Monday, May 16, 2011

A Bruised Behind

Went to the doctor today... my first real "check up" with my surgeon since my surgery date. I knew where I was weight wise... I know where I want to be... I figured I was doing okay. I mean, no one is perfect right? Well let's just say I have been far from perfect on the "plan" but have still managed to lose 60 lbs.

So, Dr. Cirangle said hello and asked how I was. He also asked me what a typical portion size is that I eat now. So I explained a meal that I had this weekend and he looked at me and said "And what do you think I would say about that meal?" and I responded :"That it doesn't have enough protein?".... "THAT IS A HORRIBLE MEAL!!!!". Wowza! Didn't expect that one! But if I really was to analyze my current eating habits, they are back to old, and just minimal amount wise because I simply cannot eat as much. Yuck.

What he also pointed out to me is that at this point, my goal of getting to 145lbs will most likely not happen. Apparently 6 months out from surgery you are at 75% of your target weightloss.... so I am short by about 15lbs. I guess your body gets used to having a small stomach and isn't in "shock" anymore so the weightloss slows. He told me that by Christmas, I will be just like the rest of the population, trying hard not to gorge on the sweets and delicious foods, and that the point of the surgery is not to just eat less of the bad stuff, but to ENTIRELY CHANGE YOUR EATING HABITS!!!! While I knew this, have known this, know this.... I wasn't following directions :(

And then he said the magic words: I don't want you to look back in a year or two and regret not taking advantage of this amazing opportunity. Well said Dr. Cirangle... because I certainly don't want to regret it either! Heck, I am already kicking myself for being so lazy these past 2 months because I should have been using that time to optimize weightloss rather than relish in the fact that I can finally eat again. Dang it!!! Human nature just kills me sometimes!

So, we have a plan! A lose 20lbs before the wedding plan! He suggested that we meet in one month and my short term goal was 10lbs. I know I can do it once I focus and I actually think it is great to have a mini-goal. Keeps me more on track. And then we meet again mid-july and 10 more lbs should be gone. That'll mean I will be 165 for my wedding! Just 20lbs shy of my 100lb weightloss goal! YAY!!! The honeymoon in Hawaii might kill that (can you say "blue hawaiian"?) but I just can't imagine how exciting it will be to be that weight. Currently at 185 I am at my "standard" weight.... I am in my old clothes from pre-Aidan... so I think I am just maybe a little TOO comfy. Gotta get my butt in gear!

And so, with my new mini-goal I am promising myself to get to the gym 3x a week and the doc also insisted that I do resistance training and not just cardio, more for bone density purposes than anything else. Times like this, I wish I had money for a personal trainer because I feel so silly on those machines. Oh well, Zumba here I come tonight!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Movies, emotions, walls, oh my!

I debated on whether to post about this in my blog but when you literally think to yourself "I should blog about this" something inside wins about doing so. I think one reason is that particularly from my surgery portion of this endeavor, I have gotten some really amazing and positive feedback, and even some people who are now considering surgery themselves. So if anything, this next post is for all the ladies out there who are feeling like I am. Be forewarned, this post is nothing about weightloss, but maybe shedding the weight has made me care more about who I associate with and am close to? Ok so the more I think about it, maybe this DOES involve my sleeve, and I will tie that in at the end because the more I think about it, the more I realize it... amazing how that works.

Let me begin with the fact that tonight, Roger and I had a rare opportunity to see a movie... as in together. WITHOUT KIDS! Woohoo! I had read people's facebook posts about Bridesmaids and seeing as I am a bride-to-be myself, what a perfect movie! And oh man was it ever!!! It was absolutely hilarious, but there were 2 parts that had me in tears. Not happy, oh how sweet a wedding tears, but instead "why are things the way they are?" tears.

You see, my wedding is a small wedding. Very close family and friends. I never really imagined having a big fat anything wedding, and it works out well that Roger's family is small and he too has a small number of close friends. But you see, my issue lies with the fact that I don't feel like I have a BEST friend. Or at least anyone who would consider me THEIR best friend. Oh I absolutely have friends who I love dearly and can trust. But I don't have that one person who knows me inside and out and who I can talk to about anything and who I just KNEW had to be my maid of honor (like the character in the movie). My cousin Cara graciously accepted my asking her to be my MOH and I love her and know that she is probably the best wedding assistant/MOH/cousin a girl could ask for, but she isn't my best friend. (Sorry Cara, but I think you know this already anyway!). Like, I can't even guarantee that she will even ask me to be in her wedding this fall.

Let's take a step back in time to when all was well in the world and I had two women who I did consider my best friends. They shall remain nameless for this blog, but I truly considered them my very best friends who knew everything about me and who I could count on implicitly, and we had inside jokes that only WE knew, and we truly could give each other a "look" and know the meaning. I HAD THAT. Yes I sure did. But with time, and life, and circumstance, we are no longer close like the past. I wasn't asked to be MOH at their weddings, or even IN the weddings for that matter. And I have to be honest.... it really hurt. A lot. But it also made me realize that nothing in life is forever.

Ironically the scene that made me cry the most was a silly one where the women are singing and dancing as they would with just each other. I miss that. I miss girl time where I can have sleepovers with my girlfriends and drink wine and sing into hairbrushes and dance all around. I thought back to the last time I got to do that with my "best friends" and it made me sad. Now as I thought about this more and more I did think about a little rendezvouz with my Italy ladies and that put a HUGE grin on my face. Images of Jenn Threadgold's living room in the Italian countryside, a bunch of crazy American women drinking wine and margaritas and belting out Beyonce and Justin Timberlake. That kind of comraderie is irreplacable and it is truly a memory I will never forget.

The reason I bring this up is because some of my best friends, or those whose friendships I regard so very highly, unfortunately live far away. And although you can talk on the phone, or email, it isn't the same as popping over to say hi, or go shopping in a pinch. One lady in particular I know that if we did live closer, we would BE closer, but again, with the rest of life, distance creates unwanted distance :(

But when I started writing this post I really wonder if me gaining weight had created a me that not only did I not like, but that pushed people away? I consider myself a loyal friend. I don't backstab people. In fact, I am the kind of person who once I consider you a friend, I am there for you. So maybe now that I am losing the weight and redefining who I am as a person, maybe I miss what I used to have back in the good old days? I don't know. I do know it is hard with children to be friends with friends with no children. I often cannot go to lunch (nap time) and I often cannot go to dinner (have to make dinner for the family, or bring the kids with, which, as much as I love my children, is not exactly relaxing). And my friends who have kids and can sympathize or understand... those friends tend to live in far off lands, making them unavailable simply by geography.

Oh the things we learn when we look at ourselves from inside.... and I wonder what my old bffs think about me now. Do they miss our relationship as well? I guess I might just have to ask!

And to my darling Becky, I could not ask for a more wonderful bridesmaid! You have been an amazing friend from our first day in English 201 with that crazy teacher! So glad I said hi later that night in Anthropology! Love you girlfriend!! And can't wait til you move your booty back up here!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Moments of Weakness

I am writing this blog at midnight because I am feeling guilty. MAJORLY guilty.

When I had my surgery I swore I wouldn't be the person who ate poorly afterwards. Afterall, what idiot would have weight loss surgery and go back to bad habits?! Well apparently the answer is me :(

I have been drinking soda, which is a no-no. Soda is terrible for you, surgery or no surgery. But when I first had surgery it was on the do not consume list. Well as I got braver some of the do not consumes have become consumes and at this point it is just getting out of control!

I see some of my old habits creeping back in, and although I haven't really GAINED weight, I can see that happening in the future if I don't get my booty back in gear. I have been eating carbs galore and the one thing I realized tonight is: don't buy them so you can't eat them. Case in point: Mile high red velvet cake from Claim Jumper. It is sitting in our fridge in a box, looking at me.... winking at me every time I open the door. Granted, thanks to my sleeve I cannot eat the entire thing and thankfully cannot even eat the equivalent of ONE piece in a sitting, but still calories are calories, carbs are carbs, and sweets are sweets. I should not be eating cake! AHHHHH.

Another really challenging example is snacks for the kids. I refuse to deny my kids goldfish crackers or similar items simply because I should not be eating them. Again, now that I am all healed up, it's a lot easier to consume them....and like the cake, I shouldn't be eating crackers of any kind really.

Something that I have noticed is that I have also been lazy this week other than the one day I worked out. I am kind of glad I feel a sense of guilt on this one, because I know I should be working out and WANT To work out. The only problem is logistics and me not wanting to go in the evenings. Maybe I can get there tomorrow night after a day o family fun. We'll see.

Anyway, I felt like I needed to fess up and share my downfalls lately. Hoping it will get me accountable and back on the wagon! Afterall I have a follow up doc appt on the 16th and want to impress Dr. Cirangle! (as in circle and triangle had a baby named a cir-angle :P)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Royal Wedding Part 2

Well, after a crazy morning, my dear son has decided to take one heck of a nap! I should have followed suit after cleaning our entire house from top to bottom, but I didn't think he would be out for this long!

So, where did I leave off... oh yes, the Johnson-Barr Wedding. You know we had to ask the protocol on that one. B comes before J but does the bride's last name always go first? The answer is yes! Now, I have some issues with putting Johnson on my wedding invite. The first being that it technically belongs to my ex husband ....which is why I have to laugh when people ask me these 2 questions: 1. Is the baby going to have your last name? and 2. Are you keeping your last name? The answers to both: HECK NO!!!!! Both of my children have their father's last name (not my ex's!) and there is no way in hell I am keeping my ex husband's last name if I am married to someone else, particularly my childrens' dad!

Which led me to wedding consideration #1.... invitations! I tossed around a few ideas. I spent some time on Etsy the home made craft website that is the mother of all websites (LOVE IT!) but didn't see anything particularly striking for my "theme" (I will get to the theme later!). I looked at Target, and actually did buy some DIY invites, but had issues with these as a) I did DIY with my first wedding and although they were cute, they weren't WOW. I looked at Michael's. I looked at many a wedding blog, and even considered paying top dollar for letterpress invites from located in Emeryville. But after looking high and low and not seeing anything that really wow-ed me, my friend/photographer/fellow NACE board member Barbara asked me why on earth I had not yet asked Mimi, another board member, and owner of Creative Designs by Mimi . Truth be told, I hadn't asked Mimi because I didn't think that custom invites were in my price range. And to be honest, they aren't (my paper good budget about doubled) but Mimi was able to work some magic pricing around and is now creating an amazing invitiation suite for me along with escort cards, table names, programs, you name it! WELL WORTH IT! And I will tell you why:

For all of you DIYers out there, I commend you. And a few people have said "Oh you're not working, that's perfect you can plan your wedding"! What these people forget is that I have 2 small children whose daily care is WAYYY more time consuming than a 9-5 job. So although DIY saves a lot of money, it a) takes time and energy and b) takes patience. I have neither! Plus all I do is give the names and info to Mimi and WHAM! Gorgeous custom paper-goods! I get my first proofs today and I am so excited to see them! So excited that I had to blog about it! haha. Plus I am way behind as according to my EZ-wedding planner website, I am way behind... these puppies should have gone out a week ago! Oops. Thank goodness for Save the Dates, even if they were electronic!

But before the invites came our amazing venue!!!! From someone who was used to giving site tours, it sure was fun to be going on them! I started with Hiddenbrooke Golf Course because I know the Director of Catering there (Hi Sandy! if you are reading this, I love you! xoxo). I figured, golf course, nice, and Sandy can hook it up! But... the catch is that is in Vallejo. That's a good 45 minutes from SF, which is where the majority of the guests will be staying. Sandy was able to work some MAJOR price magic, and their clubhouse is nice but my issue was the geographic location and the ceremony site. Since it is a golf course, golfers can essentially walk righ tby your ceremony. And the patch of grass was on the 1st tee. I worked at Harding Park, so I am very familiar with this, but Hiddenbrooke does wayyyy more weddings so I thought the ceremony site would be better. So.... we had to cross it off the list :( Then I realized how important ceremony site was so I thought of Jason (pres of NACE who manages a home in Vallejo that does private events) because he had posted pics of a new "Sunset Terrace" that was gorgeous... perfect ceremony site! Went to visit the estate and the site rental alone was over $100 per person. Ummm that didn't even include food or drink. Cross that off the list.

So, Vallejo was out in general. Time to reel it in! I didn't ever think I would have a hotel wedding, but the more I thought about it, the more I warmed up to the idea. The question was just which hotel? My first thought was Hotel Shattuck, in Berkeley. GORGEOUS renovation, and I had attended a NACE event last November and the food was to-die-for. Like seriously, put restaurants to shame, which is unheard of for banquet food! They focus on sustainable foods, seasonal, etc. The space was perfect size, but the ceremony site was a little tight.

Here is the ceremony courtyard: and here is my entourage in the lobby: check out that super cool wallpaper!!

But I wanted to love it. Had the price been right, we would have booked it. But God works in mysterious ways! The price wasn't right, so we had to keep on looking.....

At the beginning of April I attended a NACE board meeting and announced my upcoming nuptuals. I also brought up the issue of venue and a few people suggested the Hotel Adagio in downtown SF. A fellow (now former) board member, Krystal, was the Catering Manager there and the space is gorgeous. I had never been, but called anyway. Heck, at this point I was desperate! I also called a few other locations in SF.... smaller hotels that I thought might be flexible with pricing. Both Roger and I didn't even consider a SF wedding at first because we just assumed it would be out of our price range entirely. Well, I started calling around with our new adjusted budget (lower than the Shattuck, but higher than the original number) and couldn't believe that certain properties were willing to work with me on it! HOLY MOLY! Also, I had originally started with a Sunday wedding date because I figured that we could get better pricing.... 3 monthts out and a Sunday should be an easy deal maker, right?

Well, I walked into the Adagio and FELL. IN. LOVE!!!! I (lobby) immediately knew that it was the place for our wedding reception. It has this old SF vibe, but it is also renovated, chic, hip, everything I like to think I am LOL! Yeah right, but still, it just felt perfect for us! Back in our hey-day Roger and I used to go out downtown quite a bit, so it felt like we were coming full circle in a weird way.... way more than a golf course, estate, or Berkeley could. He actually called me while I was there and I told him "THIS IS IT!". And after sitting down with Krystal to talk about pricing, and the fact that we could have our event on a Saturday, rather than a Sunday.... omg HEAVEN!!! I don't know their website, but google "Hotel Adagio SF" and you can check out the hotel. I don't want to post event space pics because I do want the guests to be a tad bit surprised at how everything gets spruced up.

Sadly, Krystal is no longer with the hotel, but she totally hooked us up. Intimate Dream wedding in downtown SF, black tie optional, complimentary hotel suite for us (SCORE!) and $9 parking for our guests. I'm sorry, did you say $9?!!!!! YES I DID!!! (for out of towners, avg "discount" weekend parking downtown is like $20/car). In addition, our wedding "package" includes WAY more than I could have dreamed. So Krystal, cheers to you and your future adventures, and THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!!!!

But, the catch with the Hotel Adagio is that it is a boutique hotel, and event space is at a minimum. We are using their entire upstairs suite area for cocktail and reception (along with an outdoor deck, imagine this skyline at night....SCORE!), but that left us with the dilemma of where to have our ceremony. The first option was St. Gabriel, my parent's parish church, where I attended grammar school, where are children are baptized, land of the free home of the brave... you get the idea. Let me insert a pic of St. Gabe's for reference and bc who likes looking at an all word blog?

Uncles @ Benji's Baptism.

I mean, it's fine. It's not "pretty" per se, but it does have sentimental value. But Roger was raised Mormon, and although he was not opposed to our kids being baptized Catholic, he really didn't want to get married in a Catholic church as a "Sacrament". I was ok with that. let's be honest, moreso because a) the church size & decor, and b) the location of the church. St. Gabe's is about a 2 minute drive from my parents' house and a 40 minute drive from downtown on a busy Saturday! That is WAY.TOO. FAR! Well way too far to trust people to get to in time for cocktail hour. So we kept looking.

I looked at other prettier Catholic churches who like to charge over $1000 for their use and force you to use their florist, musicians, etc. I looked at historical landmarks like the Presidio chapel, etc. I looked into Golden Gate Park, but outdoor anything in SF freaks me out, so I said forget that idea. And then one day I was facebooking and mentioned my ceremony dilemma to my friend Aimee! She saved the day!

Her church is the 1st Congregational Church of SF and just so happens to be located about 5 minutes from our reception location!!! Also, the fab part is that since she is on their board, we got a killer price, and the church is very pretty inside. All pluses in my book! Roger was skeptical because it doesn't really look like a church from the outside, but when we did the walk through he was impressed. Plus, their website kinda doesn't do it justice (google 1st congregational church SF). Ceremony problem SOLVED!!!!

Whew, even this post was exhausting, but ironically in the midst of writing it, I got my proofs from Mimi and LOVE THEM! YAY! Plus I have a needy almost 2 year old who wants to play now, so alas, this is to be continued YET AGAIN!

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Royal Wedding :P part

I had promised to write this post and never quite gotten around to it, but now that William and Kate have tied the knot, I figured I can ride on their wedding excitement coat tails and share some info about the joys and sorrows of wedding planning... or in particular MY wedding planning!

For those of you who aren't familiar, my career is in hospitality/catering sales. What this means is that for about 5 years I was a pseudo "wedding planner" for a golf course, and 2 different hotels. I didn't put together the timelines or order the flowers or cakes, but I did convince brides to "imagine" fabulous ceremonies and receptions at my venues. I am also involved in the National Assn of Catering Executives, where REAL wedding planners belong!!! lol. And when I say "real" I mean the ones who handle all of the craziness I am faced with right now.

Let me back up and explain how Roger and I ended up "engaged" to begin with. This July it'll be 5 years ago that we started dating. Surprise #1, Aidan. Move in together. Split. Move back in. Surprise #2, Benjamin! Live, live, live. Split. ALLLLMOST move out, and now engaged. Roger and I have been through a whole lot but I am really happy that we managed to work through it all and commit to each other and our children!

Just a quick recap of how we met: We met in 2006 at Harding Park Golf Course. I was applying for a Beverage Cart position and he was the Food and Beverage Director. I distinctly remember the first time I met him (he was in a chef coat and black pants) and I remember my interview (which we have laughed about many times since that day!). I got the job, and quickly realized that Bev Cart was really not as glamorous as I had hoped, and in addition I was FREEZING! San Francisco Sunset District is freaking cold about 10 months out of the year, so I would cruise around in khakis, a ski coat, and a baseball cap. Hardly sexy! About a month or so into the job I started socializing with a few people from work (including Roger) and about a month after that, we realized that we liked hanging out with each other one on one.... around that time a position became open for the golf course's Catering Director and Roger asked if I would be interested because he thought I would be good at it. I jumped at the chance, and so not only can I think HP for a career path, I can also thank them for a soon to be husband and 2 kids! Here is what we looked like back in the good ol days of dirty martinis and downtown San Francisco:

New Years Eve, 2006

And then came Aidan Evelyn Barr the following November:

And Benjamin Kenneth Barr came 21 months after that in July 2009:

Our little family, October 2009:

and most recently, this Easter:

It's been a long road, but look at the gorgeous family I have to show for it!

Now our "engagement" wasn't that of fairytales. It was more of a decision that 2 adults came to that resulted in me getting a gorgeous diamond ring, and him getting a $50 titanium band :P Oh the joys of being a woman! Hey, after birthing 2 kids, it's about darn time I got some fancy bling! My rings however, are being custom made, so I don't want to post a picture just yet, but let's just say they are VERY sparkly!

Our original plan was to elope in Hawaii, just the 2 of us. In fact I had contacted wedding planners out there and gotten quotes on everything. It was pretty darn expensive for "just the two of us" I must say, but little did I know, it was NOTHING compared to our "small intimate wedding" that we are having now! ACK!

Well, part of our decision was also not to have a long engagement, which makes things really fun right now with planning. It is really a catch 22 with engagements... if you plan for a long engagement, chances are the venue, services, etc will be available on your said date.... and you have a long time to save up and pay for this massive shin-dig. BUUUUUTTTT it really is a long wait for such an exciting event! By having a short engagement you have to plan quickly, book quickly, and pay quickly.... but oh how exciting! I also think that if we had a long engagement Roger would probably kill me. Sorry, but I didn't realize how fun planning my own wedding would be!

My first purchase after our rings was my dress! I found it at a small bridal shop in Castro Valley that I had made a sales call to while working at Hilton. I tried on a bunch of dresses and nothing really screamed "THIS IS IT!" but my aunt noticed a small room in the back with a lot of gowns.... apparently it was the shop's Clearance section... dresses you buy off the rack, as is, that are samples and most likely past season. Me + Clearance = Love. Always. Anyone who has ever been shopping with me knows I do not pay full price for anything. Even groceries. I have been known to send Roger to the store for something like strawberries and then get mad at him for buying them because they weren't on sale. Crazy, but I just hate not getting a deal! So, low and behold, I have a clearance wedding dress that I LOVE LOVE LOVE! It is gorgeous. And I cannot post a picture because what if Mr. Roger sees?! Oh the horror! He told me he saw my dress the other day and I burst into tears so he said he was kidding and I sure hope he was because to me, the moment of the groom seeing the bride is so emotional and exciting... how could he ruin that?!

Now to the "Long Sleeved Story" part of the dress buying... I bought a size 14 dress! YAY! And it zipped, etc etc. I plan to lose at least another 20 lbs before the wedding (thank you Zumba and my sleeve!) so I hope that it still fits, but so far I am 10lbs down from when I bought it, and I went to visit it and try it on and it fits very well (it was very tight when originally purchased since I knew I'd be losing). Although I'd love to be down 20lbs, I am not looking forward to paying for alterations so I am secretly hoping my boobs stay big and my belly and thighs miraculously are the only things that shrink between now and July 30!

During my dress excursion my aunt who is like a second mom to me, and is the godmother of our children started talking about how she feels like she should be at the wedding because she and her husband have been through so much with Roger and I (that is an UNDERSTATEMENT!!!!) and she mentioned how the kids would have memories of it, and then my Grandma could come, etc. I started thinking about it, because Roger and I had talked about having a reception in SF for family here, and then I realized... it'll pretty much be the same amount of money... why shouldn't we incorporate all of our friends and family who have shared our ups and downs and all arounds?! He agreed, and low and behold, we are now the proud "Johnson/Barr Wedding".

To be continued....