Monday, August 31, 2009

Back from vacation!

Hey there friends! Sorry for the absence from the blog, but we took our annual end-of-summer vacation to the Traverse City, Michigan area. It's a wonderful place with tons and tons of things to do.
We were supposed to camp for the first four nights, but got a little lazy about packing and also had to wait around because Logan's karate class was in a parade in our town, so we ended up leaving late on Saturday and driving only a little over halfway up north, then we stopped and stayed the night in a hotel. We headed to the campground the next day and set up camp for three nights. Amazingly, there were no mosquitoes, but every time we got out food, a ton of bees would show up, and they were shameless! They'd crawl right into our sandwiches and stuff, so we had to inspect before each bite. Luckily, no one was stung.
After the last, rainy night at camp, we headed to our favorite hotel in Traverse City, the Grand Beach, which we've taken to calling The Big Blue Hotel, thanks to Logan. We stayed there and enjoyed the beach until a rainy cold front blew in and banished us indoors. We enjoyed the pool and hot tub, though.
We finished out the trip with a night at the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, which is a neat little German town in mid-Michigan. The hotel has five pools and three hot tubs, and it's lots of fun for kids. It also has mini golf and tons of games.
After such a long trip, though, it's nice to return home. One gets tired of sleeping in places other than their own bed (Though the Grand Beach hotel does have pillow-top mattresses, which are lovely!) and eating food from restaurants.
Well, it was nice to be home until... we emptied out the truck! Now the kitchen is piled with dirty camping laundry, gear, dishes, etc. We also seem to have brought several pounds of sand home with us.
Anyway, it was a nice farewell to summer, and with really cool temperatures and Logan's back-to-school open house to welcome us home, it really feels like summer is giving way to fall. Where did the time go?
Actually, we packed a lot of fun into the summer. This was the third camping trip we took. In June, we went to Wilderness State Park near Mackinac, in July we went to Tahquamenon Falls and then there was this trip, and I have to say it got easier camping with the two boys each time. The first trip, it was kind of hard to get Jordan to sleep in the tent. It was a little better the second time around, but he still woke frequently during the hour or two immediately following when we put him to bed. This time, he went to sleep in the Pack n Play with little trouble.
By far, though, the very best part of this entire trip was spending time with all three of my men. They mean so much to me and I really treasure the times when we get to hang out all together as a family.
Here we are, dirty and happy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Motherhood comes full circle

It’s true that we have no idea what our mothers went through until we’re moms ourselves, and recently I started getting some of my payback for what I put my mom through.
I had a problem with socks as a kid, to put it mildly. No, I didn’t mind wearing them. It was a matter of getting them on correctly. If I didn’t have the seam exactly right and the heel in just the right spot, I could not stand having the socks on my feet. I absolutely hated it, and it seemed like I could never, ever get those socks to feel comfortable on my feet without my mom’s help. I had my mom putting my socks on for me well after I should have been able to dress myself from head to toe. It was kind of a running joke between us. I even made her an Official Sock Putter-Onner award at one point, complete with a picture of her putting my socks on for me. (Mind you, I was probably in fourth grade by then. Totally old enough to put on my own socks.)
Well, I had completely forgotten about my past sock issues (I can do it myself now! I’m a big girl!) until recently when, while trying to get dressed one morning, Logan had a Queen Mother of a fit, which ended in him crying and throwing his socks across the room while uttering his favorite swear, “I can’t get these Dang It socks on! I guess I will just have to wear flip flops all the time.”
I paused, looked at him in surprise, and burst out laughing. What could I do? It was like watching a little me, all over again.
I sat on the floor and pulled one of the socks onto his foot, which caused a fresh outburst.
“It doesn’t feel right!” Logan bellowed, sobbing like his world was ending.
“Ok, Bud, I understand completely,” I said, smiling to myself knowingly. I did understand. A misplaced sock seam is a very important issue. “We’ll keep working on it until we get it right.”
I should have knows this was coming. Logan has become increasingly sensitive to clothing discomfort over the years. It’s quite frustrating. He takes it to a new level. I know a lot of kids hate tags in their clothing. Every time Logan gets a new shirt, the first thing he does is check for a tag, and if he finds one, he brings me the scissors. Thankfully, many children’s clothing manufacturers are starting to design tagless clothing. The size and washing instructions are simply printed on the inside. I love that so much! So many of Logan’s clothes have been put away for Jordan to wear, and I have no idea what size they are.
Logan takes clothing discomfort to a new level, though. What other kid do you know that won’t wear shorts or pants with stripes down the sides because “the stripes might twist?” Yes, if the stripe on one leg doesn’t EXACTLY match the stripe on the other leg, he has to de-pants himself (though I think he’s really always looking for a reason to de-pants himself. He is a little boy, after all, and from what I gather, when you’re a little boy being pantsless is one of the best parts of life.)
But anyway, it’s all small stuff and I’m not going to sweat it.
Instead, I’m going to step up and gracefully accept my crown as the new Official Sock Putter-Onner. I’m happy to follow in my mom’s footsteps. She has been a great mom to me and I want to be a great mom to my sons. Even if it means I have to put socks on their stinky big boy feet when they’re in high school.
Hopefully one day, when Logan’s a dad, his daughter will come to him with a sock in her hand, her foot outstretched, and he will laugh to himself, remembering me.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Giveaway next week!

Hey moms and dads! I will be conducting a giveaway from Stonyfield Farms next week. It includes five coupons for FREE YoBaby products, a reusable shopping bag, an Eric Carle growth chart, an organic bib and a baby travel bowl with lid and utensils.

Friday, August 21, 2009

found one!

Found a bathing suit! Major clearance at Fashion Bug. Yes!
I was a little naughty, though. I needed a 14 on top and a 12 on bottom so I pulled the old switcheroo with a different suit! Kind of interesting to need a bigger top. Usually it's the other way around.

Check out this post!

This is a hilarious blog post from a mom who's trying to stay sane as the only female in a house with five males. I laughed so hard this morning when I read it. I can totally relate on so many of the things she mentioned!
Private parts

speaking of bathing suits...

Oh, the joys of the post-baby body battle!
Official weigh-in this morning: 163.5. I had a goal to hit the 150s by Sept. 9. I don't think I will quite make it, but hopefully I will come close.
My pre-baby weight was 146.5, and I was pretty happy there, so that's what I'm trying to achieve. A strong, healthy body that I can maintain with normal healthy eating, treats when I want them, and regular enjoyable exercise.
This was me when I first found out I was pregnant with Jordan. I was healthy and happy.

These days, when I get down about what I look like, I try to remind myself of what I looked like just six months ago. This bathing suit photo was taken on Feb. 1, and I gave birth on my due date of Feb. 7. I weighed about 195 here. About the same as my husband!

So, anyway, this post is a reminder to myself that I've come a long way since February, and it will take hard work, but I will be able to get back to where I was before. I did it once, and I can do it again.
Go me!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

bathing suits! aaargh!

I went bathing suit shopping yesterday.
Yeah, yeah. I know it's almost September, but I'm wearing this horrid stretched-out faded little number that I got a long, long time ago. I wore it after I had Logan and I've been wearing it all summer, but it's all bagged out from the boys climbing me with their feet in the pool, and when the bottoms get wet, they literally fall down if I don't hold them up with my hand. It ain't pretty.
Anyway, I just stopped by a few stores because the suits are all on major clearance right now and we're going to be heading up north for one more vacation before Logan's school starts. I was hoping I could get something that didn't look so horrible or threaten to bare all.
Well, I guess I should have looked a little earlier! The suits are so picked-over that it's near impossible to find a matching top and bottom. I found two bottoms I liked, but wasn't able to find a matching top that fit the girls, thanks to breastfeeding! Usually I can find a top, no problem, but the bottoms are hard to find.
So there I was, crammed into the dressing room with Logan threatening to open the door, crawling under it, crawling back in while I'm tangled up in these nasty little straps that were supposed to criss-cross on my back but were instead doing their best to strangle me. Jordan was in the carrier on the floor, taking up the majority of the dressing room space, and nothing fit. It was far from fun. I wanted to cry. Well, maybe I did cry a little but don't tell anyone. It reminded me of those old Cathy cartoons. She was always doing battle with a bathing suit.
Bathing suit shopping always tends to be a little traumatic, but any post-baby mom can tell you, it's a lot worse when you've got the Mummy Tummy going on. I have 18 pounds to go to get to my pre-baby weight, and I wasn't exactly a bikini model then anyway. Add that to the fact that I desperately need a bikini wax, (but have never had one. too scared.) and you've got a recipe for disaster.
After the third store, I gave up. I am probably just going to wear the gross bathing suit on this vacation, and I'll probably have to wear it to the baby's swim classes this winter, too, until next year's suits come out or my old one fits me again.
I just hope no one gets an eyeful on the beach when we're on vacation or when I'm attempting to climb out of the community center pool with a baby in my arms.
Hmmm... On second thought, maybe I'll try again today.

My first product review!

Jordan is 6 months old now. I am still breastfeeding him and plan to do so until he's a year old, but I've also started giving him baby food. He's sampled a lot of fruits and veggies and seems to prefer the veggies, and he wants absolutely nothing to do with the baby food meats. (Can you blame him? That stuff is like canned cat food!)
Yesterday, I gave Jordan his first yogurt. I bought a multipack of YoBaby Plus fruit and cereal yogurt in Strawberry Banana and Raspberry Pear flavors, and from the first bite, Jordan couldn't get enough of it. He chowed the whole container in record time.
I love YoBaby products for a lot of reasons. First, they're organic. My little one hasn't had anything junky in his body and I'd like to keep it that way for as long as possible. I recognize everything on the ingredient list and feel good about feeding it to him.
YoBaby Plus yogurts have protein, fruit and cereal, so it's like a complete meal in one cup. Not only that, it has DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that is vital for visual and central nervous system development during the first two years of life. Studies suggest that infants who take in DHA have higher IQs and better visual skills. I like to think I am helping grow his body and mind the best way possible by feeding him the best foods, especially organic foods.
I am hoping that by exposing Jordan to good things like yogurt now, I will help encourage him to eat healthy meals and snacks for a lifetime.
I'm pretty excited, too, because Stonyfield Farms is coming out with a new YoBaby product called YoBaby Meals, which is a 3-in-1 organic combination of yogurt, fruit and vegetable puree in one cup. I wasn't able to find them in my local stores yet, but I'm going to keep looking. The flavors sound interesting, too. There's Apple & Sweet Potatoes, Peaches & Squash and Pear & Green Beans. I hope Jordan likes those, too. What an easy way to get a nutritious meal into your kid!

I am also excited to announce that I will be doing a YoBaby giveaway during the first week of September. Keep reading this blog for entry instructions. Thanks!

Ziggy Stardust hatched!

I thought it was going to take another day or two, but I looked up into the bug box yesterday morning and saw a butterfly hanging there!
We didn't get to see Ziggy Stardust making his chrysalis OR emerging from it, but our experiment to turn a caterpillar into a butterfly was indeed a success.
We took him outside and he crawled right onto my hand and began climbing up my sleeve. We put him on one of the sunflowers that Logan planted this spring, and he hung out there for a couple hours. During that time, we went to town to run a couple errands, and he was still there when we came home. We walked out to the garden and as we approached he flew up to the top of our maple tree. It's as if he was waiting for us before he flew away.
Have a fun winter in South America or Mexico or wherever you're headed, Ziggy!

A local tragedy

A local doctor drowned over the weekend. He was the dad of one of the kids in Logan's preschool class. I can't imagine the horror of watching your husband/father jump into a lake and disappear. My heart goes out to this family. It tears me up to think about what his wife and four children been through.
Click here for the story

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ch-ch-ch-ch Changes!

Our monarch butterfly caterpillar turned into a chrysalis a week and 2 days ago, and the chrysalis has turned transparent so we should have a butterfly in a day or so! You can see the black and orange wings through the chrysalis. It's so neat!

Insecurity is taking over this week

Well, fellow stay-at-home moms, it's been one of those weeks.
They hit without rhyme or reason, and when they do, it really stinks.
I'm talking about insecurity.
I have to imagine it happens to lots of other stay-at-home moms. It can't possibly just be me, but it seems like no one really ever talks about it. Do other women have these days too? Is it normal? A low self-esteem? A jealous nature?
Probably a little bit of all of those.
So, here I am. Four and a half years ago, I had a career. I wasn't anyone important or anything, but I had a job as a reporter, and I was good at it. People in my county knew me. They read what I wrote to get their news. I got out of bed and got dressed and went to work every morning. I didn't just wear jeans and a T-shirt to work, even though I could have. I thought I should take a little more care with my appearance. Then I went to the gym after work and came home to make a nice meal for my husband. We took vacations and had fun together.
Then I had my son Logan. He gave new meaning to our lives. We weren't just a couple, we were a family. I quit my job and became a stay-at-home mom.
Three years later, I was just starting to think about what to do when I went back to work, and along came Jordan. Now I have two awesome sons. I know how to be a mom, and am adjusting to the change that going from one child to two brought.
Don't get me wrong, the kids are the best thing ever. I don't long for the pre-baby days at all, but I do sometimes long for the pre-baby ME.
Let me try to explain. I'm here, at home, every day with the kids. We get out to run errands or for a play date, but my interaction with adults is quite limited. I get stir-crazy sometimes. I also get kind of weird about my husband.
Husbands of stay-at-home moms. They work their tails off to support their families. They get up in the morning and I'm sure they envision the family at home, sleeping in, waking up to snuggle in front of the T.V., having leisurely days at the park, etc. We moms know that's not exactly how it goes, but that's beside the point.
But husbands get to, well, kind of escape. They get out of the house every day. They interact with other adults. They aren't covered in pee, spit-up, baby cereal or whatever. Through the whole process of becoming parents, they get to retain not only themselves, but their SHAPE.
Husbands aren't put on bed rest for hypertension for four months. They don't gain dozens of pounds (or if they do, all they have to do is stop drinking pop for a week and the extra weight is gone). Husbands don't turn into milk factories or pee their pants if they try to do jumping jacks. Husbands don't pull their jeans (and not their SKINNY jeans, just their plain old jeans) out of the closet and realize that after six months they still can't even heft them up over their butts. Husbands don't have to deal with their hair falling out, as if the leaking milk and huge boobs and wide butt and frumpy "fat clothes" and hormone-related acne and bags under the eyes from lack of sleep weren't enough.
But moms do. I do.
And I guess that's probably where most of my insecurity lately has come from. I just plain don't feel like ME. I don't feel pretty or smart or important or anything. I'm just Mom. I'm the mean one. I'm the one who changes diapers and wipes butts. I'm the one who makes Logan eat breakfast AND lunch before you get to have a treat. I'm the one who has to carry him kicking and screaming over her shoulder to his room for a time-out. I'm the one who has to hold down the baby when he gets his shots, even though it's more painful for me than him.
So, I sit here and think of Hubby, at work, around important people and put-together women who actually wash their hair and put on makeup and FIT into their clothes. Then he comes home and I'm a hot mess. I get jealous. I feel even more insecure the more I think about it.
Frankly, some days I will admit, I feel just plain worthless.
Hubby always tells me he believes having kids is the meaning of life. It's what we're meant to do. My job is very important, he tells me.
I try to believe him. I really do.
But sometimes it's hard. Like this week.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Moms! Found a great deal!

Hey moms, I don't know if you use these or have a Kroger in your town, but I was in our local Kroger today and they had Huggies Little Swimmers swim diapers in the clearance bin! I got the last 3 packs of smalls for $3.99 apiece! (They're usually $7.99)
I have trouble finding these in the winter (to go in the community center's indoor pool and for baby swim classes) so I always try to stock up at the end of the summer.

My boys!

It's a rare thing to get them both looking at the camera at the same time. I happened to capture it yesterday after Logan asked to hold Jordan and they both were smiling. I'm in love!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Phys. Ed.: Workout of the Week

Last week, I did the first seven days of the 30-day circuit workout program from Jillian Michaels' book "Making the Cut." I enjoyed the workouts. They were efficient, different and I got a good sweat going each time. i never stopped moving, and there was no opportunity to get bored because I was doing something different every minute or so.

anyway, i'm going to keep doing it for this week, and probably for the whole 30-day program.

20 things about me

I always enjoy reading those "20 things you might not know about me" lists, so I am going to do one of my own.

1. I am addicted to The Weather Channel.

2. I go a little crazy without lip balm, so I keep lots of Burt's Bees around my house, car and purse.

3. If I miss a day of hair washing, I look like Kid Rock.

4. I adore Tanqueray and tonics, but they don't love me. I haven't had one in years.

5. If I could go back in time, I'd go meet Laura Ingalls Wilder.

6. I'm kind of afraid of the dark, especially when we're backpacking. I make Hubby get up with me if I have to pee in the middle of the night.

7. Hubby loves me enough that he does it without complaining.

8. I always want to buy exercise DVDs, but then I never do them.

9. I get a little dizzy when I see someone I love bleeding.

10. I want to build a log cabin by hand with Hubby one day.

11. I can't drive a stick, even though I have learned a couple times.

12. I love the scent of rubbing alcohol.

13. Sometimes I eat just mustard.

14. Bees make me scream like a little girl.

15. I have "mom jeans" but they don't fit me right now.

16. I don't use deodorant all the time.

17. I get a little excited (in a scared sort of way) when there's a tornado warning.

18. Pigs freak me out a little. I've had nightmares...

19. I drive like a grandma.

20. I'm a Coke addict (but only the fountain kind, and only from McDonald's).

Night 3 deemed a success

Last night, I put Jordan to bed around 8 and he cried a little but not too badly. He fell asleep rather quickly, and woke up a couple times crying but one of us just had to go comfort him (without picking him up) and maybe replace the paci or restart the seahorse and he went to sleep. He woke at 2:30 and 3:30 but i didn't nurse him. just replaced the paci and gave him a kiss and he went back to sleep. at 6:30, i woke up about to burst from not nursing through the night. He was still asleep, but woke when silly Mama had to peek in on him to make sure he was still breathing. So, I nursed him and he went back to sleep.
Hopefully this sleep business is working! I'm still trying to get him to take two good naps a day (10 a.m. and then sometime later around maybe 1 or 2, depending on how long he slept in the morning) and a steady bedtime that is currently hovering in the vicinity of 8 p.m.
I betcha we'll get him sleeping really well on a schedule and tooth No. 3 will disrupt everything! That's life, I guess.
For now, though, actually getting some sleep is pretty nice!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

the one-bag challenge

See how much recyclable garbage we kept out of the landfill today?
Our county doesn't make it super easy to recycle. There is a twice-monthly drop-off location to which you can take your recyclables, but only if you live in certain townships. There is no curbside pickup or anything like that. So, we save up our recyclables in old laundry hampers in our garage and take them to the drop-off a few times a year. We don't go every month, basically just when the recyclables are threatening to take over the garage. Still, it feels good to know that stuff isn't going into a landfill.
We also recycle all our fruit and vegetable garbage, dryer lint, coffee grounds and eggshells by putting them in a pile out back for compost. I have used some great dirt out of the compost in my gardening!
Still, though, with the rest of the garbage we generate, including dirty diapers, we tend to fill a garbage can with a couple bags each week, so I'm presenting a challenge to myself to find a way to reduce our waste even more and limit ourselves to one bag of trash per week at the curb. I am not exactly sure how I will go about it, but I'm going to try. I'm even toying with the idea of picking up some cloth diapers.
One way I know we, as a family, can reduce our impact is by drinking out of our stainless steel water bottles rather than buying cases of bottled water at the store. We've become accustomed to just grabbing a plastic bottle on the way out the door instead of using the tap water.
But I'm stumped as far as other ways to reduce our garbage. Do you have any tips? Please leave a comment!
I encourage everyone to join in the one-bag challenge.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The 6-month-old sleep challenge

(this post was started Friday, but completed Saturday)
What?! Oh! Sorry! I sat down for two seconds and fell fast asleep.
Why? Because my baby boy WILL NOT LET ME SLEEP AT NIGHT!
I was looking through Logan's baby book the other day, checking out the milestones he reached around 6 months old so I would have an idea what's up-and-coming with Jordan, and I saw this little note I wrote in the margin that said "Logan needs to re-learn how to sleep in his own bed every time he gets a new tooth!"
Yep, it was about this time with Logan that we messed everything up and allowed him to come into our bed to sleep. Three years later, we got him out. Not making that mistake again.
But what to do? For the past week, it's been extremely difficult to get Jordan to bed. This is a child who WAS sleeping pretty much through the night before teething came into the picture a couple months ago. I would put him into his crib, sleepy but not asleep, and he'd fall asleep. Easy peasy. He'd wake up a predictable one to two times each night, nurse, and go right back to sleep. No longer.
Lately, bedtime is a struggle, and once Jordan finally falls asleep, he might sleep for an hour or so but then he's up about every hour, screaming. He isn't hungry or wet or hot or anything but WIDE AWAKE. It's so frustrating and I am a zombie.
So, what to do? Well, like most moms would, I Googled it. I typed in "My 6-month old baby won't sleep" and came up with quite a few hits. I read through some of the information and found that it's pretty common for kids Jordan's age to go through a period of not wanting to sleep well. It could be teething, or a growth spurt, or the fact that he has recently become more mobile, able to flip over and scoot about whenever he wants. Perhaps it's a sort of separation anxiety that surfaces at this age.
Well, whatever the reason, it stinks!
The options to "treat" the problem vary widely. Some parents answer every cry the baby utters, responding by picking up the child or taking him into their bed. Been there and done that. Having Logan in our bed was nice for a while, until he grew and began kicking and grunting and so on. Then he was the only one who slept.
Another tip was setting an earlier bedtime, with a routine, and sticking to it. I'm using that idea, as best I can in these lax summer evenings which often find us having dinner outside or out for a walk at the park when bedtime rolls around. I know the routine part of it will get better once school starts.
(The following was written Saturday)
So, last night, we went for a walk and got Jordan to bed a little after his target bedtime. I had decided to try letting him "cry it out" in hopes of teaching him that bed is for sleeping and when we put him there, it's time to go to sleep.
Well, of course he cried. Hard. For about 45 minutes!
Actually, he would scream his fool head off, then kind of whimper for a few minutes, then scream, then quiet down, then scream some more. When he screamed, I would go in his room and kiss him and touch him and tell him it was OK (and re-start the stuffed seahorse that glows and plays music. I don't know why they don't make those things play longer, or give them a remote control for parents to use from outside of the room!)but I wouldn't pick him up.
Eventually, he drifted off, and woke only at 2:30 and 6:30. I nursed him and put him back to bed both times. I tried to skip the nursing at 2:30 but he was screaming so hard he was about to wake the whole house.
Tonight, he only cried for a couple minutes. We'll see what the night brings as far as wake-ups. I'm really hoping the "cry it out" option will work for us. We all need our sleep!

soup giveaway! (not mine)

Head over to my fitness-minded friend's journal for a soup cup giveaway!
Click here!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Coming soon... my first giveaway!

I will soon have an awesome giveaway for moms (or dads) from Stonyfield Farms! Keep reading this blog for more info on what will be given away and how to enter!

Home Ec.: What's for dinner?

I've failed to report what's for dinner for a while, haven't I?

In case you're curious, let's see... we had pizza and salad from Jet's on sunday night; baked bow-tie pasta with ground beef and sauce on monday; steaks, roasted veggies and biscuits on tuesday; and baked chicken breasts, asian salad, peas and corn, and baked potatoes last night.

Tonight, i think i'm going to thaw some salmon fillets and grill them, and have brown & wild rice and carrots.

it gets toward the end of the week and the fresh meat and produce is gone and we eat out of the freezer. that's when dinners get tricky to figure out. we get groceries on sunday, so it's pretty easy to decide what to make when there's a bunch of fresh food waiting to be eaten!

The snack trap!

Oh my goodness!
So, I had already eaten some hamburger and a banana for breakfast yesterday (yes, hamburger. I have a thing for plain browned ground beef. I just eat it out of a bowl.) when I was driving to my friend's house and felt a bit loopy, so I pulled into Tim Horton's for a snack. I love their cinnamon raisin bagels--just plain, not toasted, no butter or cream cheese or anything--so I got one of those and Logan asked if he could have a couple Tim Bit donut holes as a treat, and I agreed. I also chose two blueberry glazed ones for myself, because they sounded so good.
I chowed that snack in no time flat and felt better with some carbs in my system, and continued on to my destination.
Later, I got home and went to enter my food for the day into and had to do a search to get the nutrition info for the snack I'd had.
ONE TEENY TINY TIM BIT is 70 calories! I put away a very tasty, but not very hunger-satisfying 140 calories in probably 5 seconds. I was appalled. Those tiny donut holes are something I could easily eat 10 of without a second thought. They seem so harmless. I know I have, at some point, eaten 10 of them in short order. 700 calories! Holy cow!
The bagel was pretty bad, too, at 270 calories, but at least it's bigger, sticks with you more, and has 10 grams of protein and I think 3 grams of fiber. Not COMPLETELY bad.
So, I had a 410-calorie snack. Oops!
I will think a little harder now about the "quick little somethings" that I am putting in my mouth, that's for sure!

Hey, it could be worse!

I seem to have an extremely fussy 6-month-old on my hands!
For about a week now, it's been very very difficult to get him to sleep, and once he's finally sleeping in his bed, he wakes up a bunch of times screaming. Every so often, all night long, I'm up out of bed working to get the baby back to sleep. It adds up to not nearly enough sleep for either of us, so the crankiness carries into the day.
All I can think is that it must be teething issues. Jordan just had his 6-month doctor's appointment on Monday, and the doc said there are no problems with his ears or anything, though he tugs at them sometimes. Since his bottom two teeth are partially in, the doc said he's likely working on the top ones. Joy.
This was the point that we really screwed things up when Logan was a baby, so I'm trying to avoid that. When he was going through this stage, it was easier to just let him come into our bed. He was so small, he took up a tiny bit of room, and he slept really peacefully there.
What we didn't know was that it would escalate into a real hassle. I saw the other day that I jotted in the baby book "Logan has to re-learn how to sleep in his own room every time he gets a tooth!" Well, eventually he decided he just didn't want to go to bed in his own room, and it took us three years to change that. Now he goes to his own bed with no problems at all, but it was definitely not always that way. We've gone through sleeping in his room with him, letting him fall asleep in our bed then carrying him to his room, "crying it out," and everything in between. I'm really hoping to avoid all that with Jordan.
So, anyway, I'm tired. We're all tired. But this, too, shall pass, and soon I hope.
What you're tired, it can make little problems that pop up during an average day seem bigger than they are, simply because you don't have the energy to deal with them. Lately, I've been able to kind of deal with it by thinking, "Well, at least I'm not dealing with brown sludge in my house."
You see, we had those heavy storms last weekend that dumped more than 6 inches of rain here in a very short time. Our whole town flooded and this county is in an official State of Emergency. By now, the water has begun receding and the roads are being reopened, but all the spots where the water was standing are covered with this really stinky brown layer of grossness. I think of those poor people, like the ones who posted the above sign in their front yard, who had that nasty river water in their homes, and I feel lucky that we're not dealing with that.
And then there's my best friend. The poor thing is beside herself because the city sewer (yeah, the poop-filled one) backed up THREE FEET of POOP WATER into her basement. Everything that is down there has to be thrown away, including the flooring and walls.
They had tons of stuff stored down there, including the special Christmas gifts they had just bought their kids on a vacation to the Mall of America. All of it has to be tossed.
Not only that, she has had to go online and find every item she wants to replace, and print out a sheet showing the item and how much it costs. It might not sound like a big task, but they're collectors, so they had all these Disney movies that are "back in the vault" and can't be replaced and other things they'd found on eBay or wherever and can't replace. Her husband had some mint-condition E.T. stuff fron when he was a kid, and they can't even find those things online.
What a mess.
So, anyway, if you're feeling bad about something relatively minor today, just remind yourself, it could be worse. Your stuff could be soaked with poop water, or you could have a nasty indoor swimming pool in your basement!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thanks Zach!

I would like to send a great big thank-you to my cousin Zach for fixing the comment section on this blog!

Thanks Zach! Love you!

Now I've done it...

A friend's pushing resulted in me joining Twitter. She said it woudl be good for my blog! Now I have to figure out what the heck Twitter is! Ha!

If you want to follow me, I'm hikermom13

Thank you, God, for this child

It’s 3:04 a.m.
Four and a half hours ago, I went to bed. I think I was asleep before the pillow even got warm from my head on it. I was so tired. I am completely dead to the world, my favorite battered feather pillow on top of my head, blocking out the world. It’s a hot night, so the fan is in the window, blowing slightly cooler air in from outside. Somehow, even through the fan noise and the feather pillow and the deep sleep, I hear you down the hall, in your own room, in your crib, as you begin to stir in response to the hunger rumbles in your belly.
I slip out of bed and tiptoe down the hall, instinctively avoiding the squeaky spots in the old hardwood floor. Your dad and older brother still slumber peacefully, and the world is dark. I can just barely see you in the crib, your legs kicking, eyes wide open, waiting for me to come, as you know I will. I pick you up and you utter a shriek to let me know you mean business. You want food and you want it now.
3:05 a.m.
As I carry you to the living room, I nuzzle your neck. It smells faintly of the sweet potato I fixed you for dinner. “Oh, thank you, God, for this child,” I think, as I often do, as I often did with your brother when I’d get up at night with him.
You turned six months old today—how did that happen?!—and you’ve been dabbling in eating different fruits, vegetables and cereals, but you know you would rather have the good stuff from Mama. I know it, too, and am happy to comply.
We settle onto the couch and I position the old blue Boppy underneath your little body until we’re both comfortable, and then we relax in sync. It’s cozy here with you. My eyes are burning because I’m tired, but I wouldn’t trade these middle-of-the-night moments for anything. I know they will end all too soon. Some say you should be sleeping through the night by now. Perhaps you should. Maybe the 3 a.m. feeding is nothing but a ritual of comfort for you. That’s OK with me, at least for now.
I can barely see you in the dark, but I trace the contour of your impossibly soft, chubby cheek with my fingertip. I stroke the light blond hairs—what I call “ducky fuzz—on top of your head. “Oh, thank you, God, for this child,” I think again. I love you so much it hurts.
3:07 a.m.
You’re really going to town now. The slurp-swallow sounds are rhythmic and soothing. I’m doing what I’m meant to do, for you and only you. This is our time, no one else is invited. Our middle-of-the-night date.
3:17 a.m.
I wake up. My head had fallen back onto the couch with a painful snap. You’re done eating and have also fallen asleep, your mouth still working from time to time, just for a couple seconds. I’m not ready for our date to end just yet, though. I pull you up to my shoulder and hug you. Your head fits exactly into the crook of my neck and you sigh the sweetest little angel whisper. My eyes tear up instantly. “Oh, thank you, God, for this child.”
After a few more moments with you, I hook a toe under the edge of the coffee table to help pull myself to standing. I had you half a year ago, but my abs are still somewhat weak. Slowly, I do a swaying dance-walk toward your room with you still on my shoulder.
In the dim blue light of your nightlight, I lay you in your crib. You whimper softly as contact between us is broken, and I lay one hand on your full, warm tummy. You settle back into a peaceful sleep. I tiptoe to your doorway and stop to take one more glance at you.
“Oh, thank you, God, for this child,” I think once again, as I return to bed.
I’ve read that breastfeeding is one of the best gifts you can give your child. I’m not sure, though, who gets more out of these middle-of-the-night feedings, you or me.

This post was written in honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Month, as an entry to a contest at this site:

From garden to plate!

Though my thumb's pretty brown, I tried my hand at gardening this year, in a unique way. I've tried having veggie gardens before and I just don't keep up with the weeding and watering, but I read a magazine article about a salad table, and decided to try it. Basically, it's a raised bed with a mesh bottom that you place up on blocks or sawhorses, so it's easier to tend. I love it because the rabbits don't use it as their own personal salad bar.

Round one from my garden gave us some great salads. We had bok choy, green onions, spinach and Grand Rapids lettuce.

We've had a few failures, too. I had some beautiful heads of cauliflower that I should have cut before vacation, because when we got home, they were dead. The peas I planted took over in a tangled mess. I tried to plant too much on the table, so the carrots got choked out, and I had to scrap half of my brussels sprouts plants.

Round 2 has been planted, though. We have more lettuce and spinach coming up, as well as beets, carrots and a few green bean plants. We'll see what lives.

I also threw a couple cucumber plants along the fence and we've harvested 3 cukes so far. Mmmmm. Very sweet. I have some tomatoes and red bell peppers growing in pots on my deck and they seem to be doing OK too. There are three tomatoes that are about ready to pick, and then we'll have some fresh salsa.

It's been fun learning more about gardening and having fresh food on the table. Just yesterday, I had a big plate full of kale that I picked only minutes before. It was so delicious!

Gardening is definitely a trial-and-error kind of thing for me, but I plan to have a table garden (or two?) every year from now on.

What are we feeding our kids?

Woo! Feeling all those lunges this morning!

Up early today because my baby boy needed some snuggling to go back to sleep, and I was happy to do it. It's killing me how fast my kids are growing up. Those sweet, soft snuggle times are priceless to me.

First day of tracking food went OK. I went a little bit over, but hey, it was the first day. I would have been fine had I simply just eaten ONE reduced fat Grands biscuit with dinner and not THREE! Those things are so bad for you, but so yummy. I had actually never bought them before, and I don't plan to buy them again. I tend to buy the reduced-fat crescent rolls instead, but they're just as junky, in smaller portions.

I always feel so guilty when I put foods like that in my grocery cart. In a perfect world, I would feed my family all-organic, all-"clean" foods. ("Clean" meaning only things that occur in nature. If it doesn't grow from the ground or have a mother, it's probably not clean.)

But it's not a perfect world, and I don't serve my family perfect meals. Over the years, I have worked to introduce healthier options such as extra lean ground beef, more vegetables in general, and whole grain bread and cereal products (well, except those damned rolls!)but we also have the lurkers that make me feel bad, such as good ole Heinz Ketchup (High-Fructose Corn Syrup and all) and Honey Nut Cheerios (Have you ever seen a Honey Nut Cheerio bush? Neither have I.)

Sometimes I wonder if it's even worth making myself feel guilty. After all, we eat healthier meals than many of the families out there. But we do have boxed Kraft mac n' cheese (yes, I know it's like the most nutritionally void product out there) for lunch more often than I'd like to admit, and just a couple weeks ago, I actually bought my first bag of frozen chicken nuggets. That purchase practically had me in tears, but it's JUST SO EASY to pop a couple of them in the oven for lunch sometimes. (And, OK, yes, they're nummy.)

So, I wonder. Am I hurting my son by giving these things to him, not every day, but once in a while? I don't think so. Sure, there are healthier offerings out there. I give those to him, too. I don't go the hot dog, mac n' cheese, chicken nugget route every single day, but he does get them often enough to know he likes them.

At this point, I don't know what my son would do if left to his own devices. If he was turned loose in a school cafeteria, with their notoriously poor food choices, I don't know if he would choose the healthier options (if any were even offered) but I know that a lot of times here at home, he will opt for the yogurt rather than the pudding, the Triscuits rather than the Goldfish crackers, a raw carrot instead of a popsicle. Not always, but often enough that I know he does enjoy the better-for-you stuff, too.

The thing is, those healthier options are THERE, front-and-center in the fridge and pantry. That's not so in the "real world," where it takes actual effort to eat healthy. Take the aforementioned example of a school cafeteria. Total crap. Pizza, breaded chicken, burgers, fries. The school lunches I remember were a grease-fest, and from the things I read, they aren't much better these days. Even the hot lunches offered where Logan goes to pre-school are of the nachos-pizza-hot dog variety. It's sad.

Another example is the workplace. What do you have to eat there? Well, if you didn't pack a lunch, you have the junk in the vending machine, or the junk at a fast-food place down the road.

Don't even get me started on the cost of eating healthy! The extra lean ground beef, for example, is DOLLARS more a pound. Organic fruits, veggies, dairy and other foods cost plenty more than the non-organic stuff. Produce in general is amazingly expensive, especially if you eat as much fruit as Hubby and I do.

So, here we are. It's a pain in the butt and it costs more to be healthy. That's just sick and sad and wrong.

I've never been one to write to a government official about anything. I'm pretty uninformed when it comes to political matters. But I am really tempted to send my thoughts to Michelle Obama about the food that is served to our children. She strikes me as a caring, informed mom who understands what our kids should be eating. She and the President go on gym dates together and she serves food from her own organic garden in the White House. I love that! I just wonder if it would do any good to write to her.

Of course, it couldn't hurt.

So, what are your kids having for lunch today?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Phys Ed.: Workout of the Week (month?)

Well, I decided I want to do some sort of circuit workout this week, but was frankly too lazy to make anything up, so I grabbed my copy of Jillian Michaels' "Making the Cut" and did the first workout from that book last night.
"Making the Cut" has some pretty different workouts in it. It's a 30-day program that's supposed to be pretty intense, and instead of doing weights one day and cardio the next, you do these all-in-one circuits. There is some strength training, cardio, functional-type exercises and also some plyometric style moves all mixed in together. I was dripping with sweat after last night's workout!

Here's what the Day 1 workout looks like, just so you know how i'm punishing myself:
(I did a 5 minute warm-up on stationary bike)
20 single-arm dumbbell (DB) presses on stability ball
15 DB flyes on stability ball with crunch at the top
50 fast squats (body weight)
one-minute sprint at 7 mph
10-second plank
5 close-grip push-ups
side plank with 10 inner thigh raises (each side)
5-second plank
5 close-grip pushups
side plank with 10 inner thigh raises (each side)
5 second plank
10 burpees
50 sumo squats (body weight)
one-minute sprint at 7 mph
20 frog pushups (i couldn't do these, so i did sissy push-ups)
20 squat thrusts
30-second static squat
W shoulder presses with leg extension (10 per leg)
1-minute jump rope
20 bench dips
rope tricep presses to muscle failure
static lunges with lateral shoulder raise (10 per leg)
1-minute of mountain climbers
30-second boat pose (AKA a V-sit)
1-minute jump rope
50 bicycle crunches
30-second extended plank (arms farther out front)
crawl home and die!

Really, though, i was so red-faced and sweaty. a few times in there i felt like i was working a little too hard, so i'd rest a few seconds.

I did the Day 2 workout today and it was equally brutal. There are so many different exercises in there, there's no chance of being bored, that's for sure. Today included lots of lunge varieties and uphill running (5.5 mph at a 10 incline!) OUCH! I was red-faced and sweaty again.

Day 3 is listed as an "off" day, so i'll probably kick back on the bike with a book or just go for a nice walk or something tomorrow. Easy recovery cardio.

Days 4 and 5 are repeats of Days 1 and 2, i think, and then 6 and 7 are off days again.

should be a good week! (if i can walk...)

Yeah, OK, it's time. Grrr....

Good morning!

Ok, so... I gained 50 pounds during my pregnancy with Jordan (Hey, it beats the 60 I gained with Logan!) so I already knew I'd have a long, hard road ahead of me to get the baby weight off. However, I learned with Logan that it does, indeed, come off, it just takes time. (Took me 3 years the first time!)
I vowed I wasn't going to really worry too much about it until I was done breastfeeding because I know that my body holds on to 10 pounds or so while I'm nursing (at least it did last time)and I breastfeed my kids for a full year.
By the way, I scream "BULL SPIT" (well, you know what I really want to scream...) to all those celebrities that say they lost 60 pounds in 4 months through breastfeeding alone.
Anyway, here I am 6 months post-partum, and up to now, the weight has been dropping pretty steadily, albeit slowly. I've been losing 3-4 pounds a month on average, and now I have 20 pounds to go to get to my pre-baby weight (146). The problem is, the loss has stalled. I had a goal to reach the 150s by the time Logan returns to school the second week of September, and I'm not going to reach that goal.
The reason? I haven't tried. Not one bit. I haven't watched what goes into my mouth at all. I've indulged in all my chocolate cravings and so on. How could I expect to reach a goal if I don't put any effort toward it?
So, it comes down to this: It's time, yet again, to track my food. I know from experience it takes a few weeks of tracking to get a good feel for what I should be eating every day. After that, I tend to be good on my own, until I reach the next plateau.
So, though I DESPISE tracking my food--it seems so obsessive and frankly, it's annoying--I am going to try to do it for a while, because I know I've been taking in more calories than I should.
I track using It allows you to input favorite foods and search for others, keep track of your water intake, exercise and other factors. It's nice because it's pretty easy to use, even for a tech dummy like me, and it allows you to customize a program to reach your personal goals.
I should add, I am NOT dieting. Dieting while you're breastfeeding is stupid, plain and simple. Your body needs a lot of calories to make food for your baby, so if you are nursing and dieting and I hear about it, watch out because I'm going to come pound you into the ground!
No, what I'm doing is taking the calories I need to eat to lose weight when I'm NOT nursing (1400-1600) and adding an extra 500 to them, which is what "they" say you should add when you're nursing. That means I should be eating in the 1900-2100 calorie range each day, and if I truly feel hungry, I'll eat a little more. I'm also going to try to make all those calories as healthy as possible. I have been allowing far too many treats lately and need to nip that habit in the bud before these 20 pounds take up permanent residence.
So, that's that. I'm tracking my food. Yay. Just the thought of it makes me crabby.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Comment help, please?

OK, it seems the template I used for this blog is messing with people's ability to make comments. Does anyone know how I can fix this? I am not html proficient! If you can help, e-mail me at

Can you believe it?!

So, I was outside at the end of last week and I answered the phone, and it was a telemarketer from Sears calling.
Normally, I wouldn't have answered this call, but I was already on the phone so I let her say her piece. She was asking me if I wanted to buy some sort of Master Plan for service on our piece of crap dryer, because a service agreement we had on it was about to expire.
I told her no, we wouldn't be putting any more money into that hunk of junk, thankyouverymuch, and she asked if we'd had problems with it. I told her yes, and she gave me a toll-free number to call to get someone out for service. She advised me to do it very quickly because our service agreement ends Tuesday (tomorrow).
Well, the dryer was malfunctioning worse than usual on Friday night, so I called the number. It was pretty late, but I still got through and scheduled an appointment for Saturday.
The repair man was to arrive sometime between 1 and 5 p.m. so we were ready for a day of waiting, but he called at 12:45 and said he was almost here. He got here just before 1, diagnosed the problem, ordered the part to be shipped to our house, and said to call back when the part gets here and they'll come back out and replace it.
The part alone--a new control panel--cost $275. Factor in a service call to diagnose the problem and another call to install it and we would have been out a lot of money! Because I called before our service plan expired, none of this cost us a penny!
I just can't believe it actually did me GOOD to answer a telemarketer call! Thank goodness that woman told me to call about the problem right away.
Just goes to show, there is some good in everything. Even telemarketing.

Wild weather weekend!

We had a lot of heavy rain on Saturday and big storms all through Saturday night, temps in the 90s with lots of humidity on Sunday and more rain Sunday night. The river that runs through our town flooded worse than I have ever seen it. Some of the main roads are closed due to the river running over the road, and most of the parks are seriously flooded. Some homes and businesses were flooded too. What a mess!

Whoa! That was fast!

So, we picked up Ziggy Stardust on our walk Saturday night, and then last night I found him kind of hanging upside down on the top of the Bug Box.
"Either this guy's going to die, or he's getting ready to change into a butterfly," I thought.
Sure enough, we woke this morning to find Ziggy Stardust the caterpillar gone and a small green chrysalis in his place! Now I kind of wish I had peeked at him through the night so I could have seen him in the process of changing.
Anyway, in a week and a half to two weeks, we'll hopefully have a Monarch butterfly.
I read somewhere that sometimes a wasp will lay its eggs in a monarch caterpillar, and you don't know until it comes out of the chrysalis, and it's a wasp instead of a butterfly. Ugh! I hate wasps! I sure hope we got a "good" caterpillar!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A new (temporary) pet!

Meet Ziggy Stardust!
Yesterday the boys and I went for an afternoon walk, and as we passed a few milkweed plants, I spotted this monarch butterfly caterpillar.
About a year and a half ago, I read an article in some magazine about a mom who finds monarch eggs every spring and raises butterflies with her daughters. I thought it sounded like a neat idea. Then I saw an episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8 (pre-train wreck) where Kate and the kids were doing the same thing. Again, I thought it sounded like a neat thing to do.
So, we picked the milkweed leaf, named the caterpillar Ziggy Stardust, and now he's living on our counter in Logan's Bug Box. He was in a plastic grape container but escaped last night so we needed to find something more suitable.
I'm not sure if he's happy though. He is hanging out on the top of the box (inside) and I don't know if he's trying to get out or if maybe he's preparing to make his chrysalis. We'll see, I guess.
Anyway, it will be a fun project if we can manage to "grow" a butterfly!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Home Ec.: What's for dinner?

Have a half jar of spaghetti sauce and a getting-old head of romaine lettuce just sitting in the fridge and two italian sausage links in the freezer, so dinner tonight is just going to be pasta with sausage in the sauce and salad. Simple.

What will you accomplish today?

When I got up yesterday, I grabbed an old receipt and flipped it over, jotting down a to-do list for the day. The list of things I wanted to get done around the house was pretty long, but it wasn't more than I could do in one day, if I really buckled down and got to it.
But by the end of the day, only one thing was scratched off the list: make dinner.
Unhappily, I looked at the remaining items and grumbled to myself, "I got absolutely nothing accomplished today."
It was late. I was tired. I hadn't spent any time just sitting and watching TV or reading all day. But still, I hadn't accomplished anything.
Or had I?
I mentally reviewed my day. In the morning, I wrote a blog update and quickly read through the few others I enjoy reading. This was done while I enjoyed my morning coffee.
Then, the boys got up, so I set about the business of getting them fed, cleaned up and dressed. My older son looked out the window and said "It sure looks like it would be a great day to go to the park, Mom." I agreed, and said we could go. After all, we did need to get outside for some fresh air and sunshine.
The baby took an abbreivated morning nap, and then the three of us headed out. We picked up some Subway for lunch and parked at the old train station. We walked a mile or so to a playground, where we had our lunch, then had some playground time, then walked back to the car. Logan and I shared an ice cream treat, and we came home. The baby was fussy because he hadn't had a proper nap, and possibly also because of his teeth, so I had to hold him pretty much constantly, so I was bouncing him around, making up goofy songs about him and his brother, making him laugh. BOY those baby laughs are contagious!
Then, my cousin, whom I adore, called and said she was in town, and would we mind if she stopped by for a few. I was thrilled, so she came to visit for a while and we had a nice chat.
I made skewers for dinner and homemade sweet potato baby food for Jordan. Hubby came home from work, we ate dinner and took the kids outside to the swing set. I went to the gym for my half hour of me time on the stair-stepper, stretched a little and came home. Hubby was reading to Logan and putting him to bed, I took the fussy baby and put him to bed, and took a shower and did the dishes so I wouldn't have to look at them in the morning. I also buzzed through to the end of the So You Think You Can Dance finale on my DVR to see who had won. Jeanine! Yay!
That's when I looked at my stupid list and realized I had accomplished "nothing."
I can fall into a trap when I am trying to keep a clean house clean. I can easily spend the day picking things up religiously, wiping every drip, straightening the couch cushions sixty-five times an hour, and yeah, at the end of the day, my house will be immaculate, but I will have pushed my kids to the back burner all day and that's just not cool.
I have to remind myself that they're not only part of my job, they're the main part of my job. The house is secondary. Kids grow up just as fast as dust bunnies do. It takes a couple minutes to vacuum up those dust bunnies, but you can never get the days with your kids back.
Today, I probably won't scratch much off my to-do list either. I have a play date with my best friend and her kids. There aren't many weeks left before school starts and play dates will likely become less frequent.
So, when I get home tonight, there will still be dust and that load of darks will still be waiting to be washed, but I swear, I won't say I accomplished nothing today, because I will have spent the day with my children, the most precious "To-dos" of all.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Home Ec.: What's for dinner?

OK, dinner last night was a total cop-out. I didn't know what to make, and it got to be time to make dinner and I still had no idea. I decided to use up the last of the frozen asparagus-stuffed chicken breasts in the freezer (so yummy, but so bad for you!) I paired them with broccoli and some reduced-fat crescent rolls. SO not a stellar meal, but it tasted good anyway.

Tonight I plan to cut up some eye of round steaks and red bell pepper and onion and make some skewers to cook on the grill. I'll either bake some potatoes or make some rice and maybe cook some carrots too. Nothing fancy, but I sure do love skewers on the grill! They taste like summertime, and they're pretty, too.

My feet are fascists!

Well, not really (at least as far as I know!) but they do seem to rule my life lately with unnecessary brute force.
Over the past 8 years or so, all my favorite activities have been pretty rough on my feet: Backpacking, dancing on pointe and running. And while my high arches made for really beautiful feet in pointe shoes, they're not so great for running.
I started running back in late 2005 to help get rid of the baby weight from my first son. At first, it was on the treadmill, but as the weather warmed in spring of 2006, I took my running outdoors. Hubby and I decided to do some races for the first time, and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to run them, especially the 10-mile Crim in August of that year.
So, I trained. And trained. And eventually overtrained. I ran three miles every morning with my son in the jogging stroller, and I'd run another three or four alone in the evening. Longer runs on the weekend. Never took a day off. Even on vacation, Hubby and I would take turns going for a run.
I felt like I could run like the wind, though. I was in the best cardiovascular condition of my life. I could run and run and run and it was enjoyable! It didn't hurt! Even when it was 90 degrees outside, I was out there running, and loving it!
We ran five races that summer, and did well for first-time runners. Hubby and I even both got first place in our age group in the local 4-miler.
Then came the 10-mile Crim. The race I'd been so worried about finishing. Well, it was a blast! Hubby and I ran the whole thing together, and never stopped to walk during the entire ten miles. It was so much fun!
But a couple days after that, I had a really sore heel on my left foot. I was hobbling around and it hurt like crazy. I took a week or so off running, but had an 8-mile race around Mackinac Island coming up, so I continued running. The Mackinac Island race was really painful and I could barely walk the next day.
But, I hate going to the doctor, so I put it off until the following spring, when my heel pain was still excruciating on a daily basis. I finally went to a podiatrist, where I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. That's where the hard band thingy that runs down the middle of the bottom of your foot rips away from the heel bone. Ouch.
I was advised to wear shoes all the time, I was given orthotics and anti-inflammatories, told to rest my foot and to ice it. What a drag! Especially wearing supportive shoes all the time in the summer. Inside and out. I am SO a barefoot girl, so that really wasn't much fun at all. Plus, you can't get away with tennis shoes and a sun dress or capris or anything. I LOVE sandals and cute summer shoes, but was told I couldn't wear them.
So, I did what I was told for a long time. It didn't really help. I finally had a really painful cortisone shot in my heel, which helped for quite a few months, but the pain came back.
Fast forward to fall of 2008. I was pregnant with my second child and placed on bed rest. I laid on the couch from Oct. 29 2008 to Feb. 6, 2009. I never walked farther than the mail box during that time. Still, somehow, I got plantar fasciitis in my OTHER foot during that time! Now come on, I know I wasn' t overusing the foot. I wasn't even USING it!
So here I am, three years after developing plantar fasciitis, now dealing with it in both feet. I'm 33 years old and sometimes my feet feel like they're 133 years old. I get up in the middle of the night and hobble to feed my baby. I still can't wear cute shoes. (I had to wear short heels for a wedding I was in last summer and I limped for months afterward!)
As for running, I've pretty much given it up. Once every few weeks I'll get the urge and I'll go out for a jog of a mile or two, but I regret it for days afterward. I really miss that endorphin rush after a good run, though.
At this point, I'm planning to go to a different podiatrist to see if I can get any more advice. I could get custom orthotics that cost close to $500 but am not even sure if they'll help. A friend suggested sports massage on my feet, and I'd love to try that route, but finding time without the kids and finding the extra money is kind of tough right now.
So, I spend my days being ruled by my dumb old fascist feet.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Trying to tame the toys!

Moms, you know what I'm talking about when I say toys can take over your home in no time flat!

I can imagine it gets pretty bad if you're dealing with little girl toys. Dolls, doll and Barbie clothes and accessories, princess everything, Littlest Pet Shop animals, etc. My personal experience is with boy toys, though. I am swimming (drowning?) in Legos, train and track sets, die-cast cars, Lincoln Logs, puzzles and books. Hubby finished the basement a couple years ago, so thank goodness all the toy clutter is not concentrated upstairs in our small house, but still, we are overrun. There are just not enough places to store all the plastic obscenity! Our four-year-old has definitely been spoiled (Not just by us, I might add). At least we had another boy, so the little one can enjoy the same toys and we don't have to add all sorts of pink and purple sparkly madness to the mix!

So, I dragged the boys around town today to try to find some sort of a storage system to tame the toy clutter in the playroom corner of the basement. I was envisioning a cabinet in which everything would neatly fit, and the doors could be closed when we wanted the toys out of sight. No such luck. Cabinets exist, but they're ugly and expensive, and wouldn't hold what we need them to hold. So, I opted for the less expensive, but still ridiculously overpriced plastic shelving. I bought a five-shelf system after noticing it was marked at a lower price than the smaller four-shelf system. I wrestled it into my tiny trunk, secured it with a bungee cord because the trunk wouldn't close, got it home and down the stairs and assembled it. Thank goodness that part was simple!

But... the top shelf was so close to the ceiling, I couldn't put anything on it!

So, I emptied a four-shelf system I had in another room with spare kitchen stuff on it and hauled it out to the toy area, where I spent a great deal of time arranging toys on the shelf. My plan was to have a place for everything, but again, no such luck.

Oh well, I guess it's better than it was.

Caring for the "ME" in "Mommy"

Good morning!

It got chilly last night, so it was a good night for sleeping. Jordan had a bad spot around 12:30 a.m. though. I got up with him and fed him and changed his stinky diaper to discover he had a horrendous sore bottom. He's never had issues with diaper rash or anything so I'm guessing all this red butt business has to do with the teething situation. Poor kid. Aquaphor ointment seems to help, though.

I stayed up later than I wanted to last night finishing some things around the house that I didn't get to during the day. I put away a lot of laundry that was sitting in folded piles all over the house, and I emptied the dishwasher and re-loaded it (and broke a salad plate. Grrr.... My wedding dishes are dwindling!). Those are two of my least favorite tasks. I'd scrub a toilet over emptying the dishwasher or folding and putting away laundry any day. I'm not sure why.

Anyway, I was kind of taking a tip from the FlyLady at, who recommends you "shine your sink" before bed every night. Of course, your sink has to be empty in order to shine it! Well, I emptied it and shined my sink. Whoopteedoo. "What's the big deal?" I thought. Who cares if the sink's shiny?

But waking up this morning to a sparkling sink was a pretty awesome feeling! Yes, I stayed up last night and wasn't having much fun, but the feeling of waking up to NO laundry and NO dishes is indescribable! We'll see how long I can keep up with it. The FlyLady also recommends a daily "Swipe and Swish" in the bathroom--you wipe down the surfaces and swish out the toilet bowl, theoretically taking only one minute each morning to do so, therefore leaving your bathroom much tidier between deep cleanings. I definitely want to do that, since I have a four-year-old with less-than-stellar aim, ifyaknowwhatimean!

I tend to let the housework pile up into difficult-to-tackle mountains and that decreases the quality of my life. I spend all day, every day lamenting what I SHOULD be doing, all the while getting not much done! I can see how keeping up with the tasks would make things a lot easier, though it requires a bit more effort up front. Still, I really want to do this for myself. I'm worth it, right?

There are other things I need to do for ME too. One of them is so simple, I can't believe I have trouble with it, but I do. It's drinking enough water.

We've all heard it over and over, the Earth is made up of blah blah blah percent water and your body is made up of yadda yadda yadda percent water and we need XX glasses of water each day just to function. Well, save it. I don't want to know about percentages and ounces and whatnot.

I am a breastfeeding mom who dehydrates easily and I know I need to drink more. But how can I make myself do it? I have a fridge that dispenses water and ice, so it's easily accessible. I have plenty of glasses and straws and even some nifty stainless steel water bottles for when I'm on the go. I have sweet, tasty well water instead of nasty chemically city water. So what's my problem?

I've tried tricks such as adding Crystal Light-type flavorings to my water. That worked great until I had to take a trip to the emergency room due to all the artificial sweetener giving me what was tentatively diagnosed as visual migraines (I had swirling, flashing lights in my vision field. Like when they show an acid trip on TV! I thought I was having a stroke.) I make iced tea but worry about staining my teeth even more. I tried sparkling waters, which are great, but cost at least a buck a bottle.

I guess it's going to take a concentrated effort to drink more water. I am going to try this trick: Drink a glass as soon as I wake up. (I will do this while my beloved morning cafe mocha is brewing). Drink a glass before breakfast. Drink a glass after breakfast. Repeat before and after lunch and before and after dinner. Drink a glass before bed WITH MY VITAMINS (another thing I can never keep up with). So, we'll see if this works. Maybe associating my drinking with meals will help me do it. Of course, I have no trouble drinking during workouts, and I drink when I get up at night with the baby, too.

So, that's the plan for now, I guess. Make more of an effort to take care of me by keeping my house cleaner and treating my body better by drinking more water and taking my vitamins. A better me = a better mom.

What will you do today to take better care of yourself?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Home Ec.: What's for dinner?

Every time I get together with friends, it seems like the conversation always turns to What's For Dinner Tonight? It seems we all get pretty burned out on the things we cook and are always looking for new ideas. I'm not much for following recipes, but I'll share what I'm making for dinner just in case anyone wants to steal my idea!

Today I have some already-cooked ground beef and some leftover corn on the cob, so I'm going to roll that up in tortillas and top with enchilada sauce and some reduced fat Sargento Mexican cheese. mmm....

Phys. Ed.: Workout of the Week

I tend to get bored with my strength training workouts, so I change them frequently. As a general rule, I will strength train three times a week, and do cardio three other days a week, with a day of rest thrown in for good measure. (Something I learned about the hard way!)

This week I am doing a 30-minute full-body workout from the January 2009 issue of Oxygen Magazine, with a few changes to accomodate what my gym offers and what I can do.

The workout is as follows: There are 8 groups of exercises to target different muscle groups. You choose one exercise from each group, and do the required number of sets and reps, then move on to the next exercise. With each new workout, you are targeting the muscles from different angles.

The exercises:

Group A (legs)
-leg press
-lunge (I chose to do walking lunges. ouch!)

Group B (also legs)
-stiff-legged deadlift
-stability ball leg curl
-lying hamstring curl

Group C (chest)
-incline dumbbell (DB) press
-flat bench press
-flat bench flye

Group D (back)
-lat pulldown
-bent-over row
-seated cable row

Group E (shoulders)
-overhead DB press
-rear delt raise
-side lateral raise

Group F (biceps)
-barbell curl (i did DBs due to lack of bars at my gym)
-preacher curl
-seated incline curl

Group G (triceps)
-lying triceps extension
-triceps pressdown
-seated overhead DB extension

Group H (abs)
-hanging leg raise
-oblique crunch

The first workout of the week should be done in 3 sets of 6-9 reps
the second should be 3 sets of 10-12 reps
the third should be 3 sets of 12-15 reps

So, for your first workout of the week, you'd choose one exercise from Group A.
Perform 3 sets of 6-9 reps.
Choose one exercise from Group B.
Perform 3 sets of 6-9 reps.
Move on to Group C, and so on.

-warm up before you start.
-your last rep in each set should be pretty hard to complete. if it's not, you're not lifting heavy enough.
-you should be doing different exercises in each workout so that you've done every exercise in every group by the end of the week.
-you should rest at least a day between strength workouts.
-stretch when you're done.

This is a good one! I've had some pretty sore (in a good way) muscles from it! Love that burn!

remember, i'm not a pro, just a mom. if you exercise, do so at your own risk.

Welcome to Mom School!

Welcome to Mom School!
What's Mom School?
Well, when I was a kid and questioned anything my mom said to me, she would reply "I learned it in Mom School." I guess it was sort of her personal version of "Because I said so."
I always wondered about Mom School. I envisioned a college-type setting with classrooms and professors, where women would go learn all the things they needed to know to be good moms.
Oh, if only such a place existed!
Since then, I've learned that Mom School is actually just life. It's experience. It's common sense combined with learning from your mistakes. The only way you can get accepted to Mom School is to become a mother, and then once you're in, you're in for good. You'll always be a mom, and there will always be lessons to learn.
I'm a 33-year-old Michigan mom of two boys, Logan, 4, and Jordan, 6 months. I am enjoying every minute of Mom School, even those irritating moments that don't seem so enjoyable at the time. I'm learning more every day, just by living it.
I'm also a firm believer in learning in general. I love to try new things and investigate what interests me to learn more about it. I think that's why I enjoyed my pre-baby career as a newspaper reporter so much. I learned a lot, just by doing my job.
Well, I'm still learning a lot, whether it's how to be a better wife or mom, how to take better care of myself and my family through nutrition and fitness, or how to take better care of the planet so it's still livable and enjoyable for future generations.
This blog will be my place to share my daily experiences and maybe even some little tidbits here and there that could help others live a fuller life. I hope you, as a reader, enjoy your visit to Mom School.