Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fit Mama Club Week 4

Short version: This week sucked. The idea of cutting out caffeine was a total bust, and I actually added more - Folgers instant mocha cappuccino. That stuff is GOOD for $4 a can! Much better than $4 a cup at the hospital coffee shop, that's for sure.

The breakdown:

Last Week's High -Sticking with lots of water. Foot is feeling better so I took the stairs more this week. Ate Quaker high-fiber oatmeal for breakfast instead of stopping at Krystal on my way to work.
Last Week's Low - Ate in the cafeteria a couple times again. Too much dessert.
Plan for This Week - Keep up with the water. Add in more activity. As long as I keep moving, I don't have the hip/leg pain. Replace my scale.

A new dessert

Warming to room temperature
In a comment on Wednesday's "Let's chat" blog post, Amanda from Passion. Dedication. Life. Us. mentioned eating smearcase. I had NEVER heard of it before that comment, and she very nicely gave me a link explaining it and a recipe. It sounded delicious, so I tried making it yesterday.

First, here is the Washington Post article describing it, and also with the recipe.


I am glad to say my Kitchenaid stand mixer finally got some use again. I don't do a lot of baking, so it does get a bit neglected. After letting the cream cheese and eggs warm to room temperature, I started mixing for the crust. It was easier to put it in the dish than I thought it would be, although I realized when I poured the filling in later that it wasn't exactly even. Oh well, it still held up. 
The crust




Mixing the filling
After the crust I washed out the mixing bowl and the wire mixing thing, and added the cream cheese and sugar. I set the timer for two minutes, and let it go. I like this part of mixing! I should probably use the stand mixer more often!  Next was the milk, eggs, vanilla (I used clear vanilla extract), and flour. When it was all mixed, I poured it over the crust and baked for an hour.
Ready for the oven


I did leave off the cinnamon, as suggested in the article. It's been fun trying out the smearcase with various toppings. Yesterday I tried it with strawberries and caramel (separately, not on the same piece) and today I tried with wildflower honey on top. It is not strongly flavored, so it is a great dessert for various toppings. I want to try with chocolate and fruit jam, also.

Now the true taste-test: would the girls like it? Sophie tried some of mine yesterday and smacked her lips and said "yummm" and of course wanted more. Emma had some today with strawberry topping, and said it was "amazing."

I will definitely be making this again!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A nice treat and a laugh

Today, I had a very nice and very rare treat - my husband and I had lunch together! It is quite unusual for us to be able to eat together during the work day as we work on opposite ends of town, and neither of us has the time in the  middle of the day to make the trip. If we did we wouldn't have time to eat! He was traveling today, visiting dealers (he's an account manager with a consumer electronics wholesale company) and was in my area at lunchtime, so he called, picked me up, and we went out. We ate at Lenny's Sub Shop. We ordered, and the cashier told me the total... so I turned to my husband. He offered, he's buying, right? =) I did tell him I'd make dinner tonight since he was buying lunch. (I make dinner almost every night.) I did buy us each a cookie for dessert on one of my refill trips.

Hint: No matter how thirsty you are, do NOT drink 4 glasses of tea at lunch if you are going back to work.

**********

I have to share a funny story about myself, too. I had some x-rays taken on Monday after my doctor's appointment. The doctor had told me he was just ordering a couple simple films, nothing comprehensive. He really didn't think the problem was in my hip itself, but wanted to just rule it out.

When the technician took me into the x-ray room, she asked if my pants had a metal zipper. Yes. So she put a sheet over me and I had to pull them down to my knees. X-rays were taken, and she checked them. More taken, rechecked. I was really getting uncomfortable on the table.
Finally, she came over to me. "This is going to sound like a strange question, but is there maybe a metal charm on your underwear? Like an X maybe?"
I tried to remember what I had put on that morning.
Oh.
Yes. There was an x on my undies.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who doesn't often remember what kind of undies I'm wearing! Although usually it doesn't matter.

She laughed, I laughed, had to pull them down also (now talk about uncomfortable on the table! Image doing that while lying down, with a very painful left hip/leg/knee, and staying covered, in front of 2 complete strangers!) X-rays were retaken, all was well again. Redressed, and I finally was able to go home.

I almost wish the x-rays WOULD show something, just to make all that worth it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Five shows I can't wait to see again this fall!

I don't consider myself a TV junkie, but I guess we do watch a lot. Not nearly as much as some people I know, but it is basically on whenever we are home. We record most of our shows on the DVR, though, and watch later or on weekends when we're home. There are some shows, though, that I am counting down until their return.

1. Bones Did you SEE how the last episode ended?  OMG. After seasons and seasons of will-they-or-won't-they, the whole dream-in-a-coma torture for us, and the hilariously sweet culmination of Angela and Hodgens' on and off relationship with the birth of their beautiful baby, Bones tells Booth that she's pregnant with his child. I cannot wait to see what happens next! Even though a couple seasons back the character wanted to have a baby and asked Booth to be the father, and Emily Deschanel is pregnant in real life, I truly thought she'd likely have the baby during their break and it would never affect the show. This is so much better.

2. Dexter I just love this show. I was late to the Dexter game, though, watching the first four seasons via Netflix while recording the fifth to watch. After the intense immersion into the show, it is so hard to wait for season six to begin! After last season, it seemed like Dexter was growing as a person. I am dying (ha!) to know if the show will touch on a big diffeernce in the book series, though - in the books, Dexter's sister Deb knows what he is and what he does, and protects him. I think that is coming in the series, but not quite yet. Athough it would be super interesting to see how that plays out.

3. House Another "can you believe that ending?" show. Poor House. He just can't let himself be happy, can he? Hugh Laurie is a brilliant actor. The relationship between House and Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) is priceless. I was disappointed to learn that Lisa Eddlestein (Cuddy) wouldn't be back this season, but I really want to know what happens next. I did love the interactions between House and Cuddy's little daughter, though. I will definitely miss that.




4. Gene Simmons Family Jewels I have never been a KISS fan. I couldn't name five of their songs, and if it wasnt' for my husband telling me "this is a KISS song" I would only be able to name one. Maybe two. When this show was first being promoted before it aired, I thought "Just what we need, another celebrity self-promotion show." Eyeroll. Then I watched it, mostly as a joke the first time to annoy my reality-tv-hating husband. And we were hooked. Even Emma is hooked. We have watched every episode of all six seasons. The result? I still am not a KISS fan, but am a huge fan of Gene and Shannon (who I couldn't have picked out of a photo before the show). They have done an amazing job raising their children Nick and Sophie to be smart, capable, NORMAL people. I know the season finale was just last night, but what a cliffhangar! Both Gene and Shannon tweeted during the episodes this season, which was an added bonus. Neither have given away the answer, though. I can't wait to see it!

5. Castle Another brilliantly funny show with a loveable cast! I also LOVE that the books written by Richard Castle the character are published for real - complete with liner notes, author bio, acknowledgements, and all! It's great! And though I'd only known him from Firefly before this show (thanks again to my husband) I've become a fan of Nathan Fillion. I'd read in an interview a couple years ago where the interviewer commented that he is very much like his Castle character in real life, and that does in fact seem to be true. The cast of this show is amazing, and once again - cliffhangar ending. Did she have on a bulletproof vest? Did she hear him? What will happen next??






We have some other favorites, too: ChuckBig Bang Theory, Glee (for Emma and myself, anyway), a few others, but these five are the ones I'm tempted to mark on my calendar.

But has anyone else noticed that the fall shows are premiering almost a month later this year?? What's up with that??

What shows are you excited to see return?

Let's chat

Pretend we're sitting down for coffee. What are you drinking? I'll be having something chocolately sweet and delicious. But no whipped cream. Not a fan. It will take a while for it to cool off until I can drink it, so let's get to know each other.

What is the weather where you live? I know for most of the US right now, the answer is "hot." Unbearably hot. But the west coast is looking great. If you're in the southern hemisphere, it's winter. Are you having a very cold winter? Mild? Tell me about it!

How is your day? Hopefully you're having a good day. After two busy days at work, I had a quieter day. That happens occasionally, though. Do you work? Volunteer? Spend the day being Supermom? or Superdad? What is your favorite part of your job?

Let's get a snack. This is my imaginary coffee shop, so of course it carries whatever I want. Right now, I'll take a plate of fresh fruit, sharp cheddar cheese, and wheat crackers. That is my favorite snack. But I'll share if you'd like. Do you have a favorite snack? Tell me! I'm sure it's waiting to be served :)

Oh, the tv in the corner is on a news station. Let's turn it off, quick. I'm feeling information overload right now - too much going on. Norway attacks, celebrity deaths, economy drama, tragedy, horror... let's forget all that for a while. What is something good that has happened in your life lately?

Ooh, coffee is the perfect temperature now. Warm but not so hot it burns the mouth and tongue. Drink up!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday tidbits

That was too easy. I honestly get annoyed by cutesy alliterative blog post titles, but I couldn't think of anything else.
***********
So far I've had fairly busy days at work this week. This is a great thing! My total number of calls has been down for July, but I was also off for a week. I know it would be much higher if I worked those days. I like being busy - it makes the day go by so much faster.  I honestly do enjoy my job, however.

***********
Right this minute, Sophie is wearing only a diaper and my black sequined flats, walking around the living room. It's so fun to watch her play!

***********
Speaking of playing, after dinner my husband and Emma played Kinect Sports. Sophie LOVES the Kinect! She tries so hard to play along. Finally Emma set up a game for her to play and she was so excited. Later while Em and her daddy "bowled" I cuddled with Sophie and Sesame Street on my laptop through Netflix instant queue. She loves that show! I think it's the music.

***********
Yesterday I saw a new doctor. I'd been wanting to find a new primary care doctor for a long time now, but I pretty much only go when I'm SICK and not getting better on my own. Or my husband makes me. But changing insurers at work really gave me the push (and excuse) I needed. My hip has been hurting for a few weeks now, but lately has gotten very bad. Many times I have a hard time standing up after sitting for a few minutes. I can't straighten my leg or back and have sharp burning pain. He checked it out and the joint itself seems fine, and he thinks it's my back actually causing the pain. Which makes sense to me, since it hurts there also. I had some xrays at the hospital yesterday, also, to rule out a hidden problem deep in the joint. I will probably have an MRI soon, too. The xrays hurt the most out of everything yesterday, oddly enough. The moving around and rolling side to side on the hard table, and getting into the positions for best exposure of my hip were pretty painful. Last night was the worst pain night I've had yet. Hopefully this will get cleared up soon. With our family history, he wants to be pretty aggressive in finding the cause and hopefully treating it.  Since I had fallen ten days prior and hurt my foot, he was concerned that the incidents were connected, indicating a neurological problem, until I assured him the fall was from a combination of wet steps, slip-on heels, and thoughtless rushing. Could happen to anyone!

************
Klout is very interesting to me. I wonder how it determines what topics users are influential in. Mine have changed - now it's glasses, California (???!! I've never even been there!), teens, moms, children, shoes, movies, photography, health, songs, and choices. Interesting. Some I agree with, some confuse me. But it's interesting.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Writing break

And now for something competely different...
I found a first line here and start with it and just write. I'll write until I have to stop to think and we'll see where this goes. Enjoy! (Hopefully)

It wasn't as if anyone got hurt.  I mean, I really didn't do anything THAT wrong. It wasn't even illegal... I think. I hope. Wow, what have I gotten myself into? It seemed so simple and so easy, just a quick little thing, a nonevent really, then it would be over and everything would be better again. Nothing drastic, even. I could pay off my debts, take care of Sally's medical bills, maybe take her on a vacation somewhere. She always wanted to go to Italy, that would be nice. I wouldn't even quit my job - that would draw too much attention to myself. Debts people wouldn't be obvious, and the vacation I could explain away easily. A contest, an inheritance maybe. I would save for retirement, put some away for college for the kids. It was so easy, too. Just a little switch and a payoff, no one would get hurt and no one would notice. He said it would be so easy. He said no one would get  hurt. He said no one would know it was me. He said my family would be safe. Instead, I'm sitting in this cell with robbers and assaulters and rapists and CRIMINALS! I'm not a criminal - what will happen to me in here? What went wrong?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Missing from our local news - why?

A few days ago, I was surprised to read on Perez Hilton about a visitor at Dollywood being asked to turn her "Marriage is so gay" t-shirt inside out in order to gain entry into the park. Surely it would have been on our local news since Dollywood IS local. I first thought it was a fake story, like the ones posted from The Onion or Notsville. But no, it was actually real.

Of course Dolly herself had nothing to do with the incident, since her concert here was over and she was off to another state. The general consensus also is that she would NOT approve. A PR person for the park says it was a misunderstanding, and the employee was following the park's strict dress code policy and not targeting a specific group, but really? Is the shirt that bad? Offensive? I've been going to Dollywood since I was a small child and have never seen anyone's clothing considered at the gates. I haven't been in a few years, though - maybe it's a new policy?

I am really surprised that none of our local news stations or newspaper have mentioned this story. There was lots of live coverage of Dolly's concert last week - surely this was newsworthy also?

I can't help but wonder about the media silence about this.

Fit Mama Club Week 3






Another week down! I really need to buy another scale so I can really track my progress. I have noticed that a couple pairs of pants that were getting a little tight are tight no longer. Hooray! I feel much better and have more energy. I can really tell the differences on days I drink a lot of water versus the days when I have soda or tea instead. I have really cut down on both of those, even on water-light days. I am keeping more alternatives in the house - lemonade, Koolaid, juices. I also have two varieties of Mio water flavoring at work. I will take a bottle of water with me in the mornings, and refill it all day.

The breakdown:
Last Week's High -Only had soda 2 or 3 times this week! I am making better snack choices, too.
Last Week's Low - Ate lunch in the cafeteria a couple days this week - including Mexican Day. Beef and bean burrito covered in cheese sauce with rice and beans. SO not good for me, but it was yummy! Foot is still sore, and I'm having a lot of hip pain so can't be as active as I'd like.
Plan for This Week- I am considering cutting out caffeine completely for the week. Not sure if I'm brave enough for that or not - we'll see how it goes. I am seeing a doctor tomorrow about  my hip, so hopefully it will be better soon and I can do more! I also plan to take the stairs more at work, to get more exercise in my day.

Friday, July 22, 2011

To those having trouble commenting on my blog

It seems to be an issue with many people, especially with those using Internet Explorer. I was having the same problem on a computer that is IE-only (ugh!) until I clicked the bar that appeared at the top that said something about running ActiveX controls or something like that. Now it works just fine.

This is a link to the Blogger help forum, with solutions to fix the problem. Hopefully one of them will help.
Good luck!
http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/blogger/thread?tid=635d9de0dc607d47&hl=en

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Boy vs girl


I love this song. Marina is brilliant anyway, but with this song she really nails it. The full lyrics are written beneath the video on YouTube (may need to click the "show more" bar) but here are some of my favorite snippets:
"Girls are not meant to fight dirty
Never look a day past thirty"


"Girls they never befriend me
Because I fall asleep when they speak
Of all the calories they eat"


****************

Just for fun, I was browsing the Toys R Us website. I selected by age 12-24 months, then out of curiosity narrowed by gender, first boy then girl. I've been frustrated for a long time now with how toy companies market to each gender, and was curious if there had been any improvements. I was glad to see that most of the items in the "boy" category were also shown in the "girl" category, even the bulldozer toy, but was very disappointed to see the workbench toy was missing. I loved playing with tools as a child, and am very comfortable using them as an adult. I also was disheartened to see the overabundance of pink on the girls' page. Pink "stroller" walking toy. Pink tea set. Play purses and makeup. Lots of baby dolls and dress-up clothes. Things girls love, it's true, but I've seen many little boys play with baby dolls, and the boys and girls are equally excited to play dress-up at the babysitter's house. Why isn't the ride-on motorcycle toy listed on both pages? Where is the Daddy-and-me doll to correspond with the Mommy-and-me doll? In this age of dual-income families and stay-at-home dads, why don't our children's options reflect this? Why must stores sell pink vacuum cleaners and blue tool belts?

I am trying to be aware of what toys we give Sophie. She loves her baby dolls, but she also has a dump truck and a football. Most of her toys are gender-neutral: blocks, musical toys, shape sorters and stacking toys. I want to teach her to embrace diversity, though, and that begins now with her toys. I want to give her both "boy" and "girl" toys, dolls that replicate different ethnicities.

It's my dream that one day, no one will be commenting about a "woman president" or "black president" or any other race - the candidates' races and genders will be non-issues. The conversations will be "who is the best PERSON for the job?" That mindset starts now.

Scattered showers... of thoughts

I just don't have a full post in me today, but I still have things to be said. It was so nice being off yesterday with Sophie! I told myself time wouldn't go so fast with her like it has with Emma (I still can't believe she's a teenager) but it has. I feel like I'm missing so much! This morning, though, as we were leaving, she had her first "I do it!" moment. She didn't actually say those words, but as we were going down the steps to the driveway she was holding the rail in one hand and Bunny in the other. I offered her my hand to come down the steps as usual, and she held up her hand and waved me off, said "uh-uh!" and patted the railing. She may not say many words yet, but she sure can communicate!

After trying herself and realizing that she couldn't reach the railing any more once she stepped down a step, she took my hand and happily went to the car. I just had to let her try!

Although at the car, she turned and saw her swing and tried so hard to go back to it. If only we could, kiddo...

********

Emma comes home tomorrow! She's having a great time on her trip, but she's ready to be home again. School starts again two weeks from Monday, so it's time go get supplies ready and dress-code appropriate clothing. It's still so hot here in August, I wish the stores had a resupply of summer clothes intead of cramming all the long pants, sweaters, and cords in our faces for the back to school season! It is so hard to get piles of new clothes that can't be worn for a few more monhts without having a heat stroke.

********

I read a blog post at Skirt.com today that was fabulous! I love Lady Gaga - I love her fearlessness, her music, and most of all what she stands for. However, many people have the opposite feeling. When I saw the title of this post I thought I was going to get all angry and maybe get a rebuttal blog post of my own out of it, but instead it was amazing! Great post, The Woven Moments!

********

I read an article on the UK's Daily Mail website about Atlantis landing and the hold on the shuttle program. I know what is being said in our own country, and was interested in knowing an outsider's perspecitve. It was a great article, very informative and descriptive, and I learned many things about this mission that gets lost in all the politicizing here. One interesting thing I read, though, that I've never heard here - the decision to end the shuttle program was actually made seven years ago. And also that President Obama has extended the mission of the International Space Station four additional years beyond its original planned end. I am just so tired of our country flinging blame instead of being productive.

*********

Back to the toddler communication thing. I know this is perfectly normal - Sophie's pediatrician said that second babies are normally behind older siblings verbally, but more advanced in motor skills and coordination. That seems to be true in our family, as Emma at 18 months had a vast vocabulary but fell down and hurt hurself daily, where Sophie mainly says names, "uh-oh," and few other actual words, and doesn't hurt herself nearly as often. I still wonder, though, if she's suffering because I didn't spend her first 16 months at home with her like I did with Emma. I don't read to her quite as much (although she watches way less TV). I worry that I'm not doing enough. But that's the emotional-mom side. Logical-mom side says she's fine, but I can't help myself. Her doctor is not worried at all, which is a good sign.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fun day

 I took the day off today, since everyone who can babysit Sophie is vacationing. We're having a great day - she slept until almost noon, had a delicious "brunch" when she woke up of pineapple, yogurt, and cheerios, and then played a while. She even watched Sesame Street! She loved the singing and dancing.

After a while, I decided to take her outside to swing. I recorded a few minutes of her swinging to send Grandma, and was lucky enough to catch her "serious" face and finger-point. It's such a great face but we can never get it in a photo! (It's around 3 minutes in)



She started to get sleepy in the swing, and seemed like she was falling asleep.
So we went inside for lunch. She had some spaghetti-os with mini meatballs. Unfortunatley, she thought it would be fun to drink them, like her big sister taught her to do.

I cleaned her up the best I could, and changed her clothes. Now it's naptime and time for me to clean up the aftermath of her playtime in the living room. Tomorrow is back to work, and my day as a stay-at-home-mom will be over.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

When I grow up...

I was given this post idea by MommaSachs at Passion. Dedication. Life. Us.

When I was 13 - the age Emma is now - like most girls I dreamed of what my life would be when I was an adult. I'd pore over the Sears and JC Penney catalogs, planning my career wardrobe, my casual wardrobe, what furniture I'd have in my fabulous house.

I never dreamed of marriage and babies, though. I never played wedding, or planned out what I wanted for my big day. I planned my education (doctorate degree, or at least a Master of something-or-other), my career path (CEO of course), and house. I decided that once I was well-established in my career in my thirties I'd maybe start to think about marriage, maybe not. I'd adopt a child or two. I never dreamed of giving birth - there were so many unloved children in the world that I wanted to bring some home with me.

That was my plan at 10-11-12-13 years old.

Instead, I was married at 19, my sophomore year of college. I did complete my Associate degree, but I still haven't completed my Bachelor's.  Emma was born shortly after, we moved, bought a house, I started working while going to school, and life went on. Now I'm 32, almost 33, with a 13 year old and an 18 month old, married for nearly 14 years, and my girls are DEFINITELY not adopted. I changed my major more than once, and also my career path. I still don't  know exactly what I want to be when I grow up.

The funny thing is, though, that even though my life did not go anywhere near my plan, I am okay with that. I am happy. I love my husband. I love that we still LIKE each other after 14 years. I love that we still enjoy each other. I love my children desperately. I cannot imagine life without them.

Sure, sometimes I think about "the road not taken." Who doesn't? I try to picture what my life would have been like at this age if I hadn't made the choices I did. But I can't picture it. If I had chosen anything differently, I wouldn't have anything I do now.

My childhood dreams may not have come true, but the dreams I never knew existed DID come true. And that is how it should be.

10 random facts about me

1. I'm afraid of ducks and other large birds, but especially ducks. Not pictures of them, just in person. They bite.
2. Same for cows. I'm afraid to be around cows.
3. My favorite candy is dark chocolate, but I also love caramel.
4. When I had surgery several years ago, I was fascinated by the pictures from the scope inside me. I find things like that very interesting. However, when I tried to change my bandages, I passed out. Literally. Pictures and videos are one thing, but a hole in my own skin is another.
5. I was terrified of giving birth without an epidural. However, since it didn't have time to take effect before Sophie was born (impatient little thing), I wouldn't have bothered if I had known the doctor was going to give me a shot of Lidocane "down there." If we were to have more children (but we're not) I wouldn't bother with the epidural at all.
6. I just ate a piece of chocolate cake that looked delicious but was not at all, and so not worth the calories.
7. My music collection is quite varied. When I say I like everything but country and heavy metal, I mean it. My iPod jumps from rap to classical to alternative to jazz to indie to electronica to musicals. And I love them all!
8. I don't, however, like boy bands, emo groups, or manufactuerd bubblegum pop. They annoy me equally.
9. I find I lack some impulse control. For instance, this morning as I was getting ready for work, I decided to give the cat a bath because she needed it. Why didn't I stop to think "I'll do that after work?" No idea. It never occured to me. But I have a clean, flea-free cat! (Apparently the flea drops from the grocery store only work in the area where it's applied. The front half of her body was fine, but her belly and back legs were pitiful.)
10. I'm trying to trick myself into drinking less caffiene. I had one glass of tea at lunch yesterday, and 1 (albeit large) latte this morning. So far it's working! (I said less, not none. I'm not crazy. Not totally, anyway.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

10 reasons I get up in the morning

Blog idea found here.

1. Sophie can't get out of her crib by herself or feed herself.

2. The cat won't leave me alone.

3. The dogs HAVE to go outside and pee.

4. Hm, it seems so do I...

5. Stomach growling.

6. My husband keeps telling me I have to.

7. ...because I have to to go work.

8. I'm afraid what I'll find when I DO get out of bed if I don't get up in the morning

9. Too much to do!

10.  These people :)

For the love of the Bunny!

 Sophie has a pink stuffed bunny that she got for Christmas from her Grandma.

She has been so attached to Bunny since then! She carries it everywhere - so much that she has to have a "bath" every weekend when I do Sophie's laundry because she gets stinky.

Bunny is a playmate for her - she will talk to her (Bunny is pink so obviously she's a She), make her bounce and walk, and give her hugs and kisses.

She also sleeps with her every single night.

And takes her to the babysitter's  house every day (but Bunny waits in Sophie's car seat while I'm at work so she stays safe and makes it home every night).
She even tries to eat dinner with Bunny on her high chair, but that isn't a very good idea so she waits for Sophie to finish.

When she's getting sleepy in the evenings, she'll get a little fussy and start her "snuffling" - she holds something soft to her nose and sucks her thumb and breathes in and out through her nose really  hard. We'll tell her "Go find Bunny" and she'll look for her until she finds her, then bring her to us for bedtime cuddles. Bunny's ears are her preferred soft thing for snuffling to sleep.

She also does NOT share her. Sophie loves her bunny.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A brief lesson in customer service

My mother's cell phone is on our family plan. Her phone broke last week, so she gave it to me to take to the AT&T store to be repaired/replaced/whatever. Since I had the foot incident, I gave it to my husband to take care of. He ended up upgrading her phone and brought home her new one. This was on Friday.

Yesterday, I got a text message wanting to ask me two questions for a survey about the "experience." I had Emma give the phone to my husband, since he was the one who was actually there. He answered the question, then about an hour later I got the second text and answered it.

Then another one, another hour later. Ok, by then I was getting annoyed. We were out doing things as a family, and I was hurting and out of patience. So I responded.

That's right - four questions, the final one coming today. Normally, I don't mind things like this. But this weekend, I just didn't have the patience. And they kept dragging it out! Two days for four questions?

If you say two questions, leave it at two questions.

Fit Mama Club Week 2

It's Sunday - Fit Mama Club update day.
I started out the week strong - tons of water the first few days. Until Friday almost no soda (I did finish half a cup of Emma's soda Wednesday night since she was leaving and I was super thirsty. But it really was just a little). I ate healthier. Had a setback at the end of the week, but hopefully I'll be 100% better and able to walk and exercise again.

The breakdown:
Last Week's High - Really upped my water intake and made better food and beverage choices. Started using Sparkpeople.com again, for the first time in way too long.
Last Week's Low - Definitely spraining my foot. I hate not being able to do what I want to do!
Plan for This Week - Once my foot is better, incorportate exercise into my schedule again. I do stay fairly active at work with a lot of walking, but that isn't enough. In the meantime, keep drinking water instead of soda and eating healthier.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I'm a lame duck :-(

Yesterday, it started raining right before I got to the babysitter's house. Not a hard rain, but wet (duh, it's rain. Of course it was wet!). Sophie HATES umbrellas. As in piercing screaming and clinging so tight I can't breathe when I try to use one with her. So I decided to go fast in the house and back out with her. One problem: wooden wet steps and slip-on heels. (So that was 2 problems. Whatever.)

Anyway, as I was going up the steps, my feet suddenly slid under the step on top, I fell forward and my hands slammed down on the steps (couldn't grab anything to hold on, though) and then I fell backwards off the steps onto the sidewalk. In light-colored pants. Luckily the father of two other girls there was also arriving to pick up his girls, and he helped me up from the ground and made sure I was ok. My first thoughts? 1. Oh crap, did I just break my iPhone?? (it was in my hands when I fell) 2. Did my pants just get ruined? I love these pants! 3. Wow - that hurt. Am I really ok?? (Yes, in that order.)

I thought I was just bruised from my feet going under the steps. My ankles hit the edge of the higher step and were scraped and bruised. I was able to walk a little, though, and went in to get Miss Sophie. I carried her back out to the car, and as I was buckling her in I noticed the pain in my left foot was not the ankle, but further down. I looked, and the tendon on the side of my foot was swelling. So I called my husband and asked if he could pick up the milk I was going to stop for, and called Emma so she'd be ready to come get Sophie out of the car and help me in. I iced it all night (apart from the times Sophie thought it'd be fun to grab the towel and ice and run!) until I went to bed, but really had no improvement.

Today, we left Sophie at home with her big sister since I couldn't safely take her down our steps, up sitter's steps, or catch her if she ran off.Or walked off. I went to work, and thought I was going to be ok. I work in a BIG hospital, though. Not a tall one - a wide one. It's very old, and additions have been added over the years and it's a bit sprawling. I made it to the ER to my closetoffice and settled in. I started out to visit the case managers and see how the day was looking since I had a rare lunch date scheduled with my BFF Maggie and I'd actually be out of the building for lunch.

It didn't go so well.

I hobbled over to the Fast Track side of the hospital to see how busy it was over there, and I signed in. I registered easily, called over for triage, and put in a wheelchair and rolled back to xray. I had 3 taken, then wheeled to a room. I waited a little bit, and a PA came in and checked me out. Not broken, thank goodness, but it's sprained pretty well. I had no idea you could sprain the middle of your foot that way! But I did. It's wrapped up and I have to keep it elevated and iced. The PA told me to go home, I argued, said I'd be fine. My boss texted me and said to go home. Then I tried walking in the hall to tell one of the nurses something (I was working while I was waiting) and it HURT. I couldn't make it. So I gave up.

I was discharged minutes before the time my friend was picking me up, so I went back to my closet-office and gathered my things. We ate a great lunch at Nixon's Deli and she dropped me off at my car. I've been home with my feet up and ice on my foot ever since.

Miss Sophie is very entertained, though. She had great fun banging her sippy cup on my ice pack, loving the noise it made. I didn't love it so much. I also got some rare baby hugs and kisses. She's happily playing NOT on my legs now, though. It sure does hurt, though! Hopefully the pain will pass soon. It gets frustrating not being able to do what I want to do!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dieting 101 - My style

Since participating in Fit Mama Club, I'm paying more attention to what I'm actually putting in my body. The accountability really helps keep me on track and I find myself making healthier choices (like adding fresh broccoli to the Ramen noodles I had for dinner Monday night. I didn't want to cook for just myself - don't judge.) However, I still have some "rules" that must be followed to keep myself sane.

1. If it has caffeine in it, the calories don't count. Caffeine is a stimulant so it's mere presence burns off the calories.
2. The 3:00 afternoon snack doesn't count, because without it I"d never get through the rest of the workday without hurting someone.
3. A dish of ice cream before bed doesn't count, either. Sophie nurses at bedtime and first thing in the morning so she gets those calories. Besides, it's Thin Mint ice cream and the Girl Scout Cookie rule applies - foods for a good cause don't count because they are for a good cause! (Same applies to school cookie dough/candy sales. We must support our children!)
4. The universal rule applies, too - major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, birthdays, Valentine's Day, anniversaries) don't count. Calories don't get holiday pay so they take the day off.
5. The word "diet" is banned. It's a healthier lifestyle, and weight loss is just a fun extra.
6. Anything your child feeds you, or came from their plate in any way, does not count. Their little bodies absorb all the calories by osmosis.

Seriously, though, I have been trying to make healthier choices. I stopped at Sonic on Tuesday on my way to work and got my usual (not everyday but frequent) Mocha Java Chiller. Then as I entered my food later that day on SparkPeople.com, I saw that one cup of goodness I drank contained nearly 800 calories. I think I'm done with that drink! Today I'm sipping a frozen mocha latte made with skim milk and blended with ice cubes instead of ice cream. Not quite as sweet, but still satisfying and delicious. I had a blueberry muffin instead of a chocolate bar. I'll have fruit for a snack, or yogurt. I've been drinking TONS of water every day! In fact, yesterday I had half a glass of soda, and that's the only soda I've had all week long. I've mostly had water, and a little tea and lemonade.
I know I won't see any changes overnight, or even in a month, but I'll get there. And I was (mostly) serious about rule #5 - I'm not "dieting."  Dieting implies that once you get to your target weight you go back to life as before, unhealthy eating and all. I do NOT want to do that. I want to be healthy, but I don't want to torture myself either. That would never last.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Untitled

You are so annoying.
I hate you!
Buzzing yourself around, getting in my way.
I wish I could squish you flat against the wall -
But that would leave a mess.
I don't want to deal with the mess.
I am trying to put on my makeup
Brush my teeth and hair
Get out the door
But you will not leave me alone!
I am in one room - you're there.
I go to another - you're there.
I cannot get away from you!
I hate that you even exist!

Stupid fly.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fit Mama Club


Another Twitterer/Babycenter mama/blogger has started the Fit Mama Club. After having a baby, it's not always easy to get back into shape without some extra work. It's much easier to put in that extra work with a support system in place!

Oddly enough, even though I gained 40 lbs when I was pregnant with Emma, I lost weight with Sophie the first 20 weeks and ended up with a net gain of only 2 lbs. I weighed the day we came home from the hospital (I stayed 24 hrs after having Sophie) and I was down 30 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight! It stayed the same her first year, but has been creeping up again. And even after losing that 30 lbs I was still 40 lbs above where I wanted to be.

So, here I go again!

I don't own a scale so I can't post my weight each week (I really need to get another one...) but I can tell how I'm doing by how well my clothes fit (or not).

Week 1:
Last Week's High - On vacation! I got great "workouts" this week, much better than I could have gotten in a gym. Raking, push-mowing, tree trimming, lifting, carrying - all in the heat and humidity. I know I burned tons of calories!
Last Week's Low - I ate like I was on vacation. Too much soda and sugary drinks. I did drink more water than usual, though.
Plan for This Week- I go back to work tomorrow, and back to a normal routine. It will be easier to stick with a healthy eating. I picked up a bottle of Mio at the store yesterday, too, to take to work with me. There is a ready supply of water there, I just have to DRINK it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Blast from the past: Why are we unhappy?

I first published this in 2009. Nothing's changed yet.

I heard something very interesting on the radio this morning as I was driving to work. The morning show host had read a study recently that found women today are overall more unhappy than women of past generations. The host was surprised, because (more or less) "with the whole feminist movement and more options we have, how can we be unhappier? It must be divorce."

I am not surprised at the study, actually. And no, I don't agree with divorce being the cause. True, the divorce rate is higher now than in past generations, but how many women then were hopelessly stuck in unhappy marriages? There isn't a stigma attached to being a divorced woman any more. So no, I don't think that is the reason.

I love that the feminist movement has given women so many options for what to do with our lives! We can have successful careers, go to any college we want, raise a family (or not, it's our choice), and do basically whatever we choose! Heck, a woman could even be president and a few generations ago we weren't even allowed to vote.

But - I think this is the root of our unhappiness. Instead of feeling like we have a choice, too many women feel pressured to "do it all" and do it all perfectly. We must go to college, get regular promotions at work, marry, have children, raise those children to be perfect, maintain a spotless home, cook nutritious, organic meals, and look good doing it. We feel this pressure from television, magazines, our families, and ourselves. Out of these, I don't think our families are malicious with the pressure, but want "what is best" for us. But who knows what is best for us more than ourselves? Unfortunately, if other women are like me, we are our biggest critics. The outside influences, on the other hand, don't care about us as individuals and press their own agenda: Buy our product! You MUST breastfeed or you are a bad mother! You MUST NEVER make mistakes in raising your children or you are a bad mother! You MUST be skinny and have your hair done in salons! Do it OUR way! Your way isn't good enough!

We need to stop listening to all the critics! Including our own inner critics. We are human, not superhuman. One woman cannot possibly do it all and do it all perfectly. Something has to give! If we keep trying, it is our health and our own happiness that gets lost in the shuffle. So stop, take a step back, and relax. And breathe.

My new mantra? I am good enough, just the way I am. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Staycation repair-cation

This week we've been on vacation from work.

Paying work, that is.

Instead of a relaxing vacation, it's been a home repair-cation. Right now, we have a 3 ft square hole in the bathroom floor where the toilet usually is. The toilet is in the bathtub. And today, we brought home 17 gallons of exterior paint and primer to repaint our house. I have hated the color of the siding of our house since we bought it, but never seemed to "get around to" repainting it.  For some reason, it's striped, too. It's dark brown siding of some sort (not the usual vinyl or horizontal kind) with boards over the seams painted white. We're painting it all one color. A lighter color, too, so that it won't get so hot in our house.

Tonight we're going to start with the primer on one side, at least. We can work on the rest over the weekend.

This evening, I spent a lot of time in the too-neglected front yard. We have too many trees for grass to grow, and it just gets forgotten. I hate how it looked, but haven't had much opportunity to do something about it. So I made time for it. I did some raking, a lot of pruning, and a lot of trimming with the electric hedge trimmer. I even used the tree trimmer blade-on-a-long-handle thingy to cut off several low limbs that needed to be thinned out. It already looks like a new yard!
It will need more raking, and there are some limbs that still need to be carried to the curb, but the improvement is incredible. I even found a few patches of grass I didn't know existed! 

I had to stop, though. I accidentally cut through the extension cord with the electric trimmer. It just stopped working, and I could NOT figure out why. I felt the gash in the cord and saw what happened.

Oops.

We have gotten some enjoyment out of our vacation, though. We've been staying up too late and sleeping in. Yesterday Sophie even slept until noon! Although it was 2:00 a.m. before she fell asleep last night. We'll have to get her back on a regular sleep schedule this weekend or Monday will be torture!

Break time over - time to go put primer on the house! I had it tinted the same color we're painting so it won't look so bad. Should also make it easier to cover the dark brown.

This is the back of the house - this shows the brown siding we're painting. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sophie is a California Baby

Sophie has sensitive skin. We have known this for a long time, since last August when she sat in a plastic outdoor chair that had pollen on it and broke out in hives. She has to wear a certain kind of diaper, and every time she gets sick she breaks out in a rash.

This week we are repairing our bathroom floor, and the toilet is in the bathtub. This makes it hard to bathe. So last night, Emma and I put Sophie in the kitchen sink. Since her California Baby tea tree and lavender shampoo/body wash was in the tub still, we used her old Johnson's Head-to-toe wash. We used to use it often, but since she gets random eczema patches and the tea tree wash keeps it under control, I just use that on her all the time now. I had been debating about continuing to use it, though, since it is a bit pricy (but lasts a LONG time).

Anyway, she was confused at first. She hadn't had a bath in the sink since she was a little baby in her infant tub! This was NEW. She quickly realized it was even easier to splash water on her sister, though, and played with her cup while I washed her down. To rinse her off, we stood her up and used the sprayer. As she turned around, we saw her back. And arms. And cheeks. She was turning red and breaking out all over! So Emma ran into the bathroom for the California Baby wash and I quickly washed her down all over with it. Thank goodness she didn't seem to be in pain, but it looked awful.

We dried her off, took her to her room, and Emma entertained her by singing and dancing along to a VeggieTales CD while I put calendula cream on all the spots.  She didn't even notice what I was doing, and clapped and cheered for her sister at the end of the song.

It's settled, though. Sophie is definitely staying a California Baby.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Not guilty

So we just heard the news that Casey Anthony was found not guilty. Not innocent - that is not the terminology. But not guilty, either. I haven't followed this case - I see news reports of course, but I have not been engrossed in the case since the beginning like so many have. I think Nancy Grace is a big reason why - I have never been able to stand her. But regardless, I had my opinion. I think she did it, or at least knew about it and had something to do with it.  However, I also agree with this blog post, agreeing with the verdict. In our society, there has to be no doubt.

Last year, I either read an article, or listened to a podcast (I can't remember which) about the success of the show Dexter in the US.  It seems that even though it is wildly popular show, fans in other countries don't quite understand how we can like a serial killer so much. In our anthropological minds, it makes sense. He kills bad guys. He's like the Wild West sheriff who hunted down the bad guys and made them pay. He is the dark side of us all, who celebrate the reported attitude of other criminals in jail towards inmates who have hurt children.

The general reaction of our nation when we heard the news about the not guilty verdict in this case is exactly why Dexter is so popular.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

More from Rockin the Docks

We also took our video camera last night. It's a Toshiba Camelio something-or-other, kind of like a Flip camera but better. I love it - it's mostly pretty easy to use (if I ever read the manual it would be even easier I'm sure) and fits in a pocket. Anyway, we took some video last night, also.

Here is the flyover. I was on the playground with the girls when this happened and couldn't hear the emcee so I have no idea who is in the planes - we have a National Guard place in town so maybe them?
video

He also got a great video of the fireworks! But I was unsuccessful in loading it directly here, and it's too long for YouTube, so you'll just have to take my word for it.


Happy weekend!

The docks were definitely rocking tonight!

Our town has an event (almost) every Memorial Day and Independence Day weekends called Rockin the Docks. We had only been once in the past, even though we intend to go every year. Usually we forget until it's too late. This year we went for Memorial Day, but not until around 9 (fireworks start at 10). We decided that for the next one (tonight) we'd go early, take a picnic dinner, and have a good time.

We were given a picnic basket and dishes set for a wedding gift 14 years ago, and I really wanted to use them. We dug them out and I cleaned them up, and packed up the dishes and some drinks. We stopped at KFC and picked up a family pack of 8 pc chicken bucket and two large sides. Perfect picnic food! We went to the park and hiked from a parking area to the lake. We found a nice spot behind the stage, under a tree and near the water, and had our picnic. Then Emma took Sophie to the playground and I joined them.

Emma found a friend in the crowd and joined her for the evening, and eventually the rest of us ended up with them also. Since we arrived around 7:30, we had plenty of fun time. Sophie spent a lot of time on the swings, and went down the slide a couple of times, too.

We really enjoyed the music, especially the last band. They played all covers, but were actually really good! There was even a crowd near the stage dancing and singing along.

Finally, it was fireworks time. This time the fireworks were so much better! They were good on Memorial Day weekend, but this time was just "more." Sophie was almost asleep when they started, and she jumped up, captivated. Unfortunately I couldn't remember how to find the fireworks setting on my camera and couldn't find it tonight, so I didn't get any good pictures of the fireworks themselves.

Here are pictures of the evening:
Dancing with Daddy


Picnicking


Lake starting to fill up with boats


American Legion starting things off

Swing time!


Stopping to chat with strangers

More boats

I found the fireworks barge!

Emma and her friend


Hello blue eyes!


They clapped and cheered at the end
I found this interesting tonight - I noticed that someone on stage said there were 13,000 people in the park tonight, not counting all the hundreds on boats on the water. The population of our town is only 8,000-something!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Buzzkill

Wednesday evening, we noticed a football-sized hornet nest in the small tree outside our house. It's very close to our door, the bird feeder is in that tree, and Emma used to climb it all the time. After calling several exterminators (one wanted $200 to remove it!) I finally found a local independent exterminator who, after I described it to him, said he could do it for $40. He came this morning.


After spraying the nest with the chemical for a minute or so, he was all done! The nest broke apart and the bees were flying around all confused. He said they go out foraging during the day so we'll see stragglers coming back "home" today and tomorrow, but they'll either get in the chemical and die or will just leave. After the next rain, it will all be washed out of the tree and off the ground.
What's left