Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What Is Making Me Smile Today

Allie (talking to Olivia):  Look at you, cutie!  And you're sooooo fat!
Me:  Allie, honey, maybe we shouldn't call Olivia fat.
Allie:  Oh, ok.  So we can just call her fatty then, right?
Zach:  Mom, when I grow up I'm going to be a super hero!
Me:  I know, Zach.  Either that or a Daddy, right?
Zach:  Yep.  But, the reason I want to be a super hero is because then I can fly up to the clouds and meet Jesus!

During church on Easter Sunday, the pastor praying said something to the effect of "Thank you, Lord, for your presence here with us..."
Zach's response, in a very loud whisper:  MOM!  Did he say presents?  I don't see the presents.  Where are the presents?  I didn't know we got presents for Easter!
Allie:  Mom...I'm not sure I want to be a mom any more when I grow up. 
Me:  Really, Allie?  Why is that?
Allie:  Because you have to do a lot of work...like make all our food and clean the house and do laundry and take care of all of us.  I think that would just make me too tired. 
Zach:  But I still want to be a Daddy!
Allie:  I don't think so Zach!  That is a lot of work too.  Because you have to go to work and then you'd have to come home and help your wife with lots of stuff too.
Zach:  But I could grill!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Look What I Can Do!

 Wait a sec...uh-oh!
Ok...so we're still working on it.
(And, no, she actually did not hit her head on the chair even though it looks like it from the photo!)

Easter Recap

We had a wonderful time celebrating Jesus this weekend!  It was especially fun to see the kids' understanding of what Easter means grow this year along with their excitement to celebrate Jesus' empty tomb. 

We decided to go to the later church service this year so we could take our time on Easter morning.  We tried to convince the kids to sleep in, but Olivia (in particular) had different plans. 
Actually, Olivia was up late the previous evening due to a bad reaction to a new baby food she ate that evening for dinner.  I felt horrible for her as she ralfed up the entire contents of her tummy.  Poor baby.  So, it wasn't surprising that she was awake with the chickens on Easter morning and was more than ready to EAT! 

Upon waking up, Allie and Zach were excited to discover that our neighbor had left some Easter eggs for them on our back porch. 

After collecting their eggs, they came inside and we enjoyed a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, and blueberry cream cheese stuffed French toast. 
 Yes...it tasted just as delicious as it looked! 

And, no, Miss Olivia wasn't allowed to have any...even though she was all smiles at the breakfast table. 

Before church we made sure to take pictures of the kids in their matching Easter attire.  I'm not afraid to admit that there may have been some bribery used in the form of mini chocolate bunnies to get certain individuals to cooperate (ahem...ZACH!). 

Apparently Olivia was not interested in smiling for the camera.  We tried everything, but she was obviously not in the mood. 

The kids really enjoyed taking pictures all together and I was shocked we actually got a few with all three looking at the camera!

Then, Allie and Zach wanted to give their little sis' a kiss.

And, the photo session ended promptly as soon as Olivia discovered Allie's hair.

After church, my parents came over and we had a great lunch of grilled steaks, potatoes, salad, veggies, fruit....complete with pie for dessert.  The kids could barely eat because they were so excited to hunt eggs.  Finally, with the dinner dishes cleaned up, the egg hunt was on!

The kids were thrilled with their candy and prizes.  They proceeded to consume every bit of Easter candy with minimal help from the adults.  We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon outside and proceeded to have leftover pie for dinner! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Weight Loss Wednesday

So, I originally planned to finish and post this yesterday, but life in the form of three very fun-loving, rambunctious kiddoes got in the way...

It's about time for a Weight Loss Wednesday post, don't you think?  I kind of abandoned the whole thing back in January when I wasn't losing any weight.  It was seriously depressing for me to think about writing a post each week about how my weight was staying exactly the same despite concerted efforts in the exercise and diet arena.  But, maybe that would have been encouraging to others in the same boat?  I don't know. I get a little whiny and pathetic about it, so I hardly think anything I would have written three months ago about weight loss and healthy living would have been productive at all. 

Fast forward to today...and for some cosmic reason that will most likely remain a mystery forever, it looks like my metabolism has finally kicked back into gear.  Granted, my diligence regarding tracking my food intake has been renewed due to an accountability partner I e-mail daily.  Seriously, I know it sounds dumb, but knowing that I'm going to have to e-mail someone who is trying just as hard as I am to lose weight and exercise really helps me to make better choices throughout the day.  To be honest, I've been far from perfect (as she will tell you), but the slip-ups have been far fewer and seeing her successes and struggles throughout the week encourages me because I don't feel so alone in the endeavor.

Ok...so here are the facts:

  • I've lost approximately 15 pounds since January 1.  Yay!  I still have 15 to go, but we're thinking positive here. 
  • I'm following the new Weight Watcher's Points Plus plan.  It was hard at first to adjust to all the new points plus values, but now that I have a handle on it, I'm doing well.
  • Yay for nursing!  I get 7 additional points plus per day while I'm nursing.  The goal is to lose all the weight before I have to give up those additional points.
  • I'm hitting the treadmill about 30-40 minutes per day, covering about 3-3.5 miles.  More on that later. 
  • I've been trying to get in a whole slew of daily sit-ups and core strengthening exercises.  I've been realistically doing them 3-4 times per week, but need to be doing them more. 
And, now, I would like to introduce you to....

...my best friend and most hated enemy.  The treadmill and I definitely have a love/hate relationship.  Love it because I know cardio is the best way for me to burn a ton of calories in the shortest amount of time.  Hate it because I just wish it wasn't so dang hard to burn all those calories! 

In January, I started pounding out about 2.5-3 miles daily at a 5-6 mph pace.  Mostly, it was boring.  I tried listening to music and was still bored.  So, I found I could take my kindle with me and did my reading while running which was fun enough...if you can even call running on a treadmill fun. 

By February I was up to 3 miles every day and haven't changed much since then.  I could mostly complete my mileage in about 30-33 minutes.  But, last week, I was completely fed up with the whole thing.  I think it was due to the fact that the spring weather enabled me to get in a few outside runs (which were far more enjoyable), but I was just mostly...still...bored.  The music, the reading...it just wasn't enough to keep my attention away from the boredom of watching the clock and mileage ticker.

So, through some random blog surfing, I came across a blog post that talked about interval training with a treadmill.  I wish I could find the post to refer you to, but alas, I have no idea how I got there in the first place.  Interval training isn't really anything new and I actually feel silly that I haven't utilized it before, but the basic concept involves constantly changing the incline settings and speeds on your treadmill so that you are continually "surprising" your muscles while building endurance, speed, stamina, etc.   I used the suggestions offered by random-blogger-that-I-can-now-not-locate and put together my own interval training program that looks a little something like this: 
Kind of hard to read, I know, but I'm too lazy to re-type it all out.  Anyway, since I'm such a goal-oriented person, this work out has been AWESOME!  I love that I'm running faster and have built in recovery times along the way.  I also feel like my body is working harder even though I'm putting in the same mileage as I was before.  Some of the intervals are really tough, but the most painful ones only last a minute, and I'm pretty capable of doing just about anything for one stinkin' minute, so that is how I get through...minute by minute.  

I've done the above workout for the past three days and I think today I'm going to have to take a rest day.  I'm not very good at taking rest days, but my poor glutes and thighs are begging for a break.  So, maybe a fun dance video with the kids later? 

Lastly, I've been reading a lot lately about the success of lower carb diets.  Although there is no way I am willing to cut out carbs completely, I'm trying my best to replace some unnecessary carb consumption with protein.  For example, usually every morning for breakfast I eat an English Muffin (3 WW Points Plus) with Nutella or PB (3 WW Points Plus) and a banana (0 WW Points Plus).  This week, I've been swapping out the English Muffin and instead eating a scrambled egg (2 WW Points Plus) along with my banana and PB/Nutella combo.  I've also been substituting almonds or string cheese for a snack as opposed to my typical fiber bars.  I need to do some more reading to get more ideas, but am thinking this may be a good way to boost my weight loss.  Anyone tried a lower carb diet with success?  Any tips for me? 

I think that's it for this week.  I'll try to be more consistent from here on out with weight loss posts..."try" being the key word. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

This past weekend we celebrated my mom's 50th birthday! 
The kids were excited all week long for Grandma's big day. 
Allie even spent the majority of the week making a whole slew of pictures for Grandma.  She was so excited to draw her and Grandma doing all the things they enjoy together!
Olivia was thrilled to have so many people passing her around.  I think my mom was ok with the fact that she kind of stole the show!
My sister and brother-in-law were able to be in town for the weekend to celebrate with us. 
They both couldn't believe how big Olivia had gotten since they last saw her at Christmastime.
Here are all five of us girls!

It was so fun to share in celebrating my mom's birthday this weekend!  I have looked up to my mom since I was a little girl.  I admired her hair, her clothing, her make up, and I thought that she was amazing for wearing high heels even though she was already six feet tall.  Everything about her was beautiful and I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. 

For as long as I can remember, everyone comments on how much my mom and I look alike.  In fact, when we go out together most people assume we are sisters!  As I've gotten older, I've come to realize that what I admire about my mom goes much deeper.  I can't help but compare my life now to what hers must have been like when she was my age.  I know it isn't fair to make such a comparison, but it simply serves to remind me of what an amazing woman my mom is.  Although I'm more than happy to physically resemble my mom, I hope that one day my kids will recognize that the things I do well as their mom are the very things I learned from my own mom.  

Happy Birthday, Mom!  We love you! 

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Typical Day

 See these three yahoos?
Yes, those three?

I'm actually stuck at home today with those three while the mini van is getting a new muffler and a tire patch.  I wasn't really planning on going anywhere today anyway, but just knowing that I am without a vehicle makes me feel stuck.  But, I guess when it comes down to it, I can't think of any other three yahoos that I'd rather be stuck with. 

So far, today, we've eaten scrambled eggs with English muffins for breakfast while we opened our egg of the day in preparation for Easter.  Today's egg held a feather (actually a pink feather from one of Allie's dress up boas) to remind us of Peter's denial of Christ.  Although Allie seems fully engaged with the opening of the eggs and is really into the concept, Zach is continually frustrated by the absence of candy in the eggs. 

After breakfast, the two big kids built a sky-scraper that turned into a castle in the downstairs playroom while I ran on the treadmill and Olivia took her morning nap.  I unloaded the dishwasher and took a shower.  I woke Olivia up after two hours (I'm actually not sure how long she'd sleep if I let her) and while she was nursing, the big kids and I watched a brand new Bubble Guppies (oh, the joys of Nick Jr.). 

After that, I downloaded Beverly Cleary's Mouse and the Motorcycle to my Kindle and we read the first four chapters together on the floor while simultaneously entertaining Olivia before our stomachs told us it was time for lunch.  A few hot ham and cheese sandwiches later, along with apple slices, yogurt, and cheese pretzels, Olivia filled her pants to overflowing.  While I was cleaning up the mess, the big kids chose board games for us to play. 

We got in two games of Candyland before Olivia declared her unhappiness.  After her lunch, it was off to nap time for her and back to board games for me and the big kids.  We tackled Princess Bingo and a few rounds of an ice cream word-making game before I declared quiet time had arrived.  Chapter 5 saw Ralph venturing into the hallway of the hotel on his motorcycle...and then it was time for everyone to head to their rooms.  Allie is presently making a birthday present for Grandma's birthday party tomorrow and Zach is supposed to be sleeping, but I can hear him sneaking around his room.  And, actually, the door just creaked open and I had to remind him that quiet time lasts until 3:00.

I am watching last night's episode of "The Office" while trying to catch up on the blog.  I'm also contemplating a snack, but trying to decide if I'm really hungry or not.  I'm thinking I should probably do an update post on the ole' diet...seeing as I'm actually losing weight now and not so nearly depressed about the whole preggo weight gain situation.  Later...stay tuned. 

I'm not quite sure what is on the agenda for after quiet time.  I'm sure Allie will want to know as soon as the clock hits 3:00.  It is kind of cold, grey, and icky outside (apparently snow is on its way...ahhhhh!).  Ben is in Rochester for work today, so I'm waiting to hear word if he will be late in coming home tonight. 

Dinner will probably need to be cooked at some point...I'm thinking either Chicken Teriyaki Stir-Fry with Rice or Chicken Marsala with mashed potatoes.  Zach will be mortified to learn that both selections will be served with a side of broccoli.   

I washed a load of Olivia's clothes...some 6-9 month spring/summer clothes.  I thought since the weather was getting warmer she'd need some outfits with short sleeves (but, apparently with the reappearance of impending SNOW I may have been wrong!).  Anyway, the clothes are waiting in the dryer, wrinkle guard kicking in every now and then for the past two hours, to be folded and put away in her room. 

Thankfully I cleaned yesterday.  My family is coming over tomorrow to celebrate my mom's birthday.  I kind of have this mental block about cleaning on Friday, so I'm glad the chore got done yesterday.   

Later tonight, after the kids go to bed, Ben and I have been looking forward to watching the new Harry Potter movie all week long.  We usually get to the theater to see the Harry Potter movies, but with Olivia's arrival this past year, it didn't happen.  We've both read the books, so it's not like we don't know what happens, but we're still excited to see it anyway. 

Yay for Fridays...and pajama days...did I mention we are all still in pj's?  Stuck at home, remember?

And, now it is 5 minutes until the end of quiet time...so I best be signing off. 

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

The New Bathroom Revealed!

First, let us remember the atrocity that was our former bathroom:

 And, now...ta-da!

The bathroom has been done for about a week and a half and we all pretty much love it.  We only have one bathroom in our home, so it is great to have a bathroom that is working (as in the shower is actually showering-yay!) and much more functional. 

Two sinks?!  Yippeee!!  THREE DRAWERS?!  Yahoo!  A medicine cabinet?!  Why, yes!  Plus, there is tons of storage underneath each sink!  Not to mention, no more tiled walls, goodbye chipped porcelain tub, and no more light green and wall paper leaves (yes, I actually picked out the original decor, and no, I do not know what I was thinking at the time). 

I also did a major purging of the linen closet in the hallway.  Plus, due to all the construction dust we got our spring cleaning done early this year. 

Does it officially make me old that I am sooooo excited over a bathroom?!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Olivia is Eating Solids!

This past Wednesday Olivia had her first taste of something other than milk.  She entered the world of solids with a pink bowl (that was way too full...obviously I forgot how little they eat the first time) of baby rice cereal.  And, yes, Olivia is sporting a "Happy First Birthday" bib because apparently that is the only bib I had left that wasn't completely destroyed by the first two babies.

Unfortunately, Olivia wasn't too thrilled with the whole solid food experience the first time around.  I still don't think she sees the need for the consumption of anything other than milk.  I'm certain if she could speak she would narrate her experience with the following photo captions:     
"What in the world are they putting in my mouth?!"

"I don't really know why she's waving that thing in front of my face...I think she wants me to open my mouth."

"I have to do this again...really?  Aren't we done yet?"

"Help.  Me.  I.  Need.  Milk."

"I'm seriously getting desperate here."

"No way.  That is not going in again."


"Why is everyone watching me?"

"Ok...now I'm just getting downright mad."

"I think I'm traumatized for life."

"Now this is better."

"Yep...I definitely feel better now."
Since Wednesday Olivia has been having "dinner" with us nightly.  I added some pureed bananas to the rice cereal on Thursday which seemed to make it go down much easier.  Tonight she had her first sweet potatoes and even seemed to get a little fussy when I took a break to try and eat some of my own dinner.  She didn't stop "complaining" until I put my fork down and picked her spoon up to feed her again! 

She still doesn't open up her mouth very wide and basically "sucks" the food off the spoon, but is getting better with each dinner.  I'm sure before no time she will be a pro!