Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Falling down

Hey everyone.  I've been hiding for a bit.  It's what I do when I get overwhelmed and feel like I can't do anything well.  I just don't do anything, that way I don't have to feel bad that I'm not writing interesting blog posts/keeping my house clean/planning ahead for all the things I need to do/counting points etc.

I have done well on the artificial sweetner/caffiene front.  The artificial sweetner part has been easy, except for Saturday when there was Turkey Hill sugar-free ice cream at my Father-in-law's party.  We used to go through GALLONS of that stuff.  It's the only sugar-free ice cream (that was also only 1 old WW point per half cup) that was worth eating.  But I resisted.  The caffiene thing went faster than I thought it would...I cut back to a half cup of coffee in the morning for 2 days, then since I hadn't had any side effects I cut back to 1/4 cup for the next 2 days.  That didn't bother me at all (aside from the chest tightness from drinking caffiene in the first place) so I cut back to 100% decaf and have been doing that for the past 3 days.  I get a touch of a  headache still at some point each day, but nothing a few ibuprofen won't fix.  How strange that even 1/4 cup of caffiene makes all the difference.

When it comes to eating though, I have not been doing all that well.  Everything I have eaten is healthy, but for the past 3 days or so I have been eating way too much.  I have my WW weigh-in tonight so I'll see what the damage is.  It makes me so mad, because after the first 2 days of not counting points I am still pretty sure I wasn't over my weekly allowance for the week yet, but I got convinced in my head that I had "blown it", so I've kept going.  Every morning I have started out with the best of intentions, but then I eat something I shouldn't and say "I'll recommit tomorrow so that I can eat all the things I've been missing today and I won't have to track them".  I've got to just stop! 

I discovered the blog Runs For Cookies written by a girl named Katie who has lost 125 pounds in 16 months, and I have been reading that for inspiration.  What got to me the most was looking at her weigh-ins over the course of her weight loss.  She didn't lose every single week, and some weeks she even gained quite a bit!  But she still lost 125 pounds because she kept going even after she gained.  I know that I am allowed to mess up.  I know that the single most important thing I can do is to forgive myself and get back on track as soon as possible.  But I still find it incredibly difficult to put that into practice!  I would rather sit around and beat myself up and end up gaining back the weight I have lost over and over and over, apparently.

It's also amazing how different it is in my head when I'm doing well vs. when I've slipped.  When I'm doing well, I am convinced I will succeed.  I picture myself at my sister's wedding rocking my bridesmaid dress (which will have to be taken WAY in, of course), I look forward to my next weight loss milestone, and I notice and appreciate the areas of my body that are changing.  As soon as I have a day when I snack a bit too much though, I immediately start wallowing in self-pity.  My younger sister (who only weighed about 118 to begin with) accidentally lost 13 pounds in the last 2 months because of a newly diagnosed thyroid condition and is afraid her wedding dress will be way too big.  I sure didn't have any weight loss when *I* was dealing with my hyperthyroidism.  My pants from this summer that were starting to get big are now a bit tight, a nice reminder that even though I've had an impressive 2 weeks of weight loss I'm still above where I got to a couple months ago.  I don't feel like working out because I feel gross from eating too much and it won't negate all the calories I just snacked on anyway.  I wish I could figure out how to kick my psyche in the face.

I am toying with the idea of only counting points every other week.  I did very well a couple weeks ago when I was just focusing on eating mindfully, so maybe I can just alternate my approach and that will keep me from getting tired and resentful of tracking everything?  I'll track this week and see how I feel after my next weigh-in.  I am so sick of losing the same 10 pounds over and over!  I want to start losing "new" weight!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why you won't be seeing me on Survivor any time soon

Yesterday as I waited to pick up Emily at Preschool I was excited to see the lead mom posting the sign-up sheet for Emily's Thanksgiving party.  "Hooray!", I thought.  "I will get first crack at it so I will be able to sign up for exactly what I want to bring!".  Except that my children, instead of engaging in a 5 minute long wrestling match that completely blocks the hall like they usually do, decided to bolt for the door and actually made it outside, necessitating a chasing-down dragging-back and scolding from me.  By the time I got to the list there was a large crowd of moms around it, and once it finally got to be my turn the things I was hoping to sign up for were taken :-(  I am now bringing turkey lunchmeat and bubble wrap.  The strange thing is though that the list was oddly specific.  "Pretzels, square or circle-shaped", it read, and "Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing", so I would've been very limited anyway.  I probably would have been obstinate and ignored the pretzel shape and dressing brand requests had I been fortunate enough to snag those two (aparently coveted) items, especially because I don't recall discussing such details at the meeting.

Despite my extreme irritation at my children who were miserable both at preschool pickup and in the car afterward (requests were answered with "No!",  juice boxes were thrown at me) I decided to stop by and drag them into My Organic Market on the way home because I hadn't spent money on groceries in 3 days!!!!  I was going through withdrawl!!!  And I was sick of drinking powdered milk!!!  I also had to break in my new credit card.  Luckily My Organic Market always has free juice and snacks sitting out, which kept my kids calm and well-behaved in the store.  I celebrated by going in to pick up 4 necessities and leaving with $124 worth of groceries.

In the afternoon, I decided to try and kill myself.  I headed to the gym intent on taking Bodypump followed by Zumba, then going to my Weight Watchers meeting afterward.  Only once I had scooped everybody into the car and driven away did I realize that I had only eaten 15 points so far that day, and none of that food had passed my lips in the last 3 hours.   The only snack I had brought with me was a tiny Siggis 3.7 oz plain yogurt drink.  "No matter!" I thought.  "I used to take step classes followed by 2 karate classes and then go home for a 9PM dinner!  People wander the desert for days with no food or water and live!  I will be fine!"  And through Bodypump I was.   Once Zumba started though, my body started to get mad at me.  Everything felt MUCH more difficult (surprise!) and my muscles got all crampy.  I had to power through though, because I was making a point.

Back when I took salsa classes from the legendary Kevan, people got pretty nasty.  There was shoving and fighting to get a spot, and it got to the point where it almost wasn't even worth it to take the class because you had to deal with so much cattiness and crap to do so.  Zumba is starting to be the same way, with people showing up almost half an hour before class starts to get a spot in line to get into the studio so that they can be first to select a spot once it's time for class.  I try to set a good example and get a spot in the front when I can, but also purposely stand in the back sometimes to allow others a chance to stand in the front.  I hate all the "this is my spot" business.  Taking Bodypump before Zumba allows you the unique opportunity to be the absolute first person in the room when it's spot selection time though, so I took advantage and stood wherever I wanted to regardless of who traditionally claims that particular square of floor.  Thus, despite my rapidly deteriorating physical endurance and bouts of dizziness I felt like I had to dance especially well to "prove" that I deserved to stand in the front line (which was very crowded, because the other fine lady whose spot I took refused to stand anywhere else and so just smashed in next to me.  I made sure to "accidentally" whack her a couple times).

After Zumba I had to sit through a 45-minute long Weight Watchers meeting about ways to make TV-watching time less detrimental to one's diet, which is SO not my problem.  I only get about 1 hour of TV time a day, I get my exercise in, and I don't snack mindlessly on chips while zoning in front of the TV so I am not interested in  hearing about healthier food substitutions or suggestions to do crunches during commercials.  With such boring subject matter I had nothing to distract myself from the fact that I was still dizzy and shaking.  I finally made it home and chugged a bowl of chili that was way too hot and upset my empty stomach. 

Lesson learned.  Remember to fuel body before asking it to perform strenuous exercise for 2 hours straight.  Also, I am not 23 anymore so don't assume I can do things right now that I used to be able to do at my all-time-fittest age and shape. 

I will get back in great shape again though.  I will need to, if I want to be able to fight off the other moms to bring pretzels to Emily's next class party.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Breaking my addictions

I  have a confession to make. 

As you know, I am not a fan of aspartame.  I was raised by a biologist father who was deeply mistrustful of the stuff after seeing the results of a research study conducted on Nutrasweet in the 80's both before and after the FDA got their hands on it and changed it into what was actually released to the public.  I was taught by an Organic Chemistry TA in college who described going to work with his forensic chemist friend and seeing white junk (which turned out to be aspartame) just deposited in the muscles of corpses.  I have suffered exactly 1 migrane in my life so far (thank God) and I strongly suspect that aspartame was to blame.

I have no documents to support any of this, and speaking strictly as a scientist I have never seen any undeniable proof that it is actually poisonous or deadly.  But speaking as a person who is in posession of a human body that I would like to continue living in for as long as possible, I say why take chances with something that DOES break down into poisons in your body but probably not in amounts big enough to cause a problem?  Aren't I exposed against my will to enough environmental pollutants and poisons on a daily basis that it makes sense to keep out even the tiniest bits of poison when I DO have a say?

Except that occasionally I willingly consume aspartame.

I am a total diet soda addict.  It's fizzy, it's sweet, it fills up my stomach and there are no calories!  What more could a habitual dieter ask for?  Luckily there is now Zevia soda out there (and in my fridge) that is still calorie-free but gets its sweetness from stevia and erythritol.  I can't say that this is 100% natural and fine for you either, but I feel personally that it is a better choice than the more mainstream sodas.  When I am craving a soda and I don't have a Zevia around though, I will sometimes, maybe 2-3 times a month, grab a real diet soda.  I try to go for sucralose-sweetened sodas if I can, even though I don't like sucralose either, but that's not always an option.  Neither sucralose nor aspartame have any place in a clean eating plan though.

I grabbed a diet Dr. Pepper at the dance studio yesterday as a "treat" because I was irritated and worn out.  And BOY did I have a headache later that afternoon, right as I was trying to make dinner (which is incidentally right when Charlotte gets extra-screamy).  It hearkened me back to the day, a couple weeks ago, when I "treated" myself to a Coke Zero and suffered the same consequence.  So I've decided to actually walk the clean eating walk and cut this junk out completely.  I will probably stick to my Zevia sodas for a bit, but my goal is to get myself down to just soda water or kombucha if I want something fizzy to drink.

And speaking of breaking bad habits, why not tackle my caffiene addiction while I'm at it?  It feels silly to even say I have a caffiene addiction because I only drink 1-2 cups of coffee a day and maybe sometimes a cup of regular green tea.  But if my body doesn't get that caffiene in the morning I end up with a splitting headache in the afternoon, and drinking caffiene at that point won't fix things, it has to be consumed in the morning.  I call that a symptom of addiction.

On top of that, both my dad and my paternal grandmother (who used to be a nurse and therefore is a big fan of the coffee) have spent some time in the hospital in the last couple months over suspected heart issues.  Neither of them turned out to actually have anything wrong with their hearts, but my dad's "spells" have always occured right after the consumption of a caffienated beverage and have improved almost 100% since he gave up caffiene.  And drinking caffiene too fast (as I usually have to do to get my morning cup in while getting everyone fed and ready and out the door) makes my chest painfully tight.

So no more artificial sweetners, which I definte as aspartame, saccharin or sucralose.  Also, I plan to break myself of caffiene gradually but completely over the next couple weeks.  After that I will probably allow myself an occasional cup of caffienated coffee or tea on a special occasion but I really don't want to get back into a situation where I NEED caffiene to stave off a negative physical reaction.

Do you think wearing my caffiene necklace and/or shirt will help with the withdrawl symptoms?  Or would that just make me a poser now that I have decided to swear off the stuff?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Monument to my failures

BOY do I hate interactive phone voice menus.  Whoever thought of those was definitely not a stay-at-home-parent.  Every single time I have to call, it goes something like this:

Robotic voice: Please enter or say your credit card number, followed by your bank account number, followed by your social security number, followed by your birth date, followed by your zip code, followed by your favorite 6-digit number, then press pound.
Sara: Beep beep boop beep boop (etc. until within 2 digits of finishing)
Charlotte: BOT PLEASE MAMA!!!!
Robotic voice: I'm sorry, I didn't understand that.  Please enter or say your credit card number, followed by your bank account number....
Sara: (closing self in bathroom) beep beep boop beep boop
Emily: (banging on door) I NEED TO GO PEE PEE!!!!!
Robotic voice: I'm sorry, I didn't understand that... 
Repeat times 1000 until I have retreated to the porch and the automated system finally gives up and transfers me to a real live person
Real Live Person: Hello Mrs. Randall.  May I please have your credit card number...
Charlotte: (busting outside) MORE BOT IN!!!!
Real Live Person: I'm sorry, I'm hearing a lot of background noise, what was that?

Thankfully though I have yet to misplace my phone, I have a checkbook, and I have a credit/ATM card in my posession.  And as if that weren't enough, I even found my license that I lost back in March, which I have of course had replaced already, but I guess it's just a getting things back under control kinda week.  Which is awesome.  I don't have too many of those.

Since today is a Tuesday, which means I am shot from getting girls to dance and fed and peed and changed and entertaining the petulant younger of the two for 45 minutes while the other one dances, I've decided to just show you what is sitting on my kitchen windowsill.  I have to stare at it for what feels like hours every day as I do dishes, so I'm sure y'all'll be enthralled by it as well.

First we have some shells:
I am not sure why I have shells on my kitchen windowsill.  Having shells on one's kitchen windowsill implies that a person either enjoys collecting or looking at shells, and I'm honestly not either.  But people have given my daughters and me large, impressive shells over the years and I don't want to throw them away.  If I let the girls play with them though they get broken, so I think what happened is that I needed to clean up quickly at some point so I grabbed a nearby jar and threw some vagrant shells into it.  And voila, now I have a place to store shells.  Except that I should probably find somewhere else to store them so I can use this space to display something that is more useful, or at least more "me".

Next up is a cactus:
More specifically, 10 fluid ounces of cactus, as you can see on the label.  Mmmm, cactus fluid.  This cactus was purchased months ago along with another succulent, and is supposed to go into a homemade terrarium that I decided the girls and I would make for Will for Father's Day.  I was high on creativity and Pinterest at the time. Except that we WERE going to celebrate a Father's Day Observed sometime in July, but then the day beforehand Will bumped it up to ACTUAL Father's Day and the terrarium wasn't made yet so I decided I'd make it later.  This guy is the last survivor.  I still do intend to make it someday, if only to get the supplies off my kitchen counter.

Speaking of killing plants, next comes these guys:
On the left is dead-ish rosemary.  On the right is super-dead lavender.  In the middle is not-yet-dead sage.  I periodically decide I am going to have a windowsill herb garden because it makes good financial sense!  Why buy a single cutting of rosemary every time I need it for $4 when I can just buy a whole plant for $2 that will allow me to cut rosemary whenever and in any amount I want?  Except that this always happens before I can even use the plant much.  I guess I'm leaving the lavender there because I refuse to believe that even I can kill a plant in a mere 3 days and it might just be sleeping?  And the dead rosemary is there because, well, there's dead lavender right over there, so why not some dead rosemary too?  I admire the sage's bravery, still growing strong even with the bodies of its brethren heaped around it on all sides.

But!  Lest you think I am hopeless at growing anything, behold my fungus!

Yes, my first box of mushrooms failed to grow, but the second box I ordered (at the same time to get free shipping) is thriving!  Just look at all of those delicious mushrooms just waiting to become a stir-fry!  I hope they mature soon, because they kind of freak me out.  Clusters of things other than flowers always kind give me the heebie-jeebies.

 And speaking of other things I am able to easily grow on my windowsill:
My version of an ant farm
These guys have slowed down a bit, but basically from spring through fall we have billions of ants in our kitchen.  Here you can see them happily dining on Terro ant poison, which they gobble by the dropfull, carry off to feed their queen, and then return fat and happy to slurp down some more.  They are thriving on Terro.  They LOVE the Terro.  The only reason I feed it to them is because it keeps them pretty localized so I find fewer ants floating in my tea. 

No wonder I hate doing the dishes.  Every time I step up to my sink I am confronted by a monument to my failures.  I think a bit of redecoration is in order.

News and new kitties

*This was to be published on Saturday, but I delayed it to double-check that some news I share later was ok to share.  Again, please just imagine you are reading this on Saturday night because I don't feel like going through and changing all the "this morning" instances to "the morning of 3 days ago".

Today started the same as any other Saturday (Emily coming into our room and telling me to get out of bed, Saturday morning breakfast sandwich, gym etc.) and THEN...pretty much just continued the same way as every other Saturday. The girls and I headed over to my sister's apartment around lunchtime to meet her new kitties, Palmer (as in Arnold Palmer) and Nicholas (as in Jack...Nicklaus. Hmmm.) My husband was notably absent, due to his untouched-by-almost-a-year-of-shots cat allergy.

Why hello there


Gratuitous shot of Emily screaming at me not to take a picture of her
The girls were really good with the kitties, and even more surprising, the kitties were really good with the girls!  They are really gentle, affectionate little guys.  It'll be nice to have another place I can go for my kitty fix.  Then again, it's one more place Will CAN'T go now. 

After running home to nap Charlotte, we were back out to Lyle and Wendy's house for a Mary Kay consultation and sushi!
Charlotte quickly confiscated my applicators and joined in on the fun

Abigail eventually joined us for her first makeup lesson too

Sushi time!

Sushi time was quickly followed by marshmallow time

Charlotte shopping for Abigails

Turnaround is fair play
 The most fun part of the night was the double big reveal...Wendy and Carolyn are both pregnant and due within a couple weeks of each other!  I was SO hoping they would both "come out" tonight, because I knew Carolyn was pregnant, and I knew Wendy was pregnant, but neither of them knew the other one was pregnant.  I have a horrible time keeping my big mouth shut and trying to keep a double secret with all parties present was a tall order.  Luckily for me though, I was not the one who blew it, Will took that duty upon himself.

Once these babies are born, between the three couples we'll have Sam and Emily (who are 4 months apart), Charlotte and Abigail (who are 4 months apart) and new babies #1 and 2 who will be only a month or so apart.  We will have 3 neat little sets of best friends to play together :-)  Since my sisters and sisters-in-law refuse to produce any cousins, I love that we are able to have "friend cousins" close in age for the kiddoes. 

Will and I realized this neat little factoid, and he was about to explain it to Lyle and Wendy last week when I hushed him.  Phew!  We avoided giving away Carolyn and Christian's secret!  Tonight however, when talk turned to babies and Carolyn and Christian "came out", Will said "I almost let the secret slip last week, I was about to tell Lyle and Wendy how cool it will be to have 2 MORE kids in our group who are so close in age!"  Um, yeah, Lyle and Wendy hadn't made their announcement yet.  Oops.

I am so excited for both of my friends, and also excited to be sitting this round (and all future rounds) of pregnancy out!  It means I'll get to hold and play with my friends' babies without having a baby of my own to attend to at the same time.  And it means Charlotte will get a tiny bit of experience being in a big sister role without any effort on my part :-)  Maybe at least one of them will even have a boy this time, we've kind of been stuck in a girl loop so far!

Will and I just put some still-very-wound-up girls to bed, and are looking forward to getting an extra hour of sleep tomorrow morning!  Hopefully all the playing and staying up late wore them out enough that we'll actually be able to get more sleep out of this time change for the first time in many years!*

*Yeah, that didn't happen.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Choosing the worst of 6 evils

Today, what time I have not spent disputing charges for exhorbitant amounts of coffee purchased online by persons unknown using my credit card and trying to get access...ANY our money was spent at a planning meeting for Emily's preschool class's Thanksgiving party.  I decided to take a different tack this time.  You'll recall that I have attempted before to provide fruit for the parties, in which case the other moms bring in junky stuff.  I have also left it to others to bring the fruit and veggies and made the junky stuff myself but in such a way that it was no longer junk, only to have most of the kids sample but then politely push away their cookies, although the adults always gobble them up.  This time I decided to just let the pieces fall where they may and try to clean things up a bit afterward.  The lead moms are the same as last year, and they already know my thoughts on the food provided to our kids at the preschool.  There are kids with allergies to coconut, shellfish and cashews this year, so my idea for cashew-coconut encrusted shrimp was out the window from the get-go anyway.  Damn.

As I silently watched, the menu was drawn up as follows:

-rolled up turkey lunchmeat slices
-cheese in the shape of mickey mouse (?)
-carrot sticks with ranch dip
-sugar cookies in the shape of turkeys

I can't decide what to do.  On the one hand, this isn't TOO bad.  I am proud of them for trying.  There's not a bunch of candy or sweets or dyes.  On the other hand, because I am insane of course I can find at least one issue with each of the proposed items (The nitrates!  The sugar!  The processed carbs!  The high fructose corn syrup!)  All of my past attempts at party healthification have either resulted in the kids eating junk anyway, or else NOT eating the goodies I provide (even when they are frosted!) which has probably caused the other moms to nickname me "That crazy health-nut mom who ruins all the school parties with her whole wheat baked goods" behind my back.  How stringent (annoying) do I want to be?  This year they have combined 2 classes for the party so whoever provides food will have to provide for 23 kids instead of the usual 11-12.  I don't feel like providing 23 kids with nitrate-free organic and juice-sweetened versions of EVERYTHING on the list, so I have to pick the worst offenders.  The cookies, it seems, are non-negotiable.  I have already stolen the honor of providing the dessert from another mother who enjoys baking twice before, I am willing to give up this particular battle.  I think I will offer to bring the ranch dip (subbing Marie's or similar yogurt-based ranch dressing for the HFCS and chemical-based dressing that would otherwise be provided) and the pretzels (subbing a kind that is at least partially whole grain).   I am not going to argue over every single thing on the menu though.  It's not that I don't feel quite as strongly about it as I did a year ago, but the Sara of 2011 has spent another year as the mother of 2 young children who are increasingly out in the world, and she's had to accept the fact that the ability to control everything they eat has slipped a year further away from her.  I will never give up completely on trying to get the best food possible into my children's mouths in any given situation.  But now that there are battles to be fought over the quality of food offered to my girls I have to pick which ones I fight or risk alienating people and making the junk food my kids are inundated with "off-limits" and therefore even more desirable.

I AM loosening up a bit, I promise.  I just wish I didn't have to.

Making food, making friends

*I thought I posted this last night, please forgive all the "todays" and "this mornings" that no longer apply.  I don't feel like going through and re-writing it.

Today started out fairly poorly.  The girls slept in until 6:20 new time (usually we get up at 7) so that wasn't too bad, but when I went off to the grocery store to grab a couple last-minute things I needed for some food I was preparing things got hairy.  As I went to check out, I was informed that my credit card was declined.  I tried again, same deal.  To save face I walked over to the ATM to try and get some cash out to pay for my purchase, but my ATM card is the same card I use for my normal purchases and unsurprisingly, it was declined again.  Luckily I had $28 cash in my wallet, so the cashier and I had to go through and un-buy a bunch of things until my total got back down to $28.  I shuffled out of the store in shame, and was quickly on the phone to my bank.

It turns out that someone has stolen our credit card number and made 2 $90-ish purchases at Tim Horton online last night, which luckily set off a red flag and they locked our card.  I was not even aware that Tim Horton HAD an online store, I thought they were just a chain of coffee stores in Canada, but hey, you learn something new every day.  After that, a $400 purchase was attempted from the UK at the website for Manchester United.  Luckily that didn't go through, since our card was already locked.  I am grateful that our bank was quick to lock our cards, but now we won't have our only credit card, which is also our only ATM card, until Tuesday.  On top of that, we ran out of checks 2 weeks ago and requested that they send new ones, but our representative didn't feel like ordering them until a full week after our request, so we can't write checks either.  We are essentially without access to our money for the next day and a half.  This does not help my whole "I don't like to be cut off in an emergency" issue I was dealing with earlier in the week.

Our day got better though, because after a nice afternoon spent happily wrecking cooking in my kitchen, we went to my lovely new friend Lauren and her husband Greg's house for a potluck dinner.
First thing's first, we caged up the kids so the adults could have a nice quiet dinner.
 Just kidding.  The kids were all extremely present throughout the evening, as is evidenced by my current state of deafness from all the screaming and squealing.
 This was the best, most veggie-filled potluck I have ever had the pleasure of attending, not just because I ate myself silly and still have some WW points leftover for the day, but also because it was so much fun to be able to discuss crazy foods and share recipes just by saying which food blog I got them from and have someone else there know what I was talking about!
Juice-sweetened chocolate was enjoyed by one and all

After dinner there was wrestling and foam-rolling
As you can see, I barely got any pictures because I was busy chatting, stuffing my face and chasing down my kids in an effort to keep my wild little things from breaking Lauren and Greg's house.  Luckily, although they definitely bumped up the decibel level, the kids did none of the breaking that happened tonight.  The adults took care of that themselves.  Will is sorry about your glass, Lauren :-)

I'm sure she'll have much better pictures and descriptions on her blog, so if you desire more detail I'll send you over there.  I have blogged all that I am able to this evening, now it is time for me to return to my vegetable coma.  I totally understand now why it is called being in a "vegetative state".

Friday, November 4, 2011

Everything Zen

I've been feeling very "zen" today.  On the way to preschool I was just enjoying looking at the colors on the trees and marveling that there are still quite a few leaves hanging in there!  This is hands-down the longest fall we've had in recent memory; usually the leaves start to change, then we immediately we get a big storm and they're gone.  As I pulled into the preschool parking lot there was a row of trees showering bright orange leaves as I drove underneath, Let it Be started playing (I was listening to my music on random), the girls were actually getting along and giggling in the back seat and I just felt happy.

Zumba was great this morning too.  I hadn't taken a class with Jessie in over a week, although I felt bad for her because she had some kind of chest cold type thing going on ON TOP of being pregnant (which is the WORST because you can't take any medicince!)  What a trooper.  It helped me to get through the tough class because I knew I wasn't suffering as much as she was.  It was especially tiring for me today because I actually felt like going for a run once the kids were in bed last night and I surprised myself by doing 2.1 miles.  I like to run every now and then just to make sure I can.  I have to check that my current cardio routine is doing its job!  But I always feel especially sore and tired the next day!

When I picked up our CSA, we once again got some bonus produce in the form of a big bag of extra apples, and when I went to buy some pears (since there weren't any in our box this week) she just gave them to me.  She said she was going to put pears in everyone's boxes this week but people had been complaining that they were getting too many pears and they didn't know what to do with all of them.  THEY'RE PEARS PEOPLE!  WHAT IS WRONG WITH EVERYONE?  STOP COMPLAINING WHEN A HARD-WORKING FARMER WANTS TO GIVE YOU FRESH PRODUCE!

My bubble of well-being seemed to extend outward to cover others today too.  I was driving along on the highway on the way to pick up Emily when traffic SLAMMED to a halt out of nowhere.  I seemed to be near the front of the issue, so I craned my head to see what was going on up ahead.  I noticed that about 4 carlengths in front of me there was an SUV facing me.  Extremely odd.  As I watched, it backed up a little, executed a U-turn as everyone waited, and then continued on its way.  I expected to come across debris and a couple other dented cars as I drove by, but all that was in the road was a skid mark that spanned all 3 lanes of traffic.  I am pretty sure I witnessed a miracle!  For whatever reason, an SUV did a skidding 180 across 3 lanes of traffic going 60 mph and no one was hurt in the slightest.  I call that amazing.

I made sure to embrace my happy mood today and spent plenty of time cuddling my girls and appreciating the little things.  There's really no excuse for a person as lucky as me to not be happy all the time, but being human I can always find things to complain about.  I'm sure I'll be back to my old shenanigans tomorrow but for today I'll thank my lucky stars for what I have (and that I did not go 4 carlengths faster on the highway today).

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Phones, fears, and friends

Hey look what I just got!
It's just an iPhone 4, not a 4S because #1 Verizon doesn't have any 4S's in stock and I needed a replacement phone right away, #2 I was considering the 4 anyway because any of the new phones out there would be an improvement over my buggy old phone and I don't REALLY need artificial intelligence to talk to me and #3 It costs less!  Now why would I buy a new phone just days after finding and re-bonding with my old phone you ask?  Well I'll tell you why.

Last night, as I was putting Charlotte to bed, I heard a helicopter outside.  At first I didn't pay any attention to it, but I gradually realized that the helicopter wasn't passing over, it was just hanging out nearby.  VERY nearby, from the sound of it.  I tucked Charlotte in and went downstairs to find a helicopter DIRECTLY over my front yard.  Seriously, the unraked leaves were flying everwhere and if anyone had jumped out of it they would've landed on my doorstep.  To help illustrate my point, please refer to this totally awesome picture I took out my window:
 Even more disconcerting was the fact that the helicopter had a spotlight trained on the electric line tower directly behind my neighbor's yard.  I checked that all the doors and windows were locked, and then glued my nose to the dining room window to try and figure out what the heck was going on.  Was someone climbing the tower?  Was there a violent convict on the loose?  I was too afraid to go outside and see first-hand, so I just stayed pressed against my window.  Then it occured to me that I could probably listen to the police scanner somewhere online, so I raced to my computer.  After a few failed attempts (did you know there are 3 registered sex offenders living within blocks of my house?) I found what I was looking for, but all I heard were requests for ambulances, nothing that would solve my helicopter mystery.  Then I thought to myself "The police have a non-emergency phone number!  I can just call them and maybe they'll tell me what's up!"  That was when I raced to my phone, picked it up, and in my highly alarmed state it slipped out of my hand and crashed to the ground.  After that, everything seemed to be in working order except the screen.  I could hear notifications and people calling, but without the screen I had no way of interacting with my phone.  Oh, and once Will came downstairs from putting Emily to bed and I snatched his phone to make my call the irritated lady on the other end of the line simply said the helicopter was there because of a "missing person".  I guess they didn't want to be found?

The helicopter incident had put me on edge, so I wasn't very comfortable not having a way to contact people in case of emergency (we don't have a house phone) and THAT is the main reason why I had to go get a new one.  Plus we've been talking about getting new phones anyway.  But that's not as exciting.

The helicopter incident also got me thinking about being a mom.  If I didn't have kids, I'm sure I probably would've just sauntered outside with Will to see what all the fuss was about, possibly while enjoying a beer.  But now that I'm a mom, all that goes through my head in an even mildly frightening situation is "Oh my God!  What if someone comes busting through the front door, they'll be between me and the kids!  How would I get up to the girls and get them out of the house???  Are we going to be on the news crouching in our front yard wrapped in police blankets like those families at the end of horror movies???  My children are 100% dependant on me but how can I protect them in a world where bad things I can't control can happen???(??)"  Then I start thinking about the poor mothers who have been through war or natural disasters with their children and have felt that fear 1000 times worse, and before I know it I am having a beer not for the enjoyment of it, but to relax my tightly-wound nerves.  Who would've imagined that being a mom was such a big responsibility?  Oh yeah, probably pretty much everyone.

On a lighter note, I got to meet Lauren from Oatmeal After Spinning this evening!  We both live in the same town, go to the same gym, read the same blogs, know a lot of the same people and believe in the same eating philosophy but somehow had never really met before.  We rectified that this evening by planning to take a Bodypump class together (although we had to stand across the room from each other because I was late...I was busy with some of those aforementioned mommy responsibilities)   It was exciting to get to talk to someone else who shares so many of my views on food, weight loss, exercise etc. and I can't wait to go to her clean eating potluck this weekend!

And not to belabor the point, but I have even MORE mommy responsibilities to attend to now, namely, bedtime.  Which will hopefully be helicopter-free this evening.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2-day cook fest

Phew!  I've pretty much spent 2 straight days in the kitchen!  Sunday was meant to be a kitchen day anyway, as I had lots of projects planned.  First I wanted to try out a "green soup" recipe that was in October's issue of Eating Well magazine.  I don't usually read Eating Well, I prefer Clean Eating magazine because they don't use white flour or sugar and they watch the calories in their recipes too.  But we got the issue of Eating Well in our CSA box this week, and seeing as how I had tot soi, collards, leafy celery and turnip and dandelion greens in my fridge that needed some attention this recipe was well-timed.  You can use any kind of greens you have on hand.  It turned out really yummy, I couldn't think of a better way to turn a huge pile of bitter greens into something I would actually enjoy eating!

I also noticed while cooking that all of our freezers are full of trash.  We have a very complex waste disposal system.  Vegetable scraps get stuffed into a ziploc and thrown into the freezer, and whenever I make a whole chicken I stick the carcass in my crock pot with some of the veggie scraps to make broth.  Fruit and vegetable scraps that would NOT make good broth (like banana peels, eew) get shoved into separate bags and put in the freezer to be saved for my mom's goats.  OTHER food trash that is not good for broth OR goats (like coffee grounds and eggshells) gets composted.  The rest of our stuff gets recycled, and if it doesn't fall into ANY of those categories then it is thrown away.  It's kind of a pain to not just be able to sweep everything into the trash while I'm cleaning up, but our family of 4 usually only produces 1 bag of trash per week, so I think it's worth it. 

Anyway, I hadn't realized how many bags of veggie junk we had in our freezers (5!) so I decided I needed to make some broth, stat.  Once I had that going, I realized we didn't have any pumpkins to carve since Emily's trip to the pumpkin patch the day before had been cancelled.  I set out to find some, going first to Costco (nope), then to Giant (nope), then calling My Organic Market (nope).  Instead of just running around town all day I decided to go to the closest pumpkin patch.  However all they had left in the way of carving pumpkins were pretty big.  They also had the greyish pumpkins that are really good for baking and I wanted to make some pumpkin puree to freeze since it's SO much better than canned, so when all was said and done I ended up with 100 pounds of pumpkin in my wheelbarrow.  
But we carved 4 of them and cooked the seeds, and I already have 1 of the grey kind cooked and pureed and stuffed in my freezer so we're putting them all to good use. I finished the day out by cooking up some lima beans from our CSA box and a whole chicken (I needed to make lots of broth!)

Monday I went about my normal weekday schedule, but soon returned to the kitchen because I was hosting my family for an early dinner before trick or treating.  I ground up some flour and got some dough started rising for bread.  And aparently I have a lot to say about bread, because I just went off on a tangent and typed for about half an hour on the subject.  I will save all of that amazingness for another blog post.

I finished the day by toasting pumpkin seeds, cooking down one of the pumpkins, making 4 pork tenderloins and baking my bread.  We had a lovely dinner, prominently featuring my dad's delicious pumpkin soup and homemade hard apple cider, which was also awesome!  I will definitely be trying to make some of my own in the near future.  And I am proud to say that I haven't touched a single piece of Halloween candy!  It may sound overly dramatic, but if I have even one then all is lost so my goal was not to get started in the first place.  I have been snacking a bit more than usual  (a big banana with peanut butter yesterday, lots of pumpkin seeds and random bowls of leftover soup) but I'm allowing myself to have a bit more healthy food as a kind of "reward" for avoiding the candy.  We'll see how that turns out at my weigh-in tomorrow.

I am also happy that we successfully sneaked all of Charlotte's regular candy out of her pupmkin and replaced it with the dye-free organic lollipops I let them have in the car on occasion.  She is perfectly happy with that!  Emily is old enough now to know better, but she is being agreeable about letting me ration her candy out so Halloween hasn't been TOO hard on anyone's blood sugar so far.

After all that I'm kinda sick of being in the kitchen, but today is going to have to be a kitchen day too...except instead of cooking fun things I'll be cleaning up :-(  That is the unfortunate result of using a kitchen, eventually it'll have to be cleaned!