Tammy Thomas Garnes

Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page

Everything I need to know I learned in childbirth…

In Childbirth, Family on January 28, 2009 at 4:27 am

My first child was a c-section.  I had planned for this big, long, natural birth and there I was on an operating table still trying to figure out “why me?”  I had a perfectly healthy and happy child, but for years afterwards I secretly hoped that next time I would have true blue labor and all the “fun” drama that came with it.  Be careful what you wish for!!!

Baby #2 was the classic birth.  Water breaks in the bank, 3 days of labor, refusal of drugs and finally a beautiful birth on my own terms.  Both births were phenomenal and had storybook endings and each had their pros and cons.  But MOST importantly, both came with lessons that I will carry with me forever.

1.  Patience is everything. You can’t rush a birth.  There are days when you think you can, but you can’t.  Everything works in it’s own time and season and often you are simply along for the ride.

2.  Listening is key.  You’re not the first person to do this and you won’t be the last, so listen carefully when others offer you advice.  

3.  Quitting is not an option.  Stage 3 labor makes you rationalize quitting, but everyone around you will reassure you that the experience is not a multiple choice test.  There is only one correct answer.

4.  Things are always better the next day.  With labor, childbirth and child rearing, this is just so true.  Hold onto it when you’re having a bad day.

Yesterday, four plus years after my last birth, I had a breast biopsy.  I was scared to death of what the results could ultimately be.  But while I lay on the operating table, I remembered that everything I needed to know, I learned in childbirth.  That patience is everything, listening is key, quitting is not an option and things are always better the next day.

The results come back next Monday.  And no matter what, those four truths will see me through. 

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UPDATE: All went well, I’m as healthy as can be! I tried to put on my best game face, but boy was I scared. Thanks for all the emails, tweets and unconditional love.


Things That Warm Me…

In Uncategorized on January 19, 2009 at 4:15 am


There is a winter scarf that hangs in my closet.  It’s not much to look at, just a camel colored wool, mens scarf.  It doesn’t really belong to me and it doesn’t belong to my husband either, but it was the last thing I packed in my stuffed suitcase before heading to Washington D.C. for the inauguration.  

If you’ve ever made a major move in your life, from one state to another or further, you’ll know how hard it can be to re-build what I like to call, a “friend base.”  You know what I’m talking about, a solid group of people who have your back and you have theirs.  Girlfriends and couples who have similar values and goals, who you can entrust your kiddies to for the evening so that you can have a date night or sometimes just sit and catch your breath.  When our family made that kind of sudden move 2-plus years ago, our primary concern, like most parents, was the need to create an easy transition for our children.  We visited our new city, toured schools, and found ourselves in the classroom of a dynamic, award winning young teacher, unlike anyone we had ever seen.

Kids were jumping on chairs and reciting “Kung Fu Phonics” while he waved his arms from side to side, proving to my husband and I that he was obviously their fearless leader.  We were so smitten, that we begged to have our oldest child placed into his first grade class and thankfully our wish was granted.  With my husband working countless hours at his new job, I found myself volunteering more than ever at this new school.  My 2 year old in tow, I put up bulletin boards, stuffed homework folders and read to children on a daily basis.  I needed something to do until I went back to work and he needed the help.  It was a great fit.

As time went by, our families became friends.  He talked constantly about his family….his wife….his children…his siblings and mother.  The only other thing he seemed to be as passionate about, was politics.  Kennedy was his hero and the conspiracy surrounding his death consumed his spare time.  He was also a fan of Barack Obama BEFORE it became cool to be so, and would talk to anyone who would listen about the “new book he was reading by this really cool brother who was about to do some things.”  

So when we received the phone call one year ago saying that our friend, our child’s teacher….that he had been killed by a random bullet, our family was crushed.  How do you tell your 7 year old that the one “fast friend” that she had made, her teacher, has been murdered.

It’s amazing how you can feel both empty and heavy at the same time.

My husband cried.  Something I’d never seen him do before during the 13 years I had known him.  And over the past 12 months, just when I think I’m going to make it thru a week without thinking about him…something happens to trigger a memory.  These days the memories make me laugh, more than they make me tear up, and I guess that’s what people mean when they say “time heals.”  His wife is my friend, and when I see her I see strength and beauty…the kind I pray I would have if I ever found myself in her shoes.

So as I rushed to pack my last suitcase I saw that scarf.  The one that Mr. Coleman had left at our house one day when he picked up his daughter after a sleepover.  I had always meant to give it back, but it hung in the back of our coat closet until spring came and deemed it unusable.  January 20th is the date for a historical inauguration, but it’s also the one year anniversary of Mr. Coleman’s death.  I was wondering how I would feel about this day. I’ve never lost a close friend before and thus never have had to think about them a year later.  So I just grabbed that scarf.  If anyone needed to be here to witness Obama’s taking of the oath, it would have been Mr. Coleman.  He would have talked about it for month’s leading up to the event. He would have driven everyone crazy with his plans to drive his family to DC.  He would have been himself….always passionate and always the educator, even when school was out.

So tomorrow, as I stand with my husband and fight back the bitter cold, I’ll have so many thoughts.  Big thoughts about the direction in which our country is headed and personal thoughts about friendship and legacies .  Each tug at that scarf will be a reminder of how each of us has a duty to seek out a cause greater than ourselves and leave behind our own legacy of warmth and love.

RIP Antonio.  You are missed.

I am a witness to history

In Politics on January 17, 2009 at 11:26 am

We arrived in DC yesterday. Obama chocolates courtesy of Sees candy, greeted us in the airport. The trains were distinctly divided with those getting out of town as fast as they can, and those who were rushing in to fill their space in the moment.

We took the final tour of the Capitol. The last one before Obama takes office. We saw the stairs from which he will descend to take the oath. We, our family, is a witness to history. And it feels good.

It’s the simple things that give me grief……

In Uncategorized on January 16, 2009 at 11:10 am

So it should be simple right? I have a new cell phone. An iphone in fact. And it came with a local Atlanta number. For the last 15 years, 13 of which were spent in Los Angeles, I have been using a California based phone number. So when my husband handed me the phone he explained, “You can have AT&T get you your California number or you can just keep this new one.”

Well if that didn’t send me into a tizzy. It’s been 3 weeks and I’m STILL carrying around two phones. A part of me wants to just start fresh with a new phone number and embrace my reclaimed Southerness. But my hesitation tells me that something more is attached to that beloved 818 prefix I’ve been carrying around all these years.

818 is where I got married. 818 is where I bore two beautiful girls. 818 is where I met some of the most incredible mommy friends you could ever imagine. 818 is where most of my adult memories live.  And plus I like it when someone at a store asks for my phone number and after hearing it, asks, “What city is that?”  It makes me feel a wee bit exotic, like I have something others don’t.  Giving up 818 feels like I’m giving up…no, denying, a part of my authentic self.

But 404 is where I am now. 404 is where I plan to live for the rest of my life. 404 is where we own a home, it’s where our daughters will grow up, leave the nest and come back to on holidays from college. 404 represents bold choices and positive forward movement.  I love my new life and I never plan on living or moving back west.  Here in this new city my creativity is being honored and I am re-discovering my pre-mommy self.

So for a few more days I’ll hold on to both phones as I struggle with this decision. I never thought that something as simple as a cell phone number would give me so much grief. Funny the things we cling to in order to justify our identity.

Mad as heck….

In Politics on January 9, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Well, that’s 20 minutes of my life that I will never get back again.

I took the bait just a moment ago and actually BELIEVED that I would be able to purchase tickets to the Inauguration Parade through Ticketmaster or by phone.  I mean, there was such a nice press release put out earlier this morning and I had 2 phones and the internet going…and there was this one time in 9th grade when I won $100 by dialing into my local radio station so that proves that I have fast dialing fingers, right?

  • sigh* *whine* *sigh*

Obviously I wasn’t fast enough.  Or perhaps there never were any tickets.  The Ticketmaster site never worked properly, the lines were jammed for 10 minutes prior to the 1:00 on sale time and none of the actual Ticketmaster desks were allowing you to buy tickets from them.  The hubby and I not sitting in the parade bleachers won’t stop Obama from becoming President….but dang, it woulda been nice to have at least had a fair shot at a seat.

I’m sure if I search ticket brokers for the tickets right now, they are selling them for 10 times their worth.  Ok, ok, I’m done being mad..and my pity party is over.  

  • sitting up tall*

D.C. here we come!

Left Foot, Right Foot

In Weight Loss on January 9, 2009 at 11:45 am

Reposted from Modern Mom Challenge

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Why is week one always such a test? We’re adults here right? We make the food purchases in our lives…right? We have the power to push babies out of our bodies, endure the pain of tiny lips and gums on our breasts, we are survivors of the “no sleep” club…right? So why is it so hard to just walk by the dish of fudge that a co-worker brings into the office? There are times when I feel like a voice is LITERALLY calling me when I pass Mickey D’s or anywhere that serves grease on a bun.

But here I am, at the end of the week, and even though I didn’t work out as much as I planned, and even though I caved and had Captain D’s nasty deep fried fish and a few bites of that damn fudge….I am happy to report that I have lost 4.5 pounds this week. I know, I know, I don’t deserve it…I wasn’t faithful….but when I did work out, I did it with a vengeance. And when I did count calories, I didn’t cheat. I drank my water and I got enough sleep and I tried. I tried really hard and had success.

So now that I’ve done my naked weigh in this morning (not pretty, but it keeps me honest), It’s time to get the kiddies to school and continue putting one foot in front of the other. I hope everyone experiences some kind of success today. I am feeling a little more powerful…a little more grounded.

Let’s Get Real

In Weight Loss on January 4, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Over the weekend I joined the Modern Mom Challenge, a Ning weight loss group for Moms, started by my dear friend CutieBootyCakes.  As I was getting ready for my morning workout, I became frustrated with the whole process.  Why me?  How did I go from having a fantastic physique during my college and young adult years, to being…well…fat!?!

So here is a reposting of my first blog on Modern Mom.  I’m sure there will be more.  Hopefully everyone who reads this can give me a little nudge from time to time and keep me honest. 


Fellow Moms,

I’m warning you right now…I’m hungry….it’s early….and I’m trying to motivate myself to get up and work out. This blog is really my motivation to myself…but you can read it if you want!

I hate being fat. I also hate exercising. Oh, and I love bread and cheese. Now, there. I said it.

If I sound like someone who is conflicted, frustrated, damn near out of options…that’s because I am. I just checked my Fit Day journals and stats (www.fitday.com) and realized that I lost and gained 15 pounds TWICE last year. How in the heck does one person do that?? Obviously, at a size 16, no one noticed. Hold on, there was that one chick who said “Oh it looks like you’re losing weight,” but she was under 25 and worked for me, so she doesn’t count.

At 37 with my 20 year high school reunion coming up (I was homecoming queen for goodness sakes), I’ve taken some drastic measures. I’ve enlisted the hubby, the friends, you ladies, everyone and anyone who will listen, to help me do this AND do it right. And don’t worry SimplyDoYou (www.simplydoyou.com), it’s not a new year’s resolution 🙂 I’ve been at this for a solid 18 months of ups and downs!

I must confess, I did go out and buy Alli last week, but only took it once because the possible side effects just freak me out so doggone much. It was a momentary lapse in judgement. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t but I’m not going to depend on it. I’m turning back to what I know works, exercise and watching calories/intake. It works. You know it does. I know it does.

If you’re like me, you’re trying to find any and everything you can that disproves the scientific theory of how poundage is created. Every January we do this. Remember last January when you swore that limiting the carbs would work? What about the January before when you cried at WWatchers? Oh, was that just me?

And since we’re…umm…I’m being so damn honest (can you tell I’m hungry??), let’s put a few things/excuses on the table. For me….and for you.

1. If you’re doing WWatchers, you SHOULD NOT count a candy bar in your point tally for the day. If you ate a candy bar today your ass has fallen off the wagon. End of story. Get up and get back on, but please don’t go online and ask in someone’s forum “How many points is a Snickers?” Oh, and the same goes for gummy bears..just because they’re little doesn’t mean you can sneak them.

2. If you said you would exercise daily… cleaning the house or taking the stairs DOESN’T count. Ok, it does, but let’s get real.. if I have some significant weight to lose I’ve got to really MOVE to see results. For at least 20 minutes a day/3-4 times a week. But you and I already know this. So if I cheat my way through workouts or skip them altogether, I shouldn’t expect results. That’s like faking my way through class and then not passing the final exam….what did I expect?

3. Stop using the gym as an excuse. If you’re online reading this, you obviously have a computer…which means you probably have cable, which means you have two forums right at your fingertips where you can find workouts at home and for free. If you have “On Demand” you have a TON of free workouts at your fingertips all day long. I am preaching to myself right now as well, because “getting to the gym” was once my favorite excuse.

4. The kids. Oh the kids. That is my all time favorite excuse. Heck, I’m depending on it right now. See my plan is to stay online long enough for them to wake up, then they will want to eat and I HAVE to feed them right??? And then they will need to get dressed and I HAVE TO help them right???? And then we should probably go to church or at least go out somewhere as a family right??? Wrong. I’m giving myself 90 seconds to finish this, turning on a workout and doing it. Anyone who gets in my way will have to wait 20 minutes till I finish. Daddy will have to get up, little people will have to wait and whine….whatever, mama is gonna get her workout on today!

5. The computer. Sometimes I spend half the day on my wonderful laptop RESEARCHING weight loss methods. If tons of calories were lost through typing I would be a size 6 right now. I’m resolving not to allow emails, blogs, forums and tweets to cause me to miss out on being the very best me I can be this year. I won’t give up my online addiction completely, but I will happily step back enough each day to exercise, plan my meals and live my best life…will you?

Ok, time to work out (really….I’m really going to do it, just me and Jillian Michaels) and then I will have a decent breakfast. 5 days in and it’s already paying off. Down 2 pounds 🙂 Now where did I put that workout bra….and where are my workout shoes…gotta have the right shoes….OK….NO MORE EXCUSES!

Thanks for inviting me CutieBooty. I love ya girl!

Watching and Thinking

In Politics on January 3, 2009 at 9:19 pm

I understand history. I “get” the reasons behind the Israeli/Gaza assaults. But thanks to the modern day media, the stories of those affected by the attacks (from both sides), are much more real to me. When you listen to parents being interviewed on television and radio and listen to the anguish and fear in their voices, it takes the battle from being a blurb in the newspaper or a hiccup during the nightly news….it becomes tangible…..it becomes real….it starts to feel like….but for the grace of God I could be them.  I have that same knot in my stomach that I had when I watched as Katrina victims waved white sheets from their rooftops.  That empty sinking feeling.  CNN just reported a 4 day old baby who was injured in the attacks tonight.  He needs an incubator to survive.  There are none available. *sigh*

This mom’s blog was just profiled on CNN.  Take a look.  http://www.a-mother-from-gaza.blogspot.com/