Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quick Catch-Up

Yikes! It looks like I have a lot of catching up to do here. Between the 3-day weekend and leaving for my sister's wedding tomorrow, I kind of forgot that I even had a blog!

Even though I'm definitely feeling back to myself, finally over the nastiest cold/flu I've had in a while, unfortunately the rest of my family has now come down with it. Allie and Ben seem to have suffered through a milder version and are now on the mend, but Zach is still sportin' the runny nose, congested cough, and 100 degree fever. We took him to the doctor today (we just didn't want to take any chances, knowing that we were going to be out of town for a while) to make sure he didn't have the beginnings of an ear infection and were happy to get the "all clear," but are still hoping he begins to feel better, before early tomorrow morning when we take the 5 hour road trip to my sister's wedding location.

Let's see...besides illness, we have had a rather uneventful past few days. We spent the 3-day weekend mostly at home, catching up on things like cleaning, laundry, yard work, planting some annuals, and trying to figure out our sprinkler system (that we've had since we purchased our house, but have never bothered to get up and running...why do this now? Well, because due to a rather dry spring with little rain, we already have a brown lawn. And, we thought it might be kind of nice to enjoy green grass for longer than two weeks since we have to stare at the brown or white lawn for the majority of the year).

Because Ben was feeling rather icky this weekend, I volunteered to mow the lawn. I've never mowed the lawn before, ever. But, I was excited about the prospect of a different form of exercise, a bit of a break from the kids (who were pretty whiny because of also feeling icky), and some jam time with my IPod. After Ben started the mower for me (he did show me how to do it on my own, but I tried about a million times to no avail), I managed to successfully mow the front lawn. Even though my mow lines weren't nearly as straight as Ben's and I ran over and completely mutilated the metal sprayer attachment for our garden hose, I still felt quite a sense of accomplishment as one by one, I single handedly beheaded hundreds of dandelions while cutting through the jungle of our front yard.

I moved on to the backyard where all was going well until I heard a loud clank, the motor completely cut out, and I started to smell something burning. Before I could even walk the mower back up to the back porch, Ben came running out of the house, a look of shock on his face, wanting to know exactly what I had done to his mower.

A few hours later, the engine of the mower completely dissected and laying in several pieces that were strewn across the backyard, Ben declared that we officially needed a new mower. He also added that I am no longer allowed to touch any of his things. Apparently I mow with such gusto that I completely shattered one of the metal internal pieces of the engine into eight different chunks. Actually, I think Ben's exact words had something to do with how the motor "exploded." I'm thinking this will probably mark the first and last time I will mow the lawn.

We did end up purchasing a new mower...and Ben completed mowing the rest of the backyard.

That's's Weight Loss Wednesday...and I've got nothin'. I didn't weigh in this week because I was at home, doing laundry, packing, wiping noses, and trying to think up creative new ways to get over tired and sick kids to stop whining. So, hopefully I'll be back with a weight loss update next Wednesday. Oh...and yes...I will most definitely be having a piece of cake at the wedding.

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Mission

Yesterday I was brave enough to do something with the kids that I have never EVER done before. I have always managed to go on this mission alone, but the feeling of confidence I had after waking up in the morning to realize I could finally breathe out of my left nostril and that my head was now only about 30 percent full of snot spurred me on forward. I knew I was going to have to complete this assignment at some point very soon and the coupon my sister had given me was literally burning a hole in my purse. Well, that, in addition to the fact that I’m pretty sure most of my 37 pound weight loss has come directly from the girls up front and my caboose(which is not a bad thing) and such drastic reductions in those areas definitely necessitate undergarments of the correct size.

So, off to the mall we went. After I had the kids loaded in the double stroller with an ample supply of snacks, I made my way as quickly as possible to the Victoria’s Secret where I was sure I had exactly T-minus six minutes to peruse, grab, and purchase before the snack supply ran out. All was going according to schedule until one of the sales gals interrupted my ingenious plan of action to try and get me to sign up for a store credit card. I politely declined, but she kept the conversation going by telling me about all their current sales, advising me to take a look at their multiple clearance racks, and reminding me that I would get even better deals if I would just sign up for their card.

It was at that moment I refrained from saying something to the effect of, “Seriously, lady, do you not see me? I am in Victoria’s Secret with a stroller tank that is barely able to navigate through your teeny tiny, definitely not handicap-accessible (or stroller tank accessible, for that matter) aisles. I have already had to rip three bras out of my son’s Goldfish encrusted fingers and have heard one too many times from my daughter that she can’t wait until she grows up so that she can buy some of your pretty see-through dresses too. I just need some underwear and if you don’t stop talking to me now, I guarantee my precious window of time in which to shop peacefully will soon disappear and we will all suffer the consequences.”

Instead, I just smiled and nodded politely while I kept filling my shopping bag with underwear until Allie informed me that both her and Zach’s snacks were gone and they wanted more. I took that as my cue to make my way to the register.

While we were waiting to check out, Allie carried on a friendly conversation with the lady in line behind us about her pink toenail polish as Zach tried to grab every single eyeliner, lipstick, and perfume bottle that was remotely within his reach. Finally, it was our turn and I was positive that we were going to be able to check out and leave the store sans drama.

That was until I went to grab for my purse in the back of the stroller and looked down to find that Zach did not have any shoes on. Ordinarily Zach’s bare feet aren’t a cause for concern, except I was sure that upon entering the store just a mere 10 minutes before, he was wearing his brand new pair of double extra wide Velcro sandals that were intended to last him the entire summer.

Even though the checkout gal tried to empathize by telling stories of losing her nephew’s sippy cups and toys whenever she took him to the mall, all I could think of was how I would rather lose a hundred sippy cups and every single one of those delightful McDonald Happy Meal toys we’ve accumulated over the past few years than lose my kid’s shoes…especially Zach’s shoes…because my son has such fat wide feet that it is nearly impossible to find him shoes that fit and when I finally do, they aren’t necessarily cheap.

When the sales gal that kindly offered to search for the shoes came back empty handed, I started to get a little more concerned. So, after checking out, we made our own way back through the store, retracing all of our steps, searching for the missing shoes. Allie was delighted to be a part of the shoe reconnaissance mission and was even more thrilled when she spotted both shoes lying halfway underneath the black table linens covering the clearance bra tables. Instead of putting Zach’s shoes back on so that he could maneuver them off again within seconds at any unsuspecting moment, I threw them into my shopping bag and we made our way back to our van.

I’m here today to report our mission accomplished: undergarments purchased, missing shoes recovered, and all tantrums avoided.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why We Are Thankful The Wedding Is Still Over A Week Away

Because the aqua Scooby Doo band-aid on his forehead doesn't quite match the wedding color palette carefully chosen by my sister...and I'm sure purple/blackish/reddish scrape complete with blood is not any closer. I feel your pain, buddy. But, if you insist upon removing the band aid at dinner time and then proceed to rub your head wound with salty hands, I promise you, it will hurt. So, in an effort to avoid future pain, let's remember...the next time you decide to run at full speed toward a chain link fence, please make every effort to turn around or stop before you plummet, head-first, into the wire links. Or, at the very least, keep your eyes open while running so you can actually see that you are about to face plant into a fence.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Weight Loss Wednesday

Operation Weight Loss 2009
Week 20: 5/13-5/19
Weight Lost This Week: -1.6 pounds
Weight Lost To Date: -37.6 pounds
Well, I'm throwing the traditional format of Weight Loss Wednesday out the window for today. I've had this nasty sinus cold/flu-like thing since last Saturday and because Claritin-D, Mucinex, Tylenol Sinus, Tylenol Cold, Advil Sinus, and Dayquil have done nothing to relieve any of my symptoms whatsoever, I'm still finding it very difficult to think coherently and stay focused. Don't worry, I didn't take all those medications simultaneously. This cold is so nasty that even if I did do that, I'm fairly certain the sudden onslaught of every sinus medication in my medicine cabinet at one time would still have little to no effect.
So, where was I? Oh, that's right. I'm supposed to be typing a Weight Loss Wednesday post...not resting my snot-filled head on the keyboard in a last ditch effort to regain my balance...
Anyway, things have been truckin' along on the weight loss front. I feel like I don't have much new to report this week. Even though I feel like crud, I've still managed to sweat it out with Jillian each morning and enjoy my daily dose of Friends while trying to walk in a straight line on the treadmill. Unfortunately, illness really puts a damper on any attempts at exercise, so even though I haven't skipped a day, I know my efforts aren't as enthusiastic as they usually are. So, I'm pretty sure that will show up on the scale next week. Oh well.
That's right...I had a few questions I was going to answer from the comments I received on last week's Weight Loss Wednesday post.
Numero Uno: What does Ben have to say about your new hot bod?
Hmmm...not sure how to answer that one...does he have to say anything? Words aside, he's definitely not objectionable.
Number Two (I don't really do Spanish, I just thought Numero Uno sounded kinda cool):
How did you motivate yourself to start exercising?
This idea of motivation is tricky for me. You see, I hated exercising...I mean, I passionately, with every bone and muscle in my body, hated exercising.
When I think back to those first few weeks in dismal January when I had to drag myself out of bed in the pitch dark and pull myself onto that treadmill (and believe me, I was kicking and screaming inside), I don't think it had much to do with motivation at that point, but instead centered around discipline and determination. The fact that I was overweight and my health was at stake remained solid and indisputable. And, as much as I tried to fight and deny it, the only way to lose weight safely and effectively was through changing my eating habits and *gulp* exercising daily.
There was really no way around those two solid facts. So, in my mind, I resolved that if I was determined to lose weight, I better be just as determined and discipline myself to exercise. In the beginning, I didn't allow a day to pass without exercising because I was afraid even a short break from that treadmill would result in my exercise downfall. I needed to establish a routine and make exercise a habit in my daily life. This worked well for me, but I know it doesn't work that way for everyone.
Even now, I'm not sure I would be telling the whole truth if I said I didn't hate exercising anymore. Exercise is still definitely not at the top of my list of most enjoyable life experiences. But, the difference now, as opposed to 4 months ago, is that I am beginning to see results from exercising that I really like: weight loss, muscle tone, increased energy levels, strength, endurance, a better night's sleep, and motivation to continue in my pursuit of a more healthy lifestyle.
So, I guess for me, the motivation to exercise didn't really come until later. I had to force myself to exercise first, then eventually out of my discipline the motivation to continue and even challenge myself physically began to grow.
Wow. That was surprisingly insightful for a mucus-filled brain. Leave me any more questions, comments, advice, etc. I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Aviation Days

On Saturday morning we made our way over to a neighboring town's air strip for their annual Aviation Days. Allie had quite a rough night (see this post if you need a refresher) so both Ben and I were concerned about what her behavior would be like. But, upon arriving, it became quickly evident that our concern was centered around the wrong child. Allie was completely enamored by all the cars, trucks, and planes on display. She held our hands, stayed close, and listened to all of our instructions. Allie even ran up to the planes and requested that her photo be taken each time!

Zach, on the other hand, was extremely overwhelmed and not at all happy about the windy weather conditions (which, I don't blame was extremely windy and definitely cold). He wanted in the stroller, then out of the stroller, then in, and out...basically, I don't think he had a clue what he wanted and spent the duration of our time (which was only about 45 minutes because that is about all any of us could take of his temperament) screaming, arching his back, and trying desperately to get to the ground so he could kick his little feet. I think he saw a few planes and cars and was slightly amused, but he was not at all happy until he was strapped back in the carseat in the warmth of our mini van.
Here's Allie and me posing by one of the planes. Thankfully they had an indoor display so we could stay out of the cold and wind for a little while.
Zach finally calmed down enough while we were inside to take a few pictures by the planes.
I believe this was the first plane we saw can tell by the fact that Zach is about to throw a major tantrum.
Allie by one of the old cars inside:
Allie posing, again, outside one of the planes:
Outside, they had a display of classic cars. The kids really liked this one because it looks a little bit like Doc Hudson from Cars. We also got to see a communications truck that was used in Vietnam:
The kids got to explore inside the truck. And, yes, of course, Zach threw a major fit upon exiting the truck.

Here's Allie, posing again, inside the truck:
Despite the tantrums, we did have a good time. Plus, both Ben and I knew that my sister was coming over in just mere hours so that we could enjoy another date (that's 2 dates in the past 2 weeks!) and I think it helped us both with our patience levels.
Thankfully, the kids took excellent naps and were very well behaved for my sister. Allie was definitely excited for her Aunt Stephanie date and apparently, my sister did not disappoint. While the kids and Aunt Stephanie enjoyed a trip to the mall to visit the puppies, play on the breakfast food playground, and ate dinner at Pizza Hut (Allie's self-proclaimed favorite restaurant now), Ben and I did a little shopping of our own (where I scored a $90 spring khaki trench for $13.98) and enjoyed dinner at Applebee's before heading out to the theater to see the new Star Trek movie. (Yes, yes...I'm actually a closet trekkie, for all those curious...I blame it on my dad who used to let us watch old reruns of Star Trek with him on Saturday afternoons)
All, in all, a fun family Saturday!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Preparing for the Big Day

We've had lots of preparations to make over the past few weeks for my sister's upcoming of which has been alterations.

So, a couple weeks ago, while my mom was making adjustments to Zach's tuxedo pants, I couldn't help but snap a picture:

Yes, he is holding a Lightening McQueen car and no we haven't figured out how we are going to coax it out of his hands when he has to walk (or be carried) down the aisle.

When Allie came down the hallway in her peep toe shoes, holding all the different layers of her dress, ready for my mom to begin her fitting, I just had to capture the moment.

And, when they were both standing atop the coffee table in our living room, the camera was again calling my name:

We've already begun brainstorming other places they could wear their formal outfits too because they are just too cute to only wear once!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sleep...or Lack Thereof

My lack of blogging this week is directly related to our entire household's lack of sleep this week.

When I first became a mom I was not all that surprised by the fact that a good night's sleep was something of the past. I had heard, at least over a thousand times, that I should get as much sleep as possible before the baby arrived. But, really, come to think of it, that statement never made a lot of sense to me. What I really should have been told was to get as much sleep as possible before even entertaining the idea of pregnancy because between an aching back, swollen legs, and having your bladder danced on throughout the duration of the night, sleep will become quite near impossible.

Anyway, the impossibility of comfortable or adequate sleep while pregnant is probably a topic for another time. Basically, the point I'm getting at here is that between night time feedings, ear infections, and teething, the first few months or so of both Allie and Zach's life seem a bit hazy as I'm convinced I lived through those days in a sleep-deprived stupor.

Thankfully, there eventually did come a time when both my babes would finally fall asleep, and STAY asleep for the duration of the night. Both Ben and I gladly welcomed the much needed shut-eye as we eagerly closed that chapter of baby-hood.

Well, what nobody ever told me is that you never quite close that whole chapter of sleep deprivation when you have kids. I'm beginning to think it may be an ongoing saga that really has no end in sight with many twists, turns, and surprises along the way.

Apparently, even 3-year olds have their own issues with sleeping in the middle of the night. Especially when they open their eyes at approximately 12:33 am and see the lights from the cars passing by on our street casting shadows onto their bedroom walls. Or, when they get up to use the bathroom at 1:17 am (for the third time since going back to bed after the shadow scare at 12:33 am) and notice their parents forgot to leave the kitchen light above the sink on so that they could see their way. Or, at 2:14 am when the heater vent kicks on, they jump out of bed, horrified that the air is blowing on them. Or, at 2:27 am when they begin screaming in terror, convinced that there are crabs coming to get them. (Yes. I said crabs. By the way, when asked what a crab was, the particular 3-year old I'm speaking of merely shrugged her shoulders and said they were very scary.)

All the above, paired with a particular sleep-walking instance where Allie got up from her bed, turned on her light, proceeded to pull down her underwear, squat by her bedroom step up stool, and tinkle has made for a rather interesting few nights. Sleepwalking, am I sure? Well, fairly positive. When I asked Allie about the incident the next morning, she just looked at me sternly and very matter-of-factly stated, "I only tinkle in the potty. Never on my bedroom stool." Alrighty, then.

Because I wasn't thinking straight or coherently at 12:33 am the first time Allie awoke (probably due to the fact that I had only been sleeping a mere two hours or so), it didn't dawn on me until 2:27 am (after the one gazillionth time Allie had gotten up) that perhaps a night light would be a good solution to the problem at hand. So, after we adequately calmed our daughter's fears of killer crabs and blowing air, plugged in the night light by her bed, kissed her goodnight, and climbed back into our bed, it was approximately 3:00 am. I had never been more happy about the prospect of getting 3 more hours of sleep.

But, we do have more than one child.

And, apparently 1 and a half year olds also have sleep issues, mostly revolving around cutting their molars, but that most definitely do not ever cause them to wake up at the same time of night that their 3 year old sisters are dealing with their own night time fears. Or, sometimes 1 and a half year olds will wake up screaming because somehow they've managed to get one of their appendages completely stuck in between the slats of the crib. Or because they've thrown their Lightening McQueen stuffed animal overboard.

So, tonight, with the soft pink glow from her Sleeping Beauty night light, we're hoping Allie sleeps like a princess. We will most definitely be giving Zach some Tylenol after I figure out a way to keep McQueen attached to the crib. And, we will officially be putting our heads to our pillows as soon as the kids are out...which hopefully is before 8:30 pm.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Weight Loss Wednesday

Operation Weight Loss 2009
Week 18 & 19: 4/29 - 5/12
Weight Loss Total for 2 Weeks: -2.8 pounds
Weight Loss Total to Date: -36 pounds
Well, today I accomplished day 14 of The Shred. And, if completing almost half of the 30 day program is not considered an accomplishment, I'm not exactly sure what the definition of accomplishment is. I have been doing Level 2 of Jillian Michael's 20 minute torture interval regimen since this past Monday and am already getting worried I may need to move up to Level 3. Instead of my entire body dripping in sweat today, I noticed only the front part of my hair had become a little damp.
Although The Shred is definitely a challenge for someone as nonathletic as myself, I find it peculiarly addicting. And, come to think of it, I'm pretty sure I would actually miss Jillian's butt kicking if I decided to skip a day. Weird, I know. But, it really is working. I actually saw a bicep muscle in my arm for the first time last week. Ben also pointed out to me the other day that I do indeed have the semblance of a pectoral muscle emerging. This is definitely exciting stuff.
And, 36 pounds?! Can you believe it?! I know I barely can. Actually, what I still can't believe is that I didn't do something about those 36 pounds sooner than 4 months ago. Better now than never, though, right?
I think I need to kick my treadmill attempts up a notch. I have been alternating 1 minute running with 1 minute walking, but since I've started The Shred, I've noticed this pattern isn't very challenging anymore. Today I was able to alternate between running for 4 minutes and walking for 1 minute. So, I am going to continue with increasing my amount of time running so that eventually (eeek!!!) I'll be running for the majority of the 30 minutes.
I know to you runners out there this plan probably sounds a bit wimpy. But, truly, I hate running. I remember all throughout grade school, middle school, and high school experiencing such fear and anxiety in anticipation of running "The Mile" during gym class. I was always the very last one to finish and the physical agony I felt during the whole process was far worse than what I imagined in the weeks preceding the event.
So, basically I am taking baby steps in my running efforts. I still hate running, but being able to have an entire 30 minutes free from attending to the kids that I get to spend completely by myself while enjoying an episode of Friends almost makes me forget that my legs are moving ever faster while sweat is pouring down my back.
Fun Fact of the Week:
For the past two years I've carried around a Driver's License complete with my full name, current address, correct height, specific eye color, and accurate weight. Except, I must confess, the weight included on my License was not exactly accurate at the time I submitted it. You see, the weight figure was accurate, at one time, just not the last time I applied for my license when I was 6 months pregnant with Zach. I figured since I was noticeably pregnant at the time I applied for my new license, why not just go for a HUGE lie about my weight since no one would know the difference anyway.
Well, this week, it finally became official: The weight on my Driver's License is no longer a lie! After two years of looking at that weight number and almost laughing aloud at the possibility of ever being that skinny again, I am happy to report that I actually am that skinny right now.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Recap

A bouqet of pink flowers

given to me by Allie

and arranged by my multi-talented hubby.One festive balloon picked out by Allie
and lovingly taken care of (and eventually given to me) by Zach:
A few attempts at a Mother's Day photo
led to a kiss from Allie
and a refusal by Zach to pucker in spite of his resistance, I puckered up instead.

Today I took part in no cooking, no laundry, no cleaning, and no diapers (what luck that Zach had his first poopy diaper blow-out in months today!)
Tomorrow when I resume all typical mom-jobs, such as wiping these faces clean,

I'll count myself lucky to be Mom to Allie and Zach.

Friday, May 8, 2009

We Love Spring! (Complete with Pictures)

Here are the pictures of the kids I promised. Unfortunately, no zoo pictures. I forgot to take my camera along to the zoo, but of course that didn't stop Allie from posing by every single animal statue, one hand on her hip, head tilted to the side, complete with a cheesy grin, demanding a photo be taken of herself at that exact moment. I was, however, a little surprised by Allie's sudden eagerness for a photo op. You see, usually when I do have my camera along, ready to capture the moment, she runs the opposite direction declaring that she can't have any fun if I keep pestering her to take pictures all the time.

Anyway, this first picture is of Sleeping Beauty picking dandelions. Why Sleeping Beauty? Oh, that's my last post I forgot to mention that Allie waltzes around the yard, bucket in hand, picking flowers and singing the same extremely high melody that Sleeping Beauty sings before being startled by Prince Philip in the forest. And while Zach gets to play the part of Prince Philip, Allie continually reminds me that I need to be making her birthday cake and dress while she's away because I apparently get to be all three magic fairies. Here's Zach enjoying the sand:

Apparently our kids both have the same size head now. Either that or one of them has a rather large head....or one has an extremely small head. Anyway, after Zach discarded his hat, Allie thought she would give it a try: Zach loves this tree. It is the biggest tree in our backyard and he climbs up the small incline to get to the tree, touches the tree, looks up and proclaims "tee!", then runs back down again. This scenario is repeated over and over and over again: He really gets a kick out of it when Allie decides to join him in his game of tree tag: And, lastly, here's my attempt at a nice picture of both kids by the best looking flowers in our yard right now. Although they don't have huge smiles, I was quite impressed that they were both (for the most part) actually looking at the camera:

We Love Spring!

We've had a great time this week enjoying Spring! In fact, I'm not even bummed that it is raining right now because we've gotten to enjoy the outdoors every day this week.

We have spent the majority of our afternoons before dinner playing outside. Allie's favorite thing to do in our back yard right now is pick dandelions. She picks buckets full of the yellow flowers and then takes them to the top of the swingset to "decorate." She places all the flowers very delicately over the wooden planks. She will even stick some of the stems in between the crevices in the wood so that the flowers stand upright. Actually, I am quite impressed at how many dandelions she so meticulously places up there and I definitely wouldn't mind taking some time out to relax in the midst of all those cheery yellow blooms.

Unfortunately, there is another male member of our family that is not so exuberant when it comes to dandelions. Yes, it is true that Ben has high aspirations to personally mutilate each and every sunny blossom that takes up residence in our yard with weed annihilator, but I was actually referring to the youngest male of our family. Much to Allie's horror and dismay, Zach's absolute favorite thing to do while playing in the backyard is to climb to the top of the swingset, rip out every single flower, and throw each one forcefully to the ground. The only thing that tops the thrill of completely ripping apart Allie's carefully placed flower decor is perhaps driving the steering wheel, flinging himself down the slide, or eating the sand from our sand table.

The beautiful weather this week also called for some time away from home. So, we enjoyed a great morning at the zoo this past Wednesday. Even though it was quite crowded, we were able to see all the animals and even spent some time walking around the gardens and greenhouses admiring all the beautiful flowers. Sure, we had a few tantrum episodes with Zach. That is to be expected. And even though the other adults were looking at me in disgust because I'm sure they thought Zach was being mortally wounded as he kicked his feet angrily in the air and emitted screams of true peril that could be heard a state away, I kept my cool while I tried my hardest to ignore his antics until he became human again, upon which we carried on with our pleasantries while strolling about the zoo.

In fact, zoo morning was such a hit that Allie even declared to me before going on the carousel ride, "Mom, you are my most favorite best Mom in the whole world! I'm just sooooo happy to be at the zoo with you and Zach." Wow. I won't lie...that felt really good.

And then, after the carousel ride was done and it was time to go home, Allie's response regarding my not purchasing an overpriced stuffed horse the size of a peanut was not quite so enthusiastic and I'm pretty sure I was quickly demoted from "favorite best Mom in the whole world" standing. Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

So, all in all, definitely a good week. I intended on posting pictures, but Blogger isn't cooperating today. Stay tuned, pics of the kids enjoying time outside to come.

Now I must go attend to my 19-month old who is convinced he must be 2 as he has been throwing a terrible-tyrannical-two-year-old-type-tantrum in the other room for the duration of my writing most of this post. And, as much as I would like to continue ignoring it, Allie just reported to me that she is getting very annoyed with all this screaming and crying.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Weight Loss Wednesday

Well, unfortunately this will not be my typical Weight Loss Wednesday post. For several reasons I decided not to officially weigh-in this week. But, I promise I won't skip two weeks in a row. So, come back next week for my "official" results.

In the meantime, I thought I would answer some of the more frequent questions I receive about my weight loss efforts. I am definitely not an expert in the whole weight loss/diet/exercise department, but I have lost over 30 pounds and maybe some of the things that have worked well for me will be helpful for others as well. So, here first Weight Loss Wednesday Q&A:

Are you doing something different with your hair or makeup? You look really different, but in a good way.
Ummm...well...I've lost over 30 pounds...could that be it?

How much do you exercise? Do you really work-out every day?
I try to spend at least 1 hour per day doing some type of physical activity. I don't take days off unless I have to due to illness, injury, or travel. In the beginning, however, it was everything I could do to muster 30 minutes of walking on the treadmill! As I've built up more endurance, I find that I'm able to do more and for a longer period of time. Also, I've realized I now must continue working even harder to keep up my weight loss at such a steady pace. On a typical day, I get up before the kids to either tackle the treadmill, a Pilates workout DVD, or the 30 Day Shred for a half hour. During the kids' naptime I spend an additional half hour doing whatever I didn't do that morning. I'm still not a fan of running, so my time on the treadmill is spent alternating between walking and jogging (ie-1 minute walking, 1 minute jogging). On top of my typical daily regimen, we often go for bike rides or walks as a whole family if the weather permits in the evenings after dinner and before the kids' bath time.

What really is the Weight Watcher's diet?
I'm sure the Weight Watcher's website offers a more accurate description of their diet, but I think two simple phrases sum up best what I've been eating over the past few months: low fat and high fiber. Most foods I eat fall into these two categories. I've also been diligent about consuming accurate portion sizes and writing down everything I eat to make sure I stay within my daily calorie limit. Your caloric intake is determined by a variety of factors, but a nutritionist I consulted with a few months ago told me that you can find your daily calorie needs by taking the weight you want to be and adding one zero. So, basically to maintain a weight of 150 lbs, you should consume 1500 calories per day. Because I'm not a math person at all, calculating calories in the hundreds and thousands seems very overwhelming to me. Thus, the points system that goes along with Weight Watcher's has been ideal for me. One Weight Watcher's Point is approximately 50 calories. So, instead of counting to the hundreds, I only have to calculate to the mid-twenties. Points are determined by using the calories, fiber, and fat of a certain food. Foods that are lowest in fat and highest in fiber will have the lowest point values. So, by choosing these types of food you can eat more, feel full longer, and still lose weight. In addition, all high fiber foods are typically low in carbohydrates, so although I haven't been on a true low-carb diet, I have greatly decreased my carbohydrate intake since being on Weight Watcher's.

So, what types of things do you eat? Is it hard to make meals for your family?
Well, in the beginning, it was difficult to change my cooking habits. I discovered we ate lots and lots of cheese (which is subsequently high in fat), lots and lots of white breads (which are low in fiber), a fair amount of butter/margarine (high in fat), etc. We didn't eat terrible, but there were definitely areas where we needed improvement. Now, I cook with a lot more wines and broths instead of cheese sauces/condensed soups/butter. We also have salads 3-4 times a week, in addition to fruits and vegetables with every meal. We've pretty much eliminated white dinner rolls and have replaced all pastas with whole wheat varieties. I haven't yet been able to give up white rice for brown, though. I've found several great recipes through Weight Watcher's and Taste of Home's Simple and Delicious magazine. Also, as I've learned more about healthy eating, I've been able to modify a lot of our family favorites so they are lower in fat and all around better for you options. Anyway, here's what I ate today:
Breakfast: Kashi Go Lean Crunch and banana
Snack: string cheese
Lunch: turkey sandwich with mustard, cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce made on an Arnold's Sandwich Thin (higher in fiber and lower in calories than 2 pieces of bread), vanilla yogurt, grapes
Snack: Apple, Kellog's Fiber Plus Bar
Dinner: Chicken Teriyaki Stir Fry with mushrooms, shallots, and broccoli served over rice, green salad with fat free dressing, strawberries
Snack: Low Fat Ice Cream Sandwich

What do you snack on?
I have a sweet tooth, so a lot of my snacks serve to satisfy that craving. However, as I've been learning to eat healthier I find I don't crave those sweets as often as I used to. Also, if I pick better options at meal time, I find I need less snacks to get myself through the day. I usually only eat 1-3 snacks per day (I'm still working on eliminating that night time one!). Here's a list of some of my favorite snack items:
Low Fat String Cheese
Low Fat Yogurt with granola
Veggies and Fat Free Ranch Dressing
Fat Free Frozen Yogurt
Low Fat Ice Cream Sandwiches
94% Fat-Free Popcorn
Fat Free Carmel Corn
Chocolate Covered Pretzels-The 100 calorie packs
No Pudge Brownies
Kellog's Chocolate Fiber Plus Bars
100 Calorie Jello Pudding Cups
Low Fat Vanilla Wafers

Well, I think that just about does it for my first Weight Loss Wednesday Q&A. If you have a question I didn't answer or would like clarification on one that I did, leave me a comment and if I have enough questions, maybe I can make this a regular part of Weight Loss Wednesday as well.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Vehicle Day

This past weekend we took the kids to "Vehicle Day" sponsored by our local ECFE program. We arrived at a local grade school and were able to explore tons of different cars, trucks, motorcycles, buses, and other things that "go" for only $1. There had to have been more than 25 or 30 different varieties of vehicles and the kids gathered all kinds of free toys, balloons, coloring books, stickers, and candy. In addition to "driving" every single one of the vehicles, the kids also got to explore the inside of a semi-truck trailer, climb inside the "digger" part of a backhoe, and see the inside of a mail truck.

Here are both kids inside a medical transport vehicle:

Here's Zach driving one of the many delivery trucks (he was on the verge of a huge melt down here):

The highlight for Zach was the "gack-ho" (backhoe). Ben and Zach are inside and Allie is waiting for her turn:

Here is Zach driving the gack-ho. And, yes, a tremendous fit ensued when it was time for the next kid in line to have a turn.
Actually, now that I think of it, Zach really did not enjoy Vehicle Day as much as Allie. He seemed pretty overwhelmed the entire time by the sheer number of trucks and people. There were many, many full blown tantrums, more than we could possibly keep track of. This next picture pretty much sums up our time at Vehicle Day. Yes, that is Zach in the background screaming at the top of his lungs while inside a UPS truck while Allie couldn't keep from smiling and conversing with the deliverymen:
Here's Allie driving a semi:
Here's Zach driving the fire truck. This was the first vehicle we explored and was before he started all the screaming. However, if you look closely at his eyes, you can definitely see the glimmer of a tantrum in its beginning stages:

Zach driving the firetruck minus the hat:

Firefighter Allie-she had trouble keeping the heavy hat on her head:
Exploring the inside of the firetruck. There's a logging truck in the background:
Allie driving a tractor:
Allie said that this motorcycle was her favorite thing. We told her she should probably focus more on learning how to pedal her tricycle: