Sunday, October 28, 2012

Communication

Having an almost-one-year old is about 6 times the fun of a newborn.  It is also exhausting, what with the speed-crawling and the cruising and the finger foods.  But what's really fun is communication beyond the crying.

He says three words that he actually understands--"Appa" (Korean for Dad), "Mama" (meaning both Mom, in English, and Food, in Korean--understandably related for a breastfed child of a working mom), and now (the biggest accomplishment) "Dah" (for "Dog").  He even misapplied the label of dog to our cats.  It's so fun to watch him generalize the concept of furry, fun, four-legged creature who lives in the house with us.

But more than that, he really communicates.  A couple months ago, he learned that waving means good bye and hello.  Shortly thereafter, he used his arms stretched out with a little cry to indicate that he wants to be picked up.  He's figured out clapping and that head-shaking goes with "no" and that we say "no" a lot when he grabs the glasses off our faces (which now gives us a warning that he's about to go for the glasses, because he'll start the head-shake before he grabs... haha!).  He gets his grandma to do funny things by being cute in special ways (screaming, putting his hands up, etc.).

Can't wait for more!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Warm up.

I miss writing.

Sometimes I think about posts I could write.  And then, mid-organization, J wakes up from his nap and takes my attention fully back to mommy-land.

In fact, I am only able to visit blog-land at the moment because my husband is watching the baby on a Sunday afternoon I have not managed to commit to cooking, sailing, friend-visiting, or grading.  It is rather shocking.

Amanda has convinced me to do NaNoWriMo.  I'm pretty sure I should warm up.

Consider this my warm up.

News update round:

--I LOVE my job.  I have fallen in love with teaching again.  I have the absolute best kids and fellow English teachers ever.  I am insanely busy with it and having trouble with time management being both a teacher and a mom, but I'm figuring it out with lots and lots of support from Min Gi.
--J is 10.5 months.  It's hard to believe he is almost a year.  He's really cool.
--I am cooking a lot.  It's been a lot of work, but I'm really enjoying it.  And so are my family members who reap most of the tasty delicious benefits.  The other teachers envy my lunches.  I'm that awesome.
--I survived another flare up of ulcerative colitis.  This sucked, but we are all doing well.
--We are planning to spend a good bit of next summer in Korea.  I am wildly excited about this.  Hopefully I'll find affordable tickets.
--I am still working one shift a week at the hotline and helping with training.  Somehow this keeps me sane.
--Exercise is not as consistent as I'd like, but it's getting there.  I am within 8 lbs of pre-pregnancy weight.  That's pretty good.

So there we are.  Life's pretty good.  And I'm pretty sure J is about to wake up from a nap, so I'd better--


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Teacher Dork

Well, folks.  I probably should have announced this a few weeks ago, but here is some of the biggest news that is happening in my life right now:  I accepted a high school English teaching position for this school year.  This means I will be leaving my full time job at the hotline and returning to the profession I had serious doubts about when I left my last teaching job.  This one is in a new district in Maryland.  Everything I have been learning about the district and the school makes me feel like it will be a very different experience than my last position.  Although I have understandable lingering anxieties from the disaster that was my last teaching job, I approach my new teacher in-service days starting tomorrow with a good deal of optimism.

I'm very excited to be a Lion (yes, that's our mascot), and the classes are almost perfectly designed for my talents/interests.  First semester I will be teaching 10th grade honors (which is an American Lit course) and 9th grade co-taught inclusion English with a commercial reading lab program that I've heard good things about.  Second semester, I will be teaching AP Language and Composition and 11th grade English along with the continuation of the same 9th grade English class (it's a 2-credit, 2-semester long course).

The preparations I've been doing for the last month have awoken my sleeping teacher dork self.  I re-read Harry Wong's The First Days of School, the single most important text I recommend for new teachers across every discipline and culture.  I used it to review all of my old classroom management plans and procedures to come up with a new plan that I'm happy with.  It also brought back a touch of that idealism I had when I first became a teacher (although perhaps peppered now with the wisdom and understanding of my years of experience), which I needed.

The most exciting piece, of course, is planning what books we will read this year and what writing assignments we will do.  I'm lucky--for ninth graders I can include some really interesting young adult works like The Giver, Speak, and The Hunger Games (yes, really, it's on the approved list and we have a class set); for the tenth most of the American Lit options available are ones I've taught before and love teaching--Of Mice and Men, A Raisin in the Sun, The Crucible, To Kill a Mockingbird, and even the book that has the honor of being my favorite piece of writing, The Things They Carried.

For writing assignments, I believe I have some standard county requirements for each year, but I hope there is some flexibility in that.  I will learn more tomorrow at my in-service.

Let the school year begin!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Grief/Childhood Friends

To what degree do our friends in childhood influence who we become as adults?  And how many of us don't always stay in touch with those people who once peopled our small worlds?  Facebook makes it easier to stay loosely connected with minimal effort, but it's not quite the same.

If I re-read my journals from when I was a girl--10, 11, 12 years old-- my world is peopled with C---s.  They were (and are still) the family down the street.  Their oldest son, Chris, was two years older than me and our younger brothers were of an age.  Christina, the only daughter, is 2 years older than my sister Sarah and the twin boys a few years younger than that--I baby sat them now and then.  The father, Ted, is a formidable Greek man with the kind of vivid personality that intrigues and amuses, but sometimes embarrasses his own preteen children.  The mother, Sue, is one of the most giving people I know.  In my memories she is as American mother as a Donna Reed archetype, except warmer, more approachable, and with a much greater sense of humor.

I loved them in the casual, eternal way that young children love, firm in the belief that what is now is what always will be.  Chris, being two years older, was an object of adoration.  As I was preparing for junior high, he was old hat at such things and was on his way to the unthinkably miraculous and grown up world of high school.  We played in the woods that was adjacent to our street, often taking our brothers with us.

Brian, my brother, and Tim C were best friends.  They were together always.  In late elementary school, they would set up wooden ramps in the peaceful street where we lived and try to perform tricks with their bikes.  They were tree climbers.  They hoarded the backyard basketball hoop and the C---'s pool.  There were scraped knees and broken glasses and many, many sprains in their adventures together.

Chris and I grew apart as I attended far away schools in Silver Spring and he stayed closer to home.  We each became firmly attached to the school world in which our peers now occupied.  We would see each other on the block now and then and say hi, but as first he and then I learned to drive, these casual hellos would be fewer and fewer.  And after college, I would be surprised if we even recognized each other if we weren't both on the street where our parents lived.

To look back on it is sad--the gradual, slow, fading away of a friendship that once was as vital to me as the grass and trees and water.  But the casual slowness of the loss, like the loss of so many other childhood things--magic, innocence, freedom--made it not so sharp.  You wake up one day and you don't believe in unicorns and realize that you haven't for several years; in some ways you can't even remember really having believed.  So it was with my friendship with Chris C---.

I don't really know what happened, but as the friendship between our brothers was ever more intense, so too was the ending of it.  Sometime in middle school, Tim and Brian stopped speaking.  From then on, my brother's looks were always hostile and hurt at the mention of the C---s.  I used to wonder about it now and then, but hadn't for a long time.  Although Christina's friendship with my sister healed some of the hurts, the splintering between Brian and Tim pretty much ended the closeness our families had once developed.  Another family moved in that had children close in age and their world became the rich, lucky one that was peopled with C---s.

On June 15, Tim, now 28 years old, was killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver who was going the wrong way on the highway.  It was an awful, stupid, unfair injustice to a family I often wish would have stayed forever as they had in my childhood.  I attended the memorial service yesterday at the local church.  I learned about life for Tim in the years since he and Brian were no longer inseparable.  Life had been cruel to the boy I knew.  He suffered.  More than he--more than anyone--deserved.

Hearing the family speak about their loss was powerful.  They are all such amazing people.  And I felt my own loss--not for the boy who was dead--but for the man he had been.  The man I had never known.  The man who was once a boy I thought would be part of my life forever and then wasn't.  And now, I suppose, never will be.

My life is richer, I am a better person for having a childhood filled with the C---s.  But now, I don't want that to be the end of the story.  I want to reach out.  I want to make a bridge across the years and be there for the family.  And I don't know how, or if it would even be welcomed, in their grief.  All I know is that I will try.  I plan to summarize my thoughts I've shared here in a letter.

And maybe I will add them as friends on Facebook...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What's happening?

Jeongmin's 6 month birthday party.

I'm feeling like me again these days.  I will reflect on this at a later time, but a lot of stuff has happened in the last few weeks that has really made me feel like I've arrived in my life in America.  That's right--it took two years.  That's a lot of culture shock.

Baby swim lessons at the pool.

 My son has really grown into quite a distinct person.  He has his own sense of humor and temperament.  He learned to crawl this week and now there is just no stopping him.

Sailing on dad's boat.

A snippet of Mr. Personality playing with his feet:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Days Like This...

All around us is blue.  Sky, water, clouds.  The tall ships have finished their voyage up the channel.  Min Gi naps on the side of the boat.  The wind whips through the sails.  Michelle and I are talking about something related to teaching or hiking or something.  Dad is sitting in the catbird seat, staring out onto the bay.

Jeongmin, nestled against my chest in the baby carrier, wakes up.  He looks up at me with the confusion of sleep still knotting his brow.  He smiles at the recognition.  Then the wind whistles through his hair and across his cheeks.  Shock.  Then, giggles.  Giggles and squirming.  And the rest of us giggle back.

I could stay like that for awhile.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

My mother-in-law is visiting from Korea for a month.  I love her so much, anxiety-ridden rants about my questionable parenting skills and all.  She raised the child who became my husband.  She did so while suffering in ways that I, as an American woman in a later generation, cannot possibly imagine.  She did so with one of the biggest hearts I have ever known.

***
May 13, 2012

Dear Mom,

This is the first mother's day that I celebrate not just as your daughter, but as Jeongmin's mother.  Your support in these last few months as I've taken on my new role has been unbelievable.  It's not even what you have given my son since his birth, for which I cannot ever hope to thank you enough--I always knew that you would spoil any of my children rotten with your love and your generosity.

What has surprised me is how thoughtful and sensitive you have been in supporting me over these last few months.  I feel a closeness with you that I have longed for my whole adult life and never quite achieved.  Who knew that my moving back home and having a baby would bring that?

Perhaps it is the new-found empathy that I have for your position as a mother.  Wandering through the trail of stuff left behind as the caring of a child takes me away from organizational and cleaning tasks midstream, trying desperately to put things back in place, knowing that the river of chaos will never quite be dammed--but loving that mess and even loving the act of cleaning it on the fly is a new experience.  I get it now.  Understand those parts of you that always seems scattered and frazzled and just plain silly.  It's a visceral understanding that reading all of your books never really quite got me there, though it's how I've always tried to connect before.  The parts of you that are mother--those most relevant to me and to our relationship--have ironically remained evasive to me so firmly stuck in the role of daughter.  In my new role, our relationship is changed.  And it is beautiful.

Thank you.  I love you.

Your daughter,
Diana

***

I'm not really one for holidays, but everyone seems to be talking about mother's day.  It is my first mother's day as a mother.  Last year I was pregnant, but it's not the same.  This ride is pretty wild, but I love it.

To all the moms out there, especially the new ones, have a great day!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My sad, neglected blog and a breakdown/through

Baby's first sailing trip.

I have been neglecting you again, my blog and my readers.  Some of this is from being busy (isn't it always?) but I'm just now realizing that much of it has been an unwillingness (or if I'm feeling kinder towards myself, an inability due to other pressures) to be insightful enough to admit something to myself I don't really want to deal with.  But I'm there, so I might as well share it with you:  I am in the middle of another episode of depression.  At least I get to call it postpartum and feel the support of other moms, right?

I went back to work a bit over a month ago.  Being a working mom is a transition as dramatic as having a newborn, but I don't think I was as prepared for this one.  I'm adjusting to the new routine (as is Min Gi, now a full time dad, and the baby, who is as awesome, healthy, and cute as always), but it's taking some time.

Min Gi with Jeongmin on a walk in the park.

I've had health problems since going back from the stress/lack of time, but I'm recovering from them now.  I have nothing even remotely like "free time" anymore and just about anything I do have goes to time with the baby or time with the baby and the husband. I haven't been reading much--blogs, books, or otherwise--and have inadvertently given up television. I don't even usually get online when I'm not at work these days.  I don't take care of myself like I know I need to to avoid depression.  That needs to change.

We went through a period where Jeongmin went on a once or twice a day nursing strike because he was suddenly taking so many more feedings from the bottle.  That was rough and terrifying.  During that time, I began to feel personally rejected by him.  This feeling has grown and gotten worse.  I now feel like the baby hates me and that I can't do anything right as a mom.  I get really anxious when he starts to cry or when I'm left alone with him for too long, and I start snapping at Min Gi and it just gets worse from there.
This little guy loves his Daddy so much!

I finally realized that I'm dealing with the PPD beast on Friday when I screamed like a mad woman at my husband for doing a load of laundry and not putting my jeans in it and then crying so pathetically and hysterically for two hours that he (and the baby) thought I was laughing at first.
Typing all that makes it sound a lot worse than it is.  I really love Jeongmin.  His smile makes my whole world stop for a moment.  My relationship with Min Gi is in most ways stronger than it has ever been.  I'm happy a lot of the time.  But all of this is what made me keep dismissing these growing, nagging feelings as unimportant.  I really should know better than to do that by now.

With the baby in my favorite carrier.

So... I have an appointment with a counselor.  I am not even considering medication at this time, since my self-care could be a lot better and the only depression meds approved for breastfeeding are ones I have had a horrible reaction to in the past.  I will not give up breastfeeding because in my worst, darkest moments where I think the baby would be better with just about any other mom than me, I can at least tell myself that breastfeeding is going well.

And that's where I am.  And where I've been.

I'll let y'all know how it goes.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Baby J turned two months old...

Starting to develop some serious head control.

Having a child feels like you're counting time like a teenager does in relationships.  You celebrate weekly and monthly "anniversaries" (but I still refuse to call them that!) or "birthdays."  Jeongmin turned two months a couple days ago.  Here are some pictures of what he's been up to the past few weeks:


Baby giggles:  Awesome.

Hanging out with Nora, the daughter of my friends Amy and Andrew, just two weeks younger than Jeongmin.  He looks very smug here--he's quite the ladies' man already.

Daddy's belly is super comfortable.


He charms all the ladies.  Here he is with Min Gi's manager's daughter, Jisu.  He's already charmed her.

I love this picture.  It's captured the personality I see all day.

Min Gi has left his job to begin his new adventure as a full-time dad, and I have just one week of maternity leave left.  It will be hard to be apart from the little guy (very hard), but in some ways I look forward to returning to my job.

For more cuteness:



Baby: Weeks 7 -9

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

10 Things I've Learned about Mommyhood

Inspired by Shotgun Korea, now Shotgun Adventures (as they are on the West Coast of the U.S. these days), I thought I'd post 10 bits of mom wisdom I've acquired in the 8 weeks (really, 8 as of tomorrow!) I've been a mom.  Don't expect profound secrets here.  Just stuff I've figured out.

1.  My emotional repertoire has stretched to new limits.  The highs are higher, the lows lower.  My heart feels like it just woke up in technicolor Oz after living in black and white Kansas my whole life.  It's not that having a kid makes me happier or sadder or anything like that--it's that I had no idea there were emotions left I still had not experienced in my life.  And there is no greater feeling in the world than uncovering a limitation that you didn't even know you had and pushing through it.  I loved being a teacher because I could put kids in touch with that feeling, but I really wasn't sure I'd ever experience it again the way I had as a student in high school and college.  What intellectual discovery was like as a young adult student is what the emotional discovery of being a parent is like.  Amazing.

2.  Being a mom makes you ridiculously proud of completely mundane things your baby does.  Like poop.  And eat.  And smile.  And sleep.  Because to you, none of these things are mundane or boring.  They are endlessly, endlessly fascinating.  And you talk about them.  Sometimes too much.

3.  The sleep deprivation you've heard about?  It's bad.  Really bad.  But you'll be amazed how fast you adapt.  Before having the baby, I was one of those people who was practically nonfunctional without my eight hours.  Even in high school and college, when all of us were seriously sleep deprived but it was ok because we were young and our bodies recovered fast, I wouldn't pull all-nighters.  I would crash for a couple hours first because my brain does not function well without sleep.  And especially since getting ulcerative colitis, I've found that lack of sleep sometimes sends me into a flare, so of course I was terrified about the newborn sleep deprivation winding me up in the hospital.  But I've adapted--my body has adapted. There are still moments at 3 or 4 a.m. when the baby is crying for his 4th or 5th feeding of the night that I'm so exhausted I worry I might drop him and we end up co-sleeping the rest of the night, but I recover from it.


4.  Don't talk about anything important with your husband when one or both of you are overtired.  It leads to fights.  Sometimes nasty ones.  Just go to sleep.  Talk about it tomorrow.  It's not as urgent as you think it is.

5.  Go out, with and without the baby, as soon as you can.  It is overwhelming, exhausting, and scary at first, but it helps you feel more like you.  Being you is good.  Being a mom is grand.  But at first it's really hard to reconcile your image of yourself with motherhood.  Getting out of the house helps this process immensely for some reason.  And most babies like going out--mine certainly does.



6.  Use a pocket diaper overnight for cloth.  The pocket diapers wick moisture away from the baby's bum so he doesn't fuss about his wet diaper and goes back to sleep without you having to change it for a wee.  You still have to change it for a larger mess, and boy does he stink in the morning, but it is worth it for the glorious, glorious sleep it gives you.


7.  Breastfeeding is hard.  I have dealt with bruised nipples, plugged ducts, painful engorgement, crazy hormones, a let-down so powerful that it sometimes gags my poor little guy, and a tear-filled night in the hospital where I forced the poor little newborn (2 days old) to feed for three hours straight so the doctor wouldn't make me give him formula and she made me do it anyways.  And I'm actually one of the "lucky" ones who have had very few problems overall.  In the mommy groups I've joined, there are brilliant, accomplished, lovely women--lawyers and scientists and therapists and teachers--reduced to tears because their kid never can quite learn to latch or they are in so much pain when they feed that they can't sleep or their doctor is "concerned" about the weight gain of the baby, even if everything else is going well.

8.  Even when breastfeeding is "easy", it's tempting to give it up.  Why?  Dude, after 3 HOURS of feeding him and then he sucked down 2 oz of formula in about five minutes with no problems and then slept four hours straight, I got it.  I finally got why even well-intentioned women who CAN breastfeed might choose to give it up.  Furthermore, in some ways, especially in the early weeks, breastfeeding ties you down.  Feeding every 2-3 hours doesn't sound so bad until you realize that it's start time to start time and when the baby is learning to feed (about the first 2-4 weeks), it can regularly take 40 min to an hour to complete.  Then you burp him, change him, nap for like 20 min, and start the whole damn thing over again!  It's exhausting.  Breastfeeding babies take longer to sleep through the night--mine still has yet to do a stretch longer than five hours.  Our culture doesn't support it (I get dirty looks at restaurants all the time--and I use a nice modesty shield!).  Formula is convenient (and also free if a mom does WIC).  Until the personal electric pumps became widely available, working women had few options but to wean at least partially.  Even with the pump, you have to learn all this stuff about freezing and storing and thawing which is complicated (and some babies won't take defrosted milk, so those women can't build up a back-up supply).  And still few workplaces are supportive of nursing moms (see my point about cultural non-support).  I breastfeed, but I completely understand women who have chosen not to in order to preserve their own sanity.

9.  Breastfeeding makes you feel powerful.  Really powerful.  Almost like a superhero.  Beyond the bonding with the infant skin-to-skin stuff, I've never been prouder of my body than when it produced milk successfully for my baby.  Even my healthy pregnancy didn't feel so... powerful.  Boobs are awesome.  And I mean like I am in awe of them.  But...

10.  Breastfeeding makes you feel less sexy.  Not un-sexy, just that two of your main body parts that used to be just about exclusively sexual have this whole other function.  And they are constantly being touched in a way that feels good, but not sexual.  It throws your whole pre-baby sense of who you were as a sexual being off.  There's a really great post I read recently that touches on this and goes into other details of postpartum sex.  I recommend it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Random Insomniac Update

My Little Monkey Butt

Baby J now has me so conditioned to middle-of-the-night feedings that when he throws off his routine by sleeping right through one, it causes me to stay up until the next one.  At least I can catch up on blogging!  (And of course, my punishment for being awake from 12:30-2 am was that when he finally did wake for a feeding he would NOT go back to sleep until 4.  Ugh!  No more caffeine for me!)

This week has been a little odd.  Some things that have happened:

Milk Drunk

1)  I'm down to 212 lbs (3 more lost), so all is going relatively well on the health front (except this nasty back pain that just won't go away and of course I can't get enough proper rest to allow to heal).  I have my six week postpartum checkup tomorrow (later today, I guess), so we'll see if that goes well, too.

2)  I'm becoming more social with the baby.  We've been out to restaurants a couple times, on long walks many times, and to a new mommies group I was recently introduced to by a friend.  I also went out on New Year's Eve, leaving the baby with his grandparents and way too much expressed milk (you know... in case I was kidnapped and held for ransom in Mexico or something.  I was paranoid!) and called only once an hour to check on him.  It's nice to feel less stuck on the couch.

Baby J and Min Gi with my high school friend, Jonathan and his lovely wife at our first restaurant outing.

3)  The baby has grown a lot.  He's really long (outgrew newborn sizes and even 3 month onesies are getting a little short on him) and his head is enormous.  He's still pretty skinny baby-wise, but when I went to the new moms group, he was more like the size of boys a full 4-5 weeks older than him and girls 2 months older than him.  The other 6 week olds looked so tiny by comparison.  He's also started "talking" to us, which is super fun:






5)  Min Gi has notified his job he is quitting at the end of this month to become a full time dad (and work on his business ideas), and I have told my boss I will be returning full time to work February 11.  Jeongmin will be 10 weeks old.  I actually kind of look forward to being a working mom.  It will be hard to be away from him, but I know he and his dad will have a great time bonding with each other.  Luckily, I've had no issues with pumping, so I should be able to continue to exclusively breastfeed.

Always excited in the mornings.

6.  My father is in the hospital again--probably for two weeks.  I don't think it's too serious, but it's still soon to see where it goes.  He needs another surgery and has a small foot infection.  I'm really sad because he's missing out on bonding time with Jeongmin. 

7.  American healthcare sucks.  We're in limbo with the baby's insurance because we wanted to put him on Min Gi's insurance, but it turns out the agent who applied for us told the insurance company that nobody in the household was pregnant, even though I specifically asked her about that when we applied for his insurance, so now the matter is "under investigation" and not only does Jeongmin not currently have insurance, but Min Gi may lose his coverage because of this.  With us going down to one salary, we're eligible for state care for the baby, but I can't even apply for that until I know what's going on with his application to the other agency.  It's a giant mess.  I will be calling around some public clinics next week to try to keep at least his vaccinations up, but the whole thing makes me want to punch people in the face.  (And in case you were wondering, it's not really feasible to add him to my company's plan--it would be $500/month just for him).  I really hope he stays healthy, especially over the next few weeks as this gets sorted out.

8)  My younger brother turned 29 yesterday.

9)  Another friend had her second baby this weekend (at the same hospital where my dad is now... funny).  Can't wait to meet her.

My boys.

That is all for now.  I should really try to sleep if I can.  If you'd like, there are more cute baby pictures in the full album:



Baby: Weeks 4-6

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012: Year of the Dragon, Resolution!

I'm going to try a single resolution this year.  Of course, I always have numerous goals I'm working towards, but I would like one big fat goal that I achieve this year.  That goal is health through weight loss.

Currently, I weigh 215 lbs.  When I got pregnant, I was approximately 190 (high for me, mostly because of the depression) and when I checked into the hospital, I weighed in at 240, so I'd like to pretend that I've already lost 25 lbs, rather than think of it as a 50 lb gain.  This makes me feel good and like I can accomplish my weight loss.  My ultimate goal is to be under 70 kgs (154 lbs), but I have never weighed that little in my adult life, so I may have to adjust the goal as I approach it.  I have broken this into interim goals of being under 200 lbs (I would like to achieve this by the time I return to work in mid-February) and being under 180 lbs by the end of April when some of the Korean relatives will be visiting.  From there, I will re-assess the weight portion of my goal.

Really my goal is threefold:  1)  to be in a healthy weight range for my height, 2) to have eating habits that I would like my son to emulate, and 3) to build my activity level back up to a high level I used to enjoy before I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

The ways I plan to achieve this goal are as follows:

1)  I want to start doing meal planning.  Since one-month cooking sounds a little intimidating, I plan to start with once-a-week cooking.  This will help eliminate the random eating out that really should only be on special occasions.
2)  Make water my primary liquid.  I should not be drinking much else.  I may try quitting soda.  Right now, I'd rather focus on other things, but I am going to reach for a glass of water FIRST and then have something else if I still want it.
3)  Exercise in some fashion everyday.  I've noticed it has a huge impact on my mood when I go out in the stroller with the baby, even if I at first feel like I'm too tired or overwhelmed by my to-do list to bother.  Honestly, 20 minutes of walking is sometimes even better for me right now than a 20 minute nap or a 20 minute laundry session.  And it's good for the baby, too.
4)  Track my weight.  Possibly keep a food journal.  Whenever I do this consistently, I tend to lose or AT LEAST maintain.
5)  Observe and journal about my emotional relationship to food and focus on fullness/food cues.  I may share some of this on the blog, but a lot of it is very personal.  I may just note it in my offline journal.  But I think this is a key element of long-term weight loss that I sometimes don't put as much work into as I really should.

If I implement all of these things, but I don't quite hit my weight loss goal dates, I know that's ok because these habits are really the ones I need to become healthy.  Being a mom has really underscored the significance of health and of being a healthy role model.  I want to be able to chase after my little guy as he grows up and for him not to have to struggle with the emotional food issues I have dealt with in my life.  For him to learn this really well, I need to learn it better myself.

This is my resolution for 2012.  It is my only one.  I have other things I hope/plan to accomplish, but this is the one thing I will focus on this year.  I will keep you posted now and then.

Happy New Year!

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