Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Long Sleeve, Long time no post....Long Update!

 The saying it true... time flies when you're having fun!  The past 6 months have been a roller coaster of highs and lows, but having an incredible partner to get through things has made life much better!

Some quickie highlights:

  • I lost my job in June.... While scary,it has been great to be able to participate more with the kids, go on field trips, pick them up earlier, etc.
  • We went to Vegas in June, Washington for Labor Day Weekend, and Monterey and Carmel a few times in between!
  • I have inspired four friends/family members to get WLS... all of whom are experience incredible success.... so proud of them!!

One big item: I am the mother of a KINDERGARTENER!  I am not sure where the last 5 years have gone, but Aidan started K in September.  She is doing awesome, and is adjusting very well to life as a "big kid".
Benji started his second year of preschool and according to his teachers is very "popular".  All the kids like him and he is very friendly and kind.  That's my boy!

The biggest news that I have to share is....... B and I are engaged!  

 I know what you want to know... what is the proposal story???!!  Uh yeah... I wish that I had an incredibly romantic and heartwarming story to tell you, but the reality is that it is no one's fault but my own that I do not.  If it was up to B, I am sure it would have been incredible, but quite frankly, give a this girl a gorgeous diamond ring to try on and it's not coming off!!
We knew very early on that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together but were not "officially engaged" until October 13.  We had gone and chosen my engagement ring/wedding ring setting and purchased it, and B was in charge of getting the center stone on his own.  Well, he did GREAT and because of it the setting could not accommodate it.  So... back to the Jewelry Center in SF we went!  As it turns out, we found an AMAZING setting (truthfully I am way more in love with it than the first, so yay on that!) that the stone just fit right into.... they set it then and there!!!  So I quickly revised my request for a memorable proposal and told him it was fine, I loved him, and the rock was not coming off my finger!!!
I know you're nosy... so I posted a closer pic of the ring.  It has a "halo" that sort of sits under the center stone, and it is designed to look like two strands of diamonds are intertwined on the sides. My romantic fiance was the ultimate decision maker on the set and he said "I think you should have this one... it is fancy like you!"  Indeed it is, and I LOVE IT!!!!  I am such a lucky girl.

As it turns out we had a previously planned overnight bed and breakfast trip to Capitola by the Sea, so it was a nice chance for us to celebrate our engagement and dine at a very famous restaurant.... the Shadowbrook.  It was SO FUN! Two very good friends of mine had their wedding there before we met and it was very neat to see where their magic happened.  Alas, we figured that since we had a date (preselected this summer actually!) and I finally had my ring.... it is indeed official.  I will become Mrs. S in early 2014!  Las Vegas here we come!!

So.... how can I not follow up engagement news with other exciting major news.... we are moving!  As in "in together"!  There were a few reasons that we decided to move but my personal favorite is because we were just ready to start our lives together.  Others include the fact that B works within 10 minutes of our new home about 85% of the time, cutting his commute by about 75%, the fact that I was living in a one bedroom apartment in a bad area with two children.... and also so that Aidan and Benji can attend school in a great district.  All wins, in my opinion!

Now all that is fine and good, however finding a rental in the Bay Area proved much more challenging than we had anticipated.  B had originally said let's start looking in the Spring.  But we started browsing... and then touring... and then applying... and the process was much more disheartening and frustrating than either of us had anticipated.  The inventory is slim, what is out there is about 75% yuck, and because of our family size and needs (3 kids, a dog, need for storage/office space....) it severely limited the already sparse options that were out there.  We also started our search in the East Bay and ultimately ended up on the Peninsula, which makes me extremely extremely EXTREMELY happy!!!  I have always wanted to live either back in San Francisco, or on the Peninsula, but those are both very UN economically friendly... B made my wishes come true!  And yes, we are selling our souls to live there but in the end, quality of life, excellent schools, proximity to work, and the fact that we are living in serenity makes it all well worth it!

You see, the house we ended up with is a very rare occurrence in the Bay Area.  We are living on over an acre of land!  I think that I grew up on about a 5,000sq ft lot in the city.   So.. not what I am used to AT ALL!  And 99% of the homes we looked at had very small yards, or no yard at all, just a deck.  I am ok with that to be honest. But the minute we drove up to our new house I surprised myself with how I fell in love with the land.  It is so peaceful and just down right beautiful.  I thought of the kids "hiking" in the yard, crossing the little bridge, seeing deer, playing on the tire swing, riding their bikes... and I just knew it was a wonderful option for us. Now, as the above paragraph stated, just because we wanted to live here didn't mean we could... we had to apply.  And get approved.  That took over a week!  And after being let down twice before I tried not to get too attached to the place.  But, God works miracles and we now have a place to call HOME! OUR home.. which is the most important thing.

I must say, the day we signed the lease was incredibly meaningful to me.  B and I were officially starting our new life together.. it was a day that I had been looking forward to for months.  And once our landlord left us to explore our new home we just gave each other a huge hug.  We did it!  ( Sounds like marriage, right?!.... I think the only day that can top this will be our wedding day!)
Home Sweet Home

And now onto our new home!  We are proud residents of Los Altos Hills, CA.  The best way to describe it for non Californians... we live about 5 miles west of Stanford. In fact Aidan's assigned elementary school is ON Stanford property, which I am very excited about!  Below are some photos of our land and home.

View from the hill above the house (home is to the right)

Our Pear Tree

Bailey, B's son using the tree ladder! 

The Family checking out their new digs!

Pearl, my parents' dog smells something fun!

Our Den/Playroom

formal Dining Room

Living Room (formal dining is to the left)

View of entry from the living room

View of entry from the front door as you enter (That is a wood burning stove!)

View of Breakfast Nook and Kitchen from the laundry/mud room

Bailey's Room

Hallway from entry way.. that's bailey's room first, Aidan & Benji's next, and the guest bath straight ahead

Aidan & Benji's room... there is a meyer lemon tree right outside that window and there is a little birds nest in it!)

Master Bedroom (check out our redwood deck through the window)

View of kitchen from the entry.  It is a small galley kitchen... B is going to have to adjust!

So you see, lots of exciting happenings in my life lately.  I know this blog started out about my weight loss journey but at this point, that journey is strongly interwoven with living my life.  Every day I think about my weight.  Every day I have to make choices (and lately have really been struggling with my eating habits!).  And ultimately my success or failure is my own choice.  I know that now.  I have been given the greatest tool in conquering my battle with my weight and have achieved great success.  Today marks 1 year and 11 months since I had the vertical sleeve and today I am AT goal.  I weighed 145 this morning.  That is up about 10lbs from my lowest weight.  While I know that some bounce back is expected, it is stressful.  But also I look back at nearly two years ago and I would have given my right arm to weigh 145lbs.  So in the long term, I am proud of my success.  My goal is to stay healthy, to live my life, and most importantly to BE HAPPY!

I feel like this time last year I was miserable.  Yes I had lost a whole lot of weight and was feeling great, I was also beginning the end of a very unhealthy relationship.  The past year has been spend rediscovering the beauty of happiness, building a love that I never knew could exist, and enjoying my children.  I have also had the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and start fresh.

When I say "I am the luckiest girl in the world", I mean it.  There are some days I literally think to myself  "Is this my life?!!!  How did I get so lucky?!".  I have been given the opportunity of my life to start over, and I could not be more grateful.

So while this blog started out about weight loss it is ultimately about life changes. Life is a long road, so the title "My Long Sleeved Story" will forever fit.

Last pic... the three kids who I get to share and experience this amazing life with.. my two and my "bonus" child.
Indeed, I am blessed.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Bahama Mama

 Have you ever had a set of pictures that you just cannot look at enough?  That's this set for me.

We're baaaaaack!  Yes folks, we got back from our amazing vacation to the Bahamas on Monday night and  let's just say we both got b -i -you know what slapped back to reality when the plane hit the mainland, but even that reality check was well worth the trip!  5 days of sun, sand, and fun.  Woohoo!

B and I had started talking about a tropical vacation back in February and were originally shooting for a Carribean cruise.  I have never been on a cruise, nor to the Carribean, so we figured it would be perfect.  The problem we found was that the cruises all follow a certain pattern of days, and the way my custody agreement is worked out, the timeline just was not working as far as babysitting went.  So, we talked about it, and agreed on the Bahamas.

I am very much a budget traveler and B is very much NOT a budget traveler.  So I just go along with whatever he decides.  100% of the time it is way nicer than anything I have ever experienced so who am I to direct?!  Our accommodations in the Bahamas fell right into that pattern.  5 nights at The Cove at Atlantis.  Google it my friends... it was AMAZING.  (Amazingly expensive too but I'll get to that later!)  We also flew first class (again, this budget traveler was feeling VERY pampered and VERY out of her normal element!) and that was a HUGE treat!  The one bummer was that our flight out was a red-eye and although that worked perfectly for our busy schedules, we were definitely tired our first day on Paradise Island.

Basically B did a whole lot of this:
(and he looooved the fact that there were blackjack tables by the pool!)

And I did a whole lot of this:

And together we did a whole lot of this:

The first few days we were there it was crazy windy and slightly chilly when it was shaded.  I attempted to sunbathe that first afternoon but that didn't last long and the second day was a little better.  We found out from a few people that we got there JUST at the right time!  Apparently Sat/Sun/Mon were monsoon rains and it was FREEZING!!!  Let's be honest folks, had the weather been that way when we were there I would have been SO UPSET!  But thankfully, we just missed that.  And instead we got weather that just got better and better each day of the trip!

The resort was really cool.  There are 5 different towers, each with its own signature personality so to speak.  The Cove is the most exclusive because it is the newest and also adults only.  The pool is AWESOME, with a live DJ, beds IN THE POOL, and an awesome semi-private beach.  The pool was definitely the somewhat redeeming quality for the ridiculous price tag.

Day 3 we decided to head into downtown Nassau (the resort is over a bridge onto a stretch called Paradise Island and is very secluded) and participate in my favorite sport... jewelry shopping!  If there is one thing those Bahamians love it is diamonds!  All colors, shapes, sizes, etc.  I think there are probably 25 jewelry stores all in a row.  When we were driving in from the airport I was just all smiles seeing the signs for them!  I think B knew he was in trouble at that point! haha.  But, alas, he is a great sport and power jewelry shopped with me for somewhere around 4 hours.  Even I was starting to get sick of it!  

I learned a few things.  1. There are "blue diamonds", and they are very popular in the Bahamas!  They are cognac diamonds that are heated up to create a turquoise blue color and are gorgeous!  2. Bahamians totally love to negotiate, which is right up my alley.  and 3. Wear a big floppy hat, large sunglasses, and some tall shoes and people act like you're a movie star!  Seriously... I have never gotten so many compliments in my life.

When we started our shopping extravaganza I was just excited to try on all kinds of diamonds.  I figured if I found something I really liked I might get it, but there were SO SO SO many different colors and styles, etc. When we started getting to store 8. 9., 10 I decided that a blue diamond something or other would be a good idea.  Afterall it was sort of a Bahamian signature!  So I told B that a blue diamond would be a great "souvenir" and he laughed and just told me to pick out something I liked.  A gazillion stores later, we ended up at the 2nd store we had walked into because it was obvious that the quality of their jewelry was very good, and also the owner had negotiated a great price.  Ironically the piece that I went back for was NOT the one we ended up with!  I chose this one :)

 It is white gold and the sides are sort of a "cathedral" setting with a blue diamond in the center, white halo diamonds, and then two little "snake eye" diamonds on the sides.  The snake eyes are actually what made me choose it!  I had never really seen that before and I also like that the band is very thick and sturdy.  I had originally chosen one with a thinner band but it had little white diamonds going all the way up and down the cathedral sides.  If you're a woman who loves diamonds, you hopefully just understood that.  If not, I chose more gold less diamonds in simple terms.... oh and a more unique design :)

I also love that it is very dainty and that I can wear it to work every day to think about my honey and our awesome vacation!  What a guy, that handsome man!

Now on a different note, the Bahamas are certainly not the culinary capital of the world.  The resort luckily had some celebrity chef chains that were delicious such as Nobu and MESA Grill.  Those dinners were great.  We also had dinner at the One & Only Resort at their restaurant called the Dunes.  That was by far the most romantic meal of my life.  So gorgeous.  The food was incredible.  We had champagne... ugh just PERFECT!  But like all resorts, there was a buffet and for some reason I felt compelled to check it out.  We had dinner there one night and it was ok (I got sick for eating too quickly but chalked it up to me being STARVING and tired).  And on our second to last day there, I begged B to have breakfast with me there... we didn't have a formal breakfast our entire trip.  Since he likes to make me happy, he said ok.

Here were my selections on the first round:
This is what I managed to eat:
And this is the result!  Omg.  I was SOOOOO sick.  Too much food. Wayyyyyy too many carbs.  And me running to the bathroom 3x to go barf it all back up.  Sigh.  No more buffets for me.  I have indeed learned my lesson.

But not the entire trip was sunning myself and eating great food.  I managed to score a coupon for a swim with dolphins!  That is just one of those "bucket list" items that I have always wanted to experience so I was SUPER excited about it.  It turned out to be really fun and B was kind enough to photograph the whole thing for me.  Lucky me because 2 5x7 photographs were, get ready for it..... ready???... $70!!!! OMG.  Although I knew that B would probably just tell me to get them, I cannot fathom paying $70 for something that costs these people $.25.  Un freaking believable.  But that seemed to be the theme our entire trip... ridiculously expensive!  Anyway, here I am all suited up to swim with Hercules the dolphin!

 We had a fabulous trip.  There is a casino at the resort which we enjoyed thoroughly.  We loved the sunshine and hanging out by the pool.  But most of all we loved just getting to spend time together without being pulled in a zillion different directions.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that we were locked off from civilization... no cell service!  And no internet in our hotel tower.  So it was 5 days without my cell phone and I did have to email my mom when we were in Nassau to tell her I was alive and where to call in case of emergency, but other than that, no computers.  Nothing.  Just us.  It was heavenly.

What did I learn on my trip?  If you are with the right person, spending that amount of time together is just plain easy.  When we got home I was so sad to kiss him goodbye (I act so dramatic... we saw each other 2 days later).  I am so grateful to have him and that he is just so darn sweet to me.

With that said, I got a surprise today at work:
 Just a little early Mother's Day cheer from him to me.  But the best part... he included both our kids' names (my two and his son) on the card.  So darn thoughtful!  I am a VERY lucky lady!

And to all the mamas out there, I hope you have an awesome Mother's Day!  Enjoy the weekend and get pampered! xoxo

Monday, April 30, 2012


As I mentioned in my last post, I am really lucky to have found the person who I am dating.  He was right under my nose and I had very pointedly kept him strictly in the "friend zone" for nearly 4 years!  In fact, I remember telling him "I wish I had a friend to set you up with!" because he was honestly the nicest man I had ever met... aside from my dad of course.  But I just wasn't in the mind set to see him in a romantic light.  Afterall, I was still dealing with my ex husband (pre - him being a husband, but perpetually being ex and not ex) and I was in no position to move on to anyone, let alone B.

Well, when I moved into my own place, I texted him, which is no shocker.  Throughout the past 4 years we have texted on occasion and discussed everything from my relationship with RB to the weather.  But this time I simply told him that I had moved out FINALLY.  He responded by telling me that if I needed anything at all, to let him know... and we continued on the conversation to discuss the 49ers being in the championships that upcoming weekend.

Well, long story short, he invited me to the game (as friends!) and I of course, jumped at the chance to see my very first football game.  And the rest is kind of history.  He has been an absolutely amazing support throughout this entire divorce and custody battle, and I cannot imagine being without him.  And I credit all of this to my old coworker Dave whose famous words make me laugh even now "Can I date him?!  Seriously! He sounds like a keeper!".  I guess I finally pulled my head out of my butt and snagged B before someone else got to him!

Anyway, the point of the story is that one thing about our relationship that I really appreciate is that he is always supportive of my weight loss and consistently encourages me to make good choices and stay on plan.  He also is a "big boy" and has some weight to lose.  And now that we are together he claims that I have inspired him to get healthy and make some life changes.  And he really has!  Since February 1, he has lost 45 lbs!  Holy smokes!

I think that one key to long term success after surgery is having emotional and physical support to maintain weightloss.  I am very guilty of "stress eating" as I mentioned before, so to have someone I can discuss this with who understands what it is like to be overweight and to have lost a bunch is critical.  I am not saying I have to be romantically involved with the person, but it just so happens to have worked out that way in this situation!

Also, I have tried to be proactive in doing things that I have always WANTED to do, but for whatever reason have not been a priority.  So a few weeks ago I decided that Saturday morning, B and I were going for a hike!  The good sport that he is, he was game.  What neither of us realized was the intensity of the hike!   I downloaded a trail app on my phone to find local trails and we ended up at Henry Coe State Park, about a 15 minute drive from his house.  This particular weekend was a record high after many weeks of rain so we expected heat and had "prepared" with water, sunscreen etc.  When we parked the car, a ranger was at the parking lot and I thought it would be a good idea to ask about the trail I had chosen, etc.  She said that she would recommend taking a different trail which was not as steep and more shady, and she also recommended more water for each of us.  Thankfully we had more in the car and grabbed it before heading up the 1780ft ascent to the top of the ridge!

The hike up was fairly easy for me.  Afterall I am only lugging around about 135lbs and am much more physically fit than I used to be.  I was more concerned with getting a tan and swatting away bugs.  B on the other hand was sweating, that's for sure!  But with that said, he did an AMAZING job.  Not once did he complain, not once did he give up... he just kept on trucking. And he did it with a smile.  To say that I am proud of him is an understatement.  After about 2 hours for our ascent and Lord knows how many switchbacks, we reached the top of the ridge!  And of course had to take a picture to commemorate the success!

The way back down we thought we were slick and just going to take the direct trail back down the mountain.  The ranger had advised against this and told us that it was a "knee jammer" but it had taken us so long to get up there, we just wanted to get back to the car to go shower and enjoy the rest of the day!  Ummm BIG MISTAKE!!!!  I had worn running shorts and there were parts of the trail that were covered in some type of spiky bushes and also weeds up to my chest.  My legs were so red and swollen and in some parts even bleeding!  That is not to mention about an 80% decline in parts of the trail.  I was running my own switchbacks just because I had visions of toppling down the mountain!  But alas, we made it to the parking lot, and were SO very glad that we got back when we did.  I needed a nap and a shower!

But the moral of that story is that both of us were super proud of our accomplishment that morning.  And both of us have memories and the ambition to attack the trail again, hopefully beating our time and also remembering that the way up is the way we need to come back down!  Slow and steady wins the race.
So with that fabulous saying, here are some pictures of B's progress... the first picture is on our first "not a date" date. 
 And 3 months later to the day after our hike at a family BBQ
I am so proud of him and also so excited to see what the next 3, 6, 9 months bring for our relationship and his weightloss journey!  Of course I will be documenting it with pictures... can't fight force of habit!

And with that, I say sayunara.... tomorrow night we will be on a plane for the vacation of a lifetime... details to be revealed upon our return!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Mommies

I have contemplated exactly what I want to say in this blog post for a few days. Do I want to focus on my weight? Do I want to focus on my new relationship? Do I want to focus on my house decor? But this Wednesday something happened that shocked me, and also made me realize that I would fight for my children to the ends of the earth.... and the other big surprise to me was the two ladies by my side who assured me that there was nowhere they would rather be than supporting me.

When I became pregnant with my daughter back in March of 2007, I was in shock. She was a "surprise" (let's use that term loosely) and I didn't have any one to talk to. So, I went online and found a website with an online message board that had specific sections for each month babies were due that particular year. I joined the November 2007 Due Date Club, and started posting. We spoke about pregnancy, our lives, our hopes and fears.... pretty much every topic a woman can chat about, we did.

And come November our babies were born, and our conversations flowed into breastfeeding, and diaper rash, and our lack of sleep. And then it was the terrible twos, and crazy threes, and second babies, and preschool.... just a timeline of life. But throughout the past 5 years, so much has happened to some of the individual women, that our chatter has become very serious. We have dealt with cancer, with families losing a home to fire, with abandonment, I mean.... you name it and we have gotten through it.

I started the group as a casual poster and observer, and I think back then my heart was much harder. I could never understand why some of the women made such a big deal about meeting, or talking to each other, because afterall, these were just some online "imaginary" people where all we had in common was our kids just so happened to be born in the same month. But, what I did witness was kindness of heart, emotional support, and incredible generosity. Even for events that happen to everyone in life, like the loss of an elderly loved one, the girls come together and chip in for flowers, or a small gift just to cheer another's day. When one mom let it slip that she was excited because an organization near her had made it possible for her to get a kitchen table and chairs, the ENTIRE group was shocked... we had no idea times were so tough for her and her children. And in response nearly every single member of our group did SOMETHING...whether it be a giftcard to Target, or a home good, basically ANYTHING they could think of to show her support and love and also that she is not alone.

Seeing all of this amazed me. I mean, how often is it that virtual strangers go above and beyond with random acts of kindness? Not too often in my experience. I personally have not had any true financial struggles in the sense that my family has always been wonderful in helping me out, but recently my divorce and custody battle has been challenging. The women all know what is happening and are very supportive emotionally. Afterall, what can they really do? Not much other than cheer me on and assure me that I am a good mom and that things will work out.

Well, my last post included my friend Meg and our Kelly Clarkson concert voyage, and she is one of the few women who I have been fortunate enough to meet in person. Heidi, another member of our group was flying into SF for the weekend and made a point to let us know well in advance so we could schedule lunch with her this past week. So, on Wednesday I get up, get ready for work, return my lawyer's phone call discussing what has been going on with my legal issues, and head into work. At around 10am I get an email from him regarding my soon to be ex husband's lawyer's response to his email. I respond. And at 11am I get a phone call that rocked my world. My ex husband was attempting to achieve full custody of my children on an emergency custody order. I had to be in court that day at 1pm.

So I called Meg, who was on her way to the airport to pick up Heidi for our lunch date and told her that I wouldn't be able to make it because of all of the legal drama unfolding. Her response: Do not leave I am coming to your office RIGHT NOW. Apparently she hung up the phone with me and let Heidi know she was picking me up on her way to the airport and we were going to fight for my kids TOGETHER. I felt guilty asking them to come... I mean Heidi is on vacation, and Meg had just driven for two hours to get here... they should just go and enjoy their day. But no, Meg insisted that there is nowhere she would rather be than by my side. So we grabbed Heidi at the airport, said "so nice to finally meet you!" and headed to the courthouse.

I cannot explain in words how wonderful it felt to have physical support with me for the hearing. Thankfully the judge saw right through the paperwork and denied his request and re-set the hearing for a later date. But no matter how much you know in your heart that you are a good parent and have done nothing to harm your children, there is always that chance that something could go terribly wrong. I do not know what I would do. And I will be the first one to admit, I was scared. Horribly, terribly, scared.

With a sigh of relief we were able to leave the courthouse successfully but as a little army. The Mommy Army! None of us had our kids that day so we felt out of sorts but it was so nice to just enjoy talking to each other and laughing and rehashing the events that just took place. I grew up an only child until I was 13 when my mom had my little brothers, and my sister who I love dearly, and I are not very close, so this is my first real experience with "sisters". I honestly think of my group of "mommies" as sisters, and our bond transcends what an outsider can understand. Roger would often comment about how my friends are imaginary and I have no "real" friends. Well, the truth of the matter is that my friends are "real" alright... we just met in an unconventional way. And they are so real that they would have my back in a minute. The proof is in the pudding!

Here are my beautiful friends who I love dearly, and who I sincerely wish I got to spend time with more often... Heidi and Meg.
They're beautiful huh?! Yup these are some hot mamas!

On to the kiddos.... Benji's surgery went well according to the surgeon. Roger and I were able to work together and focus on his care which was really nice (and which made his custody filing even more shocking because it was AFTER we had successfully co-parented after a major medical issue). And he is on the mend with no complications. However, as a parent, there is nothing more heart wrenching than seeing your child on a hospital bed, being put under general anesthesia. The minute I left the room I started crying. But, I know for certain that this surgery is going to better his life and make him more physically comfortable so I am glad that we got it done and can move forward. I fell in love with my little boy the minute I saw him and there is just something about his little face that melts me. As you can see in this picture, he is doing great and growing so quickly!

And his big sis.... well, that crazy girl LOVES to drive her mama crazy! And in between the sass is the most loving, affectionate, smart, absolutely INCREDIBLE little girl. Aidan manages to make me laugh, fall in love, and make me want to pull my hair out in one foul swoop. She is 4 going on 25. She loves her brother, but hates sharing her mom. And she also loves anything and everything girly. All she wants to know each morning is if she can wear a dress to school. Or if she can borrow one of my necklaces. Or if she is allowed to bring her "lipstick" to school. The teenage years are sure to do me in!
I love my little princess.... she definitely takes after me personality wise which can only mean one thing.... trouble!

And in quickie housing updates, here is a quick pic of the green bedroom... I still have to put some pictures on the walls to spruce it up, but the kids ended up getting beds to suit each of them. They are super fun and should entice them to each stay in their beds at night, right?! Ummm no. We have been having challenges with them staying put... 3 in a full sized bed (mine) is challenging to say the least. So.... we just have to keep on coming up with ideas to help them stay in their own beds while Mom is in hers. Any suggestions or ideas are much appreciated!
Lastly, with everything going on I could not be more stressed out. With work, and kids, and legal battles, etc etc... life has just been crazy. I found that I was stress eating and started to really worry about gaining my weight back. I had bounced back up to the high 130s and decided to take advantage of my doctor's aftercare plan that I was forced to buy when I chose him as my surgeon. Well, I am glad that he requires it because a) I don't have health insurance right this moment and b) I have taken advantage of it more than once in the past year and some months. I was able to get some medical assistance and have since been able to go back down to 134, a very respectable number :)

And then of course my tropical vacation is right around the corner at this point... I have my bikinis ready to go, and although I have my tummy skin, I am pretty proud of my figure. One thing that I really appreciate about my new relationship is my partner's freedom with kind words. It never gets old to hear you are beautiful or smart or sexy. At least not to me! And the best part is that he makes me FEEL all of those fabulous things. He also does things like this:
and to be honest the picture does the arrangement NO justice whatsoever... it is about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide and just GORGEOUS. And the best part... I had no idea it was coming. He sent it "just because". I have never in my life been treated so well by a man. It's not just gifts, it's his kindness, generosity, PATIENCE (I capitalize this because I know I am a challenging woman!), and the craziest part.... often time I feel like he knows what I need, even when I can't put it into words. He knows when to shut up and listen, when to give me a hug, and when I need someone to tell me what's what. I can only imagine what the future holds based on how things are right now.

So although life has been absolutely insane, each day I am reminded about my blessings. I have so much to be thankful for, so much to look forward to, and I am surrounded by amazing people EVERY SINGLE DAY. I pray that the storm eventually calms and I can just enjoy life again. I guess time will tell.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Reveal

Wow! March flew right by without me even noticing! It is amazing how quickly time passes when each week is divided into "weekend with kids" "weekend without". While I would never wish on any child a broken home, I do find that I really go out of my way to plan fun experiences during any time I have them.

But wait... I will get to that later. First let's start with some "after" photos of the apartment! My shower curtain got rave reviews from my very first overnight guest.... my friend Meg! She drove down from Sacramento to see Kelly Clarkson with me (won free tickets on the radio!!!!) down in San Jose and that was way too far of a drive back up, so we had a blast having girl time and rocking out to Kelly! She also loved my shower curtain!! haha

So without further ado... my "finished" bathroom! Oh and btw this is all you get to see because my iphone died and it had all of my apartment photos on it!! I have yet to do another "shoot".

What I can tell you, however, is that as more and more time passes, I definitely can see the kids feeling more comfortable in our little home. Benji loves building his train tracks in the living room and racing around this talking truck thing that Brian got for him. Aidan spends the majority of her time dressing up and putting on 100 layers of Bonne Bell lip gloss, or drawing me beautiful pictures with her favorite tool.. markers! The one challenge is the two of them not annoying each other! Siblings, I tell ya! ; )

Something that I have been making a point of doing is planning a really fun activity for my Saturdays with them, and then Sundays I go to my parents' house for the day so that they can spend some QT with their uncles and grandparents. If I have learned one thing through all of this it is that the support and love of family makes all the difference in the world! And they really do have so much fun with my brothers and parents.

The weekend before last, we went to the California Railway Museum, allll the way up in Sacramento. Here is a link: Benjamin ADORES trains, so Brian came along and we all got to check out the hundreds of trains! And ride one of course. Aidan liked it, but was more concerned with wearing her bridal veil and eating taffy, than she was with checking out the trains. She did however know the difference between a diesel train and a non-diesel train. That blew my mind. How does she know this stuff?!!! Benji LOVED looking at everything, riding the train, etc. He still tells me about how he rode a BIG TRAIN! The one bummer was the weather... it was pouring rain. So although being inside the museum was fine, we didn't really have a chance to enjoy Old Town Sacramento. I have to say, we will definitely be back up there again! And hopefully get to check more out around town. We did however stop for some taffy for Aidan, because that girl has the biggest sweet tooth!
Of course you can see her treat in her mouth! haha Oh and her veil of course. Meanwhile Benji was getting down with his ice cream! So fun!

Our custody schedule includes us sharing the kids every other weekend, but this year I got to have the kids for Easter. Such a fun holiday! Aidan was so excited to wear her Easter dress and go to church. I had the decision of if I wanted to go in San Leandro, with their godparents, to a lively Easter celebration, or to SF with my parents to a Catholic Mass. Location and the fact that I knew the kids would enjoy the lively celebration more made my decision for me. We had a really great service and the kids survived being in their "classrooms" although Benji was not so happy about it. The next morning he asked me about his "classroom" and told me he wanted to go to his OTHER classroom. I asked him, "the one with Miss Krissie?" and he said "Ya!". So I told him that indeed he got to see Miss Krissie that day and he goes "Thank you Mama!". So darn adorable, that Boy! Here is a pic of the two of them before Church.... probably the cutest of both of them together and looking at the camera that I have snagged in awhile!
And some news that needs prayers is that Benji will be having surgery for his ear tubes, tonsils, and adenoids tomorrow. I am nervous because I hate the thought of him being in pain, but I also know that this will make such an impact on his growth and development and also just simply his comfort level. So if you can spare any "heal quickly" prayers for my little man, please do! We will be at the hospital tomorrow morning.

On a brighter note, my weight has remained pretty steady. I have gained a few "love lbs" thanks to opting to spend more time with Brian than I do at the gym, but our trip is rapidly approaching and we both decided to crack down on the weightloss plan! I want to lose 5 lbs before we go (May 1). We shall see. He is hardcore and is pretty strict with his eating and also sees a trainer 3 days a week, so I am proud of him! It is pretty cool to see him change right before my very eyes... I think he has lost something like 40lbs since January? That's a lot! It is really wonderful to have a partner in this journey who totally understands my weight issues and wants to work on ourselves TOGETHER and support each other's goals.

So, with the topic of goals in mind, the organization that I am actively involved in, San Francisco NACE, had a goal of having the meeting of the century with the one and only Preston Bailey... wedding planner extraordinaire! If you are asking Who the hell is Preston Bailey.. google him! The event was at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in downtown SF and that venue is just GORGEOUS. I mean really... it is incredible. The architectural detail is exquisite old SF. Wow! Anyway, it was even more fun because almost all of my industry friends made an appearance and I also got to sit AT PRESTON'S TABLE!!! Omg. Crazy huh?! I knew I was sitting with him, so what better opportunity to rock my new dress than last night?!

It was a great event, he was actually very honest, and quite open about how he got his start, his successes, failures, weaknesses, learning lessons, etc. Much more interesting than I had anticipated. And he explained that when he met with Joan Rivers to do her daughter's first wedding, she told him "I want people to walk in and say "HOLY SHIT!"". So he took it from there. Later on in his presentation he showed some pics of recent events. I swear to you, the first words out of my mouth during the first slide.... HOLY SHIT!!!! Lol! How funny is that?! He definitely creates magical event spaces and really makes you wonder.... how does he think of that?!!!
He also showed some slides of "oops" events. And let me tell ya, they were WAY worse than anyone could imagine! Even Preston Bailey has learned some hard knocks!

But the best part about attending any of these events is meeting new people, and also seeing all of my friends there. I have managed to build relationships with some really truly amazing people and I am so grateful! They understand the craziness of my job at times, and they are just super FUN! I am not sure how these pictures will space themselves out but the blonde lady is my friend Erin who I met right when I started working where I do now. She cracks me up because she totally looks like an uptight, waspy, lady, and she is SOOOOO NOT! She is hilarious and so much fun to hang out with! And then the crew in the Scribble Wall Pic is all of my NACE people who I love dearly! From left to right: Mimi, Sarah, from Sarah Ward Events, me :), Jason, Lolita from the Lafayette Park Hotel, and Valerie
So when my friend Leslie said "I'm kinda jealous of myself right now!" on our Friday wine tasting trip "for work".... truth be told I feel like that A LOT! I am so blessed. Truly. I have not been happier in my entire life. And the story of this blog.. my weight loss surgery, has so much to do with it. I have become a different person, inside and out. And I finally love me :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Home sweet ALMOST home :)

Well, it has been slightly over a month now since I moved into my own place. The month started out extremely challenging. The main reason being the children. Not only is it a new space, but it is the first time all 3 of us have had to sleep in the same room! I started out thinking that Benji would sleep in a converted crib and Aidan in bed with me, but after the first night it was blatantly obvious that that was NOT an option! I didn't get much sleep the first week, and finally was able to get each kid a bed. Aidan has a fabulous princess canopy bed & Benji ended up with a Firetruck bed. Both of them are awesome and the kids will sleep in them, although every now and again I have little monkies slipping into bed with me.

Also, I am one of those people who live to make a house a home, even one that I don't intend to live in forever. So I am sharing some "before" photos to give you an idea of the layout of my new place. Here is the living room.... and yes, it really started out like this!!!! haha
And then there is my little kitchen. Not much counter space, sadly. HOWEVER, there is a nook for a breakfast table which I love and which I felt the need to paint as an accent wall!
These pictures are very very very "before".... It is making me think I need quickly share the "after"s!
Here is the bedroom before.... everything in the place was offwhite (I HATE off white paint)
And with some green paint, patience, and some awesome help, this is the new color of the bedroom!
It is a little more green than I had anticipated but it is great to have color in any capacity. Livens up the place! Oh and that rug is not there anymore.
And then my awesome original tiled bathroom... PINK original tile, oy vey! I didn't know what to do with it until we went to Home Goods and I saw the cutest shower curtain (to be revealed in my next post) and that darn shower curtain inspired the CUTEST bathroom! And despite the old tile, it has new floors, new paint, and tons of useful storage... so i am not complaining!
Lastly, one of the main reasons I love my little apartment is the fact that I have in unit laundry. FULL SIZE in unit laundry! And for someone who is obsessed with laundry like myself, this is heavenly. I am lucky to have an eternal handy-man in Brian, who helped me paint, install laundry machines, switch out door knobs, hang pictures, hang curtains, install cable... you name it he did it. And I am sure he will be thrilled with me posting this picture in here! haha
Here he is installing my washer & dryer. AWSESOME!

Throughout the month I have tried my best to make it feel like "home" and it does... sort of. Until things like what happened last night go on. I picked the kids up from school, stopped to grab some food for dinner, and as I am coming towards my block, I see police caution tape blocking my street. And I look on and just MY block is roped off, with about 4 or 5 police cars blocking the way. Awesome. Talk about making me feel safe. Thankfully I was able to park on a side street and walk to my house (with kids in tow, mind you) but it is times like these that I question my success as a parent. I feel like I should be providing a safe environment and caution tape is not on my list of "good" things for kids to see :(.

Thankfully this morning everything was cleared away and I still do not know what exactly happened. I can only think of two options: murder or a car accident. Both are not good.

Aside from all of this, it is such a blessing to have my aunt and her husband next door to us. The kids adore Lily, their mini-doxie, and I love having someone to chat with, or someone for the kids to go hang out with while I make dinner. These two also happen to be their godparents so it is a nice way for them to be close as well. We hadn't seen them in awhile prior to moving in so it truly is a blessing being so close. Plus my aunt is loving getting all of my hand me downs! She had WLS last year and is doing great, but she is flying through clothes just like I was! So nearly every day I find SOMETHING to give to her and say "enjoy!". It's the least I can do, with all the help they give me :)

Oh and I am not sure if I mentioned it, but my surgeon asked me to star in his promotional online video. It was fun! And they finally have it up and running: I have yet to listen to it with sound but when I watch it without, all I notice is how I make funny faces when I talk and OMG I blink like I have something in my eyes!!! haha. Must've been the bright lights and talking into a camera... whole new respect for reality TV people when they give their little one on one camera interviews!

Still holding on to my 110lb weight loss. Gotta kick things into gear because I have a tropical vacation coming up in a few months and you better believe I WILL be in a bikini, saggy skin and all!