My Enigmatic Body


Great Grandpa helping Lily with her new horse on Christmas Day.
Lincoln, England
25 December 2007

I have another secret to share with the world wide web… another personal truth to release onto the net:  I eat a LOT of food.  In our society, women are not supposed to eat a lot of food, except when pregnant.  And, even when pregnant, one’s food consumption is closely monitored and commented upon by health professionals.

I eat every three hours, and that is at the longest stretch.  Am I hungry that much?  Or is it emotional eating?  I couldn’t tell you.  It’s a bizarre thing.  I don’t get food hunger pains every three hours; I get cravings for sugar about every three hours.  I’ve been trying to not eat sweets as much.  So, instead of reaching for a bowl of ice cream, I have been reaching for a bowl of muesli or cheese and buttered bread.  Eating every three hours contains the incredibly painful sugar cravings, but I’m still eating every three hours.

We have been exercising at the gym pretty heavily and I still nurse the baby (who, by the way, is officially a toddler now; he walks all the time now), so perhaps I am hungry this much.  I’ll keep the curious informed on whether I gain weight.  I am actually tracking my weight at the moment as we train for the 5k, so I’ll post any weight fluctuations.

Understanding one’s body as it relates to food is difficult at best in our weight, size, and food obsessed culture.  I just know that I crave sweets every three hours.  And, I guess, from there it’s an adventure as I solve the puzzle that is my body.

January 29th, 2008 | Marathon/Fitness | No Comments -

Day Off

These two photos are from the year 2000 when Matt and I first started dating. 🙂

My legs are so sore.  Today is our cross-training day, and we have decided to do swimming as our alternate aerobic exercise.  I intend to gently paddle around in the pool for twenty minutes and then go to the hot tub.  My legs need a day off.

January 29th, 2008 | Marathon/Fitness | No Comments -

Photos, Running, and Sadness


Matt’s brother, Ben, is getting married this coming June.
This is his fiance and our soon-to-be sister, Allison, with Lily.
31 December 2007

Photos: 

I post photos with my blog entries because I have found with other blogs that I read, photos really break up the text and actually add to readability.  And personally, I like seeing photos of the folks I know, so I figure that my family and friends who read this like to see the photos too.

And, to be honest, I fancy myself a bit of an amateur photographer… that is, until I see pictures like this one.  The exquisite beauty of that photo, taken by an amateur by the way, is beyond words.  The funny thing is: that site is supposed to be inspirational to other photographers.  All I thought, when I saw that photo, was, “Boy, I suck!”  Heh heh… I have a lot still to learn about photography… and perhaps inspiration as well. 😉

Running:

I told Matt that I would post our 5k Training Schedule.  So here it is.  There is some bizarreness to the schedule, such as it begins on a Tuesday.  That’s because we weigh ourselves on Monday night, and I post our weight with the week’s schedule.  Also, there was a random “Spa Day” last Wednesday because Matt forgot his gym shoes and we couldn’t work out.  So we took a spa day (the kids stay in the child center at the gym, and we go to the hot tub 😉 ).

I don’t know much about training for long distance races, but I’m reading and learning, so I’m sure the schedule will change as I learn more.  Our schedule is a hybrid between this schedule and this schedule.  I added weights because I think weights are very beneficial and do not want to give them up.  However, we are just doing hi reps, low weight to build stamina and not bulk.  We do two sets of 12 for upper body and two sets of 15 for lower body.  I ordered this book, and will modify the weight training as I learn more.  We also added stretching because I have learned, from the bit I have read so far, that if you don’t stretch, you are much more likely to get an injury.

Our training is slightly different from most long distance runners because we are not training to be competitive.  We’re just training to have fun, for general fitness, and to just finish the race.  I’m quite okay with just walking part of the race.  My intent is simply to finish and to enjoy it along the way.

We’re still excited by all the newness.  Let’s see if we can keep this up week after week after week.  I figure, if we actually participate in a 10k, then we are serious and I will start to plan our vacation to Orlando next January.  There is a huge leap between excited talk and actually doing the work — let’s see if we make that leap. 🙂

Oh, and one more unusual thing happened with our exercise changing to meet these new goals: I’m a lot happier and motivated.  Before, we had a “goal weight” because Matt and I are tired of being unfit and overweight.  But we no longer have a goal weight.  Our goal now is to simply finish a marathon next January.  For some reason which I haven’t figured out yet, that goal is so much more motivating.

Sadness:

Auntie Vera, Matt’s great aunt and one of Lily’s namesakes, passed away last night.  I only knew her for a little while, but I truly liked her.  So, in honor of Auntie Vera, here is a photo so others can see this beautiful lady:


Auntie Vera with Damian when he was six-months-old.
Newark, England
18 July 2007

January 25th, 2008 | General, Marathon/Fitness | No Comments -

Mondo Beyondo madness


Last weekend we celebrated Christmas with Papa and Nan in Conroe.
Since there were five grandchildren present, there were lots of toys
by the time all the Christmas gifts were opened. In this photo,
Lily has brought a bunch of toys over to Clara.
Conroe, Texas
20 January 2008

As mentioned before, I love lists.  To me, lists are hopes of the future.  And every year at the New Year, Matt and I do a Mondo Beyondo list.  The Mondo Beyondo list is, to quote the lovely Andrea Scher, “the list of things that are outrageous, wild, and may not even happen for 5 or 10 years from now. This is the list of things that are SO JUICY and unlikely to happen that you are afraid to even write them down. This might be the most important list of all!”

For the past few years, on Matt’s side of the paper, “Run a marathon” keeps popping up.  I was never really on-board with that one.  I thought I would train with him simply so we could be together, but I was never a driving force in making this particular Mondo Beyondo dream come true.  Matt would have to be the motivator behind that one.

But then Scotty, one of Matt’s co-workers, ran the Walt Disney World Marathon this year.  The office had a betting pool on his finishing times and were generally very supportive of his marathon training.  After he finished the race, he sent the office an email detailing the race, and it sounded like so much fun!  It also sounded painfully hard, but it sounded like so much fun at the same time!  And we could take the kids on a family vacation as well!

So I’m finally on board with the “Run a marathon.”  I am really keen to go next year with the kids.  They offer a half-marathon as well, so depending on our fitness level as the time approaches, we will run either the full or the half.  I am so excited!

And my family wants to go with us to Walt Disney World and take their kids.  So, over the next year, Matt and I will be training to run either a full or half marathon, and I will be researching how to take a vacation to Walt Disney World on a budget.

I am so excited.  I am excited about attempting a marathon.  I am excited about taking my children on a family vacation.  I am excited about my extended family going with us.  I am so excited!

Good thing I’m starting so early.  I think it will easily take a year to train for a marathon and a year to plan for a large group to go to Walt Disney World within a budget.

January 22nd, 2008 | Marathon/Fitness, Planning Nerd | No Comments -

Ready for love!

Matt and I are so on top of Valentine’s Day this year.  Last year, Damian was only six-weeks-old, so we both agreed to blow off Valentine’s Day.  But my honey was such a supreme honey and secretly bought me flowers and a hot pink iPod and attempted to take me to dinner.  He didn’t know that restaurants are completely booked on Valentine’s Day.  It still was a really nice V Day because he had completely ignored our agreement and surprised me.

For this year, we have decided to have a meal at home because we have two small kids.  As we were making the V Day menu last night, it sounded so good I said, “We have to invite someone!  It’s always fun to share meals like this.”  So Carla’s family is coming to our house for dinner this Valentine’s Day.

Anyways, I am very very very busy… so busy that there is no picture with this update, just a change to a Valentine’s theme.  Gotta go.

January 21st, 2008 | The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -

The Seven-Year Affirmation


Some Longhorns were spotted in Lincoln, England. 😉
Sam, Matt’s brother, in the kitchen.
Lincoln, England
02 January 2008

Matt and I have been together for seven and a half years.  We met in May 2000 and started dating in July 2000.  Today I was thinking of the movie The Seven Year Itch which is a comedy about a man who has been married for seven years, and he briefly fantasizes about an affair with Marilyn Monroe.  With my first boyfriend, I knew that something was wrong by seven months into the relationship.  I called it The Seven Month Itch.  (We should have broken up then, but we stayed together for another four years and then broke up — not the wisest choice I’ve ever made in my life.)

There is no Seven Year Itch with Matt.  Seven Year Love, Seven Year Amazing Husband, Seven Years with a good, honorable, kind, generous man.

I am truly lucky to have such a man as my husband.  I don’t know what karmic thing I did in a past life, but I must have been a saint to be given such a man in this life. 😉

January 18th, 2008 | Austin, General | No Comments -

The romance of romance


A Bob Mackie creation, circa 1991.
I think this is a really beautiful dress,
and an adult version of the Disney
Princess dresses made for children.
I got the pictures from this website.

Before I begin with the topic at hand, I would like to say that, when you have two preschool children, writing a blog entry becomes an act of will.

Now, onto “The romance of romance” or, more precisely, “The strange appeal of the Disney Princesses.”  Lily is very much a girly-girl.  She grew into this personality all by herself; Matt and I merely gave her the freedom to explore her own tastes.  And, being such a girly-girl, she was early-on attracted to clothes.  In fact, I quit dressing her before she turned two-years-old because the arguments weren’t worth the trouble.  She insisted on picking her own clothes.

As she has become more explorative with clothes, she has been attracted to the Disney Princess line of dresses, and, from there, to the Disney Princesses in general.  And, here’s my dirty little secret: I like the Disney Princess line of merchandising as well.  I don’t like the ubiquitous quality of the line — like all things that do financially well in corporate America, Disney milks that cash cow for every little penny it can possibly get.

Since the Princesses have invaded my house, partially due to Lily and partially due to myself, I have been thinking about their appeal to the feminine.  And I think it comes down to romance.  And I don’t mean romance as in “falling in love.”  Lily could care less about the princes; they are just a minor plot point as far as she is concerned.  And I am already in love; my prince charming exists in my life on a daily basis.

I mean romance as in beautiful dresses, climbing roses, the smell of lilies, and idealic pastoral afternoons.  I think the Disney Princesses are a representation of this; they are always in their flowing dresses and surrounded by flowers.  (Their Prince Charmings are very rarely pictured with them.)  For American culture, they have evolved into the archetype of the romantic feminine within us — the part of us that longs to live an idealic romantic life full of flowers and kitchen gardens in the French countryside.

I looked up the term “archetype” to make sure I was using the word correctly, and dictionary.com said “the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype.”  And I thought, “Well, something can’t really evolve into an archetype, can it?”  But the sentence still settles really well with me.  Culture evolves; archetypes evolve.  And our children are looking to Ariel and Snow White, not Venus, to define the American romantic feminine.  Which, truthfully, is a bit scary.  As far as I know, none of the Disney princesses went to university.  Maybe, just like our mothers did, we need to expose them to Gloria Steinem as well as Snow White.

Anyways, these are my humble thoughts on the strange appeal of the Disney Princesses to both young and old women.  Since I’ve ferreted out their base note, I’m looking elsewhere for iconic images that conjure dreams of a romantic life.  The Disney Princesses are a bit… well, packaged.  They have the shiny coating and one-dimensional lack of depth that comes from corporate mass marketing.

… I do still like them though. 😉

ps. For another take on the Disney Princesses, you can read this article, titled “What’s Wrong with Cinderella?” by Peggy Orenstein and written for the NY Times.

pps. There is an excellent movie whose main character also dreams of a romantic life (romantic as I have defined it here, and not as in “falling in love”), titled “Kamikaze Girls.”  It’s Japanese so it’s subtitled, but I can’t recommend this movie strongly enough.  I really really enjoyed it.

January 16th, 2008 | General, The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -

Daydreams of time


Lily, Damian and I watched baby Clara for a couple of hours
last Friday while Steve went to his doctor appointment.
11 January 2008

When I was in college, I was always behind on my homework.  This was because I was a procrastinator and never did work in a timely fashion.  I had a recurring daydream in which time would stop and I would catch up on all my homework while lounging on a beautiful beach.  After I graduated, I thought that I would no longer have that daydream.  I thought that now homework was in my past, I would no longer feel the need to stop time in order to catch up.

Boy, was I ever wrong.  I want to do so many things, but I have two huge hurdles that I am directly responsible for:  1) my inability to stay focused on a single task; and 2) my procrastination.  And I wonder, if I was able to stay focused and didn’t procrastinate, would I accomplish more?  Or, is it woven into the very nature of time and human curiousity that we will always have more things we desire to do than we have time for?

I don’t know the answer to that.  If I ever learn to focus and quit procrastinating, maybe someday I will find out.

January 14th, 2008 | The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -

The future reveals the present

I’ve been very tired recently.  It’s not easy juggling two children and housework, as well as trying to find time for my own adult hobbies (such as blogging).  And Lily is now of an age where I can blow her off.  “No, Lily, I’m not going to hold you; I’m too tired.”  “No, Lily, I’m not going to sit on the swing with you; I’m doing the dishes.”  You can’t tell a baby these things because they will just cry.  But a toddler not only understands my words, but I can now enforce my will.

I’ve been feeling a little guilty about that lately.  Then, this morning while I was answering email, this picture showed up on my Google Desktop Photo Gadget:


Ben and Cody looking for Easter Eggs in Deb and Bruce’s backyard.
Approx. 1998 or 1999 when Cody was two or three-years-old

Look how Cody is leaning into his Dad.  At this age, all children want is to be with their parents.  Their world is their parents.

This is Cody now at 11-years-old:


Lily asleep on Cody.
Thanksgiving 2007

Cody no longer goes on Easter Egg hunts with his Dad.  Cody does other fun things with his Dad that older kids do like go to amusement parks, but the little kid stuff is over.

Lily is still very much a little kid.  Lily still wants to snuggle under a blanket with me as I rock her.  And Lily still wants to be right up against my body and have me stroke her hair as she falls asleep.  And Lily still wants me to read her books.  And I have only a finite time in which she will want me to hold her and snuggle her and be right there with her.  And I’m wasting it.

I’m afraid of the future.  I already know that I will miss my children when they grow up.  Thankfully the picture of Cody and Ben gave me a glimpse into my own future, and that tiny peak through the window of time showed me what was important now:  being with my beautiful amazing family.

January 12th, 2008 | The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -

My beef with Santa


Lily asked Santa for a Cinderella dress this year.
27 December 2007

Even before I had children — even before I was pregnant and children were just a longing hope in my  heart — I was looking forward to playing Santa with my kids.  I was looking forward to the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Santa… all the childhood magical fantasies.

My mom didn’t like the idea of Santa because of the materialistic aspect of that fantasy, so we always knew that Santa wasn’t real.  As I grew older, I felt cheated.  Everyone else had these magical childhood memories of Santa, and all I had was cold, impersonal reality.  So I told myself that I would let my children participate in the fantasy.

This year was the first year that Lily really understood who Santa was, so we really played it up.  We talked about him a lot, and we wrote him a letter.  And, as the season wore on, I became more and more disenchanted with this particular childhood illusion, for two very distinct reasons actually.

First, I constantly lied to my child.  I made an oath about six years ago to not lie.  When I made the oath, I thought it would be very easy to keep because I didn’t consider myself a liar.  Turns out, I lied all the time and it has been much harder to keep than I anticipated.  I lied to get out of social engagements; I lied so I wouldn’t hurt people’s feelings; I lied to get what I wanted.  I had no idea I lied as much as I did until I made that oath.  Try not lieing for a month or so… it’s quite hard.

Anyways, I lied up a storm during the month of December.  Lied lied lied to my precious daughter with whom I would like to only share truth.  So I’m having a real problem with that.

And secondly, just like my mom said, Santa is really materialistic.  I love the idea of Santa, but the actual practice is making me cringe.  In the Christmas movies, Santa is more than a shill for corporate America.  The movies are full of Christmas sentiment.  But, in actual practice, all that gets shoved aside, and we write our letters that say, “I would like x for Christmas.”  No love, no goodwill towards men, no charity… only “I want.”

Since this was my first year to work with the Santa mythos, we went the “I want” route, but that really didn’t work for me.  It went against every liberal lefty bone in my body.  Matt and I have to tweak Santa to fit him into our family’s value system.  I’m sure we can somehow make the magic of Santa fit into the magic of the Woodings household. 😉

January 11th, 2008 | The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -