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.