Day 1: Before Photos and Leg Day

Today is Day 1 of me getting back on track with my diet and especially, my exercise.

I don’t want to put it off until spring like I did last year when it was finally warm enough to walk and jog outside. I have a gym membership now–our family does–so it is time to put it to good use!


So today, I did what I really haven’t done before–I took BEFORE photos. Ugh. I had my reasons for not doing Before photos before, but I am really determined to give it my best this time, especially with the Hubs (a.k.a. my partner, civil union husband) participating for a change. He even took my Before photos–which was a huge pain for both of us because he does not take good photos of people. But I threw on my hot-pink shades and gave him a killer look:

My before photo

Here is a collage of all my curvy sides:

College of my other before photos

I belated realized my error with using my comfy pajama pants–you can’t see my chunky legs! Ah, well, I will have to remember to wear my jogging shorts next time.

(Yeah, those hot-pink shades are totally not real. It is nothing more than a sticker in my photo-editing app!)


Speaking of jogging shorts, we went to our local YMCA today and did 30 minutes of squats and leg presses. And my legs were jelly thereafter. We then went shopping. Well, I went shopping and the Hubs stayed in the car.


I did three sets of weighted squats with 8 lbs (2x 4 lbs), 10 lbs (2x 5 lbs), and 16 lbs (2x 8 lbs), 12 repetitions each. Then I did three sets of (weighted) goblet squats with 5 lbs, 8 lbs, and 10 lbs, 12 repetitions each. Finally, I did 50 lbs leg presses–three sets of 15 repetitions. I was gripping the railing on the stairs, afraid my legs wouldn’t hold me.

5lb dumbbells

Tomorrow is rest day. If we go back, which we are planning to do at this point, we will be walking on the treadmill. My only complaint so far about our local YMCA is that they don’t have an indoor track.



I am updating my Honest Food with Amy blog and put my latest try-it recipe for Hot Lemon Water in the Morning…go check it out!

lemon ginger tea

Family: Deception and Manipulation Part I

I put off writing my first post because the last thing I wanted was for my first post on this blog to be negative. I don’t want to rant. I have spoken to enough supportive people to know what I have done wrong by others but also that my feelings of being wronged are justified from where I stand (which may be in the dark). But I still feel I need to write something about this negative subject because, it still bothers me. I am not over it. And I am a little worried that deception and manipulation may be playing bigger roles in my family than I thought.

Fortunately, this will no longer be the first post–I forgot I had a draft sitting here waiting to be posted. And when I started this post–a couple weeks ago–I had a lot more to say than I do today when I have found the time to actually write about this. Maybe as I write I will remember everything I had planned to say for these posts (realizing that this will be more than one post–oops!).

I try to be open-minded and understanding, but I have limits. In my early relationships, I would manipulate the guy I was with when I felt insecure about his feelings for me. Even when we first started dating, I told little white lies to the Genius. I was all ready to settle down with him right away, but that would be crazy, right? So I pretended that I wasn’t that serious about him. I refused to say “I love you” first, even though I wanted to. Little things. Little things that gave way to bigger things–bigger lies and manipulations. Until we nearly fell apart because of me. I had to change if I really wanted to be with this person. So little by little I have tried to be a better person. I don’t manipulate my husband anymore. I sometimes say irrational things and argue irrationally (like I did yesterday), but I know I am doing it. And I can’t admit it and apologize for it. I would rather not do it at all, but sometimes that ugly side of me comes out when I am under a lot of stress.

Most of the time, I try to remain rational and I do what I can to be honest with my husband. He hates being manipulated, but he isn’t very good at seeing when he is being manipulated. I have gotten better about noticing when I am being manipulated. I don’t let it bother me since most of the time it is harmless. My son crying when he wants something. There also seems to be an acceptable level of lying in our house as well. Honesty is always best, but sometimes my husband says he can’t do something because he needs me to do something else–I hate hearing these things because so often he could do what he needs to but doesn’t want to. Sometimes it flies with me and other times it doesn’t. I do it from time to time too. So I am also guilty.

Despite some of our minor manipulations and deceptions, we work things out, usually because we communicate–we talk. It usually starts off as yelling, but once we get all the initial emotional reaction out of the way, we talk. We don’t always understand each other, but we try. These simple things help. I can’t expect the Genius to read my mind and stop doing something that bugs the hell out of me–I need to tell him.

And sometimes our little lies get too big or too frequent when there is really a bigger issue that one of us is trying to hide. In order to prevent this, I usually just try to remain honest all the time. My husband is usually honest with me, but he has phases when he lies a lot–usually when there is an aforementioned bigger issue that is bothering him. I find it more than a little frustrating when he demands that I be open and honest with him because when I don’t it causes problems, but he doesn’t take his own advice even though he knows his lies cause just as much damage.

Pregnancy and What it Means to Everyone Else

One of my friends from college sent me a Facebook message with a link to an article called On Pregnancy and Privacy and Fear by Aubrey Hirsch. My friend had read and knew that with my first pregnancy I felt in many ways like my pregnancy would define me instead of the degree I had just earned or my aspirations for my career. Reading this article in some ways resonated with what I was feeling–not on all points but on many.

I eventually got down to the comments, where there are several other mothers and mothers-to-be who shared the author’s fears, but there were also several people who just didn’t see what the author was complaining about or thought she was being selfish. I am not really responding to the article so much as expanding on what Aubrey wrote with my own experiences.

Having just had my second child, I will admit that I probably didn’t need to be as secretive about my first pregnancy. But at the time, I didn’t want everyone on Facebook knowing about it. I didn’t want to become a tidbit of Facebook gossip for so many of the Facebook “friends” that I haven’t spoken to in years. There are a handful of Facebook “friends” don’t even speak to me or read my status updates or respond to my comments on their statuses. I am basically ignored. Why would I want to share such news with “friends” like that when they had shut me out of their lives?

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was at an strange place in my life. I had just graduated with my second degree and I was considering graduate schools to attend. There were not many entry-level jobs in my field in my area available at that time, but my husband was making enough for my to be able to stay at home. I still tried to find employment, but the few job opportunities that opened up–the company didn’t hire anyone for because they just didn’t have the work in the end. So I stayed home and learned about pregnancy, about my son’s development, and about being a mom. But even though I read through so many things and asked my doctor many questions, there was still this mystery about the childbirth process. What happened in those moments that changed you? When would I know that I was different?

This unknown event was somewhat frightening and exciting. And now that I have gone through it, it is something that is difficult to explain. I don’t even know when it happened. I remember having my son held in front of my face, swaddled and blowing an amniotic bubble. He looked bored and confused. He looked at me and I didn’t know what to say. I just stared back. Maybe that was when it happened.

So many people call giving birth or having a baby or being pregnant a “miracle.” Sometimes hearing this or reading this rubs me the wrong way, but it doesn’t make it any less true. It bothers me sometimes because saying it is a miracle when so many women give birth everyday–well, that sounds rather ordinary to me. But it is still miracle because you, personally, were able to carry and bring this little person into the world. On a personal level, I think it is a miracle, especially when there are many women out there who would love to experience labor and delivery for themselves but cannot for many different reasons.

But what about everyone else? Why is everyone else so interested in you once you are pregnant? Frankly, I don’t know, but I know now that I have been pregnant and had a baby, I am excited for my friends who are pregnant. With first time mothers-to-be, I am excited to answer any questions because I had so many! And I feel like I should ask how they are doing health and pregnancy-wise because it isn’t like I am not worried, but I am more genuinely interested in knowing about everything that is happening in their lives. If they are focused on baby, then we talk about that!

With other friends who are mothers and are pregnant with their second child, I feel like talking about the pregnancy is a point of common ground, especially if we haven’t been the closest in the last few years. And not many of my friends really can understand on a technical level what I do for a living. That isn’t their fault. I like what I do, and when I come home, I don’t mind talking about other stuff–I prefer it–like cooking and my diet and nutrition.

I am not sure if other mothers feel this way too or not. But I did find with my first pregnancy that one person did take my pregnancy much too personally, and I still hold a bit of resentment towards that person. It feels as though this person took something from me.

If I had been a surrogate mother, I could understand how someone else could be so emotionally invested in my pregnancy. I could even understand my mother being extra emotionally invested, being her daughter, but my mother wasn’t that I could tell (my family is really good about granting space when appropriate, though too). But I wasn’t a surrogate, I was having a child of my own. Well, to be fair, my husband and I were having a child. I was the one responsible for watching what I ate and maintaining my weight. I was the one to deal with all the “joys” of pregnancy. I was the one to give birth–well, I labored for several hours before I needed an emergency cesarean section. I went through all of that. Some women may envy me for all that and that is okay, but after that child was born, my husband and I would be the ones responsible for his care.

So I got upset, knowing all of this when one particular person took the news I was having a baby very poorly and much too personally. This person respected our wishes (my husband’s and mine) not to spill the news on Facebook, but heavily questioned our reasoning and felt it was unfair. This person demanded an apology because we were being mean for not saying anything sooner. Admittedly, it was my husband’s responsibility to tell this person, but this person’s behavior was probably the biggest reason why he didn’t want to say anything.

We are rather private people and this was our news. This would be our child. At that time, we were trying to prepare for our new role and in his case, my husband was trying to enjoy the last weeks as a non-parent. I didn’t begrudge him this too much unless it caused problems.

In the end, I don’t really understand his reasoning, but I think it came down to the fact that he didn’t think this person really needed to know until he decided to say anything. He wasn’t trying to be malicious–and I don’t think this person really understood that. Regardless, this person wouldn’t drop the issue and reminded us–well, my husband more than me–of our horrible transgression through Facebook and with several voicemail messages.

With our first child, I don’t think there was anything wrong with keeping this huge life even to ourselves and focusing on preparing for the child. And I was happy to read that we were not alone in wanting the news to be a bit more private. But I also think such news doesn’t necessarily need to be shared with the world or on Facebook, and certain people who want to take someone else’s pregnancy personally, to be honest, they need to grow up and stop expecting the world to revolve around them.