Those pesky 2 pounds.

:: photo courtesy of mesonox ::

Here's what I don't understand:

Last week I weighed myself.  I had lost 2 pounds.  No big deal, but hey, 2 pounds is 2 pounds.

Then the week went by and I didn't work out.  I will proudly admit that I'm a very involved PTA mom, and last week I found myself coordinating volunteers, working on room parents, helping out at the book fair, and attending a Jog-a-Thon fundraiser meeting.  It was a lot and made me much busier than I wanted to be, but I figure that I am blessed to stay at home and our schools really need our help.  So there you go.

Like I said, there was no time to work out and I figured I was okay though because I was so busy.  I mean, you've got to be burning calories by just being busy, right?  Right?!?!?

Apparently not, because when I weighed myself this morning I had gained those 2 pounds back.

Here's the part that I don't understand: How is it fair that it can take 2 weeks to lose 2 pounds and only 1 week to gain those 2 pounds back?  I mean, I was never very good at math, but that just seems wrong.  If not wrong, then just not fair.

Yes, I know that I shouldn't be weighing myself on a weekly basis.  Water retention, time of the month issues, etc. can make all the difference.  I have read and had professionals tell me that it isn't the number on the scale that matters but how you feel.  I get it, but let's face it folks.  It all boils down to one thing: we put a lot of stock in numbers.  How many are in our bank account, how many we get on a test, how many we lost or in my case, gained.  Numbers are important whether we like it or not.

I'm sick of the number on my scale.  There's a particular number (no, I'm not going to share it) that I just can't seem to shake.  Even when I lose a few, I always seem to come back to the same exact number.  It's sort of spooky really.  It's almost like my body, regardless of what I do, keeps saying, "Nope.  This is the number that I want."

So where does that leave me?  I need that number to judge my successes and failures.  Sure, I can always go with how I feel and how my clothes fit, but I don't want to.  Like the perfect SAT score, I want that number.  I need that number.  I just don't know how to get to and stay at that number.

I have continued to run.  I have officially finished my Couch to 5K program and to celebrate will be running with two of my friends in a 5K down in Santa Monica next month.  And to celebrate that we plan to stay down there and do a little shopping because we might try to act like serious runners, but we're not crazy!

So there you go.

list four: 19 things I learned from the wedding I went to last weekend

:: photo courtesy of AngelaSadler ::

1.  I am no longer 23 years old.

2.  A lot can change in weddings in 10 years.

3.  Watching the mother/son dance makes me cry.

4.  I can't stay up as late as a bunch of 23 year olds.

5.  Phoenix is damn hot in the middle of August.

6.  There's not much you can do to make yourself look fresh and pretty when it's 112 degrees outside.

7.  I can't drink as much as a bunch of 23 year olds.

8. Sweet tea vodka and water tastes really good (and goes down quickly) when it's 112 degrees outside.

9.  Flip-flops aren't appropriate for weddings.

10.  Neither are jeans.  I don't care how casual the wedding.

11.  It's nice to have a giggle or two during the ceremony.  It's another thing entirely if the pastor makes jokes throughout the wedding.

12.  A bride is always beautiful.  Especially one madly in love.

13.  When a groom cries during the toasts, it makes me cry.

14.  There's nothing better than wedding cake.

15.  Except for a mashed potato bar served in martini glasses.  Genius.

16. Bringing your own video camera to a wedding is just weird.

17.  Weddings aren't about the stuff, they're about the people.

18.  Ten years later, there's still isn't a thing that I'd change about my wedding.

19.  I'd get married all over again if the Golfer would let me.  (To him of course.)

Carpool Conversations

Cheese:  "Mom, I learned how to write the letter 't' in cursive. Won't be long before I have all of the letters to write my name."

Mom:  "Cool.  You know what?  When I was in third grade, I also had to learn to write your name in cursive.  You know why?"

Cheese:  "Nope." (Now showing very little interest in continuing this conversation.)

Mom:  "Because that used to be my last name before I married Daddy.  You know what my name was after I married Daddy?"

Monkey:  "I know!"  (Says the little brother in the back seat who always has his ears on.)  "It was Mommy!  Because that's your name and because we grew in your belly.  And also Freeman.  Your name is that too."

So there you go.

Weekly Column: God, Family, and Football.

©2008, Stephenie Freeman

School has started which means only one thing.  Football season is just around the corner.

Football is a tradition in our family.  I was raised to love the sport.  Everyone is raised in Oklahoma to love three things: God, family, and football.  Preferably in that order.  Saturdays in the fall were my family’s Sabbath—a holy day that was spent worshipping at Memorial Stadium in Norman.

My father coached the Pee Wee football team at my elementary school one season.  He was a great Pee Wee coach, getting the kids to the games by promising Hershey candy bars afterwards.  Obviously, it was just the motivation that his team needed to win.  They were the City Champs that year.

My husband, The Golfer, played football when he was young.  He was never the biggest guy on the team, but he was definitely one of the fastest.  He claims to have scored several touchdowns during his junior high career, but there is no recorded evidence to actually prove his claims.

Now it’s my son’s turn to discover how much fun football can be.  That is, if the coach and all of the football parents will let him.

It was during the first parent meeting that I found out how intense the Mighty Mite football league was going to be.

The coach informed all of us that the players, our little five- and six-year-old boys, need to be at every single practice come hell or high water.  Sickness is no excuse.  Unless my child is projectile vomiting or running an extremely fever, he’ll need to be at practice even if it’s just sitting on the sidelines infecting the rest of his teammates.

“And what about homework?” a concerned parent asked; a very good question since these first graders have it every night.  The coach’s simple answer was that they could bring it to practice to work on in between drills.  Nothing like learning how to add and catch a pass all in one fell swoop.

But I understand where the coach is coming from.  I want to teach the Cheese that when you make a commitment to something you have to stick with it, rain or shine, homework or high fever.

The coach also informed us that it is against the law in our state for a parent to talk to or touch an official.  

“You will go to jail,” he told us.

My son spent the rest of the evening asking me what will happen to him when his father and I go to jail.  Apparently he has been watching us closely during football games and has reason to be concerned.

Finally it was time for his first practice.  I participated with the other parents in cheering for the team—cheering for every pass, the hits and the misses.

But there was one mom who wasn’t cheering.  She was too busy focusing.  While the rest of us lazily sat in our lawn chairs sipping our Starbucks, this mom squatted on the sideline, moving wherever she needed to get the best view of her child.

She was extremely attentive, this football mom, and I could quickly see why.  Her son was good—really good—especially for a Mighty Mite player.  He caught every pass that was thrown to him and was faster than any other kid on the team.  She had reason to be so intense—she has a young Adrian Peterson or Sam Bradford on her hands.

My son, neither fast nor quick to catch the ball, was put on the line of scrimmage as a guard.  My underweight son, who has often been referred to as “scrawny” and has never rated higher on the growth chart than the twentieth percentile, has actually shown some promise as a blocker.  I think it’s because he likes getting to push kids around and not get in trouble.  Lord knows he’s gotten plenty of practice at home with his little brother.

As the whistle blew, my usually timid child plowed right into the teammate he was covering, knocking him to the ground and falling right on top of him.

I tried my best not to cheer too loudly, out of respect for the other player’s parents, but it’s hard not to get excited when you realize that you’re raising the next Brian Bosworth.  


list three: favorite movie quotes

fyi--today's list is inspired by a Facebook friend.

1.  He hates these cans!  Stay away from the cans! 

2.   I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out.  I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich.  I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes.  And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night.  And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

3.  I would have asked for your number, and I wouldn't have been able to wait twenty-four hours before calling you and saying, "Hey, how about... oh, how about some coffee or, you know, drinks or dinner or a movie... for as long as we both shall live?"

4.  You mean I'm gonna STAY this color?

5.  I was born to love you...I was born to lick your face...I was born to rub you...but you were born to rub me first... What do you say we take this out on the patio?

6.  I don't know what to say, except it's Christmas and we're all in misery.

7.  Yeah, it is a bit nipply out. I mean nippy. What am I saying, nipple?

8.   Merry Christmas. Shitter was full.   

9.  Lieutenant Dan: Have you found Jesus yet, Gump?
I didn't know I was supposed to be looking for him, sir.

10. We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all.

11.  It's called a sense of humor - you should get one - they're nice.  

Now it's your turn.  What are your favorites?

Dave Matthews. Everyday.

I was in the car today when the song "Everyday" by Dave Matthews Band came over the radio.  Oh how I love this song.  I'm a fan of some of Dave's song.  Not all, just some.  Definitely this one because it always makes me think of the Big Cheese.

(Side note:  My son has informed me that from now on he wants to be referred to as "The Big Cheese" instead of just "The Cheese Eater."  So there you go.)

When the Big Cheese was a newborn and I would be up nursing him in the middle of the night, I usually turned on the T.V. to keep myself awake.  I made the mistake once of trying to nurse without it and woke up to find my baby asleep in my arms with breast milk dribbling out of his mouth and my big ol' boob resting on his cheek.  Not a good look.

So often I would put the T.V. on MTV or VH1 because really, the only thing on that late at night that isn't terribly boring or pornographic are music videos.  And during the time that I was nursing my first born, the video for "Everyday" was really popular.

Now whenever I hear that song or see that video, I can't help but remember sitting in the big green chair in my living room holding my tiny little baby boy.  My tiny baby boy who is now a big ol' 3rd grader who asked me if I knew how to hotwire a car when we were getting ready for school this morning.

That's my first Dave Matthews story.  Here's my second.

So my dad usually goes to this little 9 hole golf course in Laguna.  He usually doesn't have a group of his own, so he'll often ask to be put with another group.  Then I get a call one day where my dad tells me that he played golf with "some band."

"It was the Dave Matthews Band.  You ever heard of 'em?"

"Uh, yeah, Dad.  I've heard of them."

"Yeah, well I asked them if they had any albums out."

Albums.  Geesh.  "Yeah, Dad.  They have one or two.  And they're often referred to as CDs."

"Huh.  That's what they said.  Anyway, I played with the black guy that plays the violin.  Nice guy.  But I think it might be more of your kind of music than mine."

"Yeah, Dad.  Probably."

All you need is
All you want is
All you need is Love.

Oh, everyday

First Day.

::  first day apples ::

Weekly Column: The bricks I put on their heads don't seem to be working.

©2007, Stephenie Freeman
This was originally written three years ago right before the Cheese started Kindergarten.  Now as the Monkey is getting ready to do the same, I can't help but look back for a quick reality check.

For the first time, I stopped everything I was doing to watch my kids.

It’s not like it sounds, but my kids and I lead parallel lives.  They play while I clean.  They watch television while I fold laundry.  They color pictures while I read a book.  It’s a nice little arrangement we have, me and my boys.  It’s what works for us, and they know that no matter what I’m doing, I’m always there if they need me.

Except if Mommy’s in her office and her “fingers are busy typing.”  Then they know to proceed with caution.

Turns out, I was blessed with the kind of kids who can easily entertain themselves, leaving me to be the must-get-it-all-done-to-prove-I-don’t-watch-TV-all-day, multi-tasking fool that I am.  But aside from the occasional, “Mommy, look at me!” my kids are usually happy on their own.

Oh, I’ve spent my fair share of time on the floor putting together train tracks and setting up battle scenes for Star Wars figurines.  And I’m embarrassed to admit that once I fell flat on my face while playing a quick game of one-on-one soccer.  But typically I’ve always been too busy with the mundane chores of motherhood to participate in the many joys of childhood.

Then a couple of days ago, I got a wake-up call.  It came in the form of a letter from our neighborhood elementary school that was filled with information about the upcoming school year.  This letter brought with it the reality that my son, whom I had spent practically every waking moment with for the last five years, was about to venture out into the real world without me.

Suddenly I had the overwhelming feeling that my time with my son was running out.  My first-born, whom we nicknamed the “Cheese Eater” because of his sincere love of dairy products, had unexpectedly grown up.

My son was about to be… a Kindergartner.

I panicked and called my husband at work.

"How are we going to buy the Cheese Eater a car?  There’s only eighty-three dollars in the savings account." I asked before even saying hello.

"What are you talking about?"

"He’s turning sixteen, in like, eleven years!  It won’t be long before his voice will start to crack and he’ll be asking for his own cell phone.  We have got to figure this out—today!"

The panic and impatience in my voice was a little extreme, but I was a mother who was losing her baby.  I was the embodiment of a classic cliché, wondering, "Where had the last five years had gone?"  Time had gotten the best of me, and while I was busy making sure the house always looked clean in case someone stopped by, my son was growing up.

So today, I took the time to stop and watch my children.  I watched as my two-year-old carefully lined up a hand-full of plastic Marines across my coffee table.  I watched as my five-year-old complemented his little brother on doing a fine job and then knocked down the Marines with one effortless swipe from an empty paper towel roll.  I watched as they took turns using the paper towel roll as some sort of weapon, laughing and chasing one another around the living room, having a ball until they wore themselves out and crashed into a pile on the couch.

Smiling, it dawned on me that these were the noises I would hear while unloading the dishwasher or making the beds.  This is what my children were up to while I was off being busy.  Suddenly I wished that I had cleaned the toilets less and watched my child more.

The good thing is, my children won’t be leaving me officially for at least another thirteen years or so, giving me plenty of opportunities to stop and watch them grow up and save up for a car.

The toilets will just have to wait. 

list two: 13 reasons I love sending the kids back to school

:: photo courtesy of MookieLuv ::

1.  a reason to shop for new clothes, even if they're not for me.

2.  new boxes of unbroken crayons.

3.  the word Kindergarten.

4.  trying to decide what I will do with my whopping 6 hours of free time.

5.  discovering that all of my 6 hours of free time will be taking up with volunteering and PTA meetings.

6.  meeting new teachers.

7.  getting back into a routine.

8.  football season.

9.  25 cent Elmer's Glue.

10.  clean classrooms.

11.  clean back packs.

12.  clean haircuts.

13.  yet another fresh start.

What is this list thing all about?  Read to understand my madness here.


Don't judge me.

So here's the story.  I take my two dogs to the groomer on Monday morning.  (Yes, I already own two dogs.)  That day they were also having dog adoptions.  It was risky just walking into the store.

I had no intention of adopting a dog that day.  But there was a little puppy there rescued from South Central L.A. and he needed us.

I think my exact words when I walked into the house and saw the Golfer was, "Now don't be mad."

He's a total mutt.  A mixture that we named Norman.  When people ask me what kind of dog he is, I'm going to say, "Californian."

But three dogs?  I know that it seems a little...nuts, and I've wondered in the last 48 hours if I'm hitting some kind of mid-life crisis, but then I had an epiphany when I woke up yesterday.  I can't have anymore kids so to replace the baby that my uterus has been longing to have, I went out and adopted a dog instead.

"It could have been worse," I told the Golfer.  "I could have gone down to South Central and bought a kid instead."

Much like Freddie, our other rescue puppy, this dog is just happy to have a home.  He's 8 months old and love to play and fetch a ball and sit on your lap.  Instead of snuggling with my new baby, I'm snuggling with Norman.

I come by this naturally.  I've always had pets, multiple pets.  In my lifetime I have owned a total of 6 dogs, 3 cats, 1 rabbit, a couple of parakeets, and one goldfish that lasted about 1 hour.  Oh, and then there's the 2 guinea pigs that I bought for my boys and the beta fish that the Golfer brought home with the Cheese (but you can read all about that in my book.)

A home without animals just feels weird to me.

Could you have just left him there?