Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween pictures

Here are the pictures from our pumpkin carving last night and our Halloween festivities this evening. I am too tired to comment much, so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Not ready for this

After waking up at 9:40(!) Saturday morning, I looked outside to see heavy, wet snow falling.  It's usually a big deal around here to have snow before Thanksgiving, but snow before Halloween?  I'm not ok with that.  I headed out to pick up the girls at my parents' house in Myersville, which actually had way LESS snow than Frederick.  Usually it's the other way around.  Once I got the girls home, we dug out our snow gear and slopped around in the backyard for awhile.  Due to all the rain we had before the snow, our backyard was a giant, snow-covered mud puddle.  
Charlotte enjoyed the puddles

The snow was tasty anyway

Mudball fight!
Emily was supposed to go to her school friend's birthday party at a pumpkin patch at 2, but that was changed to Pump it Up at 4 due to the weather.  Since Charlotte is too young to be allowed to jump, she stayed home with Daddy and I took Emily to the party.  I had never been before and it was, in a word, overstimulating!  There were 2 huge rooms filled with moon bounces that were almost completely dark except for disco balls, laser lights and black lights, plus there were fog machines running everywhere and crazy loud music.  Possibly the WORST environment for taking pictures, especially for my crappy little camera, but I got a few.

It was a bit tough to keep track of your kid in this place...

...especially since I accidentally dressed Emily in camouflage

Crazy green laser lights on one of the slides

The best "Emily Sliding" picture I could get

Giving the birthday boy a ride
The kids LOVED it of course, and I got a chance to catch up with some of the other preschool moms and spend some quality time with my phone.  WHICH I FOUND!  It was under a pillow in our guest bed.  Duh.  I can't believe I didn't look there in the first place (/sarcasm).

I wanted to eat really well; drink lots of water and eat lots of veggies to detox from the beer on Friday and the second dinner I had when we discovered that the That Cuban Place food truck that was parked outside the brewery.  You can't pass up a chance to eat at That Cuban Place, especially since they don't have a permanent location anymore.  I did well with my goal, and managed to walk away from the pizza and cake at the party.  We hit Wegmans on the way home to get some sashimi and brown rice sushi for dinner instead.  Always yummy.

Will and I ended the day by watching Shaun of the Dead.  It has always been a favorite of ours...we happened to be in England when it premiered over there so we saw it the first day it came out at a movie theater in York (did you know that in England they have assigned seating at the movies?  So smart!), and then we saw it again the day it came out in the US.  We've been watching the series Spaced through Netflix recently so we decided it was time to revisit Shaun of the Dead.

Then time for bed!  Despite sleeping in we were still pretty shot by night time.  We are definitely not in college anymore, even though I wasn't really hungover 1 night of staying up late and drinking still takes a couple days to fully recover from!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Flying Dog-o-ween

Tonight we went to the Flying Dog Halloween party and as is always the case when we go there, we had a great time!  I finally got a chance to wear my flapper costume that arrived a day too late for Carolyn's murder mystery party 2 years ago.
Serious flapper is serious
Will's costume came together at the last minute but was highly appropriate and simple to assemble.  Luckily men's fashions haven't changed TOO much in the past 90-ish years.
Semi-crazed paperboy

So many choices, such a low tolerance
 I had The Fear on nitro (I know this makes me a bad beer drinker but I think I prefer it carbonated!), K9 winter ale, and the Hefeweizen.  Then I switched to water since I was driving home!
Margaret as an 80's exercise instructor, Brad as Yukon Cornelius
 Brad actually won the costume contest!  He got a $250 Visa gift card, which was pretty sweet!

Brad the convict, Vaughn as bacon (his fiancé Erin was an egg) and my paperboy
 We got to see Brad (convict Brad, not Yukon Cornelius Brad) for the first time in months and hear about his time in Africa!  Well, as much as we could manage to hear over the music.
Flapper convention
 There were quite a few flappers present this evening, and some extra-curricular activities

Smashing pumpkins

Don't know who this was, but that costume freaked me out!

The roaring 20's were well represented (as was the FNP)

Chris and Carlos

Carlos got thirsty

SOMEONE always has to get up and dance on the table, right?
Luckily they kicked us out nice and early so I don't have to feel QUITE so old going home at 11 since everyone else had to leave then too.  But I am still exhausted, so now it's time for bed!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bucket 'o salad

This morning, by some miracle, Emily was finished eating breakfast early so I decided it was a good day to try out a cute hairstyle on her that I had seen online.  Emily has the most wonderful, smooth, straight hair that is so easy to do fun things with, but she is not the best hairstyling subject yet.  There is usually a lot of screaming involved when I even brush her hair.  For this reason, I was afraid to make the little ponytails too tight before flipping them, and we ended up with more of a Corythosaurus crest on her head.  It looked ok-ish from the top though.  Kinda.

Hopefully in the next few years she'll get better at sitting still for me, and I'll get better at doing hair.

After preschool drop-off I decided I needed a latte.  Normally I would've headed to Dunkin Donuts because it's cheap, it's close to where I wanted to end up, and they have a drive-through.  However they're closed for rennovations, so my next choice was Starbucks, but then I thought to myself "Cafe Nola has the best lattes, they're a locally-owned place, their drinks are cheaper than Starbucks and they're close by.  Why don't I just go there?"  In my mind I think there's this little wall around the downtown part of Frederick and I don't tend to go inside the wall unless we're going to church or out for dinner.  Parking can suck, but I took my chances, got a parking space steps from the door, and enjoyed my superior latte.  I should make it a point to head downtown to frequent the locally-owned places more often.

Then it was off to Giant Eagle for a bit of grocery shopping.  Giant Eagle always has good points and bad points.  Their carts for kids are awesome because they are not ridiculously heavy or long, the kid sits up right in front of you instead of way down on the floor like with the carts at Common Market that have a little tykes car on the front, AND the kids can't get in and out by themselves.  I learned today that they have the cheapest reduced bananas in town (which is VERY exciting to me because it means Vitamix banana ice cream!) and they carry a lot of unique stuff that other places don't tend to stock.  However, checkout is always RIDICULOUSLY slow, they tend to be more expensive in general with lame sale prices (10 cents off the regular price on cheese sticks is NOT a sale!) and they don't always label things all that well.  For example, the jicamas caught my eye today and I decided to grab one.  The sign said $3.49, so I picked out a nice big one.  Well, when I looked at the receipt later I saw that it was $3.49 A POUND.  So $10 later, I really hope we enjoy the heck out of that jicama.  Yeesh.  I also picked up 2 packages of pork that were reduced because they were nearing their "use or freeze by" date AND on sale for BOGO.  I ignored the fact that the pig probably ate junk and lived its life jammed in a feed lot and just bought the cheap pork.  It's tough to find local pork around here and when we do it's EXPENSIVE so I figured it's ok to buy grocery store pork occasionally.

Bodypump was next, and I had made up  my mind that I was going back up to my normal weights today (before this newest release kicked my butt) but during the squat track I got this piercing headache through my temples and got dizzy.  I had convinced myself I was having an aneurysm, so I backed way off and was thinking to myself "At least my mom is right here behind me...she can tell the paramedics I have a thyroid condition and she'll remember to get Charlotte out of daycare when they wheel me out of here".  I find it funny in retrospect that while I was freaking out in my head I still assumed I would survive having an aneurysm.  When I backed off a bit the pain went away, and when I told my mom at the end of the track what had happened she said "That happens to me sometimes, I always convince myself that I'm having a stroke".  I guess I come by my paranoia honestly :-)

 A preschool pickup and a drive home later, I was attempting to assemble my lunch salad but none of the bowls I normally use for salad were clean.  My solution?  Bucket 'o salad.
Shown with a water bottle for size reference
I just couldn't make a small salad in a big bowl!  But it's a good thing I made an extra-big salad, because then this happened:
 Charlotte loves to share my salads...if it's in Mommy's salad, she'll eat things she wouldn't otherwise touch with a 10 ft pole.  If it gets her to chow down on raw spinach, kelp noodles, pecans and stilton then how can I turn her away?  Normally I feed her bites, but this time she lost patience with me and appropriated my fork so she could dive in herself.  Unfortunately, things sometimes are returned to my salad bowl after being chewed on for a bit.
I like to think I'll be a healthier person later in life from all the challenges to my immune system I am exposed to through my girls :-)

Also unfortunately, the fork was then turned on her sister as a weapon so we had to put a stop to salad-sharing time.  I hold out hope that one day I can share a civilized meal with my children.

Then again, looking at how dinners go when my sisters and I all get together at my parents' house, maybe that won't ever happen either. 

My challenge for myself for today is to keep my hands off of this:
Oh yeah!
I usually only allow myself to get the plain Kefir, and this is not exactly "clean" because it has sugar, but I am SUCH a sucker for seasonal flavors, especially pumpkin!  I had about 1/2 cup of it right after Bodypump (the best time to have sugar) and I am going to keep far far away from it for the rest of the day!  Aside from this and the sugar-free vanilla syrup in my latte this morning I am doing quite well on the clean eating today so I'm determined to keep it that way!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Maybe I SHOULD have mueve-d my pompa

Will got home just in time for me to tag him and run out the door to Zumba this evening, and I got there right as they were starting to do "Mueve la Pompa".  I hate that dance, both because the instructor has us do it in a circle so everyone is always crashing into each other because it's too crowded and also because it just makes me sad to remember a couple years ago when Kevan used to do that song in his salsa class (the RIGHT way!) and how no class will ever be as awesome as that one was.  Alas.  Oh, and I ALSO hate that song because people sneak into class while we're in a circle and then try to stand in front of me when we go back to our normal spots.  So even though I was late already I just hung out and watched that one through the door.  I had to make a point.  I didn't want to be one of THOSE people.

Then I went to Weight Watchers.  Ugh.  I had managed to be good about half the time this week so I was hoping I had at least broken even, maybe even lost a tiny bit of weight, but no.  I was up 1.2 pounds.  Super-lame.  Good inspiration for me though.  I am planning on going to the Flying Dog Halloween party on Friday and my goal is to enjoy myself but to get RIGHT BACK ON TRACK the next day.  Another of my big problems (and I have quite a few of them) is that once I feel like I've blown it I continue to eat whatever I want for days or even weeks afterward :-(  I would really love to actually have a loss I'm proud to report at my meeting next week.

I did an interesting experiment these past two days (well, interesting to me anyway).  On the one hand, I feel like just eating "mindfully" is a healthier way to go about losing weight, as opposed to counting points and tracking everything and having to be so obsessive about your food.  However, if I knew how to control myself when it comes to food then I would already BE at a healthy weight, so I feel a bit lost sometimes if I don't have my points to go on.  Really, I've been counting points off and on for almost 10 years so it feels wrong not to!  But for the past 2 days, instead of counting my points and tracking everything I ate, I was able to maintain control and just ate all healthy things only when I was hungry.  I sat down just now and plugged everything retroactively into my tracker and you know what?  I ate exactly 29 points today, which is my points target.  I don't really know what the takeaway point is from this, maybe I DON'T have to track every single day?  Maybe I don't have to see not tracking for a day as such a "failure"?  Maybe thinking about not tracking occasionally is a dangerous slippery slope?  It all depends on what my frame of mind is when it comes time to select my next item of food...sometimes it's ok to give myself a little freedom, sometimes it's dangerous, and it's tough to know when it's ok and when it's not!  All things I will have to ponder and experiment with a bit more, I suppose.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

No phone, no phone, I just want to be alone

Well, my phone seems to be missing for good.  I haven't seen it since Saturday night.  The battery isn't dead, so I have used Will's phone to call it from every room, I have tried utilizing the "Where's my Droid" app that I have installed on it that is supposed to make it ring even if it's silenced, I have used its bluetooth link to my car to determine that it is somewhere in our house, but I just.can't.find it.  I am concerned that one of the girls may have tossed it down a heating vent or into the trash somewhere.  I've told Will that I think this means we need to get new iPhones, but he fails to see my logic.  I do know that whether I find my phone or get another one, I am investing in one of those little beeping locator thingies.  We don't have a home phone, so losing my cell phone is pretty cripling.  Grrr.

Being cell phone-less made today especially tough.  It's Tuesday, which is Emily's dance class day, so it's the day that I have to entertain Charlotte for 45 minutes during her normal naptime in a crowded and quiet space and usually I do that with the assistance of Elmo videos on youtube and the bubble-popping app on my phone.  Robbed of those tools, we had to go pass some time playing in the car when Charlotte's attitude got too nasty, and then I wasn't in the dance studio when Emily came out looking for her bag with her ballet shoes in it, ugh.  I need to find daycare just so I can sit in the dance studio for 45 minutes on Tuesdays without having to wrestle with Charlotte the whole time.

Now that I'm home and Charlotte is napping and Emily is busy playing with her My Little Ponies, I plan to blow off some steam by making some tasties in the kitchen.  First up is applesauce (i.e. chopping some apples and throwing them in the crock pot with a bit of water and cinnamon), as we still have a ton of apples left from our trip to the apple orchard.  Then I will attempt to make some mozzarella cheese, because Will's coworker who lent me his cheese-making kit months ago would like it back and I am too ashamed to send it back without a report on how things went!  I made some feta (which turned out yummy!) and cheddar (which turned out not so yummy) back in the beginning of the year so mozzarella should be much easier than either of those.  I am also feeling the itch to bake something.  These have been intriguing me so if I have time I will give 'em a shot.  My goal for today is to make a bunch of treats in the kitchen without immediately eating half of what I make. 

I'm pretty conflicted about my eating these days.  Back in my "good" weight loss days I was not eating very clean.  I ate lots of things with artificial sweetners and gross chemicals because I just didn't really know any better yet.  Over the last couple years I have discovered the whole "clean eating" movement, and I believe very strongly in that idea now.  I had pretty much given up on baking anything because it is all but impossible to bake things that are low fat/low cal, sugar AND artificial sweetner-free, 100% whole grain and oh yeah, taste good.  If I did find a recipe that met all these requirements, the result was more often than not gone by the next day because I couldn't keep my hands off it.  But with kids in the equation, I really want to make healthy snacks and desserts for them.  I don't want them to feel deprived, but 99% of the snacks out there for kids are not "clean" in my opinion, so the only other option is to make things myself.  For my kids fat isn't an issue, so healthy fats have started finding their way back into my life.  I read these blogs where healthy, skinny moms with healthy, skinny families bake "clean" cookies and crackers and cakes and breads every day and start believing I can be like them.  But one of my biggest issues eating-wise is not being able to control myself while making things in the kitchen (or if we have a lot of yummies in the kitchen, as in AFTER I make things).  Eating clean is good, but if you eat TONS of clean food you'll still have a weight problem!  And a high grocery bill :-( 

I'm not willing to go back to eating low-cal chemicals, but I still do need to lose weight.  So I'm going to try to focus on making things and not scarfing them down immediately.  I'm announcing this in an effort to stay accountable, so we'll see how my baking day goes.

I did well!  I made a big crock pot of applesauce that is very yummy.  I remembered to put in some vanilla extract too that makes it especially good.  I had about 2 cups of that but since there's no sugar or fat or anything but apples and spices in it I figured that's ok.

I made the applesauce cakes too, and they are quite interesting.  Lori and Michelle were right, they taste like they're not going to be sweet enough at first but once you finish one you want another!  The recipe didn't make much batter, so I put them into mini muffin pans.
Hmmm...mine don't look nearly as pretty as theirs!  I am definitely not a food blogger!  Ugly muffins, chipped plate, closely-cropped picture so you don't see the mess I made of the kitchen.  Oh well, these were an interesting experiment for me both because I haven't really made many gluten-free egg-free baked goods before and in terms of having a tasty baked good around and trying not to eat it.  Well, I think they taste good, and I have only had 2 so I declare it a success!

I also made the mozzarella, which was really easy!  It was done in about an hour.  It looks pretty nasty while it's being made...
...but it turned out ok too.  The recipe said that the more you stretch it while it's cooling the more string cheese-like it will end up, so I split it into 2 hunks and stretched the one on the right more than the other.  

Emily doesn't like it though :-(  With a lactose intolerant husband and my #1 cheese consumer disliking it, I probably won't be making this much because it's a lot of cheese for Charlotte and I to get through.  I would be curious to try making it with 2% or even skim milk though, and next time I'll probably add more salt.  I ate a carefully measured half ounce of each kind and called it good until dinner when I sprinkled a bit on my pasta.

Posting my challenge to myself here seems to have worked...I finished the day having made yummy tempting things in my kitchen and I was able to control myself!  Maybe I'll do this again in the future when I need some accountability :-)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Charlottesville Trip Report, part 3

Read about Part 1 of our trip here.
Read about Part 2 of our trip here.

The third day we pretty much just woke up, enjoyed yet another glorious breakfast at the B&B, then headed for home.  We did stop by C'ville Coffee on our way out of town for Will's espresso though.  I got a yummy lattĂ© as well, but I was regretting it about an hour later when we were headed up Skyline Drive without a bathroom in sight!  We finally found a port-a-potty, which was, of course, about a mile before a rest stop with an actual bathroom. Oh well.  I enjoyed the drive much more after that!

Google maps had told me it would only take about an extra hour to drive home via Skyline Drive, so we planned to get on at the south end and do the whole length of it.  We didn't have any cell phone reception, so without my GPS to guide me I just went on faith. 

We stopped after lunch to do the hike to Dark Hollow Falls.  I am not a fan of hikes that go downhill first and then back uphill because I can't stop thinking the whole time that the lower we go the more I'll have to climb on the way back!  This turned out to be a good length for us though, and a very pretty hike.

Dark Hollow Falls

Will's perch
The falls just kept falling

After our hike to the falls, the drive started to seem pretty long.  The curvy road had started to really get to us (or our stomachs, rather).  It had been almost 3 hours of driving time and we still hadn't even gotten as far as Lurray!  My faith in Google maps was misplaced, it seems.  I really missed having my GPS to tell me exactly when we'd be arriving home.  We bailed off Skyline Drive at the next opportunity, and banged out the last couple hours of our trip. 
We had to get home to this girl!

And this girl!
 As you can see, we had a great time on our trip!  It's nice (and necessary) to get away every now and then and be able to just wake up and say "What do we feel like doing today?"  It's crazy to remember that life (or at least the weekends) used to be like this all the time!  Now it's such a luxury. 

But life in the meantime ain't so bad either.  We live in a pretty gorgeous place as it is...

 ...and we get to hang out with these little crazies every day.

We're quite lucky :-)  And an occasional break lets us appreciate that all the more.