Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Getting Naturally Slim

Well, friends, the time has come to say goodbye to the babyweight.   All thirty-ish pounds of it.

This week I began a program called Naturally Slim (, which is an awesome, lifestyle-change kind of way to lose weight.  Low maintenance, no counting of points, calories, grams or carbs, and eat anything you want.  Quite literally.

I'm telling you this so I have some small measure of accountability.  Hopefully I'll be too ashamed to quit!  I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"She gets up while it is still dark, and provides food for her family..." Proverbs 31:15

Yeah, that's not me.  And I am feeling the need to reform this area of my life!  I would be a much, much better mother and wife--and generally a whole lot more sane--if I did a better job in the mornings.

If I'm being honest, I have to say that I have never, ever had a really good, successful morning routine.  Even when I was working, I was constantly rushing around, late and completely frantic by the time I got anywhere.  The best I've done was with Caleb before Lyla, when he was sleeping a bit late.  However, that was still unsatisfactory.

I need some suggestions!  Staying at home with kiddos is ahhhbsolutely wonderful, and one of the biggest challenges it offers me is Creating Structure.  And Sticking to A Routine.  I'm super bad at both.  I've gotten better, and am working on it.  However, in the morning, it is nearly impossible for me even think straight, much less be a careful observer of what is going on and what needs to change.  

I'd like to be the mom that wakes up before her kids, makes coffee and breakfast, has a quiet time, has breakfast with hubby, and gets dressed.  Perhaps even goes on a early morning jog or walk.  My mom always did that--still does.  

Do you have any strategies or pieces of wisdom that have helped you get into a good morning routine and stick to it?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Five Months Old Today!

Happy 5-Monther
I did not pose her.
Happy Five Months to Lyla Anne!
She got her first haircut yesterday, which is what I'm showing here.

Yes, it's a little retro, a little fifties, but she likes it.

She fell over, effectively ending the photo shoot.

I also de-mullet-ed her.  She thanks me.

Beauty Doubles

Today is Lyla's five-month birthday!  Yay for my little girlie.  She got her first haircut yesterday.  Pics of that soon...she's pretty cute with her little bob.

This also means that I've been un-pregnant for five months!  I've spent the past two or three struggling to reclaim my body and my...overall appearance...without breaking the bank.  I have found SO many cool things, I've just gotta share them!  

First and foremost--and where most of my other tips are coming from, is  This girl is fabulous.  Before her, I had been putting my eyeshadow on the same way since high school, I kid you not.  And then I wondered why my little sister always looked better than me...more current and cute.  It can't all be because Mom and Dad are still footing the bill for her makeup!  Anyway, this site put me back in the game.  So did the free subscription to In Style I got for spending money at Ulta.

So. The problem, for me, is that there are, of course, millions of amazing products out there, that will do the job right, and make me look as fantastic as possible.  They are just way too expensive, all together.  I still have a few that I'll fork over the dough for, but fewer than I anticipated.  I went on a search for Beauty Doubles--drugstore prices for department store quality.  Here they are, with my un-double-able ones thrown in:

1.  Base your face!  Artists do this--prepping a canvas.  Makeup artists do it, too.  And so should you!  This tiny step makes all the difference in the world, makes makeup go on smoother, and last waaaaaaaaaay longer (cause what mom has time to retouch her makeup?  Please.  That is so eighth grade.).  Two products that changed the way my makeup stays put--even in the 109 (no exaggeration!) degree heat.

You are going to think I am crazy for this first one!

Monistat Chafing Gel, $7.00.  I KNOW!  I thought this was nuts, too.  It is technically for...other areas...that might rub, chafe, etc.  But what it does is "matte-ify" your whole face, dissolve the oil, and makes the foundation slide on like butter.  It also holds onto it, and keeps the oil and sweat more at bay.  If this just freaks you out, spend the dough on alternative products:  Urban Decay Face Primer, $30.00.  

Palladio Herbal Eyeshadow Primer, $8.00.  As opposed to Urban Decay Eye Primer Potion, $30.00.  Second in the Base Your Face Program is eyeshadow base.  This stuff smooths eyelids, acts as a concealer as necessary, makes colors pop and literally clings to the shadows.  I have accidentally gone to sleep with makeup still on, and STILL had it on in the morning with this stuff.  Added bonus: it makes slightly less quality eyeshadows work like the high-end ones. 

2.  Foundation.  We all need it!  Those of us over 18, anyway.

Revlon Colorstay Foundation, $5.00.  Yep, five bucks.  This is the first liquid foundation I've used in a long time.  I've been a longtime fan of Bare Minerals, which'll run you about $30.00.  It looks absolutely fantastic, but recently some doctors have brought up the potential danger of breathing in the powder (the particles are so  small, your  lungs can't really filter them out, supposedly).  I have no idea whether this is true or not--but I can say, it's harder on the pocketbook.  An extra tip:  for any liquid foundation, get a a stippling brush: 
 makes the foundation look even smoother and more perfect.

3.  Eyeshadow.  This stuff can run you pretty expensive.  My favorite brand is MAC, and it's a good $12 for a single color there.  But drug stores can catch you up, too...I was forever resolving to find a match for that perfect MAC color (for me, it's a color called Grain), and then spending 3, 4, 5 bucks over and over, ending up with not-good-enough imitations, until I got frustrated and went back to MAC.  Even more expensive in the end!  My go-to-solution, not just for eyeshadow, but for pretty much anything else they make:  

NYX Single Eyeshadow - HERBNYX Single Eyeshadow - GOLDEN DUNENYX Single Eyeshadow - EGGPLANTNYX Single Eyeshadow - MOROCCO
NYX eyeshadows, $5.50/single color.  These are basically MAC-equivalent.  So many great colors--I even  found my Grain-alike.  You can also get them in three, five and zillion-color packs.  They're available at Ulta an some drugstores.  Ulta frequently does buy-two-get-one-free sales on this stuff, so stock up then.  

4.  Mascara.  This is a no-brainer for me...I've spent ridiculous amounts trying out expensive brands, and always, always take them back and return to my original, drugstore fave:

L'Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black Waterproof Mascara, Carbon Black 395 .23 fl oz (6.9 ml)
L'oreal Voluminous Mascara, 12.00.    I use the waterproof kind, and it. is. awesome.  Especially great for those of us with straight-as-a-board eyelashes, who spend time curling them, only to have them straighten right back out if your mascara is too watery.  Not a problem with this stuff.  If you don't mind non-waterproof, they have a new Carbon Black color that is about as black and eye-catching as you can get.

5.  Okay, let's make this simpler.  NYX products of any kind.  I've been pleased--well, delighted, actually--with everything I've tried by them.  You can't find much they have that's more than $8.00.  Here's a few I currently use daily:

NYX Mega Shine Gloss - Sunrise
NYX Megashine Lipgloss, $5.00  This stuff is shiny, gooey, and all that lipgloss should be.

NYX Cream Blush - Golden
NYX Cream Blush, $6.50.  They also have powder blushes, but I haven't tried them yet.  The cream ones have a tiny shimmer in them, great for summer.
NYX Lipliner - RoseNYX Round Lipstick - B52
NYX Lipliners, $3.50, and lipsticks, $4.00.    The lipsticks aren't that thick, pigmented kind like MAC, but they have lovely colors and go on smoothly.  I prefer the lighter kind to the goopey kind anyway.

6.  And finally, the one thing I can't find a double for, but that makes all the other savings last even longer:  Makeup setting spray.

All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

Urban Decay "All Nighter" Makeup Setting Spray, $30.00  Here's my justification for this expensive product.  First, I can't find one that's cheaper.  Second, this stuff makes my makeup last through Texas sweat, housecleaning, nursing, chasing a two-year-old and everything in between.  And thirdly, in this busy life, if I am gonna spend time putting this stuff on, it dang well better stay there.  Or else why do any of it in the first place?  I'll let you know if I find a Beauty Double for this one.

That's it for now...gotta go get out the kiddie pool and ensure a quality naptime for Caleb.  And, just so you know, I'm not wearing a stitch of makeup while I do it.  :-)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sacrificial Mothering

Caleb has been at my mom's house for the past two nights.  It's been sad not to see him, but, wow am I accomplishing things!  I did more yesterday than I would get done in two weeks around here!

The most interesting part of not having him--this is the very fist time he's done this--is realizing how much he really does demand from me on a daily basis.  Even my thinking is constantly interrupted!  It makes me feel alot better about the things I do get done, despite the parenting!

I think, somewhere deep in my heart, I start to doubt my worth, and myself, when I have repeated "in between" days, or even just a whole week where I don't get the laundry and the mopping done, etc.  The world tells us that, as women, we can have it all, do it all, and still come out looking like supermodels.  But it simply isn't that way.  Motherhood is, ultimately, a complete sacrifice of who we are as women.  It's saying, "My life for yours," to our kiddos each and every day, in tiny little ways:  playing with him instead of reading or talking to friends, disciplining correctly instead of losing your temper or letting things slide, doing the housework, the cooking, the teaching, the planning and the loving instead of getting a tan and going to the gym.

So, you know it's really happening when you do look terrible, or you feel emotionally raw and drained.  Or your tummy still jiggles from your last pregnancy.  Those things mean you're doing something other with your time--giving it to someone else besides yourself.  That's what being a Mom is all about.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The In-Between Days

Today has, sadly, become the kind of day I like to--no, have to--think of as an in-between day.  Essentially, it's a day where things feel out-of-kilter; lots of punishments are happening, and you know someone's growing or changing, and you've got to figure out why and how, and then adapt to it.  So, it's in between the good, solid times, and I like to think it doesn't count.

Recently, I seem to have these days especially often.  Today, it looks like this:  Lyla, who usually sleeps well, woke up two and three times to eat the past four nights, and I'm exhausted.  The house is dirty, the pantry is empty, and I am feeling guilty about these things.  Normally, I'd get Caleb into bed and start hacking away at the chores, which are numerous on a Monday.  Today, I am stuck in a holding pattern that looks like this:

Me:  Caleb, get in your bed and stay there.  Be still. Be quiet.  Go to sleep.
Caleb:  Yes, mom.
Two minutes later, I hear a thud or a clink or the patter of feet (not as cute as it usually is), which tells me that Caleb has gotten out of bed, gotten a toy, etc.
I head into Caleb's room.  He hears me coming, and I hear him scrambling frantically to return to going-to-sleep position.  I usually open the door to him leaping onto the bed, or pulling the sheet up over his head.
Me:  You were out of bed, weren't you?
Caleb:  (muffled and whiney) Yes.
Me:  So now you get _______ (whatever I have threatened him with).
Caleb: NO!
Me:  Yes.  Discipline proceeds.

REPEAT, over and over and over.

I am literally writing this in the two-minute increments between repeats of this scene.  Because there's not much else I can get done in that time.  And I am starting to second-guess myself:  Did I put him down too early?  Should I have worn him out more before I put him down?  Is he getting too old to take a nap?  Should I just let him play in his room, quietly, instead of taking the nap?  Hence the in-betweens.  Questioning and reassessing the situation, trying to stay calm.

Today, I've decided he's just being difficult.  And he does still need that nap, or he'll be a holy terror tonight before bedtime.  But my kitchen, laundry and...well, the whole house...are calling to me to clean them, and--there it is!  His little voice, putting off bedtime with an "owie," a "drink," or a "monster."

These are the days I need the most grace.  And maybe a bottle of wine.