Wednesday, December 30, 2009



I hate to admit tonight that I am sore from playing on the Wii Fit today. My arms, shoulders, neck, back, hips, abs, gluts, thighs, calves, ankles, the tops of my feet, and pretty much every other muscle in between. They are all sore. From playing games. I'm out of shape. I know I have covered this before, but with tomorrow being the last day of 2009, and me barely being able to lift my coffee mug, I decided it's time to rethink the way I live my life. I mean it for real this time. I have to do something because when I stepped onto the Wii Fit balance board today, it cried.

I can't even count the number of years that I resolved to get in shape and lose weight and do better and blah blah crap that never happened. This year my resolution is a little different. I'm not putting a number on it, because that defeats me from the start. I'm not going at it cold turkey. I am going to tell you the underlying cause to my decision though. Here it is. My end of 2009 confession: I am a tomboy. I wear jeans and my husband's old t-shirts. I carry everything I need in my back pocket. I don't wear make-up or spend an hour on my hair. I didn't even own a hair dryer until a few months ago, and it is mostly used to defog the bathroom mirror. All this brings me to my goal for 2010: To be more feminine.

What does being more feminine entail for me? The opposite of most of the things I just listed about myself. I will put more effort into my clothes, my hair, my skin, my nails. I will carry a purse, and wear a nice coat. I will do my best to take better care of myself by getting more sleep, eating smaller portions, and doing some exercise I enjoy.

Why this, you ask? I have jeans I don't fit into, a sexy dress I'd like to wear, health issues I want to avoid. I want people to ask my husband how he ever managed to land a hottie like me. I want folks to be in shock when they find out I have four kids because I am so fit instead of because I look so young. I want to be able to buy myself fun clothes that fit my personality instead of having to dress like a frumpy old school teacher. I want to actually be able to compete in the Komen Tri for the Cure in Denver this summer. I am still hanging on to that little red nightie from before I had kids...That's why!

I'm not giving up anything completely, but I have cut way back on soda. I long ago switched to Splenda. I bought two pairs of high heels. (EEK!!!) I own a great jogging stroller that I've never used. If you see me in my scrubby clothes, cut me some slack. If you hear me talking about pumpkin muffins, ask if you can have one too. Don't expect miracles from me. Just watch me transform. It will happen, and I'm glad to have you around to see it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

1 .

A Love Note to My Husband

You know, everyone said it would never work out. We were too young, hadn't known each other long enough, I came from a family full of divorces. The cards were stacked against us. I will admit that there have been times when I wondered if "they" were right. There have been days that I wasn't sure we had what it took to make it. Who knew being in love was such hard work? When I look back over the last eleven years, so many things stand out. We've been through so much, but we've come so far. Every time I look at you, I am amazed that you chose me. How did I ever get so lucky? What did I ever do to make me worthy of having the love of someone so warm and selfless, loving and goofy, fun and hardworking? I couldn't ask for more than what we have, and I would gladly live with less just to know you are happy. Just knowing that you are coming home to me is enough to keep me moving through the day. Curling up with you at night makes being apart more bearable. And to watch you being a daddy to our babies is such a blessing to my heart. Knowing that they have what I didn't makes me so proud to be your wife. Now, here I sit, an hour from our anniversary, twitterpated and overjoyed. Just know that there is nothing in this life that I want with me more than you.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


My, How Times Change. Sort of.

I can remember when I was a little girl how my grandma reacted when the Christmas cards started rolling in. She came from the old school, "back when people were classy," she used to say. That meant that if you were going to send her a Christmas card, you had better take the time to write a personal message to her in that card. Don't even think about sending a generic Christmas letter, typed up without much thought and copied off until the printer ran out of ink. She wanted a piece of you all to herself. She told me to never turn into one of those lazy housewives who wouldn't even take the time to jot a few sentences to the people who were most important. I actually chuckled out loud the first year I sent out a Christmas letter. I folded hers, stuffed it into the envelope, and wrote on the outside, "Yours is the original. Everyone else got copies." I'm sure she was mortified.

Now, my mother is horrified because I told her I didn't want to waste paper, envelopes, and stamps sending out my Christmas letter. I thought she would die when I told her I was seriously considering just sending it out in a mass e-mail. "That's just trashy." I had actually been joking, but with Christmas less than two weeks away, I haven't bought cards or pretty paper, we haven't taken a family picture, and the trashy, mass e-mail option is looking extraordinary. I will continue to contemplate the pros and cons as I read my grandma's Christmas letter...

The Weather Outside is...WTH???

Before you even say it, yes, I know I live in Montana and the weather changes from minute to minute. But seriously? The low for tonight is -9 with a high of 3 degrees for tomorrow. That in itself isn't uncommon, but the high for the next day is 32 degrees. Even better, it's supposed to be in the low to mid-forties the rest of the week! I wish that global warming would just take over, make it tropical, and we could all live tanned and happily ever after!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


And I said, "No."

It snuck up on me this year. I have been so busy with kids and home, Thanksgiving, birthday, Christmas, and anniversary shopping. Laundry, floors, blah, blah, blah. In short, life, which is a little ironic since this post is about death. I call it the December 10th Family Curse. I'm sure it's not actually a curse, but I don't know how else to explain it.

Thirty-three years ago, my mother was 9 weeks pregnant with her third baby. I wasn't around then so I don't know the exact circumstances, but she miscarried that baby on December 10, 1976. The doctor told her she should try to get pregnant again right away so she wouldn't feel such a sense of loss. My father told her to stop crying about it. After all, it wasn't even a real baby yet. Sixteen months later she had me, but the fact that I know this story proves that getting pregnant again right away did little to erase the pain and memory of the baby who didn't make it.

Thirteen years ago, my brother and his girlfriend were expecting a baby. It was an "accident" that no one was really very excited about. It's funny how feelings change with circumstances because on December 10, 1996, she miscarried as well. That day she entered into the same club as my mother. The one where everyone knows this terrible thing has happened, but no one talks about it. Her heart broke silently as the world went on, and life screamed by.

You might chalk this up to coincidence, but it is more than that. On December 10, 1997, I went in for emergency gall bladder surgery. The nurses asked me all the right questions, but with my mom in the room, I lied. I had heard all my life about my mom's first baby, my brother, being born when she was 19, unmarried, and alone. She always hoped I would learn from her mistakes, that I would make a better life for myself. On December 10, 1997, at 19, unmarried, and alone, I underwent gall bladder surgery, and miscarried my baby that no one knew about but me.

Long after the scars from surgery were healed, the pain from the baby I never saw throbbed. The guilt of the one word lie nearly overtook me. Wasn't this what I wanted? An easy solution to a very hard situation? If I had said "yes" would things have turned out differently? Would that have been better? Life went on, and so did I, but I never stopped thinking, and wondering, and questioning. Would it have had my hair? Its daddy's big brown eyes? The Ridenour nose? It's not the raw, shocking pain it used to be, but there is a tiny corner of my heart tucked away for this little person I never got to know. On December 10th, I let myself grieve a little, for that's the day that changed my life forever.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Thankful Thursday and a Happy New Year

You know, I'm sure I do more than my fair share of complaining. About family. About life. About people complaining. I came to a realization today...I have it really good. I have an amazing husband who supports me in everything, whether he should or not. My kids bless me daily, even when I am complaining about them. We have a home and cars and food. I got an email from a friend today that put it all into perspective for me.

The email was short, and just asked about our Thanksgiving, and told about hers. She said how blessed she felt, and happy to be surrounded by people who loved and accepted her, as is. This email came from a friend who is in prison. She has been there close to four years for aiding in a bank robbery. She had to give up custody of her daughter to her parents. She was trying to escape an abusive marriage. And yet, she feels blessed.

This friend is being released next week. She is scared and excited and apprehensive all at once. She will be coming back to Wyoming so she can be near her parents and daughter. I really just hope that she finds the same acceptance there as she did in prison. Will she be able to find work? A place to live? Will the friends who shunned her while she was "away" take her back in now that she's home? I've never been in the circumstances that led her to where she is today, but I would like to think I could learn from her example of being grateful for what I have and who I am.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


My Healthy (and not so much) List

This weight loss thing is no easy task. I knew it wouldn't be, but secretly hoped that it would. I thought that maybe saying it out loud would make me more likely to stay focused and pursue my goals. What I have come to realize is that I am setting the wrong kinds of goals, becoming overwhelmed, feeling defeated, and not following through. I keep looking at the big picture instead of taking baby steps to get me on the path to a healthy body weight. I am going to change my perspective, stop focusing on the 95 pounds I need to lose, and start making progress in small ways.

With this in mind, I've been reminding myself of the good changes I have already made. I will share them with you too, so feel free to feed them back to me if you hear me sounding negative and defeated.

*I stopped eating white breads two years ago when I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes.
*I have only had two sodas since October 1st.
*I only drink 1% milk.

I am also very aware of some of the things I am doing wrong, need to change, and should never have started. For instance, I knew it was a bad choice to eat an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream last week, but I still bought it, took it home, and ate the whole thing. Sadly, I enjoyed it, and would probably do it again. This is going to be a lot harder than I thought. Here we go...

*I'm addicted to ice cream.
*I really don't enjoy drinking water.
*I strongly dislike exercising.
*I have no portion control.
*I don't get enough sleep.
*Since I am awake late at night, I eat late at night.

I suppose I could go on forever, but, for the sake of my sanity, I won't. Instead I am going to focus on some of those small goals I mentioned, like being able to run a mile. I would love to look in my closet and not be overcome by disappointment because nothing fits comfortably. I want to have the energy to play with my kids, and use the jogging stroller I bought, and buy a swimsuit without crying. If I can manage those things, tackling those 95 pounds can't be far behind.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Sweater Central

So, I found a great baby sweater pattern, and I've since fallen in love with it. It's the first clothing (besides hats) I've ever crocheted, and it turned out to be a great pattern to start with. The problem is, now I have a couple of little sweaters sitting in my livingroom that I need to find homes for. First, let me show you one that is already being loved on. It was the first one I made.

Next is the one I call the Watermelon sweater. You can see it in an earlier post, but I will put it in again so you don't have to go hunting. This one is about a 6-9 month size, lime green with hot pink edging and flower, and it zips up the back (they all do so far) so your baby can't wiggle out and escape.

The most recent addition is this one. It is a rose color with a slightly darker scallop edge around the hood, cuffs, and bottom. It's about a 24 month size. I am asking $30 for each of these, and that includes shipping in the continental US.

This one is my favorite. I made it for my friend's baby. She just got it today, so I don't have any pictures of him in it yet. I will be sure to post when I do. I used a much more expensive yarn on this one, and it is a lot thicker than the others I posted. It would cost $50 for me to make another with this same yarn, but it turned out beautiful! It's going to be great for our uber-cold Montana winters!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


It's all Relative

With the holiday season right on top of me, it's hard for me not to think about my family. My screwed up, dysfunctional, absent family. I have wrestled my whole life with trying to figure out where I fit in. It's a long story, and you probably wouldn't believe it if I told you, so I will do my best to just give you a quick outline. My dad was married and had five kids (one outside his marriage), and my mom was married and had two, both with different fathers, and in 1973, they married each other. I was born in 1978, the youngest by eight years. My dad was significantly older than my mother, so I have siblings old enough to be my parents...Anyway... My parents were divorced when I was five, and my mom remarried instantly. A few years later, my dad remarried his first wife. And it all rolls downhill from there.

Most of my siblings were either adults, or close to it by the time I was born, so I have had very little contact with them. In fact, I have several nieces and nephews that are near my age that I would be more likely to connect with, or so you would think. My step-mother has always treated me like I was an unwanted interruption in her life, so we have never had a relationship worth talking about. I had one sister who used to have me come stay with her from time to time, and I thought that was a bond I could count on. In the last year I have come to realize that there is a big difference between "family" and "relatives."

Last June my husband and I moved our family to Billings, following his job one more time. It was close to family, his and mine, and we thought it would be a good move. As an adult, I wanted to reach out to my brother, two sisters, and numerous nieces and nephews who live here in town. For once I wanted to feel like I had a place in this family. I felt the need to get to know them, to have a reason to love them, to finally have a connection. It became much harder for me to want after my dad died four years ago, but I decided to give it a try.

Last year we spent Thanksgiving and Christmas at my sister's house. My kids loved her family, and especially playing with the dogs. We went trick-or-treating there, and hunted Easter eggs there. They bought Boy Scout popcorn from my son, magazines and Girl Scout cookies from my daughter, and stayed at my house one night when I had to take my infant to the ER. And on Memorial Day, I posted a status update on Facebook about missing my dad and not even having a grave to visit (he was cremated), and two of my nieces twisted it around and fed it to my step-mother. It got completely out of hand to the point that I had to call her and fight to explain myself, to justify why I had the right to my feelings. And that was the end.

After that incident, I was asked to not have any contact with them anymore. My kids ask me several times a week if they can go to Auntie's house. How am I supposed to explain to them that Auntie doesn't want to be our family anymore? That the cousins they had grown to love threw that popcorn, those cookies, and other "favors" they had done back in my face and broken my heart? Just this afternoon my almost seven year old daughter asked if we were going back for Thanksgiving next week. What should I say to her?

I guess what it comes down to is this: I will have to explain to my children the difference between family and relatives. You don't have to be related to someone to love and be loved by them. Your relatives don't have to love you just because they should. Blood isn't always thicker than water, as the saying would have us believe. Sometimes friendship is more than that, and a last name in common is merely a coincidence.

It's taken a heartbreak, but now I know who my family is.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The Watermelon Sweater

I'm sure everyone on Twitter is sick of hearing about my dang sweaters, so I will post it here and give them a rest...for now. I just finished this sweater. It is probably a 6-9 month size, lime green with hot pink trim and flower, hooded, and zips up the back (so your baby can't escape!). I am selling it for $30, which includes shipping. If you are interested, let me know.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Winner, winner, chicken dinner...sort of.

Hey! Check out this guy's blog! He'll make you laugh, cry, and really think. Plus, sometimes he gives things away!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

1 .

Days Like This

The song tells us how "Mama said there'd be days like this" but it doesn't tell us Mama will be the one to set the course of the day. There are a number of good points to living less than two miles from my mother. On the other hand, we live less than two miles from my mother.

For the first nine years of our marriage we lived over 600 miles from all of our family. Finally, just before our fourth baby was born early in 2008, I convinced my mom that she needed a change. I was a little shocked when she agreed, packed her stuff, and moved into the same apartment complex as us. It was great having her there to watch the three older kids so I could care for our extremely over-sensitive, usually screaming newborn. When my husband was transferred back to small-town Montana four months later, we brought her back with us.

Don't get me wrong, it definitely has its perks, but mornings like today make me wonder if it's worth it. I've found that our differences in personality, homemaking, and child rearing make it a lot more difficult to see each other on a daily basis. She's lived a tough life, become a lot more irritable and impatient, and always seems to expect the worst, no matter what the situation.

I did manage to escape the mom induced funk by hitting the mall with some of my favorite girls this afternoon. Mom called to apologize, and I'm feeling better, so I guess even with days like today, it's totally worth it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


My "Phantom" #fail

I read a book several years ago by Dennis and Barbara Rainey called "Building Your Mate's Self Esteem." One of the first chapters is all about overcoming your "phantom", the image you have of yourself, the unreal expectations you set for yourself, your unreachable goals. In reading this chapter I realized that my own phantom was waaaay out of control, or more precisely, in control of my life. Though I am aware of this issue, I still have days when my phantom comes out to haunt me. Today was one of those days.

From the moment I woke up this morning, everything felt off. I had a headache, which is never an indication of an easy day. My kids had been awake for over an hour and had completely demolished the living and dining rooms, both of which had been clean the night before. By 9:00 am, the phantom had taken hold, mentally preparing my overwhelming list of achievements for the day. Before I knew it, I was behind. By noon, I was feeling so overwhelmed that I sat down to crochet, knowing I could never get caught up again. And when my husband left for work shortly thereafter, I burst into tears at the failure I had become. In my mind I kept playing out my failures as a parent, as a wife, and especially as a homemaker. I'm pretty sure that's when I took a fork to the birthday cake in the kitchen. Add healthy lifestyle to the list of casualties in my day.

Now I know that I can't possibly be a failure at everything, but days like today really make me wonder. I did finally get the kids to do there chores, after much prodding and annoyance. I did cross a few things off the list myself. I realize now, though, that my phantom did its best to make me doubt myself and my abilities. With a clear head, and a dirty kitchen, I will drift off to sleep tonight knowing that it will all still be there tomorrow so I can try again.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Well, it's only the first day, right?

I'll admit it. My calorie intake for today was about 900,000. Yesterday was my mom's birthday, so we had pizza for dinner followed by the richest chocolate cake I've ever placed on my tongue. I had to throw about half of the frosting away, no lie. Not to mention the peach turnover I had for breakfast. I'm convinced that because peaches are fruit that it really doesn't count though. I've still managed to beat the soda temptation, so I'm calling it progress and moving on.

In other news, I started a new crochet project tonight. No, I'm not done with the green sweater yet, but this is an easy scarf, so I'm going to hurry up and finish it, then go back to the sweater. I also got a great deal on some Vanna's Choice yarn today. Now I just need to get to work and finish some things so I can send them off to my friend to add to her table at the annual Church Christmas Bazaar. I also have another scarf order in, but am having a hard time finding just the right yarn to make it. Yet another joy of living in Buffalo Chip, Montana. (That isn't the town's actual name. It just expresses my feelings toward this place.) Maybe next year when I say I am going to work on projects all year so I will have an inventory built up by December, I will actually do it. (Please do not start holding your breath.)

I guess all I can say now is that tomorrow is another day, and I will try to make the best of it. For tonight, I'll just be me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Goal #1

My first weightloss goal is going to drop out of the 200's. I'm not telling you my current weight (and it's rude to ask, FYI), but I would like to see 199 by the end of January. I know it's reachable, but this time I'm not going to beat myself down if I don't make it. I will do my best every day, and that's all I can ask of myself. Here are some helpful steps I need to take:

Stop drinking soda (I actually did this about a month ago. I miss you, Mountain Dew...)
Start drinking water. Lots of water. Entire lakes of water. (I hate water.)
Get in some exercise, no matter what it is. (I'm not entirely fond of you either, Leslie Sansone.)
Eat healthier, or at least eat less. Portion size is my downfall.

So that's where I will start. I'm pretty sure I will need your help, so keep me accountable. Ask me how I'm doing. Just don't ask me what I weigh...yet.
1 .

Goodbye Fatty!

In this world of do more, spend more, play more, moremoremore, I have chosen "eat more" as my personal anthem. I've never met a hunk of sugar I didn't like, and even if I had, I would try it twice...just to be sure. I've gained weight...and gained weight...and gained more weight. I have plenty of viable excuses for the weight gain, but I'm to the point that even I don't believe most of them. I still tell people that it's because my husband is an amazing cook, or because he manages a great steakhouse, and of course it's because I've had four babies. Still, when I realize that the "baby" is almost two, and I don't even eat at the restaurant all that often, I know that there is something else. There has to be some underlying issue that is keeping me this way. I've come to the conclusion that there are several. Let's take a dip in Lake Me...

First and foremost, my biological family is made up of drunks and crazies. I won't go into detail. Just know that they aren't going to be on the cover of Family Fun magazine any time soon. (Though keep an eye on the Springer show. It's really only a matter of time.) I've spent my life trying to fit in and find my place. I've come to the realization that my place isn't in this family.

On the other hand, maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm too lazy to do anything about my weight. I pay for a gym membership that I never use. I live in an apartment complex with a gym on site that I walk past occasionally. I don't even know how many exercise DVD's I own.

I like to blame it on life in general. I just don't have time with the hours my husband works (though his shift normally starts at 2pm), and with so many kids in the house (well, three are in school all day, but that's not the point), and I'm so tired by the end of the day (because I stay up all hours of the night waiting for previously mentioned husband to arrive home from work). Let's not forget to take into account the physical fitness (mostly a lack thereof) of my parents. Both diabetic, morbidly obese, and outwardly unhappy with their lives, and my father died with so many other health issues that I would have to start another blog just to name them all. It's a metabolic legacy I'd like to do without.

At any rate, I've decided that I'm done. I'm tired of being the fat girl. I will do what it takes this time to make it to my goals, to be happy, healthy, fit, and in control of my life and mental state. And so I shout it from the rooftop (or maybe from my second floor window) "Goodbye Fatty! Hit the road, and take these frumpy, old lady clothes with you!"