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 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.

Friday, July 16, 2010

SAHM: Kitchen Helper

One of the first challenges I've had to face as a new stay-at-home-mom is simply: how to get basic household chores done when I have a little helper who insists on doing her part? I don't want to discourage her from being involved in what I'm doing and I haven't found a satisfactory distraction technique. So most of the time I try to find a safe way to let her give a hand, even if the hand makes the job take much, much, much longer.

When cooking, I used to be able to set her up with a pile of tupperware and some spoons and she was happy doing her own thing while I prepared a meal. Now she wants to be right in the middle of the kitchen with me. But there are hot things and dangerous items in the kitchen, oh no!!!

Well, I've decided to approach kitchen safety like gun safety. If I teach her how to use the kitchen properly so that she is comfortable with it and aware of the dangers, instead of simply telling her she can't touch anything, she is much less likely to get hurt. (Don't worry, the guns are still locked up around here...this is just what's called an analogy ;-). Hence, you see that the burner to Aurelia's left in the picture above is red and hot. And she is happily cooking "chicken" or "rice" or "fries" or "soup", whichever her imagination alternately conjures up.

I also let her help me open the oven door when we bake something, showing her where it is safe to touch and where she would get burned. So far, so good. And I believe that allowing her a small level of independence makes it easier for her to accept when she really can't help with something, like actually taking something out of the oven or cooking with hot oil.

Fitness Friday: Wiiiiiii

Due to diabetes raising its ugly head in her family, Brenda has resurrected "Fitness Friday" over at the Family Revised. While I'm sorry for the reason behind this, I'm also excited about the timing. We're finally settled enough down here on the Emerald Coast that I can seriously start to work back towards my normal size 8 self. I do not want to tell you what size pants I finally gave in and purchased last night...but I will, because Fitness Friday is about honesty, accountability and encouragement. Size 12.

It's not the number itself that bothers me. As I recall, the average woman in America is size 12, so I have plenty of company. But it's not a healthy weight for me and I feel very unsatisfied with my fitness level. I'll never be a slim, trim maiden again after having two wonderful children, but I do want to feel comfortable in my skin and comely for my husband.

My original plan was to join a gym with childcare, but after considering the practicalities I realized it would take up 2 hours every day in total. That's just not going to work for me right now. I'm still learning this stay-at-home mom stuff and I don't want to overload my schedule. So yesterday I sold our XBox 360 and bought a gently used Nintendo Wii with Wii Fit. On the advice of friends, I also bought the Fit Plus for an extra $10 at Target.

So now I'm going to set it up and give it a whirl. I'll let you know how it goes, ladies!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wifey Wednesday: The T word

Anyone who has been near me these past few several months knows what the T word is. And Tired really doesn't begin to cover it. Over at To Love, Honor and Vacuum, Sheila Wray Gregoire is talking today about what to do when you're too tired to be intimate with your husband. I'm too tired to walk straight, so you can guess how I feel about desire right now.

In case you need some help, I'll expound: If my beloved husband was wearing Indiana Jones's hat, made me laugh with George Clooney's charm, oozed with James Bond-esque suaveness and spoke with Russel Crowe's accent...I still wouldn't be at a "Zero" on the spark-o-meter.

Sheila offers some GREAT advice on how to rejuvenate, but really there is only one solution to my sleep deprivation, and that is for Baby Blaise to start sleeping longer than 2-3 hours at a time. Or for him to take a bottle more consistently. So I guess that's two solutions.

Right now the only thing in my power to control is to let my husband feel more of the consequences of this sleeping problem. At first I shielded him from the lack of sleep because he was working 20+ hours a day finishing his dissertation. I just focused bleary eyes on the day we were moved and his new job started so he could take a feeding in the middle of the night, as we did with our first baby. Somehow I've found myself taking all of them again -- mostly because of the bottle problem but also because I want my husband to get more than six hours of sleep.

But you know what? If he can get up at 5am so he can go to the gym for an hour every day, he has room in his schedule to help me get more than five hours of sleep broken into three or more chunks.

Other than that, if anyone has a magic solution to getting a 4-month old to sleep longer, please let me know what it is.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wifey Wednesday: Easy tip for adding spice! (And I don't mean cooking!)

It's Wifey Wednesday over at Sheila Wray Gregoires awesome blog, To Love, Honor and Vacuum. Today's topic is a dare to do little things to spice up the romance in relationships. I just want to share one of my favorite tools for keeping the conversation interesting with my husband (of almost 9 years! Where did the time go?): TableTopics.

The couple's edition is obviously a good place to start, but all of the conversation starter sets are really great. I bought a set for our anniversary last year and we went through half the cube over dinner; we were having so much fun answering the questions and discussing our answers that my husband barely glanced at the college football games on the restaurant's televisions! Maybe I should e-mail that selling point to the good folks over at, eh?

Anyway, the point is that after being together for so many years, sometimes it's hard to think of something new to talk about. Especially if one of you spends most of the day changing diapers, doing laundry and figuring out what to cook next. (And we all know that you're not supposed to talk about your children on date night! :)

Oh, and when you're done with a set? Pass it along to another couple in need!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


June was a crazy month, and I don't mean that lightly. A part of me is glad that I was (am) so sleep deprived that I'm not likely to remember much of May/June. A new baby, Jon finishing his dissertation, moving across the country and a thus-far-futile attempt to complete my own graduate degree have left me reeling. Right now I should really be sleeping, or at least unpacking another box. But I feel like I need to claim a minute for myself. So here I am. Ready to focus on the much-anticipated new month and a new start.

I love the house Jon found for us to rent, and he is really enjoying his job. Actually, we're all enjoying it since he gets to come home for lunch every day and his amazing flex-time options mean we get him home an extra day on most weeks. It is really great to be just a couple minutes from the beautiful beaches of the Florida panhandle (no oil here yet!). Aurelia would live in the surf and sand if she had half a choice in the matter. She might come out for some ice cream or to play on a slide. Blaise...well, I love his chuckles and smiles, but that boy still needs to learn how to sleep. Let's not talk about that though -- I'm almost as sick of thinking about sleep as I am from lack of it. (By the way, lack of sleep/new parent jokes are not even remotely funny. Really. They're not.)

Boxes and half-assembled furniture fill most of the rooms still, since our "stuff" arrived only a few days ago. Sometimes I look at the piles and think we'll never organize everything again. Then I just open a box and start working...unless a diaper needs to be changed or food needs to be cooked or a mess cleaned up or the dryer just went off...haha. I think I'm done with the kitchen, unless a box made it to the wrong room. So that's progress!

Money has been fun for the past month. Transitions are ridiculously expensive. We get our first new paycheck in 3 days. If I've calculated everything correctly, that's almost exactly how many dollars we'll have left then. Fortunately chicken and rice can carry a menu plan a long way on the cheap. We break it up occasionally with tilapia and tater tots. And broccoli. Because clearly those three things go together.

Which brings me to an aside (as if the rest of this post is perfectly coherent): living in a house with just some camping gear for over a week really shows you 1) how little you really need to get along just fine, and 2) how nice a real bed is! And a changing table. Oh, and a place to sit.

And with that, I think I'm out of random thoughts on our recent life changes. More will come later, along with some more pictures from the professional photo shoot I won back in Washington. Gayle Sholtz photography, thank you!!