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 :)