Tanning 101

Today was a reminder of why I’m not a high maintenance girl – anymore.  I’ll admit, my family pampered and spoiled me growing up, but all that changed drastically when I got out in the real world and realized you can’t exactly live in the lap of luxury when you only make minimum wage.  Now that I have so many grown up responsibilities – kids, work, house, etc. – it’s even harder to find time and money to keep myself up.

But today I decided to treat myself.  I’ll be leaving early Friday morning to fly to Miami and meet two of my very best friends for a weekend cruise.  It’s my first girls’ trip post babies and I could definitely use the break.  There are other things I could definitely use to look somewhat fresh and fabulous (as opposed to my haggard zombie norm), such as clothes that fit, a haircut, whitened teeth, and a tan.  Oh, a tan – something that could have been  easy to rectify, if only the pasty white, stretch-marked body that so desperately needed it did not belong to me.

Let’s face it.  I freak out; especially when it’s something foreign I’m facing.  Back in the day, I use to love to tan in the tanning beds.  My junior year of high school, I caused four people to miss their tanning appointments when I fell into a deep, tanning bed induced sleep.  I couldn’t hear the pounding on the door over the fan and Destiny’s Child I was blasting.  That was twelve years ago.  Fast forward to today – a frazzled house wife/mommy  who barely knows her name or what day it is, much less any current fashions or beauty secrets.  I went into Tansations knowing only this – I am really white and I have a credit card – help! The solution was for me to get a Mystic Spray Tan (I think?).  This involved me paying $11.00 to strip down and get sprayed head to toe.  I was told I would get a Level 1 tan and would be called back when it was my turn. I can never make anything easy though.  Let’s start at the very beginning.

I was feeling nervous  even as I walked through the parking lot.  Young, pretty, already tan little things were coming in and out of the building and I felt like an immediate imposter.  I was wearing a dress that showed entirely too much of my “I nursed two babies” cleavage because it was the only thing I had with a built in bra.  I’d been advised not to wear any clothing that could smudge my new tan.  My hair was pulled back in a greasy bun and I wasn’t wearing any makeup (something else I was advised to do).  So I would say my confidence level was a big fat zero, which probably spurred me to wave like a maniac when I thought I saw our dear friends Seth and Stephanie passing me in the parking lot.  I then immediately wished I hadn’t waved because I looked so skanky.  I wished it even harder when the two complete strangers who were actually in that car came into the tanning salon and stood near me for the next ten minutes.  AWKWARD!

After I gave a rambling explanation to the cashier (and the six other randoms crammed in that tiny lobby) about how I’ve never done a spray tan but need one right away, she made me fill out a form and pay.  I don’t know if it was my nerves or the fact that I’ve bitten off all my fingernails (it’s my stress relief when the boys are screaming on our interstate drives every day), but for some reason, I couldn’t pick my credit card up off the darn counter.  This resulted in an anguishing two minutes of repeatedly trying to use my fingernails to scrape the card up before finally dragging it to the end of the counter so my useless nubs could get some traction and retrieve it.

I then waited fifteen minutes before being called back to a dark room. Two girls “instructed” me on how to use the tanning booth.  I think I was too nervous and disoriented by the black light lit booth to register much of what they were telling me, but I gathered that I needed to get naked, rub some lotion on certain spots, and then get in the booth and listen to what the voice told me.  Frightening.  They left and then it was up to me.  Thankfully, there was a little poster with instructions.  I started reading.  First things first – “get undressed.”  Did that and remembered after the deed was done to reach over and lock the door. “Put on hair net.”  I twisted, turned, and shaped it a minute or two before I realized I was holding a booty and not the actual hair net.  “Use lotion provided on hands and feet.”  I put a large squirt in my hands and slathered them and my cuticles really well.  Did my elbows.  Went back for another squirt and got just a sputter.  Great!  I pumped and pumped enough to get just enough lotion to say I did my knees and feet.  Time to get in. Even this was a challenge because no matter how I twisted my fingers or what type of force I used, the stupid door wouldn’t shut.  I finally realized there was a button to push that would do it for me.

When the door closed, the “voice” that was supposed to guide me began speaking, only it sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher and I had no idea what was about to happen.  I could make out a count down and at least had the good sense to go stand on the metal plate.  I remembered the worker telling me to close my eyes and hold my breath right as the spray started.  I didn’t remember her saying that you were going to feel like you might pass out before the spraying was finished.  It finally stopped and I had just enough time to drag in a ragged breath before having to turn around for round two.  What had she said about my hands?  Oh, hold them in front of my stomach so my palms don’t get sprayed and turn orange.  Too late.  Then the thoughts of what the hell had I done with my body on the first spray? I couldn’t remember because I’d been too oxygen deprived.  The door opened and I ran out, gasping for breath and trying to protect my eyes from all the fumes in the air.

Back to reading the poster on the wall.  “Dry off thoroughly to prevent streaking.” It forgot to remind me “You only have one towel.  Dry your face before your butt. Ass.”  I gingerly got dressed and went to wash my hands, as instructed.  It was only then that I thought about my wedding ring.  But they hadn’t said anything about jewelry.  I stopped at the front desk on my way out and was told, “Oh yeah, you should have taken that off.”  Seriously??!! Needless to say, I panicked the whole way home until I could get to my bathroom and clean my ring.  Still waiting to see what the end result might be.

A parting piece of advice was not to get wet, sweat, or shower for 6-8 hours.  So here I sit, stinky and yes, a little orange.  I tried not to get wet, but then big boy spit Tylenol all over me and I had to wipe myself with a wet rag.  I have a streak down my left arm that I think might be from that incident.  He also sucked on both my shoulders while I walked him to sleep for 30 minutes.  All the walking caused my thighs to sweat and probably streak.  I had to wash dishes, so I’m almost certain I’ll have a dishwater line on my wrists.  My knees and ankles are already dark orange.  Since I was doing dishes , I bent down and gave them a scrub with my Brillo pad – not sure that helped.

Basically, getting a tan might have been more trouble than it’s worth.  Will I be blindingly white?  No.  Will I have the gorgeous sun-kissed tan of a young co-ed?  Hardly.  But at least I can say I’ve done it and might  do it better next time.  Or maybe I’ll remember that people actually drool on me, and that there are always bottles to wash, and more than likely, I’m going to sweat.  The truth is, my future tans are going to come from being out in the yard with my boys.  And that’s just fine with me.


Cheer Tryouts

We’re getting close to that time of year again – cheerleader and dance team tryouts.  I remember my own tryout days well – the stress, the drama, the Metabolite diet pills Mom found in my dance bag the week before UL’s Ragin’ Jazz tryouts and her screaming at me that I was on drugs and would have to go to rehab.  Oh, the insanity of it all!  I do remember how scared I was though when I was sneaking those diet pills and had to be put on an antibiotic for a serious cold.  I sat up in bed all night, trying to count my heart beats just in case I started to go into cardiac arrest and would have to fess up to her that I had gone to unimaginable lengths to look good in my sports bra for tryouts.  Thankfully, I made it and discarded the remainder of my diet pills.  But besides the diet pills, there were the relentless practices, aching muscles, counting out loud in my sleep, the notebooks full of lists of who was definitely going to make it and who was definitely not. When asked to say the blessing at dinner one night, I began with “5, 6, 7, 8” and I’m sure ended with “Please Jesus, let me and my friends make danceline and I’ll never ask for anything again.”

As a cheer sponsor, I’m even more aware of the impact a “tryout” can have on a kid.  The stress and anxiety is actually just as bad on this end as when I was the one wearing a number.  The only feeling worse than having to tell a kid that they didn’t make it, is being that kid.  It’s horrible.  Some of them want it so bad and work so hard and in order to be truly fair, all a sponsor can do is abide by the numbers on the score sheets and pray the judges got it right.  Every year, those last few minutes of tryouts when we’re adding up the scores makes me physically ill.  I almost always cry either there on the spot or on my way home, and I usually end up with a killer headache and bad stomach for days.  And I wasn’t even the one trying out!  I might be the “sponsor,” but in that moment I truly have no control over the end results.  I watch those girls (sweet, good girls – the kind you want to put in your pocket and take home with you) walk back to their cars in tears and it makes me feel like the lowest person there is.  I’m a dream crusher.  Yuck.

My mom and I have had countless conversations about whether or not tryouts (for anything) are fair and why everyone can’t just participate.  I have mixed feelings about it.  You want kids to have the highest self-esteem possible, but they should also be realistic and aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, right?  If everyone gets to do everything all the time, is the activity special anymore?  Or does the activity being special and deserved even matter?  I don’t know and my in-laws need to go take their showers, so I don’t really have enough time away from the boys to try to work it all out online right now anway. 

This is on my mind tonight because I just spent the last few hours with some of my Soileau family, Kim and Emily Claire.  Emily is trying out for cheerleader tomorrow morning.  She has worked so hard all year to prepare and looks amazing.  There are only 10 total spots and twice as many girls trying out for them – stiff competition.  Not only did Emily work hard though, so did her mom, Kim.  It was really something being able to watch them together tonight.  Kim was as attentive and connected with her daughter as a mother could be.  She was there to write things down, to encourage her, to offer constructive criticism, to plan, to worry about making sure she had a good meal and plenty of rest.  It reminded me of those long, late nights with my mom, asking “Can you just watch me one more time?” and trusting that if she said I was okay, that I really was.  And it made me feel sorry for all the boys and girls who try out for things and don’t get support like that from home. 

So now that I can look at it from all angles – as a kid wanting to be involved in something, as a cheer sponsor, as a mother of two boys who will most likely at some point try out for something –  this is serious business.  And I don’t mean serious like “If I don’t make cheerleader my life is ruined” serious, I mean like how we as adults handle these situations and teach our children/students to handle these situations CAN make a difference in how they handle themselves for the rest of their lives. The actual “making it” is wonderful, but more important should be the process of learning how to prepare for these situations.  Emphasizing the importance of practice, persistence, confidence, good sportsmanship, etc.  I will never be able to control who makes what, but I can do everything in my power to ensure that my kids (biological and my school kids) are equipped to handle both triumphs and failures.  I have to do my best to make sure I assist them in doing everything they can to prepare for these moments, but I must also provide them with the kind of emotional support that allows them to accept a disappointment, understand that it doesn’t define them, and have the strength to move on and become better, stronger people. This is not to say that I don’t believe in living in reality and accepting our limitations.  I’m just a new mom who thinks kids should feel good about themselves – always.  And I think it’s our responsibility to figure out how to make that happen.

If you’re reading this, good luck Emily Claire.  You’re a beautiful, talented girl who deserves a spot on that squad.  But not getting one doesn’t make you any less – it just means something or someone else out there needs you more.

Operation: Hot Momma

Now that I’m officially done having babies, it’s time to get off all this weight. In an attempt to keep myself motivated, I’ve made a list of reasons to lose weight, joined a gym, started a diet, and am participating in Operation: Hot Momma – a Facebook group of moms who will be getting in shape over the next twelve weeks.

Here are my Top Ten Reasons to Lose Weight and Get in Shape:

1.) I want to feel attractive again.

2.) When clothes don’t fit, you get a new wardrobe.

3.) For my health and longevity – maybe that should be #1???

4.) To have more energy for my sons.

5.) Living a healthy lifestyle will have a positive influence on my family.

6.) So I can splurge on deliciousness once in a while and not feel guilty.

7.) To have underwear that can’t double as a tarp, parachute, or sail.

8.) Being able to wear my engagement ring and my wedding band again.

9.) So I never have to hear, “We don’t have that size.”

10.) To keep Jasper’s pinching fingers from being able to hold onto my lowest stomach roll while I’m trying to get ready in the morning.

I think those are good reasons, especially the last one.  It’s pretty humiliating trying to do your mascara while a little midget uses your fatty skin as a trapeze.  I don’t know how I’ve affected his self-esteem, but he’s working on damaging mine! Though he does try to help me out by keeping me so busy that I rarely get to eat during the day.

I’ve always been a decent dieter, but for this amount of weight I MUST exercise.  I went this morning for my first workout at Personally Fit.  I did 3.5 miles on the treadmill and called it a day.  Believe me, I worked up a sweat.  I didn’t run though, because I had on new shoes and I’m always terrified of missing a beat and having the treadmill fling me across the gym.  If I ever go viral, I’d prefer it not be for busting my butt and getting skid marks on my face.

So my plan is to do the treadmill every day for the next week, until I’m able to do my Workout 101 class and get started on Personally Fit’s nutritional plan, FUEL.  They believe food is meant merely to give us energy, which flies in the face of my beliefs in using it for a bevy of positive/negative emotions and pure enjoyment.

We’ll see how this goes.


Happy New Year

There’s plenty I need to accomplish this year, but starting this blog is one of my top priorities.  I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to post; two kids under 15 months is no joke.  The only reason I’m even posting now is because my uber efficient MIL has managed to give Jasper a bath,  to feed him, and to basically blow his mind with her awesomeness during the past hour.  Little baby is sleeping, which means I’m blogging now but will probably be up at 11:30 pm wishing I was blogging instead of singing “Go to Sleep” for the hundred millionth time while pacing under the bathroom heater.

I’m excited about this blog but quite depressed at my lack of technological skills and general knowledge about widgets and themes and other internet/website jargon.  I’d like this blog to be worth reading and nice to look at, but it may take me a while to get there. 

To my family and friends, Happy New Year and I hope you enjoy hearing about every mundane detail of our daily lives on here.

To anyone else taking a look at this – Nice to have you and thanks for reading.