The worst thing about trying to lose weight is….

The worst thing about trying to lose weight is the want for it to come off quickly. This is true regardless of the fact that it took months and months (and my last two pregnancies) to put the weight on. Sure, but who was paying attention then?? Not me. I was preggers. I was justified in eating whatever I wanted. I was too damn darn exhausted to work-out, especially with Tucker. But, enough excuses, because, really, excuses don’t do anything to get the weight off. And it’s high time the weight came off. So here goes nothing…or something?

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[samantha] and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day (grown-up edition)

my name’s samantha and i’m having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. i think i’ll move to the bahamas.

i woke up this morning to find that we were out of breakfast bars, so i had to make eggs for everyone and day old pancakes. noah tried to cut his own pancakes and spilled syrup all over the table. tucker pooped twice before eight o’clock. it’s been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. 

i was walking around, minding my own business, when z pointed and me and started saying, “four eyes! four eyes! mommy has four eyes!” she laughed and laughed, but i didn’t think it was funny at. all. it’s been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. i think i’ll move to the bahamas.

i ran into my room to try to catch the phone are i ran smack into a huge, wooden piece of furniture. i busted my little pinky toe and the one next to it. i’m pretty sure it’s broken. it’s been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

i went to the gym to work out and as i was dropping the kids off in childwatch, noah pointed to my stomach and said, “You have a really big tummy mommy!” I said, “Buddy, that’s not very nice.” He said, louder this time, “Mommy, you have a really big tummy!” I said, “Stop. Noah, don’t say that. It’s hurts Mommy’s feelings.” He kept saying it, louder and louder for the next minute…then said he thinks there might be a baby in there. But, there’s not. I’m having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I think I’ll move to the Bahamas.

Then, we went to the grocery store because our house has no food in it. The kids asked if we could buy one of everything. We got to the check-out, and, as the cashier was ringing the last of my overflowing buggy of groceries, I realized I left my bank card in the other car after class the other night. I told the cashier she might need to stop ringing things up because I didn’t have enough cash and only had a nearly maxed out credit card (the school books have to be paid for some how!) and an old bank card from an account we never use. She didn’t listen. She kept ringing, the bagger kept bagging. I called Ryan to see if he could come, but he couldn’t. I scrounged up all of my cash and came up $56 short. As I tried the first card, Noah kept yelling “I want to push the green button!” and pushing it at all the wrong times. Meanwhile, Z was biting Tucker’s head and Tucker was screaming. Thankfully, the second card worked, but the experience was traumatic anyway. I’m having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. 

The aforementioned said bagger yanked the buggy from my hands when I tried to grab my hooligans to push to the car. I knew that the back of my van was full of kid stuff and wanted to carefully load my groceries around it. But he would have none. of it. When we got to the car and I opened the back, the stroller practically fell on top of me. He didn’t care, though. He started unloading the groceries. Bread, first. Peaches on top of that. Cans of beans on top of that. Top it off with a gallon of milk. And so on with the rest of the groceries. I love squished bread. It’s been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I think I’ll move to the Bahamas.

It’s not even 3:00 and I want to go to bed. My husband keeps reminding me that they have bad days in the Bahamas, too…but I’m just not sure I believe him…

A tattoo

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I think it’s finally time that I reveal this to the world. For the past couple of years, I have been considering getting a tattoo. I hate the thought of needless pain, but felt like a tattoo might be sort of neat… And not just any tattoo. This very specific tattoo in this very specific place. I once knew a very cool gal with this exact tattoo and thought it was just neat. So, anyway, after thinking about this tattoo for a few years, I decided it would be my “push”/nursing gift to myself after Z… As it happened, I got pregnant with Tucker while I was still nursing Z, so I had to wait longer than anticipated…. But, it finally happened! So, what is it, you ask. It’s greek to me! Ha! Okay, not that funny… Anyway, it’s a greek phrase that is one of the most often phrases Jesus speaks in the Scriptures. The best translation for it is, “stop being afraid!” The irony is, I totally freaked out about halfway through getting the tattoo. To be fair, part of the issue was the pain… The other part, fear! But, I made it through with the help of a sister, a sister-in-law, and a good friend! Plus, of course, my very caring tattoo artist (not so much actually). So, why this tattoo? Two reasons: 1. My fall back emotion in life is anxiety. That might be a little too much self-disclosure for a blog post, but its just true. 2. A lot of other people experience this same fall back (or go to) emotion. As a counselor, so many clients I see are filled with anxiety and fear because of life’s circumstances. Ethically, I cannot offer them of my own volition the message of Jesus, but if they ask… Interestingly enough, the first client I spoke with noticed my tattoo very quickly and asked what it meant. I have no doubt that God will use it to open doors … But also to help me remember some of His words to me (us).

Thoughts on Father’s Day

as I think about Father’s Day this year, I find myself thankful for all the fathers in my life. It seems a man doesn’t have to be an actual biological father to influence a person’s life. I have a wonderful biological father that I adore. He has been such an example of quiet strength to me over the years. And I have a fantastic man in my life who I loving like to call my babies’ daddy (ha!) . I knew from the start of our friendship that his tender heart meant that he’d be a wonderful father, but I had no idea the extent of what that would look like. His continual sacrifice and giving of himself to our little family is a clear picture of God’s love to me most days. I also think today of other men in my life who have been like a father to me. An old pastor and friend, along with his wife, took me in during a very difficult time and nurtured me in a way very much like parents… Another friend of our family who nurtures Ryan and me, along with our children, as if we were his own children. Of course, I think of Ryan’s own father, who I cannot help to believe is much of the reason why Ryan is as he is today. Certainly his example and love influenced Ryan as he grew. Finally, I’m thinking a lot of my papa today. He’s been gone from this earth for thirteen years, for nearly as many years as I knew him… He and my grandmother were actually like a third set of parents in my life. My brother and I spent our mornings before school and our afternoons after school as well as our long summers in their care. He was the dearest man I have known and I find it utterly heartbreaking that my children didn’t get to know him. He would have loved them so! When I think about how much time my Papa and Mimi invested in my life, I am amazed at their sacrifice. He was retired and on his “own” time. I’m sure there were more fun options for him than giving the last years of his life to caring for us, but that’s just the kind of man he was. One who cared for others above himself… Much like my own sweet husband… I hope our little boys will grow up to be such fathers.

a [not so] peaceful picture

as of late, we have been “visiting” a “new” church. i say, “visiting” because i’m not sure really where the line is drawn between visiting and attending. at what point can you say that you are no longer just visiting, but attending a church. is it after 3 sundays in a row? or after you know the names of at least 10 people that you didn’t know before? or perhaps it’s after the priest remembers your name? such a fine line! and i say “new” church because it’s a church we were attending a few years ago (for about 1.5 years), but then stopped so that we could be a part of something else…and are now back. kind of confusing. not sure how i feel about it right now…. but, we have committed to going for a season, which is a good feeling. i don’t feel as anxious about it since i know we don’t have to think about visiting different places at least until this season is over and we re-assess where we are.

one of the wonderful things about this particular church is that all of the family is together for the lord’s supper. after a time of corporate confession and a passing of the peace, all of the families gather their children from the nursery and we join together for a time of communion. as one might imagine, this is not small feat for our little family of three. this time of the service lasts for about 30 minutes and it can be downright trying at times…especially during the times of silence/the priest speaking liturgy. when the music is playing, it’s all good…but between those times–EEK! noah says loudly, “I’m ready to go home.” i quietly whisper that we’ll be going home soon. z then says even louder, “no! i’m ready to go home!” ryan clamps a hand on her mouth and she squeals because that’s just fun. meanwhile, tucker drops his paci from his mouth and it rolls under the pew behind us. kind lady picks it up, smiles and hands it to me. noah climbs on the pew, z pulls out all of the hymnals and prayer books, starts eating one of them. ryan takes them all and puts them back in their spot on the back of the pew. noah yawns loudly and says, “i’m hungry, mommy!” while i’m trying to tell him we’ll eat after church, z starts digging through the bag like a little scavenger hoping for a morsel of food (there is ABSOLUTELY no eating in God’s house! other than the lord’s supper….) tucker whimpers and i realize his paci has fallen again. no big, he spots my long string of pearls and clamps his slobbery little mouth on those. good news–he’s entertained. bad news–z noticed and wants to have a taste for herself, only she has teeth and scratch again the pearls making an unpleasant noise. i pull them from her mouth only for noah to notice them. he grabs part and puts his head through it and tries to walk away. gets 2 feet only to reach the end of the slack in the pearls, starts choking. i pull them over his head. z has been quiet and i look over to see ryan pulling a wad of paper out of her mouth. he throws it into the diaper bag, she jumps down, digs around, finds it, says loudly, “I FOUND IT!” and pops it back into her mouth with the cutest smile you’ve ever seen. impossible not to laugh but then she is encouraged…

around and around we go. a dear friend offered to hold tucker for a good portion of this part of the service which allowed ryan and i to play one-on-one with the other two hooligans. still was pretty tough..and i’m afraid distracting for all those around us. at one point, we looked over to notice 3 families sitting nearby with a total of probably 10 kids under 7 years old…every single one of those kids was sitting still, making zero noise, seemingly intent on what the priest was saying. i’m dying to know their secret!! aderall? benedryl? the promise of ice cream? … come on!

our day [yesterday]

These are thoughts from yesterday that I never quite made it around to completing…

I have seen so much poop today that I think I might just call it quits on this whole raising kids things. Poop on bottoms, poop on the floor, poop on my foot, poop on his shirt, poop on my arm…poop poop poop. Almost enough poop that I want to call it a dirty word… but I won’t. Some days, I am simply amazed over how much poop comes out of our three little boogars. Seriously. It’s just gross.

Other than cleaning up poop [everywhere], I have spent my day running around in circles, it seems. I cleaned up a little bit of the kitchen, walked into my room and realized that the dirty clothes baskets were {over}flowing…so I gathered some to put in the wash, only to discover clothes that had been sitting in there for a little bit [long bit] too long. So, I rewashed those, and carried some of the clean clothes from the dryer to Noah’s room…where I discovered a MESS. I worked in there for a while before needing a drink of coffee, so I went back to the kitchen…where, of course, I discovered the place I had just cleaned to be destroyed…and so the cycle began again. All day every day, this is my life… a little bit messy.

Sounds bad [and is, in fact, bad some days], but it really isn’t terrible…because slobbery kisses from my sweet little man when I pick him up from the floor make everything better…and “hey mommy. i love you.” said matter-of-factly from my 4 year old makes everything better…and that cute little girl who wants to walk right beside me 99% of the day makes everything better. and worth it. worth the poop. worth the cleaning. even worth the laundry.

I DID IT!

MarathonJust over seven months ago, I had major surgery which resulted in the birth of my third (delightful) child. Sixteen weeks ago, I began seriously running again. Five days ago, I ran my first marathon. Twenty-six point two miles. That’s eight packs of gu, seven portapotty stops, six looooooonnnnngg hours, five jolly ranchers, four massive blisters, three helpings of pretzels, two shots of alcohol, and one ridiculously embarrassing fall! It was quite the day! I think it made me once again realize, really realize, that I can do anything I put my mind to. Three years ago, I hated running. As in I totally loathed it…. but I needed something to relieve the stress of having a new baby, so I started a couchto5k program, and low and behold–it worked! I ran a 5k, then decided to try a 10k, then a half marathon…and somewhere in there, enjoyment of running snuck up on me like a …something that sneaks up. But, I always said that a half was as far as I’d go. There was nothing tempting in a full marathon to me…especially after witnessing the finish line at the marine corp marathon last year… it was PAINFUL to watch as people came over the hill and fell to the ground, cramping up so badly that they couldn’t make it one step further. As I think back to what it was that made me decide to train for a marathon, I can’t put my finger on it. One random conversation with my sister, Ruthie, and all of a sudden, I was looking at training programs. Anyway, the point of all my rambling is this: I DID IT. I did something I never, ever, ever thought I’d be able to do. And maybe, just maybe…someone else will be inspired to do something, too….

help us to free the slaves

27,000,000 people are trapped in slavery today. the conditions these women, men and children are forced to live in is absolutely atrocious. forced to work for little to no wages…coerced into what appear to be promising relationships, only to be raped, drugged, and forced to become a prostitute with no escape in sight…threatened over and over again…

the more i read about this issue, the more i feel a deep need to do something. for a long time, i felt quite hopeless about the situation and my ability to help. i am one little person…and this is a HUGE issue. TWENTY SEVEN MILLION PEOPLE huge. but then i came across these words from a wise man: “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” if we all just stand around moaning about how much we wish we could do something to effect change in this matter, then really (don’t hate me for saying this) it seems like we are contributing to the evil that is happening. i’ve read so many stories of girls in the middle of being rescued asking over and over, “why are you here?? are you really here to rescue me?” when the rescuers confirm that they are and that they have come because they care for the victim, the response is a little unexpected (but, then again, not really)…instead of being, “oh my! i’m so happy…FINALLY!” …it is, “if you really are here because you care about me then why weren’t you here sooner?”     heart-breaking.

so, here goes. there are many wonderful organizations today working to end slavery. i want to invite you to join me and my sister, ruthie, in a effort to support one particular organization, the international justice mission (ijm). this fantastic group is working to rescue those trapped in slavery, counsel them through the trauma and abuse that they’ve endured, and help to find hope in the hands of their Redeemer. the invitation is this: ruthie and i are running our first (and probably last) marathon in 3 weeks. 26.2 miles. we have been training for this run for the past 4 months and are scared  beyond belief so excited about the race. we are asking you to think about sponsoring us for this run. $.25/mile, $1/mile, $5/mile…every little bit helps. every little bit makes it that much more possible to free the slaves. think about what you might like to pledge to give. the race will take place of the twenty-third of this month. we will collect funds (checks or cash) and send them all together with a note to the IJM at the end of the month.

friday, friday, friday!

Gotta get down, it’s Friday! Right?! It’s been quite a week in our neck of the woods! Other than the usual loveliness that is life with three kids…it’s been a week of heavy school work and prepping for a Christmas shop!

We took my sweet dad out for lunch for his 49th birthday. It’s been a crazy year for the family-here’s to a better year! While we were there, I snapped a quick picture of my precious Mimi and Tucker, her youngest grandchild:

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Here’s a few shots of my booth at a local Christmas shop. Though it took lots of time and a ridiculously little amount of sleep, I loved doing this! I love the “oh yummmmm!”s and “that’s incredible!”s that I get when people eat my stuff! Still working towards one day having a bakery… Maybe I’ll start with a mobile booth / food truck…

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And a lovely shot of Noah aka “bubba”:

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6 weeks!

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Today, the wee Smiths and I took a little trip to the doctor for Tucker’s 6 week check-up. He has grown 4 inches since birth and gained a whopping 3 lbs, 2 oz which puts him at 9 lbs, 11 oz and 22 inches. What is crazy is that he is still smaller, at 6 weeks 5 days old, than Noah was at birth! I had a feeling all along that he would be my smallest baby, and though I wasn’t counting on him being preterm, I was right about his size. My sweet little bit!
Today marks a big day for us… Ticket had now been home with us for longer than he was in the NICU! I have the weirdest feeling with him of him barely being with us any time at all AND him being with us all along…
We ran into one of his nurses at the library recently and I had the strangest sense, at the very moment I saw her, of being a totally incompetent mom. Something about the experience at the NICU stirred this feeling in me, as it felt like we were ill-equipped to take care of our son. I hated that about being there and I hated the way it bubbled back up upon seeing the nurse. I am so thankful for their care, but so glad we have settled into our home now and that all is well with our little guy!!