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Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Calendars and Keeping Track

Over the years I have used many different systems for trying to keep track. Keep track of appointments, schedules, members of my family, you name it. For a while my favorite was the More Time Moms Calendar but I never had it with me when I needed it. I had endless pieces of paper with appointment cards mixed in. I was chronically double booked. Then I got my Droid. Oh how I love that thing. Oh how I love that it gives me access to my Google Calendar! Except then I have to remember where I put my phone, or load my calendar on my laptop, or you know, do any sort of work at all, when I want to get a glance as to what we are doing for the day/week/month/year. So I decided to do monthly printouts to give me an overview that I can hang in my kitchen where my old calendars lived.

Sadly this was short lived as I discovered that one of my favorite features of my previous calendar was missing - I used to be able to dedicate a line or color to each person in the house, allowing me to, at a glance, figure out if I needed to actually be DOING something or just shuttling the kids. So my latest incarnation is to have each of the kids have their own Google calendars, which share with MY Google calendar, which then gets said overview printed and hung in the kitchen.

The husband? He is on his own for now. I either drag him with me, or leave him to his own devices.

What do YOU do to keep everyone on time, on track, and on the same page?

Monday, June 28, 2010

70 days to go.

The kids being home is a struggle to readjust to. More for them than for me, but it is no picnic for me either. They both have work to continue throughout the summer to prevent the dreaded summer slide. We are not talking about a full fledged curriculum. Just a few worksheets, writing in a journal, and reading. But you would think that there were spikes on the pencils and the papers were poisoned. None the less it gets done, even if my throat is sore from arguing and my patience is exhausted.

After this Herculean struggle the little lovelies want to go to the pool. Like none of this has been going on for the last two hours. Meanwhile, I am ready for a nap, not hours of playing lifeguard, swim instructor and pack horse at a pool RIGHT NOW.

Instead I will insist on mommy getting 15 minutes on the computer to decompress, make lunch and head to the pool, with an understanding that we are not staying all day, and that there will be reading to each other later while mommy does indeed catch a cat-nap.

Lordy how I missed them. I may be exhausted but September may come too soon.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Some days

Some days are harder than others. Today is one of those days.

It was harder to stay asleep last night. By 3:30 I was up and going, and not in a good way.

Getting in the shower was a fight. Why bother getting clean when in a couple of hours just going to ruin it all by exercising.

Getting dressed lately has been hell. I have no interest in any of my clothes. Or rather, how I look in them. Even the pretty ones. Which, regardless, where not going on my chore and exercising doing body.

I pushed and got the kids dressed, fed, and on the bus. I avoided a fight with a neighbor by biting my tongue. That too is not getting any easier.

Some days just walking down the stairs to do laundry is hard. My knees ache and everything is tight. This is one of those days.

Emptying the dishwasher made my hip ache. WTF hip? Knock it off.

Clearly my body is tight, so what the hell, might as well try and exercise to get it loosened up. See, I am full of bright ideas today.

Some days I can't force myself to exercise. Some days I can, and am then filled with dread as I push through it.

Some days I just keep going. Even with the shadow of a migraine, my body betraying me hundred ways, and the intense desire to beg Bear to come home and snuggle with me.

Today was one of those days.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Time for a change?

The end of the school year is closing in on me. A whole year of public school. A whole grade I did not homeschool. Ya know what? It was not so terrible. Sure it had its positives and negatives, but we will be doing it again next year, so I think the scale leaned to the positives side.

Which today led me to the desks that reside in my living room. Really, it is the desk I bought in this post, and an old Ikea table. There was no way I was dealing with these desks until I was SURE that public school was gonna stick. So the Ikea table is going back to the basement for me to fold laundry on. Which is not as easy as it may sound. Because I like to make piles. As so my kids. All that stuff needs homes. So does Little Bear's laptop. Which still gets used, but not daily for schoolwork anymore, so it can probably live in a happy pile with Indy's and mine.

Next I need to decide what I want to do about the cork board. I mean, a cork board is useful and all for school papers, but do I need it to take up such a prominent place in my living room? It distracts from all the Star Wars Legos, Ginormous TV, and artwork. On the positive side, it distracts from cat hair and all those piles I was talking about earlier. Maybe the kitchen would be better suited to house it. Or the kids room...

All this makes me think though. Should I be changing the name of this blog now that I am no longer homeschooling them? Or does just the fact that I am teaching them about all the rest of life still count?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Girl Talk Thursday: Home Projects – The Good, The Bad, The Necessary

There is a love-hate relationship with home projects and renovations around here. Oh how we love when they are done. It is the getting there that we hate.

It is not just the actual DOING of the work that is disliked. No, that is not the hard part. What is? The decision making, the planning, the gathering of the materials, the budgeting.

An example. Six years ago we moved into this house. We love it here. It is not perfect but it is ours, and really with the best neighbors in the world, what more could this family ask for? (Okay the answer to that is another bedroom or two, but I digress.) When we moved in we painted most of the rooms. We stripped wallpaper, patched holes, primed, edged, and painted for a month. Yes a month. You have no idea how bad it was in here. As time ran out on our impending move we made the decision to postpone the painting of some of the areas - like the bathrooms, hallway and basement. We have since remodeled two of the bathrooms, and painted the last. The basement may never get done. The hallway however. Oh how it mocks me. With it's flat marked up beige. Holes and gouges from bicycles, scooters and who know what.

We made the decision to paint it. Rather, I announced I would paint it and Bear grudgingly agreed to put up with me doing it. However we both know he is much better at spackling and patching than I am. Trust me, this hallway needs it. So we hemmed and hawed about what type of spackle to use. What time of year would be best for painting (moderate temps so we could open the windows please). We finally agreed spring was as good of a time as any and BOUGHT SPACKLE! I even picked up paint chips which are taped to the hallway wall for me to stair at while I type this.

That was over a month ago. No spackling has been done. No paint has been chosen. For heaven sake I could have re-dry walled the thing by now (okay maybe not, that ceiling is pretty high).

Am I mad? No. Because when we finally get this project done there is another dozen or so to follow it. Lurking, with decisions and procrastination just around the corner.

So the hallway will get done when it gets done. And I will promptly want to replace the floors.

Oooh flooring...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Snack Taxi Winner!

The winner of the SnackTaxi giveaway is... Coffee Tree! I know you will love the products :D

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Girl Talk Thursday: What’d you wanna be when YOU grew up?

Today on Girl Talk Thursday Diane from dashoff asks: What’d you wanna be when YOU grew up?

What did I want to be when I grew up?

What a loaded question. Maybe an easy question for other people, but never for me. I had convinced myself for years that I wanted to be a lawyer. I excelled at debate early on. I had a close cousin who is a lawyer. It was an desirable career. And thanks to feminism I could be anything I wanted to be right?

Except what I *really* wanted to be was a wife and mommy, and a stay at home one at that.. Which some how, in a feminist, girl power sort of world, was totally looked down on. With all this potential, all of the opportunity to do "great" things why would I want to settle for being a housewife. But for me it was never settling. It was like a secret thing I kept inside me until I was 17 or 18.

Then college rolled around. I started off in political science - the direction I was told to take if I wanted a good base for law school. I HATED it. The nagging desire to give in and be true to myself was pushing further forward. So I rambled around doing everything from retail to being an executive assistant until Bear and I got married and made the decision I should stay home. The kids were born and it was everything I hoped it would be.

Now as they are growing up, I start to wonder what I want to be as I continue to grow up. Really, while I think that I probably "should" go out and get a job, I love being home. Sure it is endless hard work. This past weekend was the first in over eight years I have had "off". But I am doing something I love, and the benefits package can't be beat.

And on that note, I am going to go snuggle with Indy, and read a book!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review and Giveaway: SnackTaxi

Back in February I got hooked up with SnackTaxi by Business2Blogger. SnackTaxi sent me a bulk/produce sack, a sandwich-sack, a snack-sack, and a twice-as-nice napkin to try out. I have spent the last month and half sending them to school with my kids, taking them to the park, and throwing them in the washing machine.

I have a shelf full of reusable lunch and snack things, so I am all too aware that after the first use or two the flaws in the products come out. I am pretty happy to report that I still love them.

The snack-sack got sent to school daily. If the kids decided they wanted something else I rinsed it out, was dry by morning, and ready to go. Until a yogurt in the lunch box with it exploded that was all I did to keep it clean. Then I threw it in the washer/dryer, and was ready to go.

The sandwich-sack was really interesting. Many of the other sandwich products I have used are not suitable to use with rolls rather than just bread, but the sandwich-sack was absolutely large enough. Which in and of itself was pretty cool. But then a few weeks ago a neighbor and I went to the park. After the kids were done eating her dog was thirsty. I grabbed the sandwich-sack and she poured some water in it - ta da! Doggy bowl. Into the washer/dryer that went that night, and still looked great. This also got used to large snacks on car trips when I needed enough to feed the whole family.

The twice-as-nice napkin were just what it should be - usable, absorbent and washed up well. My kids loved that it matched the sandwich-sack, and the pattern on both and were totally willing to use it. The bulk/produce sack, was good to use. I ended up hand knotting the top when I had the room, but would have liked an attached closure. Still, it was small enough to be easy to grab when I went to the store.

Now the nice people at snackTaxi were nice enough to provide me with a snack-sack and a sandwich-sackin adorable patterns for me to give away!

Want to win it? Head over to the SnackTaxi website and comment here with a product you like.


-Post about this review/giveaway on your blog and then come back and comment again with the direct link.

-Subscribe via email, google buzz, google friends, or networked blogs and leave comment.

-Follow me on Twitter and leave me a comment

-Tweet about this giveaway with a link back to the giveaway. Then return here and leave a comment. {You can do this once per day}.

-"Like" SnackTaxi on facebook, and then leave a comment

- Leave a comment on another post here and then leave a comment on this post letting me know which one. (only once)

Giveaway Rules:
1. Giveaway is open to those with a US mailing address only.
2. Winner will be chosen by and notified via email - (please make sure to either have your email address visible on your profile or leave it in the comment).
3. Winner will be asked to respond with full contact information within 48 hours of being notified. Failure to do so will result in another winner being picked.

Entries will be accepted until May 5th 2010. Winner will be announced May 6th 2010. Good luck!

SnackTaxi provided me with the products to review and giveaway. No additional compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Losing It: Not just our Sanity - Week 7

People we have a situation. I am finally starting to get into the habit of the whole workout/gym/being sweaty thing. I adjusted my workout thanks to the help of the personal trainer (who by the way was a one off consult from the gym with my membership - I don't get to keep him. Boo). But you people did not mention I was going to gain weight with all this muscle. What the hell?

I get the whole muscle is denser than fat thing. I totally get that hey, holidays = not being great about diet. But seriously? SO sick of seeing the scale go back up instead of down while working my ass off. Although apparently not literally since Oh Hi I gained weight this week.

So my friends, this week will be about tracking every bite. And counting calories. Because despite drinking enough water to drown in, and not missing any workouts I am failing at Losing It. If there was a Gaining It I would be in the running.

This is week 7. Which means I have 3 weeks to become a lean(ish), mean, exercising machine. Meanwhile, I will post my exact weigh in after I workout this morning, because that is when I always do.

On a positive note, I have a dent and my arm shows a tiny bit of muscle when I flex it. Focus on the little things. And pray my panties don't cause inappropriately placed blisters.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Guest Post: Traveling with My Infant- First Time’s a Charm

I am taking a Spring Break this week and am lucky to have some guests posts. Today's post is by Elise Jones, mom of 2 lovely girls & blog editor of

Before having children, my husband and I traveled extensively with a close-knit group of about 10 friends. We trekked all over the U.S. as well as many parts of Europe. So once I found myself with child, we naturally were urged by our childless-traveling buddies to plan on continuing our trips with our little bundle. Surely traveling with a non-walking infant was E-A-S-Y. Plus no how and no way was our pre-baby travel schedule going to alter just because we had a BABY. Just strap them on /in and we’d be on our way.

So the first European trip was booked BEFORE the baby came and was to happen soon after the child’s second-month shots. We were all off to Bordeaux for my husband’s first marathon (oh yea, he was training for it the months leading up to and just after having our FIRST child; that was so much fun). I had the passport application in and her first “mug” shot taken as soon as I received the birth certificate and Social Security number in the mail. She was 6 weeks old when we received her first passport and she traveled for the first time 2.5 months after she was born. Her first airplane trip was to FRANCE; how lucky can one gal be?!?

Well let’s just say, this trip was my first lesson in “let me show you who’s boss, lady.” As I packed and planned in the weeks prior to leaving, I was certain I hadn’t overlooked any little item we would need, much less anything “surprising” that might come our way. I mean, I may have had a 35 lb. bag just for the 10lb. baby, but one never knows what crazy things might happen. The fog of new motherhood and the craze of sleepless nights, did seem to only help the situation. I mean, now as I look back and I’ve mothered two little bits and I know what it means to travel with said little bits (fyi, I’m on self-imposed, ground-stop travel as of the past six months) I think I must have been a bit crazy at that moment in my life but was too punch drunk to know it!

The lesson gleaned from this first foray into infant travel and subsequent international and national plane trips can be summed up in five little “helpful hints” for all of you who are looking to dip into the unknown abyss of plane travel with the under one set:

1. Check everything you can! Do not fool yourself into believing you will save ANYTHING by carrying on as much with you as you are allowed. What you may make up in money, you will lose in sanity. Plus your medical bills because of crazed, airport-induced stress will far outweigh any savings in the long run.

2. Only carry on the following items: sling/baby carrier, diaper bag, and gate check the stroller. I usually don’t use the stroller in the airport to transport the baby. It has most frequently been used to transport bags, coats, the massive amounts of magazines my husband insist on buying at the newsstand, blankets, and liquids (bought after security, of course).

3. Once you approach the security line at the airport, give the first security guard a pitiful look. It’s the sure-fire way you will be escorted to the “family” line and get through security lickety split! No one likes crying babies. And even worse than crying babies, is screaming babies in long airport security lines. And the grand mal of terror is crying babies, pissy parents and longgggg airport security lines. At the security checkpoint, everything must go through the conveyer belt X-ray machine. EVERYTHING (except, of course humans). So be prepared to do the dance. It’s fun (in a really painful doctor’s visit way) and you’ll only smile afterwards (as they paw through every baby item you painfully folded/washed/stuffed into your diaper bag). Weeeee!

4. Speaking of diaper bags, here’s what I suggest packing in yours: diapers, wipes, diaper cream, lotion, changing pad, pacifier, bottle, bottled water, baby food, change of clothes for both mom and baby, non-squeaky toys, books, traveling documents (in a Ziploc bag; don’t ask), blanket, and sanity. Please don’t leave this last one at home; it makes for a rough trip for EVERYONE. All of these are in a quantity of at least one day’s worth of items. God forbid, you are delayed or your bags are detained, you will be at least prepared to get through a day where you can locate emergency supplies if need be. All of the liquids must be in small quantities. Just enough for 2 days (travel day plus one more). No need to go to the gym in the days leading up to the trip as you can see you will need to save up your energy for the weight of the bag and of course the baby you are carrying for many, many hours.

5. Once on the plane, make sure you have requested bulk-head so if the baby is small enough and your ride is long enough, you can have a bassinet to place the baby in to free up your arms for eating, reading and all of those other things you THINK you are going to do when traveling on a plane with a baby. Also if the little one is lucky enough to get their own seat, there won’t be a problem with them kicking the seat in front of them (unintentionally, of course) and making you a lifelong “friend” with the passenger in front of the child. The most important rule of travel is make sure the baby is sucking going up and coming down: pacifier, bottle, breast, sippy cup, or whatever. This is help with the pressure on their ears and it will help you eliminate one more possibility for the cause of the child’s wailing. I’ve also offered ear plugs to nearby neighbors on planes. Mixed reactions can be found to this ploy. Alcohol purchases are more successful.

Before you know it, you’ll be landing in wonderful Bordeaux and trying to figure out how those Europeans drive in such small cars with no storage space for bags. I guess it’s all about journey, not the destination.

I am taking a Spring Break this week and am lucky to have some guests posts. Today's post is by Elise Jones, mom of 2 lovely girls & blog editor of

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Guest Post: Have 6 kids, 32 pairs of shoes, 1 golf bag - Will Travel

I am taking a Spring Break this week and am lucky to have some guests posts. Today's post is by Heather from Café!

Traveling with kids is always an adventure. An adventure that begins the moment you start packing. I found this out the hard way when I began gathering all the necessities for our family of eight to travel from Ohio to San Diego for my brother’s wedding.

To give you a little background, we are a blended family. My husband has two daughters (ages 9 and 11) and I have four children (two daughters, ages 6 and 10 and twin sons age 9). Yes, we have six children living with us who range from 6 to 11 years of age. Some call us crazy, others know we are blessed. I like to think of our home as chaotic love. When we went on the trip the youngest was 4 and the oldest was 9.

Getting back to the story, I was so thankful my brother asked all six of our kids to be in the wedding. I really wanted my stepdaughters to feel included. I was so excited that my parents were also flying out and so was my other brother, his wife and their three kids. We thought it would be super fun to all rent a beach house and stay together for the week. We obviously were not thinking clearly.

As I began packing, I realized that all the activities my brother planned for us were great but they also translated in to many different types of clothes and worst yet – shoes that needed to be packed.

At a minimum, each of us needed a pair of flip flops, tennis shoes, dress shoes and wedding shoes. Take those four types of shoes times eight people and you get 32 pairs of shoes or 64 individual shoes to pack. As I was sitting on the floor amidst a sea of rubber soles, my husband came to the rescue. He brought up his golf bag. “Throw all the shoes in here,” he said. Thank God for a clear thinking man.

Next on the list was packing the clothes. I packed a few outfits for everyone, two bathing suits a piece, beach towels, wedding attire and clothes for the rehearsal and dinner. Knowing that my parents were staying in the top part of the beach house with our family, I packed a few going out ensembles thinking my husband and I would be able to steal away for a night or two. That turned out to be yet another one of my wonderful expectations about the trip that never came to fruition – we never got to go out alone.

Got everything packed and loaded in our 12 passenger van. Two giant suitcases, 1 golf bag full of shoes, a carry on for me and each of the kids were allowed to pack a backpack full of whatever they wanted to keep themselves busy on the plane. We were ready to go.

We get to the airport and I was not prepared for all the stares and comments we would get as we walked through the terminal. “Are those all your kids?” people would ask and then seem surprised when we said yes. And our favorite was all the pointing at the golf bag my husband carried. “Look at that poor woman with six kids and her husband is going to play golf,” we overhead one lady say. Little did she know that my man had traded golf for his family. They were actually staring at a very wonderful guy with a whole lotta shoes.

Well, the flight went amazingly well. We were so proud of the kids. We did have to divide and conquer so my husband and I didn’t get to sit together but the peace we had by splitting up certain siblings was well worth it. When we got to the rental car area, we called to check if my parents had landed. My brother had already picked them up at the airport and they did not rent a car as they were planning on riding with us all week. We had rented a minivan that seats 8 only. Since my parents didn’t seem to get the picture very clearly, my husband rented a car which meant I had to drive my parents around all week and couldn’t ride in the same vehicle as him. Who thought traveling with my parents was a good idea?

We get to the beach house and my family loved it. It was literally right on the ocean and I was just happy to be on land and relax for the first night. But no, we have to get ready and go to my soon to be sister-in-law’s parents house for dinner. My kids are tired and crabby but we put on our smiles and go. My sister-in-law’s family is from Greece and so they prepared this authentic Greek dinner for us. The dinner was delicious but our kids were craving Mickey D’s. Their house was full of marble and statues and I was afraid something very valuable was going to get broken. Luckily our kids were so tired that they nearly all feel asleep.

Next day it was off to Sea World where we got to go behind the scenes and meet Shamu, train a beluga whale and swim with the dolphins. Amazing. Next day we were at Disneyland. We had one day to do Disney so we were all about the rides while my brother was all about the food and shopping. We had to split up. My kids badgered me to go on Space Mountain and then shortly after getting off the ride, they found out why mommy can’t ride roller coasters anymore. The hard way. They won’t be asking again.

Next day it was beach day. Finally a day to relax or so I thought. We were awoken at exactly 7 am by a call from my brother who was staying in the unit below us. Turns out he had seen a bug late the night before and was calling to inform us he was moving his family to a hotel. We are staying on the beach and there are bugs near water and sand yet my brother is a nurse and a germ a phobe and there was no convincing him to stay. Still don’t know why we needed a 7am wake up call to find out but so goes the trip.

We enjoyed our day at the beach. Our family went boogie boarding, collected shells, buried my husband in the sand and had a great time. My one son found what he calls an Octopus leg on the beach and picked it up. He chased the girls around the beach with it for quite some time. Then he got really mad at me when I told him he couldn’t take it home with him. Such a terrible mom.

The next day we went to the San Diego Zoo. What an incredible place. Loved the panda, giraffe and elephant exhibits best. My boys were totally fascinated with the meerkats. From there it was off to my brother’s for dinner. Next day was another beach day. Off to Hollywood the following day. Got to see Tim Robbins get his star on the walk of fame. The kids did not know who he was but we thought it was cool to see him and Susan Sarandon. The kids did recognize Jack Black who was there for the festivities.

We went to the Kodak Theater to have an Idol moment and it was there that I heard my greatest question of the vacation. It came from a lady on Hollywood Boulevard who was soliciting tours.” Excuse me miss,” she said “are you the supervisor of this group?” With a hearty chuckle I responded “no, I’m the mother of this group.” She smiled and went on to another herd of people. Don’t think she hears that response very often.

The rehearsal dinner went great but the wedding day was quite the deal. My sister-in-law made appointments for the girls to get their hair done – all with the same “do”. Two of my girls loved it and two hated having their hair look exactly like everyone else. Why did I get all the complaining? I’m just the driver. It was “picture city” the morning of the wedding so my husband and I had to split duties again. He had the boys where they needed to be and I took the girls to the park. Problem was, I was never told where in the park to go and this was a huge park filled with many different wedding parties taking photos. We didn’t find the bride and her bridesmaids til the last picture was being taken and then it was off to the Church.

The ceremony was beautiful. It was a traditional Greek Orthodox wedding and my son, Charlie, nearly dropped the crown as he was carrying it down the aisle. It was true comic genius that can never be duplicated in print. You should have seen the look on the priest’s face. Priceless. My nephew, who was two at the time, refused to walk down the aisle much to his mother’s chagrin. Another priceless moment.

It was finally time to head home. We arrived at the San Diego Airport and were running tight on time so my husband dropped us off and then went to return the rental car. The kids and I walked through the airport and went through security. When I emptied my pockets, I had glow in the dark plastic teeth, lip gloss, loose change, sea shells and Polly Pocket shoes in my bin. The lady behind me started laughing. I laughed too and knew she had to be a mom herself to appreciate how things you don’t own can end up in your pocket w/out you knowing. I found out after my sister-in-law sent us the wedding photos that my son, Charlie, had worn the fake teeth in the guys’ only wedding shots. Don’t think she was too happy but I actually found it quite humorous.

All in all it was a great trip. Despite getting handed a bill by my new sister-in-law at the end trip for the cost of all the attraction tickets (which we were originally told would be comped), having to rent a car for both ourselves and my parents, my brother and his family moving out of the beach house because they found a bug, my parents complaining it was too hot (constantly), and my son Charlie getting bit in the privates by a sand crab, it was a wonderful vacation.

What gives me the biggest giggle is to listen to the response from each of our kids when asked what the best part of the trip to California was. It’s not Disney, or Sea World. It’s not going to Hollywood or body surfing in the ocean. No, my kids’ favorite part of the vacation is the street performer that we saw at the pier. He was dressed in silver from head to toe and danced to Michael Jackson songs. We gave him a few bucks and he put on quite a show. My kids loved it. Loved it. We could have gone to Downtown Cleveland and saw the same thing. Smile. I just love how kids truly do appreciate the simple and somewhat bizarre things in life. As parents, we often try too hard to impress.

We all made it home safe and sound from the trip; two adults, six kids and 32 pairs of shoes (courtesy of one great husband and his dusty golf bag).

I am taking a Spring Break this week and am lucky to have some guests posts. Today's post is by Heather from Café!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday Guest Post: Some Days Require Bulk Chocolate

I am taking a Spring Break this week and am lucky to have some guests posts. Today's post is by @mstori!

Some Days Require Bulk Chocolate

Friday, March 26, 2010

Losing It: Not just our Sanity - Week 5

I tried the whole commando thing. Not horrible, maybe not even worse than the Great Panty Debacle of 2010 but not a solution either. It just let to my pants becoming a little too personal with me. Ahem.

I did also grab Fiber One products and things are moving a bit better. Unfortunately this week was busy to the point where I kept beating myself up for over scheduling it so badly. And of course being so busy and beating myself up led to a fallback of some old habits. I did the unthinkable - I ate fast food not once but TWICE this week. The scale reflected my poor eating this week as I was up a half a pound.

On the positive side I met with the personal trainer and he designed a workout to fit around my limitations but that would still start to move me forward. I also learned that I was pushing myself too hard on the treadmill. My target heart rate is about 10bpm lower than I thought. So I can get an hour long walk in at my target range without limping after.

Now I am off to the gym!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Mingle March 22nd 2010

This week's questions submitted by Alexes from One Cluttered Brain (thank you Alexes!):
1. How do you usually celebrate your birthday?
2. Do you ever reveal your true age to people? Or do you make people guess?
3. What's the craziest thing you ever did OR wanted to do on your DAY?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Losing It: Not just our Sanity - Week 4

Lets get this out of the way right now. I have a MAJOR problem with exercise equipment. I fixed the shoe situation thanks to Zappos and a lovely pair of Brooks. I have a sports bra, but could probably use a new one - all in due time. My problem however is with underwear. I have tried a different style every day this week. And by the end of my warm up something to do with my panties are rubbing, cutting in, pulling, digging, sliding, pinching, or creeping. OH. My. God. I tried a thong (which based on my discrete panty line viewing at the gym is a favorite) and almost got a blister in my ass crack. I tried a bikini style, and boy shorts. I pulled out my one pair of granny panties and still no luck. Someone send the Plus Size Panty Fairy!

I been on the treadmill for an hour every day this week. I have now healing blisters on my feet. I hit a wall every day around 25 minutes, and would have really liked every single day to have just cooled down at that point. But I have kept going. Every day. Despite panty problems! All this walking has been adding up to over 10000 steps every day. I added a protein shake in the morning since I am really bad about eating breakfast before working out.

What this means for my weigh in? No idea yet. I will update in the morning. But seeing as how I am constipated like whoah (I think the thong shoved stuff places o_O) I expect the loss to be minimal this week with a big one when things start moving again.

Maybe ask the Plus Size Panty Fairy to bring a laxative!

ETA: Stayed the same as last week. Bah.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Mingle March 15th 2010

This week's questions were submitted by Greg from Telling Dad:
1. If you were forced to choose between skydiving, base jumping off a skyscraper or rock climbing, which would you choose?
2. Are you an aggressive or defensive driver?
3. Due to the sour economy, the genie can only grant you ONE wish. What would it be?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Losing It: Not just our Sanity - Week 3

What I want to do is scream and cry and pout that it is not FAIR that I am fat, and was sick for my birthday and that I deserved to eat all the cupcakes, cake, ice cream and such. Instead I will step up and admit I fell back into all my bad habits this week. What I didn't do was treat *every* meal like it was a comfort I deserved. I tried to salvage some of them, and make smaller, better decisions when I felt I could (which was not enough).

It hit me pretty hard when I got on the scale this morning and saw a gain. I could justify it as "not a huge gain" but I am never going to get healthy going backwards. So instead of diving into my fridge, I went to the gym. No seriously I did! I am all sweaty and my legs hurt and everything. Even if my nose is still sniffly. Percentage lost to date: 4.3% Percent this week: +0.4%

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Girl Talk Thursday: $10 can stretch pretty far…

Today's topic on Girl Talk Thursday: "So, you’ve got $10. Dinner needs to get on the table. What’re you going to serve?"

There are SO many dishes that can be cooked for $10 it is hard to decide which one to share, so today we are going to take a look at a family favorite: Penne al la Vodka.

Around here we shop sales, and try to keep a stocked pantry and freezer so this meal often costs a LOT less than $10. But we can go to the grocery store and just grab the basics for $10 if the cupboards are bare.

1 TBS butter (we use unsalted, because that is what we keep in the house)
1 TBS oil (olive oil usually but vegetable has been used in a pinch)
1 onion, diced (medium to large or 2 small) [less than $1.00]
1 can of tomatoes 28oz. (sometimes diced, sometimes whole plum, sometimes crushed, always whatever is on sale. If whole drain and dice.)[$1.99]
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt to taste
1 to 2 oz vodka (one if kids are eating two if not)
1 cup of heavy cream [$2.99]
Parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best but whatever is handy is fine too)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Box of Penne Pasta [$1.99]
Total cost: $7.97

1. Melt the butter w/oil in sauce pan.
2. Add diced onion and cook until translucent but do not brown
3. Throw in the can of tomatoes and let cook until most of the liquid is gone (~20 minutes)
4. Cook Penne according to directions on box.
5. Add the red pepper flakes, vodka and cream, and bring back to a simmer.
6. Season to taste with the Salt, Pepper and Parmesan cheese.
7. Throw sauce in pot over cooked pasta and serve!

As stated earlier there is usually a bit of something else in the house, sometimes that needs to be used up, or just yummy and can be thrown on top: peas, cooked shrimp, grilled chicken, add a side of garlic bread or salad, all are house favorites!

Generally speaking even this mom does not mess it up, so likely no one else will either!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Playing in the Shadows

Cough, Cough

Indy has pneumonia. Meds have taken care of the worst of it and she has returned to school, slowed down just a tiny bit. Bear is sick as well. Not horribly so, but enough to warrant a visit for him to the doctor, which is something. Meds are on board for him as well. Little Bear seems to be unphased and occasionally will sneeze but mostly just goes about playing like a wild man and vaguely concerning me by not wanting to wear a jacket (it is still only 50 degrees out - and there are piles of snow everywhere). I am just inconveniently sick. The worst of it really is my throat/voice from the mild coughing. Who needed to be able to yell anyway ;)

I went to meet with my physical trainer yesterday for the first time. He does not just do workouts but also nutrition, which immediately put my guard up, since so many of these people are all or nothing hard asses. Which is why during the course of our conversation, when he mentioned eating things like Oreos and hot dogs, I really started to listen. This is a guy that understands eating for real - sure not having that at every meal, or every day, but there is no expectation of life long deprivation! A lot of what he talked about is all about blood sugar regulation, and just generally medically backed up ideas. *blink blink*

We will be meeting on Thursday to go over what he wants me to do in the Gym. Would I like to work with him over the next few months? Hell Yes. But I don't know that it is in the budget. These first few meetings came with my gym membership. Beyond that, I do not see how it will happen.

But I went. Despite feeling not great. I got up and put my darn workout bra on, which does not help with deep breathing on the best of days ;) and showed up. For some people that may not be a big deal. Maybe for them that is easy. To just keep going. Not for me. So I feel good today for having that much willpower. Now, if you will excuse me, I have a piece of birthday cake that needs eating.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Parenting is no fair.

Sometimes it is hard being a mom. Wait, no strike that. It is always hard being a mom. Sometimes it is just a lot less enjoyable than others. Little Bear was being brat-tastic this morning. Only willing to play games HE chose, refusing to even listen to what Indy wanted to do, not listening to me, throwing all manners out the window, and just generally being a grumpy miserable person to be around.

Which sucked. A lot. Not just because I had to deal with it, but because I had intended to surprise him and go to a movie he wanted to see this afternoon. Just the two of us. But there is no way I was rewarding that behavior. Nuh uh. No matter how bad I wanted to go. He seems to have pulled himself together, so I am going to take a wait and see approach.

This just all makes me think of so many other parenting decisions, that I am sure some people just do not get. I am told I am mean, or strict. Perhaps I am. But I don't think those are bad things necessarily. Sure it is often no fun at all. Would it be easier to let my kids stay up all night than be firm about bedtime? Let them leave their room a mess and their beds unmade all day? If course it is easier in the short term. But they are worth the energy investment. Equally, the world would not be well served by me turning out children who grow into adults like that.

So there may not be a movie today, but there will be ones in the future. Ones where I know my kids are not the ones being disruptive or rude during.

Even if it would be easier to just say to hell with it and go anyway, cause damn it I wanted to go to the movies with him and it is just no fair!

Friday, March 5, 2010

How do I say goodbye?

Mabel's Labels is hosting a contest: "Write a post on your blog in response to the following hypothetical situation: Electrical storms are going to wipe out the Internet (perhaps forever). You have one day left to write about your passions: what do you want to say to the blogosphere in 300 words or less?" This is my entry:

In no time flat the internet will be gone forever. This thing, that has introduced so many into my life. Wonderful people that I value, casual friends, business I use the products from every day. Do I really want to go back to heading to the store for every book and movie, when the internet oh so magically delivers them to me? I seem to be going through the stages of grief. Denial has passed, where I just went about posting, emailing and tweeting like nothing would happen. Anger was not so good on my laptop. I had to borrow one for this post. How will I buy a new one without the internet to do research on! I tried bargaining, but no amount of offering to give up ice cream, or to go to the gym every day would help. I laid in bed wondering how this could happen to so many good people. We love the internet, we NEED it. It has connected us in so many ways. And now here I am trying to accept it. That this amazing thing, that I met one of my best friends through, that I chronicled the birth and growth of my children on, will be gone soon.

But everything will be ok - I already grabbed the phone number and mailing address for Mabel's Labels.

Losing It: Not just our Sanity - Week 2

This week was so darn typical of how I get off track. Indy got sick on Sunday with what turned out to be Pneumonia, which rapidly derailed my gym streak. Kinda hard to work out with a feverish five year old clinging to you like a nursing newborn. I tried to stick with just getting more movement in the house - sit down less, don't be afraid of the stairs, and try not to GORGE when I eat.

Totally convinced that I was going to gain back some of last week's weight loss, which I was pretty sure was a total fluke anyway, I got on the scale this morning and discovered a small loss. Which is totally better than NO loss, or a gain, but kinda disappointing compared to last week. Percentage lost to date: 4.7% Percent this week: 0.7%

Next week back in the gym!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Princess excitement

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cookie monster

We are a family that likes cookies. Chocolate chip cookies are a favorite. Which led to us purchasing a rather large container of them right before Mother's Day in 2003. Little Bear was only 13 months old. It was pretty much my first mothers day that did not involve praying for sleep and trying to get a newborn to stop crying and or latch on. I woke up that morning to find that Little Bear had crawled out of bed already all sneaky like, and was giggling happily in the living room. Bleary eyed I got up and walked into the living room and found this:

He had pulled the container off the table and had upended it, opening it in the process, getting at the precious precious chocolatey cookie goodness that was trapped inside. He was covered in chocolate. My couch was smeared in chocolate. My rug had chocolate and crumbs ground into it. There was chocolate on the walls, on the table... everywhere. My initial reaction was to want to cry at the mess, and the cleaning it would entail for me on what should have been my "day off". Instead I made one of those decisions - what kind of memory did I want this to be? I decided to laugh, and grab the camera.

Eventually, I grabbed him, and sat him in his highchair to finish the mess off while I started cleaning, laughing all the while. He was my kid all right. A cookie monster!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Losing It: Not just our Sanity - Week 1

Weight loss is a funny thing. It looks on the outside to simply be a matter of Less calories in than out. Really there is so much more to it. The reasons why we do the things we do, how we view ourselves, how the world views us, and how it effects how we want to look. UGH. While I am not thrilled, but any stretch with my current weight, shape and size, I am also not filled with the self loathing others might expect. Mostly, I want to feel healthier.

I had already made this decision a while ago - to set my physical fitness as a priority. I went to physical therapy for my knees. Followed up with every damn doctor they could throw at me. So the next logical step was to join a gym, which I did earlier this week. The day I went to the gym I weighed in at home. My starting weight - the heaviest I have ever been. I totally wanted to crawl into a hole instead of going to the gym that day, and who am I kidding, pretty much every day since. But I got up and went. And did what needed doing. Feeling a bit like I was throwing grains of sand at the incoming hurricane, when I really needed a truck full of sandbags.

The next day I got up determined to go again, but still without a drop of real motivation which changed while I was procrastinating checking twitter and came across #LosingIt10

So rather than feeling kind of helpless, I suddenly had a challenge. Which kept me going all week.

I don't plan on posting my weight. What I WILL be doing is posting my percentage lost each week. This week: 4% Which frankly is pretty damn spectacular, and might well have been a fluke on the scale this morning. And if it is I will work harder next week. And if it is not, is a darn great start.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I signed up for SocialSpark!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have, of recent, been spending a lot more time and energy on this blog. I have been loving meeting the other bloggers, tweeples, and getting to know their lives and families. In the process, it became apparent that a significant number of them have a developed a rich landscape of opportunities and in some cases even full time careers.

Following the suggestion on one led me to IZEA where I signed up for SocialSpark! Anyone who has been reading this knows I have opinions and are all too happy to share them, so the idea of doing so with sponsorship sounded perfect.

It was really easy to set up an account which involved inputting some basic information about my blog and interests then I claimed my blog (put some invisible code on my blog to verify I was indeed the owner) before I was able to look at the opportunities available. The opportunities I qualified for included at least one I was interested in and I don't HAVE to do any of them - just continue to write about what interests me. Which to me is pretty perfect as I don't intend this blog to become just an advertising space.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"It's a meal"

When I read Diane's post on Girl Talk Thursday that started with "I’m not an athlete." I thought, hey *I* am not an athlete. Score! Then I read Maria's post and decided this was clearly the event for me.

I have an uncanny ability. You will be able to easily guess this if you have ever eaten a meal with me, seen me after a meal, or really just noticed my shirts. I drop food on my chest at every meal. Every. Meal. This earns me a Bronze medal I would think. More often than not it is something that makes a mess, earning me a Silver. Entirely too often it is something that stains. Which would probably earn me a gold, but really if any of you have seen the size of my chest you understand just what a showpiece this is, earning me the often coveted Stain Stick medal for having one more reason to stare at my boobs.

I have, of recent, started wearing scarves in situations that I would prefer not to walk around the rest of the day advertisement of my meals. This does not stop my darling husband from declaring EVERY time he sees it happen "It's a meal".

We were off to such a great start

I suck at packing. And leaving the house on time. And lots of other things too, but not all of those are relevant right now. Our goal was to get out of here in time to get to the airport to leave for Disney/FL in plenty of time to check bags, park the car, get through security (with a laptop, a CPAP, 4 pairs of shoes, coats, scarves, etc. this takes a while) and eat lunch before our flight.

Amazingly enough I succeeded. I even managed to keep my checked bag under max weight 49.5lb to be exact! Everything looked to be going so well. The flight was even looking to be on time. Possibly even arriving in Orlando early. We load onto the plane and wait. And wait some more. And they announce that we are waiting for some passengers from a connecting flight. Since I think missing a connecting flight would suck, I have a lot of sympathy, but even still, I am watching my schedule for dinner slip away.

Why do I care so much about my dinner plans? I spent entirely too long getting reservations for us at Disney's Kouzzina by Cat Cora. This was to be the first time we were seeing my sister in law in years, and would be meeting her fiance. Special, important, reunion. And we should have had plenty of time. I allotted for the hour and half of taking a bus from our hotel (Coronado Springs), to Downtown Disney, and then taking another bus to the Boardwalk where the restaurant was located.

The plane takes off late. We arrive late. We manage to meet my SIL & fiace on the Magical Express. Indy has even stopped crying about her ear hurting. We are all hungry, and starting to run late. But I have hope. We did online check-in so this should move quickly. We get up there and get our Keys to the World. And I find out that my room request has been ignored (I could not have been farther from El Centro) and to boot we are far from bus stops, and I did not have the Water View I paid for. Ok well, they can't seem to do anything about the room. I breath through as they give me a credit for the lack of water view and run to drop off our stuff in our rooms.

At this point it is clear we are never going to make the res. if we take the bus. So I call the front desk for a taxi. No problem they say, and connect me to they taxi company. We request a minivan since there are 6 of us, and give them our room number and building and are told the driver will call when he arrives (it is raining so waiting outside not ideal). Ten minutes go by. A half hour goes by. No taxi or phone call. I call the taxi back. The guy picked up the wrong family, they are sending someone now. Ok, dinner reservation is NOW. Wait some more. Phone rings, and it is the dispatcher. Taxi can't find us. Where are we in the lobby. Uh dispatcher? We are not in the main lobby that is why I gave you our room and building number. Well, apparently taxi can't pick us up at our room and we are so far from the lobby we would have to take a bus so we just decided to do that. And then take the second bus. We are now an hour late for our reservation.

All the while I am frantically on the phone with Dining Reservations trying to make sure we will be able to eat when we get there because we have not had food since before noon and it is now around 8:30pm. We make it to Kouzzina. The place is PACKED. We are starving and the wait is almost an hour. At some point I just started to apologize. It was my job to plan, organize and make sure things ran smoothly. To keep people fed and happy. I am full of fail. Bear decides we are not going to torture ourselves with the buses any more than necessary, so I call Hertz and not only are they able to start our reservation days early, but they will pick him up at the hotel. YAY HERTZ!!!

I check with the hostess about how much longer till we are seated - could be 10 minutes could be a half hour. The kids look translucent they are so hungry. She goes and gets them some warm bread to eat while we wait, and amazingly our table is ready. I do have to say that if it had not been nine hours since the last time we had eaten I would not have minded the wait.

The food was wonderful. Everyone was happy with everything. If I can find it I will post what we all ate, but sadly, in my exhausted state I did not take pictures of the food, and well, that seemed to have held true the rest of the trip. We did eventually make it back to the hotel and to bed, stuffed, cold and moist from the rain. I was up and down all night nervous I would sleep through our wake-up call, and hopeful our next day would be filled with Disney Magic.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Meets or exceeds expectations

Little Bear brought home a note asking me to come to a meeting to go over his evaluation for OT. Which seemed to mean they had finally completed said evaluations. After showing up to the meeting I was asked if I had any questions about the report. Why yes actually I did - When would I get a copy? They looked confused and told me it should have been sent to me as soon as it was complete, and I assured them it had not been. After finding a copy they went over it with me. Basically, he is holding his own. He of course tried his very hardest for the OT so she did not see ANY of the issues his teacher or I observe on a daily basis *head desk* However the teacher was able to provide her with samples so she at least saw it happened at all.

Long story short? He does not qualify for ANY services. His school work, with the exception of his writing, is exceptional, as is his behavior. They did agree to put a plan in to try addressing some of the writing issues. Different paper, the possibility moving forward of typing work, etc. was discussed.

The teacher, while not thrilled with this, at least they are acknowledging that there is some issues, so moving forward if it gets worse we at least have a basis of comparison. Personally I am not surprised, and will continue to work with him at home. I am so glad we decided to homeschool until he got to this point, but am sad the system is not willing to help him live to his full potential.

If I am able to manage this on our own the so be it. If not, I will go back to private OT. I am really trying to avoid it as it kills what little down time the kid has - OT is an hour away, so that eats up three hours a day easy.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Date night confessional

I have a confession. Unless there is a special event, my date night activity of choice is going grocery shopping. People think who wants to go food shopping on a date? But I tell you we have the best time.

We wander through the isles together laughing and smiling. Bear tells jokes, makes fun of my inability to reach anything up high, and just get to be us. We talk about the crazy foods some people will eat, and occasionally try them. He pokes fun at me when I am staring right at what I have been looking for, and am ready to walk up and down the aisle AGAIN to look for it. We share tiny little meaningful touches and inside jokes.

When we first started dating grocery shopping was something we did out of necessity, but found it to be fun. Now? I look forward to the rare opportunity to do something so mundane as a couple and just enjoy all the little reasons we chose to be with each other.

Because really? Bear just cracks me up.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Balancing act

As far as transitions go, the transition for my kids to public school was not bad at all. Having now given them four months to adjust I decided to evaluate their academics on my scale after the winter break. Both are doing well according to the school's standards. It would seem however that I expect more. I know, big surprise.

So what to do. I don't want to pressure them into hating learning, but also see the need for them to be challenged. Balance is not my strong suite. In that interest I will start slow and reevaluate.

For both their first priority is homework. Thankfully the school does not seem to bury them in this.

They both also attend Hebrew school, which has little work there, and I am not entirely sure is teaching much except culture at this point. I am starting with Little Bear on this as a focus. The school uses the AlephChamp system. I KNOW we covered at least the first two if not four levels of this last year while homeschooling, so now I just need to review with him so he can test up. He is at white now. I think they are only doing basic letter exposure for Indy, which is something I need to confirm this weekend.

For Little Bear I also want to work on his typing skills. With little movement on his 504, I will put my attention toward things I can help him with. We are using Type to Learn 4 for this. In the interest of improving his writing which I am not just giving up on, I am going to reintroduce some copywork and journaling. I don't much care which he chooses to do at this point, but I need some practice to be done. I am also having him do Weekly Reader, and read books in general.

For Indy there will be a lot of practicing in general. She loves to skate by pretending things are too hard. Yeah that won't fly. We are practicing her handwriting (letters and numbers), counting (up, down, by 2s, 5s, 10s), calendar, and reading. For reading we have been using Bob Books and ClickN KIDS. And lots of me reading to her. And her brother reading to her, which really is just about the best thing ever.
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