Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Water Fitness Fiasco

Well, I'm not feeling very funny at the moment, but I have received many requests from those who have heard this story to post it as a blog... so here goes.

This is a humorous but self-deprecating story akin to the time I played Halo for the first (and last) time (which is another story for another time)... So, I have been faithfully hauling my butt to the local Natatorium and taking a variety of exercise classes in a long-suffering attempt to lose the baby weight from NJ. A good friend of mine, we'll call her K, is also trying to be dedicated to diet and weight loss and now that her only child has started kindergarten she decided to join me at the gym. K studied the schedule of fitness classes and decided on a class that she thought would be appropriate for the two of us. Now seeing as we are both young mothers, young enough to still be relatively cool, and not totally out of shape, I was expecting something along the lines of Pilate's, spinning, or yoga. So you can imagine my surprise when K excitedly announced that we would be taking "medium intensity deep water fitness!" I had been going to the Nat long enough to have seen a water class in action a time or two, and I was well aware that the average age for members taking those classes was approximately 78. But having been a swimmer in her high school years, K was set on it, so I reluctantly agreed to give it a try on the following Friday.

When Friday morning rolled around I drug myself out of bed and squeezed into my bathing suit. That was when it happened, while I was hopping around my bedroom trying to lever myself into the suit, with the peanut gallery (my kids) jumping on the bed and laughing hysterically at me, K called to tell me that she couldn't come to class. UUUGGG! Now what's a girl to to? I had already missed my regular class (for some unknown reason, water fitness is scheduled at a later time than cardio classes... not sure why considering that every senior citizen I've ever met wakes up at the crack of dawn). I was VERY tempted to flop back on my bed, heave a sigh of relief and call it a day. But nooooo, I'm dedicated remember... faithful to the pursuit of my goals. So I went to that class anyway. Alone.

The time it took to talk myself into going had caused me to be ever so slightly late to the class. When I got there, class hadn't started yet but all the old ladies were already in the pool, happily treading water and chatting about whatever it is they chat about (grand kids and fiber I assume). Not wanting to miss the beginning of class, I quickly hopped in and swam out to the deep end, nodding and smiling politely at my blue-haired classmates.

Almost immediately, class got started. The music was turned on and the instructor, also a Golden Buckeye Cardholder, took her place by the edge of the pool. That's right, the teacher does not actually get into the water (not sure how she worked that deal, but it seems totally unfair). And one and two.. jog in place (how do you jog when you can't touch the bottom I wonder).. and three and four.. jumping jacks (hello! the water is ten feet deep out here).. and five and six.. and on and on and on. It started out ok, but about fifteen minutes into the class I began to tucker out. That might be an understatement. I began to drown. Not an understatement. I resumed treading water and looked around at the other women in the class. They didn't seemed to be phased one bit. As a matter of fact, many of them were still happily chatting about hip replacements and the like. I was completely bewildered. I mean, I was at least forty years younger than the youngest woman in there! Why was I on the verge of cardiac arrest while they were flitting around like mermaids (wrinkly mermaids, but mermaids none the less)?!?

While I was staring around the pool slack-jawed, I noticed something. All of the other ladies had something in common. Something barely visible beneath the water. When the instructor told the class to take a lap around the pool I casually (as casually as you can while gasping for air) swam over to where the instructor had her comfortable perch on the side of the pool and asked her if I was supposed to have some type of gadget to keep me afloat. She asked me what my name was. I didn't see how that was relevant to my current crisis, but I answered her anyway. After the typical explanation as to how to pronounce my name, she stood up, yelled (that's right YELLED) for the class to stop swimming their lap, and announced that I (mis-pronouncing my name of course) wanted to know if I needed some kind of "gadget" to keep me afloat. She actually used the finger quotation marks when she said "gadget". Needless to say, the class thought this was hilarious. The instructor told me, hand on hip like an exasperated mother (or grandmother in this case) to get out of the pool. So right there in front of everyone she "fitted" me for the blue (which is why I couldn't really see them under the water) belt that apparently keeps you from drowning during these classes. As if this wasn't embarrassing enough, during this little "fitting" in front of what felt like the entire elderly population of Northeast Ohio, she asked the unforgivable question. The question dreaded by every slightly chubby girl in America. That's right, she asked if I was pregnant. PREGNANT! You should of seen my face. For those of you who know how big my eyes are normally, they were practically popping out of their sockets at this point. I was beginning to wish that I actually had drowned during the first fifteen minutes of class. I mumbled "uh no" and hurried back into the water. The only thing that kept me from running out the door was the fear of slipping in a puddle and falling on my head in front of the crowd that had already witnessed all of the above.

After all that, I managed to make it through the rest of the class. The old ladies turned out to be very sweet and treated me like some kind of cute, but helpless (or beltless) mascot. However, I was discouraged when one pointed out that we were wearing the same bathing suit. It wasn't a bad workout either. I might even try it again... after an appropriate amount of time has gone by, of course.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My True Diaper Bag Story

There are many different bags out there. Purses, backpacks, those gorgeous paper bags with fancy handles and tissue paper that you get at upscale stores, book bags, shopping bags, gift bags, even a man-bag or two. But there is one bag that is unique to moms... the diaper bag.... the magic bag of remedies, where the answer to every away-from-home babyhood need is stowed away in it's unique compartment ready and waiting to be pulled out like a rabbit from a hat. Voila! Any of you who know me at all can testify to the fact that I love bags, any and all bags. Before I married N, my closet housed over 70 purses. It's an addiction, I know. Well, N insisted that I tone down my purse collection when we bought our (very small) house. Young and in love, I complied, not knowing at the time that my addiction would soon be able to be fed in a new (and much bigger) type of bag.

When we found out we were pregnant with our first baby, LGO, I went through that phase of getting prepared insanity. I shopped, registered, read magazines, made wish lists. I was determined to have the myriad of stuff I thought I needed in order to be a properly organized, prepared, and otherwise "all-together" mom. With all my purse buying know-how, I hunted down the perfect diaper bag, not too pastel, not too fluffy, sophisticated but not so sophisticated that my husband wouldn't want to carry it in public. It has all the right bells an whistles, gadgets and gizmos. It had the changing pad, the insulated bottle holders, the wipes container, a clever little slot for your cell phone. I loved it. I was determined to always have it filled with everything my beautiful baby girl would need. Everything from blankies to binkys, bottles to bandaids, breastmilk to bibs...and at first I did. (By "at first" I mean approximately three or four weeks.) After that, it wasn't uncommon for me to leave the house with a couple of Huggies in my bare hand and milk on tap.

Don't get me wrong, I still bought, still loved diaper bags, still do in fact. And when my son, NJ, was born I still went through that super-organized, time consuming, (yet very short) phase of having my diaper bag so perfectly arranged, it could have been a display for Baby Bjorn. I will celebrate my third mama-versary tomorrow as LGO turns three, and in those three years I have accumulated many diaper bags, and some regular bags that I just use for diaper bags, and some bags that I plan on using as diaper bags. When (and if) I open my hall closet to grab one of the aforementioned bags, I am presented with many options, from the Cute Baby Gap bag, to the rugged Jeep bag, to the plain canvass tote bag, to the slightly big, converted purse.

As you may have figured, I take about as much time to clean out my diaper bags as I do to supply them. So when I pull one off the hook in the closet, I never know what I may find. Many times it is an unpleasant surprise like a half-full (but only God knows when it was last used) sippy cup. Or a bib covered in three week old ravioli. But sometimes, just sometimes I find a treasure, like the pacifier I have been hunting for like a mad woman for the last hour. Or the bunny he carried with him everywhere for a while and then lost interest in. Or a favorite outfit that is now too small but not so dirty that I can't hold it and remember the last time she wore it. These are truly this mom's tiny blessings.

A few weeks ago, a woman sitting beside me in Sunday School pulled a baseball card out of her Bible. Apparently she had been using her son's Bible that morning, a son who passed away eleven years ago when he was just a little boy. She showed me the card and smiled, saying that she is always finding little trinkets that he left, little momentos for her to find. That was a diaper bag moment. It was at that moment that I realized how precious those little treasures are. You see, a real diaper bag isn't something a mom carries on her shoulder for a season while her kids are young, it's something every mom carries with her always, the place where we can reach in, reach to the very bottom and find moments of motherhood.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


It's that time of year again in Northeast Ohio. For those of you not currently living in the Buckeye state... it's fall here. It's jeans & jacket weather. Chilli (the food not the climate) weather. Play all day outside, jump in the leaves kind of weather. It's a beautiful time of year when the colors start to change, the temperature drops, football season begins, and N and I celebrate our anniversary. No, not our wedding anniversary, (we got married in the spring), but the annivesary of the beginning of our relationship...the very beginning.

Those of you who have ever been in any kind of serious relationship, know exactly what I'm talking about. The Beginning. The amazing time in every relationship when your heart races just thinking about the other person, when you could spend hours talking about nothing... i'm sure you all know what I'm talking about. N and I don't have a day of the month to mark the beginning, (I'm sure there was one, we just don't remember what it is). We know it happened sometime in the fall when he was 15 and I was 16. So instead of remebering a specific date, we remember the weather.... and this was it. The leaves were changing, the air was cool, and we were in love. Nine years, and two kids later, we are still in love. This time of year, this weather, you can just feel it in the air. I'm sure we will feel it every fall for the rest of our lives. Every time the seasons change from summer to autumn, we will look back and remember the beginning.
I just discovered the song "Hey There Delilah" (when you had it on your page C.). Yeah, yeah, I know that they play it on the radio like a billion times a day, but between Baby Einstein CD's and Talk Radio, I somehow missed it. Anyway, wow, if I had to pick a theme song to describe our "beginning" that would be it. I'm sure those of you who were there can remember... "two more years and we'll be done with school, N was gonna pay the bills with his guitar, we'd have it good, he'd write every song to me and more in love with him i'd fall..." and so on and so on. Ya know, our life didn't end up exactly like that, but that's ok with me. There's a line in that song that says "we'll have the life we know we should" and that's what we've got. N might not pay the bills with his guitar, but he still pays them nontheless. When we were 15 he promised to take care of me, and he does, better than I ever could of imagined as a teenage girl. Everytime he plays his guitar in the living room or on the worship team, I remember that tenth grade boy who was gonna make it big. I love those memories, but I wouldn't trade what I have now for anything.

There was this moment not too long ago, as the fall weather was just moving in... both kids were in bed, I was folding laundry in the living room and N was sitting on the couch playing his guitar...that was the moment...that was all there was to it...but it was perfect. The kind of perfect moment when you realize that you are truly happy. Not that life is perfect, it isn't, it's hard, and with two toddlers, it's downright terrifying sometimes, but I believe that in the midst of this overwhelming, crazy life, God gives us simple moments like that one, simple gifts like Ohio in the fall, simple memories to cherish. Happy anniversary N-darlin'.