me. Nerves on high alert, heart thrumming, I pulled back the sealed flap. I thought I was going to be sort of sad that I didn't get my surprise, but then I realized I wouldn't be that sad after all, since we both knew without a doubt that I was growing a son.

^--- not a son

In spite of my non-girly ways and my self-doubt about my ability to raise a daughter, I fell swiftly and madly in love with being a Mom to a Girl. She was born a little pixie. She soon became that baby who attracted people everywhere we went to come linger over the infant seat and coo over her huge beautiful eyes and her doll-like features. And she's sprouted wings and become a fairy princess of toddlerhood; all long legs and long lashes and long blonde hair. Her voice is soft and sweet, her eyes are huge and green, she twirls in circles in pink tutus, and she has a love of purple boots and striped tights. She is all girl, and she is all ours.

I was a convert. And so, it seemed, was my husband. This 6'5" 285 pound man could be reduced to a puddle of mush over a smile, a laugh, a cuddle. She demanded, he obliged.

So then there I was, pregnant again, and this time I won the battle of the ultrasound and we didn't find out baby #2's sex. Except...I knew he was a boy the whole time. In part because at 13 weeks the u/s tech said, "If I had to guess I'd guess boy." (um, you did NOT have to guess, thanks), and partly because I just KNEW. I felt different. I craved different things. I grew to a differnt shape, my belly swelling out at a rapid pace, the pressure on my belly button rather than on my back as it had been with Luca. My skin was different, my demeanor was different and so I knew the little person claiming its spot in our family would be different as well.

And I was terrified.

In two short years I'd gone from the smug pregnant woman who was sure she'd only have sons and never have to deal with heaps of pink clothes and princess movies and all things girl to....a Mom of a Girl. Everything changed the day Luca was born, and suddenly the paradigm had shifted and I was at a loss as to why I ever imagined myself with sons.

And here I was, carrying what I was certain was a boy. I denied the certainty (there was not ultrasound to prove it!) as best I could, ignoring boy names and the need for boy clothes and avoiding thinking about boy issues. I imagined a brown-haired little sister for Luca, as sweet and perhaps as girly. I imagined a red head with long curls and golden eyes, the tomboy Darrick had dreamed of. I imagined another blonde female version of Darrick just like Luca had been and then I almost agreed to selling our house and moving to the middle of nowhere so we would never have to worry about dirty boys trying to date our daughters.

I could not bring myself to imagine a son as I had before finding out our first baby was to be a girl. That time, I could close my eyes and I was there: smelling his hair as a baby, his baseball glove as a child, his cologne as a man. And now, this second time around, I closed my eyes and smelled Cabbage Patch dolls and glitter lotion and perfume.

I was not opposed to the idea of a son; it wasn't that. I just...didn't know how to dream of one now that I was a Mom of a Girl. I didn't know what Son Dreams even looked like anymore, so steeped were we in frills and skirts and hair bows and baby dolls.

The day Rohan was born, all that was a long-lost memory. All those feelings of uncertainty...the fears of being peed on during diaper changes...the dread that I wouldn't feel the deep tidal wave of love for him. Gone.

In a flash - a flurry of push and lift and hold and kiss - I became a Mom of a Boy. I had a son.

^---- a son

Every mom tells you this, but you can think you know what you want, and then you'll end up with exactly what you need. Now instead of longing for dresses and maryjane shoes, I breathe in his milky sweet skin and feel all warm and fuzzy over clothes with monsters on them. I rock him even after he's asleep and could be put down because I want to spend a few more minutes admiring the perfect curve of his apple cheeks and the way his lashes curl just so. The way he puts his puppy paw hands on my face and gives me the world's biggest smile melts me into a puddle of love. I just could not imagine him not being in our lives.

20 in 20 Week 4...Did She Give Up Already?

No, no I did not.

What I DID was changed my challenge a bit. Some friends and I started a Biggest Loser challenge, which began on Sunday. We had to take a photo of our start weight, and every week we report in with the % of weight we lost. The winner will get $175, and runner up gets $25 (we each pay in $25), and must verify their start weight with the picture, as well as their end weight with a picture.

So I weighed myself Sunday, but normall for 20 in 20 I was weighing in on Monday or Tuesday, which threw that off. So I skipped the 20/20 WI this week, and will report back next week with that as well as how I did with the BL challenge.

And, I broke my own vow to myself and joined WW online again. It's just more convenient for me to pay $4ish a week to have an online tool where I can quickly track my food and it spits out a summary for me.

Wish me luck! I could sure find some fun stuff to do with $175....

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Five Degrees of Self Censorship

Do you read CJane? If not, I think you should. And I could list the copious reasons why I love her blog, but I won't do that. Instead, I'll give you a short list. And also I will say this: I only started reading CJane a few months back, but I've been following her sister NieNie for over a year now. So I've only scratched the surface of the greatness of her blog, I'm sure.

Ok, the reasons:
- She painted a room gold. Which...totally not my style, but I have to admire the guts.
- She posted this one time about getting older, and it rang true to me.
- Because I can relate to this post about pregnancy and giving up the need to 'control' the whole process.
- I don't know a single woman who can't relate to her post about going gracefully into the next phase.

BUT. My point wasn't to moon over CJane*, though I am fairly certain we could be fast friends even if on the surface we have little in common other than our mommyhood and the shmoopiness we feel over it.

My point was that she wrote a post about the 11 people she thinks about when she blogs once, and it was exactly what I'd thought about many times. I struggle often with balancing what I want to write with what someone might think about what I write. This is 'my' space really...a live journal and memory-keeping tool of sorts. And so I try to tell myself "Self, just write what you want to write and who cares what someone reading might think?!?!"

So that is what I try to do. I write, and then I click 'Publish' and I walk away. And largely I don't think about it again. I get the ocassional comment but I tend to block out thoughts of who is reading and why and what they might think.

But then again...I don't, not entirely. I mean, I may write things and walk away without worrying about who's reading them, but I don't write everything because I do wonder who reads it and what they're thinking. So, instead of the 11 people I think about before writing, here are the 5 topics I'm afraid to touch because of who might be reading:

1. The "Mommy Wars" (stay at home, working, single, and who is the BEST MOM EVER while the rest are lazy or uninvolved or what-have-you)
2. Breastfeeding. I HAVE posted about it before, but it kinda makes me feel...ooky. Not knowing who's reading about it. I think it is important to talk about and I'm not ashamed of it, I just don't think everyone wants to know the details.
3. Work. Because, um...Dooce, anyone?
4. My boss, my mom, my inlaws. Good, matters not. I won't talk about them here.
5. My husband. I mean, sure I talk about him here and there, but I'd rather not delve into the deep stuff when it comes to him. I'm not sure it's my place.

But...sometimes I DO want to write about those things. Well, most of them. Not my mom or my inlaws, since they are perfect specimens of wonderment so I've nothing more to say.

Maybe 2010 will be the year I let go of the worry and write whatever comes to mind. Maybe.

*And, most of all, this post about wisdom hit me in the gut.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


This morning I was making pancakes in our kitchen, with Luca standing on her little chair next to me, watching as I used a little bit of butter to grease the frying pan.

I looked away for a second to put a pancake on a plate, and when I turned back, I saw Luca's hand by her mouth, her tongue sticking out. It took me a second to realize she'd picked up the nub of butter and was licking it.

"Luca, that's gross honey. You need to put that down."

"No, mama. I like it."
"Sweetie," taking the butter out of her hand, "we don't eat butter like that. We use it for cooking and baking."
"NO! No Mama!"
"Mama...," breaking into full-bodied sobs, "I want it! I want the butter!!!"
"Luca, you don't want that. That's gross."

Seriously, sometimes I can't believe these things actually happen.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Rain Day

Yesterday Arizona had what some say was a record-breaking storm. More rain than we've seen in a single day in the past 17 years. Snow in places not used to snow. Winds up to 65 mph, and word of a tornado sighting in Cave Creek.

We took a rain day at work because my boss didn't want us all driving in through the traffic and weather and possibly getting stuck here if the parking lot flooded. I didn't know how bad the day would be, so I opted to keep the kids home with me and work while they played independently and napped. And I documented our day in pictures.

7:40 a.m. Sitting on the floor eating 'cakecakes'.

7:42 a.m. Begging for cakecakes.

9:14 a.m. Catching raindrops.

9:36 a.m. Rainy days don't get her down. She plays in the rain while I sip coffee and work on my laptop.

10:02 a.m. "Mama, my hands are cracking from the cold." Time for dry clothes!

10:40 a.m. Curling up on the couch with a good book while listening to the rain sure has a different meaning as a Mom.

11:20 a.m. Up from the morning nap. Love those apple cheeks.

12:15 p.m. Love this smile.

12:32 p.m. Lunch!

12:54 p.m. Attack of the giraffe!

12:57 p.m. Attack of the Romo!

3:46 p.m. Luca wakes from her nap, uses the potty, then promptly lies on the couch with a blankie 'to rest'. She is her mother's child.

3:55 p.m. Never miss an opportunity for snuggles.

4:55 p.m. Checking the video monitor to see if Rohan's awake yet.

4:56 p.m. Piggy gets in on the couch snuggling action.

5:05 p.m. Wind.

5:18 p.m. "It needs to rain so I can catch the sky!"

5:40 p.m. I'm awake, Mama! Come get me!

5:43 p.m. "I can rock my brother in this chair, Mama!"

8:25 p.m. Storytime on the couch with Daddy.

8:26 p.m. Rocking into dreamland.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

20 in 20, week 3

Slow and steady may win the race, but it's also going to make me lose my fucking mind.

I lost half a pound this week. I think. I cannot be sure, since my scale is possessed and sometimes gives me two weights 3-4 pounds apart if I step on the scale twice in a row. I sometimes am tempted to step on twice in a row, in hopes the second reading will miraculously be 3 pounds LOWER, but sometimes it backfires and it's 3 pounds HIGHER. For the record, when it's lower I believe it, but when it's higher I call the scale a filthy pirate whore.

What I did right this week was keeping portions small, eating lots of fruits and veggies and avoiding Starbucks and fast food.

What I still need to improve on is being active and drinking enough water. And, fighting that demon bitch I call PMS, which makes me inhale cookies and chocolate like The Great Famine is on its way and I need to fatten up for it.

Being active is hands-down my biggest challenge, mostly because of time sweet time. I am up most mornings by 5:30, get myself and the kids ready, drive 40 minutes to work, get home at 5:30 pm, eat dinner, play with the kids....and have ZERO desire to work out. Add to that the winter sunset occuring around 6 pm, and by 8:30 when the kids go to bed it feels like midnight. And who wants to work out at midnight? Masochists, that's who.

I am not a masochist.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Lookout Weekend. Here We Come.


This weekend consisted of a baby shower for my brother's wife, and 2 fevers (1 for Luca, then 1 for Darrick). I'm pretty much staring down the barrel and waiting for my fever to appear.

We did find some time today while Darrick was napping ( hours...) to do some crafts. Luca got this craft kit from Santa, and she loves the glitter glue pens.

I particularly like how she used them to fill in Dora's shoes, eyes, mouth, and hands.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Good Night, Good Night, Sleep Tight

The Bunnies

Are In

Their Beds.

Good night, good night, sleep tight.

January 13, 2010: Sleeping babies, sweet dreams. She started calling him 'My Bunny' a few days ago. I don't know where that came from, but I love it just the same.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Don't Call Me Luca.

"Hey Mom."
Mom? She's calling me Mom now? "Yes, Luca?"
"Ummmmmm...don't call me Luca, ok?"
"Well, ok sweetie."
"Thank you."
"Sure. But I have a question."
"Yeah Mom." Seriously, though....she's calling me MOM already?!?!
"If I cannot call you Luca, what would you like me to call you?"
"Um. I think you should call me Luca Margaret Kahle." said with pride, distinction...a title rather than a name
"Oh, ok then. Luca Margaret Kahle it is."
"Thank you. Thank you Katie Kahle."


She's becoming a big kid before my eyes. Oh, I know she's not even 3 yet. But she's got swagger. She hears music and she wants to dance, but she intuitively knows that the dance will be even better if she puts on her tutu first. She picks her own outfits most of the time, and cute ones at that. Gray tights with a multi-colored cordouroy dress and purple shirt. Jeans with embroidered flowers, a bright pink shirt, kelly green sweater, and purple boots. And pretties. We cannot forget the pretties: in her hair, on her arms, adorning her neck. I try to leave the house in my comfy flip flops, and she stands before me, green eyes bright with youth, unencumbered by years and fatigue and practicality, knee high black boots in hand. "Mama, I think you should wear your boots." We're going to IHOP. To Target. For groceries. I obey. I always obey. I sit to slide the boots up under the cuff of my jeans, pull the zipper high up my calf. She nods, dips her head to the side and knits her brows in approval. Then, patting my knee with those hands of hers, she smiles at me and says, "See mama? Those are nice boots mama. I like those boots."

And suddenly it doesn't matter how comfy those flip flops were, because I like those boots too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Success in Small Steps

Seven years ago, I joined Weight Watchers on a whim. Well, not a whim, per se, since that sounds free-spirited and fun. And joining was neither free-spirited nor fun. It was prompted by stepping onto my scale in our little 2 bedroom home and seeing a number higher than I'd ever seen before.

It took me a year to lose 28 pounds, following the Weight Watchers program online. The first week I was following the plan, I would literally be in bed every night by 9 p.m., because going to sleep was the only thing that made me forget how hungry I was. I lived off of veggie subs (no mayo or cheese), baked Lay's, and Diet Coke. I snacked on salads with fat free Italian dressing, Pria bars, and Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches. I logged in once a week, and depending on my weight the website would give me a big smiley face (lost), a face with no smile (maintained), or a sad face (gained). That sad face really pissed me off.

I was obsessive about the graph WW online provided. For me, that was the single best motivator aside from actually losing weight. I needed the visual to remind me This is where you were, and this is where you are now, and look for far you've come.

Seven years later, and my '20 in 20' goal (not really 20 in real goal is to lose 20 in 12, then another 10 in 8, for a total of 30 in 20), when reached, would leave me weighing 13 pounds more than the weight that sent me running to Weight Watchers online at 9 a.m. on a Saturday. This is hard for me to swallow. Not hard for me to swallow: cookies, candy, mac and cheese, delicious 600-calorie coffee drinks, and cheese. Lots and lots of cheese.

Losing weight is, for me, a long and slow road. 12 months. 52 weeks. 28 pounds. That's an average of just over half a pound a week.

So I guess I should be thrilled that this morning, when I stepped on the scale, I'd lost another 1.5, for a total 2 week loss of 2.5.

It's hard to be thrilled when you've got so far yet to go.

But the truth is this: I knew going into this that it would be a long, slow road. I set my goal lose 20 pounds in 12 weeks. That means I need to average 1.6 pounds a week. And so far I'm not doing that. But rather than focus on that negative, I'm going to remember to celebrate the small losses as victories, and not get frustrated with slow progress.

I'm not doing WW this time. I know it works for me, but I also know too many ways around the system. Weighing in wearing your heaviest clothes the first week, so the next week you're bound to show a loss. Skipping a meeting and going on another day so you can fast for 18 hours before getting on the scale. Showing up in a dress on weigh-in day so you can see a loss, rather than staying on target with eating like you should have. Look, Weight Watchers is great and it works and I fully advocate it to people looking to lose weight, especially those who need to learn (or relearn) healthy habits and portion sizes. But I know all that, and I need to learn to put that knowledge to good use on my own, without Points and the shame of stepping on the scale in front of a stranger. And quite honestly I'm not willing to spend the $13 a week to go to meetings, which is what I would need to do to see the kind of progress I want to see with WW.

So I'm going to move forward and keep focusing on the basics: lots of water, healthy foods, moving more, eating less. And here's to another week closer to goal!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

7, 8, 9.

I do have actual STUFF to blog about, but this week has been pretty busy so I haven't had the downtime to do so. But for now, more pictures:

January 7, 2010: I am convinced the world would be a better place if we could all dress like toddlers dress.

January 8, 2010: Luca 'cooked' me a hot dog for dinner.

January 9, 2010: Rohan meets the giraffe, and I meet his toes on the floor. Delicious, sweet toes.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

January 6th, 2010

I couldn't pick just one. What I love about this is that it's making me be creative and capture some everyday cuteness between my kids. Such as this:

January 6, 2010: Her highness has found a new foot rest.

January 6, 2010: Trying to get Luca to pose with me.

January 6, 2010: Out of focus, but I had to capture his full force attempt at a kiss, open-mouthed, on my nose.

January 6, 2010: The goof troop (troupe?).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Me, My Boy.

January 4, 2010: When you forget to take a picture of someone else and everyone is in bed, you improvise.

January 5, 2010: Rohan crawling wildly around the house before bedtime.

Daily Photo and That 'Other' Thing.

First, I'm a few days behind on this, but here are a few of the daily photos I've taken so far. I'm guessing that these will favor the kids, ocassionally star me, and very rarely include Darrick. Not because I don't want to photograph Darrick...but because he's such a guy that it's near impossible to get a picture of him without a middle finger on prominent display or the head up, thick-necked look typically favored for mug shots. And as far as I know he's never had a mug shot taken, though I can't be 100% about that.

I digress.

So, without further adieu, the pictures:

January 1, 2010: Sharing 2010's first sun and 2009's last blue moon with Rohan.

January 2, 2010: Mugging with Luca. We had a battle of the wills to get this picture as she wanted me to snap it next to the kitchen trash can? I don't know either.

January 3, 2010: Luca and Rohan, separately. This is SO them. He was throwing a bit of a tantrum and immediately replaced tears with this sweet face and a hand planted firmly in the mouth when I pulled out the camera. And Luca is being coy.

More pictures will be posted soon, since I have to catch up with posting, but these were what I had handy.

As for That Other Thing, I want to talk a little more about it.

The deal is this: I failed big time on the 20 in 20 challenge my friends and I were trying to do leading up to Christmas. But now that I'm not a nursing mom any longer (that's another post for another day...still not ready to share all that) I have no excuse for avoiding the fact that I need to lose weight. Not want to. Need to. I mean, of course I want to be lighter, and I'd be a lying liar if I said it wasn't partially vanity spurring this on. 75% vanity? At least I'm doing it for ME, though, and not for someone else. Or some such nonsense.

The fact is this: I am uncomfortable in my skin. Because my skin is...copious. I have the big ugly flop of skin on my lower belly and love handles and back fat. BACK FAT, people. I am NOT ok with that.

And...see that picture of Luca and me above? My face is FAT. I am now all cheeks and flesh and dough and puff. And not in a good way. Because I am not THAT GIRL who thinks I need to be a rail. Oh contraire. I think women should be a bit of flesh and va-va-voom. Hips. Breasts. Some meat to the thighs and a little rounded belly can a sexy woman make. But what I've got isn't a little meat on my bones; I've got the whole goddamned Thanksgiving feast, including dessert and apertif*. So I need, for myself and those forced to witness me in the 3 pairs of pants and unattractive few shirts that fit me, to lose this weight.

So I'm doing another '20 in 20' with some friends, only I'm altering it. Because my BMI is high enough that I almost slapped my computer for its rudeness when it reported it back to me. So I'm shooting for 20 pounds by Rohan's birthday which is March 16th, and week 1 for me ended on Monday with a 1 pound loss. In my defense, I had strep, NYE, and our 6 year wedding anniversary over the 4 day weekend. In my office chair's defense's way past time I lessened the spread of my thighs when I sit down. After I hit that, I'd like to lose 10 more by Luca's birthday, which is May 7th. That will leave me above my FINAL goal, but well on my way to feeling good about myself again.

And then: Watch out World! I may just get my unibrow waxed and take on the town. Or, you know, stay out past my kids' bedtime.

*after dinner drink, thanks be to Sarah


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