Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Knowledge isn't judgemental

Yesterday over at To Love, Honor and Vacuum, Sheila sparked a bit of heated debate. Was the topic politics, religion, or sex education? Nope. None of the above. Try "decorating". A baby's room.

You can pop over and read the article yourself -- my post isn't really about the pros and cons of making a child's room into a suite retreat from family living. What surprised me (but shouldn't have) was the defensiveness of some of the comments. Several readers seemed to feel that Sheila was judging their choices and declaring a "bad parent" verdict. When all she really did was draw attention to several studies suggesting detrimental effects of having televisions in a kid's bedroom; in fact, she included hyperlinked references to the studies for readers to easily access the information she discussed.

Taking the results of scientific studies as a personal attack happens almost as often as policy-makers ignoring the results of studies that aren't "PC". And it happens to be one of my biggest pet peeves, but that might be my Vulcan blood showing through. Knowledge is knowledge; even if it has emotional repercussions or rocks your boat, please expend the mental energy to figure out why it bothers you and don't ignore the new information (or shoot the messenger).

I'll give an extreme example, one that I learned from a virologist during an "advances in immunobiology" lecture series. She led a research team trying to isolate the cause of a disease that was making a lot of people with AIDS sick, even killing them. The team eventually realized there was a correlation between the disease and owning a cat. This led to the discovery that the cats were transmitting an opportunistic virus. When this news was published, the researcher received death threats. People (especially those affected by the disease) were so upset by their (mis)perception that the researcher was suggesting they get rid of their cats that they wanted the study retracted. And an apology, of course.

Do you really think the researcher set out to conspire against AIDS patients having cats in their homes?

Sounds silly when you say it out loud like that.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Needed: One Perpetual Energy Machine

I often joke with my husband that a stay-at-home-mom's job in a nutshell is to combat the massive amount of entropy generated by her children. You know, "Super Pickerupper" versus the archvillain "What's That Do?" and her sidekick "Mr. Poopy Pants".

Well, I don't know what's happened this past week, but entropy is getting the better of me. Maybe it's because we haven't been able to go for our pre-naptime walks or perhaps we're still recovering from the sugar high of Sunday night's fall festival. For whatever reason, my toddler is beating me when it comes to naptime (again).

As a result, I've spent far too much time considering this problem: how on earth is someone supposed to find the energy to fight a battle that has no end? I keep hoping that at some point, some of the training I've worked so hard to instill in my daughter will actually stick. After the toddler years, it must get easier...uh-oh. See, there I caught myself in what I know to be a myth. Sure, the battles I'm facing now will (eventually) be distant memories, but every stage of childhood/parenthood has its own, er, challenges. I'm going to be battling on behalf of my children (even when that means against my children) for as long as I'm their mother.

So...how, how, how, WHERE do I find the energy?

How has God been able to withstand His children pushing back against Him for thousands of years? I have a whole new comprehension and appreciation of His patience and faithfulness toward us. I'm also relieved to know that even He gets emotionally fed up on occasion, because it means there's hope that I can be a good parent despite the fact that my pool of patience isn't bottomless:

And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff- necked people! Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them." (Exodus 32:9, partial)

So why doesn't He give up? What keeps Him going in His pursuit of raising us up despite our many shortfalls?

The key is Love. He loves us, so He doesn't give up. Even when He destroyed the world in Noah's day, He wasn't giving up on His children -- He was just giving a new beginning and setting the stage for our rescue on the cross.

So when I'm running out of steam (or feeling steamrolled by the planet), that's what I'll turn to as well. Love is the fuel for this marathon.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Walks, Naps and Water

As I may have mentioned, naps had become problematic around here. For a few months, a certain golden-haired toddler just couldn't remember how to fall asleep come afternoon. Which would be fine, if lack of sleep didn't result in mega-meltdowns come dinner time. And over-frequent useage of the word "NO!" before then.

All that has changed.

I am currently celebrating an entire week of easily getting Aurelia to sleep for naps. The key? A long walk after lunch, followed by warm tea with milk, a quiet read and off to bed. As a very pleasant side-effect, Blaise is tired after the stroll in the warm sun as well and he goes to sleep at the same time.

Sometimes we fly to see Grandma and Grandpa during our walk.

 Sometimes we just fly high in the sky like a bird (if we're not too busy chasing butterflies).

While Blaise looks on, enjoying a splash of apple juice in his water bottle.

Then we like to see what marine bounty God has waiting for us at the end of the dock. Will the dolphins be back to play right in front of us today? 

Enough watching, it's time to run! While pushing my baby brother in a stroller!

Here we come!

While Mom and Dad (who fills in for Hilary on Fridays) wait with bated breath.

You have a PRESENT for me?!?

"Honey, don't forget your brother"

Brother safely returned, the promised present handed over.

No caption needed.

 No "Flipper" today, but Mr. Crabs came out for a show.

 Goodbye, Bay. See you tomorrow!

Or later today, as it turns out! Because the water park is closed. Even though it is 85 degrees.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Liveable Laundry Goals

Two of my favorite blogs are talking about laundry this week. As part of "Simplify Your Life" month, Sheila shares some great laundry tips and systems over at To Love, Honor and Vacuum. I'll share one quick tip that I've learned after nine years of marriage: if you want your husband to use the laundry hamper in your bathroom, take the lid off of it. Piles of laundry NEXT to the hamper drove me crazy for years. When we moved to our current house, there was a lidless hamper (not to be confused with the Lidless Eye of Sauron, even if that's how laundry appears in my nightmares on occasion) in the linen closet in the master bathroom. Now if I leave the door open to the linen closet, the hamper actually gets used!!! Wish I'd figured it out on my own, but I'm happy to embrace the serendipity (and results) of this discovery.

In perhaps my favorite post yet in her "31 Days To A Less Messy Nest", the Nester encourages us to lower our expectations. It is a simple change of perspective, but changing my laundry goal from "empty laundry hampers" to "having enough clean clothes available" really frees me from a lot of stress. There may not be a day in my foreseeable future when I don't have to do laundry, but if I simply accept that fact and move on, that's okay.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

15 minutes to a simpler...mantel

Over at To Love, Honor and Vacuum, Sheila issued a challenge to find an area of your home to declutter in 15 minutes. Although I had many options, I chose the mantel/bookcase area on our tv wall in the living room. Mostly because the other areas that popped into my head would require more than the allotted time...haha.

Here's the before:

Yes, the glass vases have been sitting there with paper in them since we moved. In June. A lot of the Wii gear was just scattered around the mantel, and someone has been forgetting to hand already viewed movies back to Aurelia when she picks out a new one. Oops.

And the after:
 I put the less-used Wii gear in a box under the Wii remotes, the movies back in their homes and moved some of the movies down into the cabinets in the white bookshelves. I'm not in love with the flower to the left of the vcr, but something needs to go there to hide the wire clutter. It'll do for now.

Okay, so to make the deadline I cheated a little by simply moving the totes of  toys and books to the laundry room for later sorting. Glancing at my plan for the week, that will happen on Thursday. So I won't let it bug me today.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Week 1 of Simplification

Many of my favorite blogs are doing a "31 Days to --something better--" thing in October. I am loving the tips so far, on everything from how to take a better photograph to how to live more fully in grace. But the articles that are speaking to me the most right now are the ones focused on simplifying life. Sheila Wray Gregoire is devoting an entire month of blogging to this very topic (check out today's post at To Love, Honor and Vacuum for some wonderful insight as she kicks off the series).

I am very intent on creating a good daily rhythm to live by, and to that end I sat down last night and scheduled my entire week out...not every minute, but in a few reasonable blocks of time for each day. I don't intend to do this forever, but I thought it might be useful to be deliberate with the details for a while just to get the right pace. And I will NOT beat myself up if I don't stick to the plan -- which is good, because with a baby boy who woke up with a cold and another tooth coming in, pretty much nothing went according to schedule this morning.

Anyway, the reason for doing this is that over the past couple of weeks I've felt like I've neither accomplished anything nor spent any time doing little things I enjoy (like blogging). Part of this is because I've been fighting off a cold myself, and laundry and dishes do take up a lot of time...but mostly I've just been too sloppy with planning. I was also a bit depressed over not having the resources to do any real decorating, which killed my motivation to do much beyond tread water. There is no reason, however, that I can't clean and better organize what I already have.

Yesterday I started with the master bedroom. Why pick the room that is usually the last to get attention in a new house? Well, before I could decide what to do with the main living area, I had to figure out what furniture we owned would fit nicely in our bedroom. The room is hardly "done", but I'm really glad that I didn't wait until I had the desk I wanted or could build the bed or buy the curtains or find a good rug or recover the chair.We're already enjoying the new space.

More importantly, I can see the evidence of my work.

Which inspires me to keep this process going. Next up: pretending I actually own storage containers and organizing piles of what I would have in them and where they would be.

Because when my house is in order, I can spend more time doing this:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Focusing on the task at hand...the downside

When my life was a duel between grad student and homemaker, I almost always had to just do what had to be done, one step at a time. Especially when our commute took up nearly three hours a day. THREE HOURS.

As a full-time "SAHM" now, I still use this approach for most everyday tasks. I don't really want to look at the broader view of the day and cringe at how much is full of mundane, repetitive housekeeping chores. If I just follow a rhythm of doing a few things that need to be done, then play with my children, take a break to read and have a mocha, then do a few more things that need to be done...then usually everything gets done and I don't feel overwhelmed.

The problem comes when I want (or need) to do more than just maintain the household. In Sheila Wray Gregoire's excellent blog, she asked yesterday for readers to comment on the biggest source of stress and "busy-ness" in their lives (she's getting ready to teach us how to simplify, woohoo!). This was an easy answer for me: House. Work.

I already know what I need to do to streamline housework. Mostly it involves some storage containers and a weekend of deep cleaning. But before I get storage containers, I need to paint my bookshelves. And before I paint my bookshelves I need to refinish my dining table and paint it. Which is going to require some coats of polyurethane, which means I need to clear out space in the garage (which is full of boxes of books waiting to go on freshly painted bookshelves). Before I do that, I need to spend an evening finishing up the final little details on my awesomely cute coffee table-turned chalkboard activity table.

Oops. Anyone see a problem with my (non) plan of action? If I just take care of the task at hand, I'll never actually complete the above list of projects. Fortunately, by writing out the list I was able to see that a lack of strategy won't work. And now that I type that out..."duh".

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wishful Wednesday: Video Scrapbooking

What's Wishful Wednesday? A new linky?

Nah. Just what I wanted to call this post. Since I had an idea for a product I really wish someone would develop (pun intended...wait for it) at 6am while I was up feeding Mr. Hungry Poopy Pants...and today is Wednesday...you see how it came to be.

Anyway, wouldn't it be really cool to be able to "print" short video clips on 4x6 cards that you can put in a photo scrapbook? I guess good ol' J.K. Rowling already thought of the magical version of this. Maybe it's not so original.

But I really want it.

Because laying on the bed next to Blaise and watching him lift up his head and look out the window, listening to Jon puttering in the kitchen, smelling the coffee brewing...I wanted to capture ALL of that as my "Picture of the Day" so I can flip back to it in my Project Life kit twenty years from now.

I'm not asking for a holodeck here. Though that would be cool too, while we're busy wishing :).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The future of undervalued marriage?

I ran across an astonishing article while skimming the Wall Street Journal this morning. Haha, doesn't that make me sound intellectual? Just know that I was reading it while rolling around on the floor with a baby and while my toddler scattered sections of the paper all over the living room. Don't want to give any false impressions.

Back to the article: "Only in Japan, Real Men Go To a Hotel With Virtual Girlfriends". Basically, a former honeymoon destination in Japan is trying to find a way to survive in a country where the population is shrinking and the marriage rate is falling. So they're catering to a new idea of "couple": real men taking their video-game character girlfriends on expensive weekend vacations. In the first month of the promotion, over 1500 men brought their virtual dates to Atami for romantic walks, an afternoon kiss and an evening of fireworks. They paid for two people to stay in a room at the hotel featured in the game, adding to the "realism".

Wives, homemakers, helpmates...if you ever doubted your value, consider this as proof positive that men NEED us in order to be their best.

My husband and I married when we were still undergraduate college students, which often surprises people. In response, my husband says that if he hadn't married me when he did, he likely wouldn't have finished college. Judging by his just-prior-to-marriage student id photo and his post-marriage driver's license photo, he would have become a bum instead. And then the world would be short one brilliant scientist (not that I'm partial in my assessment or anything).

The need for a companion, the despair of loneliness, goes so deep in man's nature that when a helpmate can't be found man creates one to fill the vacuum. The idea of a a grown man spending hours playing a video game to earn "boyfriend points" so his virtual girlfriend doesn't give him the silent treatment seems crazy until it is considered in light of the power of loneliness.

Fortunately, God knew this and created a better solution than Nintendo can compete with.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Moments of Grace

Photo by Tim Marston

I've been thinking a lot about grace lately: how I see it in little ways each day, what it means, how to show it to my children. To my understanding, Grace is primarily the gift of a restored relationship with God. But grace is also the gift of waking up in a beautiful place in life that I didn't do anything to deserve. When I look back over the mistakes I've made in the past (you know, yesterday...or five minutes ago), or consider the aspects of my character that need to be "improved", I am convinced that it is only through grace that I am where I am.

Sometimes this feeling hits me more strongly than others, and it brings a peace with it that even if I took an unnecessarily winding path to get there, somehow I've ended up in a moment God had planned for me. Last Saturday evening was one of those moments. We piled in the Expedition and braved the crowds to attend a free concert down at the beach. We weren't sure if the weather would cooperate or if the children would be too tired or if we could find a parking spot or...but we didn't let that stop us.

And sitting there in the sunset, watching a pair of dolphins playing and the flock of birds dancing over the waves, embraced by joyful music, enjoying the company of friends and family, I couldn't have been more sure that this moment was a gift of grace.

Monday, August 23, 2010

No Better Time Monday: Picking Paint

Last week I decided my "no better time" project was to get the house ready for some long-ish-term guests. So just some extra house cleaning and converting the nursery to a guest room. Which means having a baby sleep in our closet...good thing it's a walk-in, right?

Anyway, this week I did something a little more fun: picking out some paint for my first real decorating project in our new home. I promised myself that once I finished unpacking the last box inside the house, I could get down to some decorating. Done and done!

I'm starting small: an old coffee table I picked up at Goodwill for $8 just before I got married (nearly nine years ago!). It was my first furniture purchase for married life, so I'm kind of glad that I forgot to return it to a thrift store before the big move. I'm going to turn it into an activity table for my toddler daughter, hopefully ending up with some cute and functional AND practice my technique and try out some color choices.

No pictures this week, but keep your eye on the blog for the coffee table transformation! And don't forget to join in below with your own "never do list" project!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Just Call Me "Mombot"

I admit it. I like reading my monthly Technology Review. On my Kindle.

In the August edition, I discovered that I am absolutely amazing.

Would you like to know why?


I can fold a towel. In less than 20 minutes. YES!!

It turns out that robotics experts are excited to have finally developed a robot that can fold a towel properly in twenty minutes or less. Very complex algorithms are involved in order for the robot to determine the edge of the towel. They're hoping to teach it how to fold shirts next.

The bad news is that it doesn't look like we'll be automating laundry any time soon. Rosie, may we meet someday!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


"Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, you ought to set up a life you don't need to escape from." -- Seth Godin

We are huge fans of Dave Ramsey around here. Our 2 year-old daughter recognizes his voice on the radio. Then shouts with glee, "Dave Ramsey Show!"

I also "follow" the Dave Ramsey Show on facebook, and the producer Blake usually puts up a couple quotes to ponder for the day. 90% of the time, I (and about 90% of the other fans) love the quote.

Then a couple of days ago he shared the Seth Godin quote listed above. My immediate reaction was...haha, come and potty train my toddler and feed my baby in the middle of the night and then get back to me about vacations, Seth! I love my life. I also love vacations. Furthermore, I think vacations are very important in allowing me to realize I love my life.

I was thinking about this point last Friday, after Jon took the afternoon off from work so we could all go down to the beach (and try out our awesome new beach umbrella, thank you World Market!). It was payday, and I make a habit of not cooking dinner on payday (Shhhh! Don't tell Dave!). So after we were done throwing sand in the air and rinsing the algae off our legs from splashing in the surf, it was time to get some dinner.

I wanted Panera Bread. Jon wanted Taco Bell. 

Compromise time!

He dropped me off and drove down the street. They are so amazingly quick at Panera Bread that I had several minutes to sit and sip on my delicious frozen lemonade.

Yes, it's just as good as it looks. Anyway, as I was sipping away the thought came unbidden -- What a wonderful, lovely afternoon. I am so happy.

And it was true. But given how hectic it is to take two very young children to the beach, deal with the sand, the gear, the sand...I might not have noticed how lovely the day was if I hadn't had five minutes to pause and relax.

That's what good vacations do.

Monday, August 9, 2010

No Better Time Monday: On Time

I've never been one to scrapbook or really spend any amount of time recording memories. If I was really, really ambitious, I might actually put some photos in a photo album. Without even adding so much as a date or "what under the heavens this event was and why I am covered in mud" comment.

But I'm coming to realize that an activity is enjoyed most fully in three parts: Anticipation. Participation. Recollection.Or, future, present, past. I previously considered the "Recollection" phase to be a time sink that keeps you from doing more of the "Participation" phase. Perhaps because I am now a mother, or simply because I am older, or maybe I was just blessed with an "aha" moment in the middle of the night...but I think was wrong.

I still don't have a lot of time to devote to recording events for future perusal, so I was excited to find Project Life. Which also happily takes care of my lack of creativity when it comes to making picture layouts!

Putting the book together was a breeze, taking up about two nap times. Printing out the pictures to bring the album up to date took one more nap time thanks to my new all-in-one printer (I wanted to start my year at the end of June, when we moved across the country).  I've kept the pictures up, picking a "daily picture" almost every day.

"No Better Time Monday" comes into this project because I have not found or made the time to catch up on the journaling cards for July. And sure enough, it only took another nap time once I admitted I didn't have to (and likely didn't have the talent to) make every entry witty and Pulitzer-prize worthy.

It is really wonderfully satisfying to be able to sit down and look over our first month in our new home together. So I've made myself a promise: no more rolls of film sitting around for six years (or waiting on an SD card) in this family! :)

Did you knock off a project on your "never do" list this week? Tell us all about it and add a link below!

Monday, August 2, 2010

No Better Time Monday: Starting off BIG

Welcome to the first edition of "No Better Time Mondays": a weekly challenge to get something done from that list of things we never get done. I want to first make it clear that this doesn't have to be something that you don't want to do...it could be something that you enjoy doing but just can't quite find the time for. Nor does it have to be something big. In my personal experience, most of the things I put off turn out to take way less time than I had imagined.

What I chose to do this week, however, was Big (yes, I meant to capitalize that word) and time-consuming.

*drum roll*

Potty Training. It seems like that should be a four-letter word...

We've been sort of potty training for several months now. Which means that whenever we thought about it, we'd put Aurelia on the potty and she would usually go so she could get a marshmallow for a treat. I didn't get serious about training her until we finished moving, but we've been here for a month now and I'm honestly Done with wrestling with her to change a diaper. So Friday through Sunday was designated "Potty School" weekend.

Several friends recommended using the "Potty Training 1-2-3" system, so I queued up the free online video and took careful notes of what to do, reassured by all of the smiling testimonials in the video from moms whose children were fully trained within a day -- maybe two. Yay!

Prepared for a couple days of not getting anything else done, we went to the store Thursday night to let Aurelia pick out treats to use as rewards. And "special" drinks to help create the "urge to go". And princess pull-ups and princess panties.

That's: Milk, Water and Juice. What chance does a toddler's bladder stand against that onslaught?

Starting Friday morning, I spent every waking hour asking "Are you dry and clean?" every ten minutes. We read "Olivia" a few thousand times while Aurelia sat on the big potty. She checked her teddy bear for "clean and dry".

Saturday, it was Daddy's turn.

Sunday, we double-teamed.

Today...she still won't tell us when she needs to go potty. No #2 in the toilet yet. "No" is the only answer I ever get when I ask if she needs to go potty (unless it means she can get out of bed during nap time, of course).

So for me, the first "No Better Time Monday" wasn't much of a success. It had to be done...but it is still not done. I think next week my challenge will be something Small and Quick. And Enjoyable.

Have a nice week!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fitness Friday: Make Me Think edition

Brenda at The Family Revised must have decided I've been getting too much sleep lately. So she created a Fitness Friday task that kept me up at night, trying to figure out how to write a post on the given topic(s)..."Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue."

Most of my ideas involved taking pictures, but the batteries on my camera completely died (hmm...might that have to do with Project Life?) and I only got to the store to replace them last night. So I'm going with the "popped into my head at 3am when I was up with Blaise" version. It was all very eloquent and witty in my head then, but now we're back in the real world.

An "old" challenge to my fitness: lack of time to exercise. Fortunately, this obstacle has been overcome by a combination of a son who likes to wake up for the day at 5am and my Wii Fit (yes, I'm still enamored with my Wii, so please forgive me if you're tired of hearing about it).

A "new" challenge to my fitness: in the short term, potty training my daughter. I'm trying the Potty Training 1-2-3 system starting today, with a goal of her being completely trained by Monday. Unfortunately a side effect is that we have a bunch of sugary and salty treats in the house, which I normally never have around, and they are already serving as a major temptation. Which is, of course, why I never have them in the house. Also, most of my time and energy will be focused on the training, so it will be tough to keep up with my exercise goals.

I'm hoping that my developing understanding of how little things can add up quickly will help me abstain. Again, love the Wii Fit option of having a food item goal to represent calories burned!. Also, I started weighing myself on the Wii twice a day -- before I exercise and after I've logged 45 minutes, and I love seeing the difference. For me, this is an excellent motivator to avoid blowing all my work on snacking.

Okay, now we're on "something borrowed". I'm borrowing some wisdom from Geneen Roth, my favorite food counselor and a very talented writer. To stop compulsive eating, she teaches that you must first learn to love food. Stop and enjoy every bite, savor each moment, and be aware of how your body really responds to food.

Finally, "something blue". This one is easy:

In the end, laughter and joy are more important than weight and inches.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Countdown to NBTM!

Just 3 more days until we kick off "No Better Time Mondays"! Don't forget to pick a procrastination project to finish up, and drop by next week to share a link with us!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Sanctuary for Sleeping

It's hard to believe, but we've been in our new home for just a little over a month now. Earlier this week, I finished unpacking and organizing the laundry room. But that was mostly so I could feel like I was making measurable progress. Sort of the Dave Ramsey "Debt Snowball" approach to organizing a house.

The room that really needed to be done was Aurelia's room. It's been stuffed to the brim with boxes, toys scattered all over the floor, clothes tossed wherever...truly an insane mess. And we were wondering why she's been having a hard time getting to sleep at nap time??

I didn't take a "before" picture, but all of these boxes and garbage bags came OUT of her room today:

Keep in mind that some of those big boxes have more boxes inside. That's a lot of stuff.

And this is what is left:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Challenge: No Better Time Mondays

I'm sure I'm not the only one who could write an epic book-length list of things that need to be done, but I just keep, er, finding other things to do. Whether it's as big as detailing the inside of our car or as little as moving that pile of winter clothes on our closet floor...that happens to be the residence of a cockroach. Anyone else get the heeby-jeebies from those nasty critters? It's not their size that gets to me -- I've snuggled up in sleeping bags with horned beetles that could probably serve as full entrees, if you were into that kind of thing. It's the high speed scuttling into dark places. Shiver me timbers.


I'd like to invite all my bloggy friends to get into the spirit with me each Monday, and get something on that list done. Let's call it "No Better Time Mondays". I'll make a little blog button and everything. Don't leave me hanging here all alone! See you on Monday...right? :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

What a Good Monday Looks Like

Monday didn't start out well. Super Fussy Pants had an especially fussy night, and we were all tired long before the day began.

But reflecting back on the day now, this is what I see:

A clean, organized laundry room. It may not seem like much, and it was certainly the low-hanging fruit when it comes to getting this house in order, but it is so very nice to have another small space that doesn't have a single unopened box in it.

I made my son laugh.

I danced with my daughter.

My daughter made my son laugh.

Chocolate pie for dessert. That my daughter helped me make.

Memories of my husband chasing sunlit bubbles with our daughter in the back yard.

At the end of the day, the kitchen is clean again. No dishes in the morning.

It was a good Monday.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fitness Friday: Focus on Energy

Fitness Friday again! And I'm happy to first update my last FF post to say that I am loving my Wii Fit Plus. I've used it for at least 30 minutes every day for the past week, and the games are addicting. Rhythm Kung Fu, I am your master! Obstacle course, I'm going to get you some day...and your little doggie too, haha.

I've read some criticisms about Wii Fit not being tough enough. It's not P90X, but it leaves me sweaty and sore. More important, it makes me want to exercise and it is so convenient to use that it, well, actually gets used. A typical Wii Fit day looks like this for me: get up with baby at 5:30, weigh in, exercise for thirty minutes. Sometime after baby takes a nap, usually when I'm feeling tired and funked out, fire it up again while Aurelia watches and makes fun of Mommy getting steamrolled by a log in the obstacle course. Or looks for Daddy's Mii character running around while Mommy's Mii cycles all over the island. We've made a game out of that, and it's a great way to keep my toddler occupied while I get in some exercise.

And this brings me to today's topic: focusing on energy. A side-effect of the Wii that I didn't expect is that doing a 5 minute game gives me a better energy boost than an afternoon mocha. Plus it's free (after the initial start-up costs, of course). And has zero calories. So when I find myself looking for a stress snack or a quick energy boost, I head for the living room now instead of the kitchen.

So far, I've lost 2 pounds (which is the most I want to lose in a week, since I'm still breastfeeding). Last night I took my measurements, since that's a better way to track fitness in my opinion. And I even took a "before" picture of myself...now you KNOW I'm serious.

Oh, and yes, that's a dresser behind me in my dining room. Isn't that where you keep yours?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Family Fun: Picnic in the Park

A couple of days ago I was reaching the end of my patience so I loaded Aurelia and Blaise into the car a little earlier than usual to pick up Daddy from work, and we drove around the neighborhood for a bit. I'm glad we did, because we found a great park about two minutes from our house! So last night all four of us packed a picnic dinner and headed out for some play time. 

We all had a great time -- Blaise enjoyed swinging on my lap, Aurelia raced around pretending to be a Sharptooth and chasing all the other kids (who loved being chased of course), and Jon and I chit-chatted away over a bottle of wine as the sun was setting. (I admit, I asked Jon to pick up some lemonade and then changed my order to wine and croutons.)

Which begs the question: why don't we do this more often? It is such a simple pleasure to be outside with my family. Maybe even more than usual, considering how the "inside" in our lives right now is still mostly full of boxes. I don't know the answer to the question, but I do know that we'll be adding picnics into our schedule more often -- at least twice a week, plus our weekly beach outing.

Speaking of new habits, now that my Project Life kit has arrived, I'm trying to take more pictures of our everyday life as a family. I'm really looking forward to chronicling our first year in Florida. For that reason alone, I'm glad I ordered the kit! Though you might start seeing some weird pictures as I attempt to expand my photographic horizons. Like this one. Food shots seem to be the rage these days. I don't know that I quite have the art down...

 I think Aurelia must be getting into the spirit as well.