Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Travel = NO Blog Posts

I don't know what it is about impending travel that makes my blog posts spiral sadly into oblivion.  OK, that isn't entirely true.  My problem is that I get a WEE bit spastic prior to a trip.  This trip in particular was a little maddening.  I had to prep not only myself and my psyche for the 1/2 marathon, but also the house and the children for spending 5 days alone with Daddy.  Oh and did I mention that we are having a swing set installed while I am gone?  And that land needed prepped?  Of course, we couldn't pick an easy place.  Nope, we decided to relocate the garden.  And there was t-ball practice, the Mister out for business dinners, blah, blah, blah.

But, I AM BACK!!!  I have so much to tell too!  I am going to be a bit of a tease though because somehow even though there were people here at the house, I still have a mountain of laundry, dishes and dinner to prepare.  Why does the song "Back to Life, Back to Reality"  keep playing in my head? LOL  As for the teaser... I did make it to DC safely on Friday.  
PS - The V I am making is for my running group, Team Victorious!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

NSV Link-Up - Cleaning out the Closet

buttonWell heck!  It is 5:47 and I just realized I hadn't written today.  I am joining in with KTJ again on Non-Scale Victories Link-Up.  Why it took me so long to get here is because I was cleaning my closet... again.

You know what is great about losing weight and toning up?  You "under-grow" out of your clothes. 

You know what sucks about losing weight and toning up?  You "under-grow" out of your clothes!

Every month so far this year, I have had to go through my closet and shift out the stuff that no longer fits (in a good way).  I am getting to a place though, that I have little left that does fit.  I know, I know, it just means I get to go shopping.  Anyone tried clothes shopping with 2 small children?  Does everyone remember my failed Target attempt a few weeks back?  Yeah - well, that means internet and returns for me.

Today's clean machine began because a package arrived from Kohl's.  Woot!  I am in desperate need of jackets, plain t-shirts and other basics.  Some of it worked, and naturally some did not.  So my NSV today is that I did manage to get a few new things that fit.  My failed NSV is that once again, I have to make a trek to the store and make returns.  Whomp! Whomp!

Happy Thursday, all!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Fruit "Cake"

My Dessert for Bunco and K-Man's for Tonight

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Still Running

As if I wasn't scared enough to be running a half marathon, yesterday happens.  And now, I am truly struggling to put it into words.  I wasn't really able to get too much detail in the day time, as I have small kids.  The visuals on TV were too much for them to understand or for me to explain.  I caught what I could through my various running boards.  My husband and I spent the evening on the couch watching the news clips after they went to bed.  We discussed briefly whether I should still go to my race in DC.

It isn't that the Nike Women's Half is as elite as the Boston Marathon, but it is in the Capital of our nation.  That is could be considered good or bad, I suppose.  Good - because the security there is always beefy.  Bad - because that is the Capital and always a target. 

The thing is... I have been training for 4 months.  I am ready.  Am I really going to give that up because of this?  My sister reminded me yesterday that we still went to the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 after the bombing.  We were right there where it happened.  Honestly, I had sort of forgotten.  But she is right.  Life goes on and we have to show a united front that we won't be broken.  We will still smile, laugh and run. 

So here are the latest stats to date from Feb 12th.  Sadly, I don't have my Dec and Jan data :(

59 runs
33 hours
173.8 miles
11 min/mile average
AND my last 10.5 miles was at a 9:57min/mile!!  Now if I can keep that up for less than 3 more, I will be one happy camper at the race.
PS:  I forgot to tell you which shoes I bought, huh?  Well, sadly the pretty shoes aka Saucony Rides didn't make the cut.  Darn, the pink was super cute too.  I ended up with Brooks Defyance and will probably eventually get another pair of Glycerins too (they are a little bit pink).  Just ran out of time to break them in.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Prayers for Boston Marathon

I had every intention of posting a running update today.  My half is now less than 2 weeks away.  In light of the recent bombings at the end of the Boston Marathon, I will just send thoughts and prayers to those injured, families of those lost and to the runners who spent months preparing and qualifying for what should have been a positive momentous event.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Banana Swirl - YUM!

We keep watching this Daniel episode about trying new foods, and they make what they call a Banana Swirl.  It was simply putting bananas into the freezer, then once frozen throwing them into a blender until at an "ice cream" consistency.  No milk, no sugar, no nothing else!  Just Banana.  I almost always have bananas in the freezer.  Once they pass their prime, I throw them in so I can make muffins or bread later. 

K-Man has been asking for awhile to try, so I figured why not.  After dinner last night, I grabbed to frozen bananas, peeled them with a knife.  Skins on frozen bananas are tricky.  I don't have a fabulous blender, so we used the Cuisinart, which works better and quieter anyway.  Can I just say YUM?! 
Seriously, this was like having an ice cream only the only ingredient is banana.  K-Man, of course had toppings on his, but Mini-Me and I thought it was fabulous plain. I think I found my go-to dessert for the summer!
Thank you, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood on PBS
PS:  If you kids aren't already watching it and you were a Mister Rogers fan, you will love this show!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Overscheduled Much?

I should say we could be overscheduled because in all honesty, I am not allowing us to get there.

1 yr ago - He looks so small!
The K-Man as you know has been in Tae Kwon Do for over 1 year now.  He has done really well, earned 4 belt levels and can break a board with his foot like nobody's business.  The problem with TKD is that it isn't seasonal or sessional.  They want you to sign up for a year contract.  Yep, you read that correctly - sign a 4 year old up for a 1 year contract.  Crazy talk, right?  At first, we did only 3 months, then extended it another year since he seemed to like it.  However, I am so DONE with going 2 days a week. 

It was simpler when Mini-Me was younger, less mobile and less vocal.  She too is DONE with the whole thing.  We have to get in the car when it is freezing to drive 5 minutes, sit in a tiny waiting space and she isn't allowed out on the big mats where the kids are doing fun things, then 30 minutes later back in the carseat.  I literally spend my time keeping her occupied and no longer can watch the cool stuff the K-Man is learning.  On a side note, she does entertain everyone with her "hi-yas" and calling for her brother.  Truthfully, I think the K-Man is over it too.  He doesn't ask for it, or get all excited when I say to get ready.  When I asked him if he wanted to continue, he said, "Well, I would like to earn that black belt".  I tried to explain that could take 2 years, but the concept of years is still lost a bit on him.

Our contract ends June 1st and we have decided to not renew.  T-ball starts this month, and we want K-Man to try other things.  If we did both, then we would literally have 4 nights a week taken up with activities for him.  It just doesn't seem practical.  I would be a crazy woman trying to feed the kids and get them to everything.  And there is of course, the dragging of the younger sister to MORE things not for her.  So I guess it isn't only about overscheduling him at the moment, but also me and Mini-Me. 

Batting Practice
We are actually excited about t-ball since it gives us more opportunity to be outside.  Mini-Me loves outside time and she will have a little more freedom than a small TKD waiting room.  K-Man seems pretty interested so far and we haven't made it to a practice yet.  The Mister bought him a tee, bat and balls when in WV for Easter.  They played all weekend, and he is pretty good at hitting.  Actually, right now, he seems to be a switch hitter.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised since he golfs lefty, but you just never know.  Better yet  - t-ball is completely seasonal, and has an end.  Woot!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Did I Mention, I love Spring?!

Swinging Out Back
Ducks at Congress Park

I said to say "Cheese"

Free Cone Day - Ben and Jerry's

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Crockpot Experiment

I totally did not intend to take Friday and Monday off from blogging.  However, I am a little bit in crazy spring-cleaning mode.  I am also entertaining fence quotes, which requires time.  And then there is my Crockpot Experiment.  It isn't that I don't or haven't used my crockpot.  I just don't really use it with regularity despite the fact that it might help alleviate my "crap, what's for dinner, issue."

On days that the K-Man has evening activities, dinner becomes a problem.  We need to leave too early, so eating before doesn't work.  We don't get in until after 6pm.  While dinner is normal for us at that hour, starting to cook then doesn't really work.  I had been going with the traditional quick meals in our house - pasta and meatballs or tacos.  I almost always have some in the freezer, so that is easy enough.  My younger sister has been telling me about these recipes she found on Pinterest (my nemesis) and how they give you the whole shopping list, and you can prep it all for the freezer.  Additionally, they are crockpot meals.

Last week, I took 2 grocery lists from Baked in the South and after weeding out what I already had, went shopping.  I have to admit that I was doing this very quickly and didn't review her recipes entirely. So unfortunately once I got home with the mountain of groceries, I also decided that a few menu items wouldn't work for my family.  More searching turned up Loving My Nest where I found a couple more recipes that would take care of the additional groceries that I had already bought.

I literally spent the entire afternoon prepping meals.  Here is what is now or was in the freezer:
Asian Beef (own recipe)
We have already had a few of the meals and let me say - YUM.  And that isn't only my opinion.   The Mister is fully on board too, which is pretty exciting.  K-Man has enjoyed parts of everything as well.  I starred the ones that we really enjoyed.  The Pork & Veggies was by far my favorite, which is why you see 4 stars.  Loaded Baked Potato Soup was good, but I am certain not calorie friendly giving it only 3 stars.  I did substitute greek yogurt for the sour cream and use mozzarella versus colby jack - but still.  The Beef Burritos were great, but I don't consider it an easy meal when you still have to roll them and put them into the oven for 30 minutes - so again only 3 stars.  Also those darn wraps are loaded with calories - UGH!  Anyone have a recommendation for lower cal ones?
All the meals are linked up (except my own concoction), so if you are interested in trying things out, it is simple.  No cooking, just prepping and throwing them in your freezer containers of choice.  Check them out!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

No Means No

In my small little world of raising 2 kids, I find myself saying things over and over.  Maybe they are simple things like, use your fork or say please and thank you.  But some things that seem small could inevitably be life changing should my children not get the reason or meaning of what I am saying.  As I discussed recently, we are having a "tackling" issue here in the house.  Mini-Me is pretty vocal in what she is willing to participate in, so I find myself reminding the K-Man that he heard the words "No" from her and he needs to respect that.  No means No.

Such a simple little word and concept to us, except when awful things happen in the world and you realize that me teaching him just that is extremely important!  The problem is that he doesn't seem to be catching on as quickly as I would think.  The boy just turned 5, 2 months ago.  His is intelligent, no delays, etc.  So what am I doing wrong?  We have tried rewards, punishments, ignoring, yelling, redirection, but nothing quite does the trick.  I took some education classes.  I know the techniques, but still can't seem to make them work here in my own home.  I know that negative reinforcement is not the preferred method, yet so far it is the one thing that gets his attention faster than anything else - at least for a moment.  That is just it, though, it lasts for a moment.  I guess that is why it isn't preferred.

The thing is, K-Man isn't malicious.  It isn't that he wants to hurt his sister, or ignore my wishes.  You can see genuine emotion when he is corrected or that happens.  He just can't seem to control himself once he gets all excited and that scares me.  Even if it is just learning that my daughter's verbal cues or blatant no's still mean no, he needs to understand that it is a sign of respect.  Just as it is a sign of respect to understand if Mom says no, you don't keep asking or you stop.  There are so many reasons understanding this concept is great for him.  I refuse to stop trying.

Any advice out there from the moms that have already encountered this?  Is it just the age, and he will get it?  Or is there some method I need to stick with?  HELP!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wordless Wednesdays - Ultimate Wonder

Trampoline Fun

Watching the Shishies (AKA Fish)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Do You Want Them Back - Repost

A fellow blogger (and someone I consider a friend despite the fact that we have A. Never met, and B. live on opposite sides of the country) wrote this great blog a few weeks ago that I wanted to share.  In light of events that some close friends and family are dealing with, I thought perhaps it was fitting.  I really think that it applies to all losses, whether by death or choice.  Thank you, Patricia at Legacy for sharing. And to those struggling to reconcile current events, for you...

I warn you readers. This is not going to be one of those crazy posts where you LOL. It's a serious one, but when I have an epiphany, it must be documented, since the occurrences are becoming a rarity.

I was driving to my office. I had just dropped off my daughter at high school with her iced caramel machiatto to help her get through her AP Human Geography test. Was sipping an awake tea of my own, sweetened with sugar-free vanilla (my new favorite no calorie drink at Starbucks. It's cheap too. Even better.)

I was listening to the radio. My listening is varied on the way to work. I have ten stations programmed into my car radio and my iPhone has Pandora (love) and all of my iTunes music too, and my car has one of those hookups where I can listen through my car speakers, so I always have good ear candy.
On the radio was a radio show called the Wally Show. I rarely land on this station, but the conversation had me hooked. There was a woman who wrote in to recount the story of the death of her son. I missed most of the story, and I know you are thinking this is not very uplifting for a morning radio show, and I wholeheartedly agree, but since I was wanting to hear the end of the story, I kept on listening.

She talked about something very familiar to me. It was the absolute devastation one feels when having experienced a major loss in life. If you haven't been reading all that long, I am one of those people you hear about who can plan a funeral in my sleep, because many people very close to my immediate life have died. She described the "not wanting to get out of bed, not eating, not sleeping, not living, just existing while the rest of the world goes about normal daily tasks" kind of reality that I am all too familiar with.

Then she talked of a time when she was pissed at God (check) for allowing this to destroy her life, she was crying out to God (check) and in that moment, she heard a very audible and real question come from God. (You may have some very strong beliefs about whether people can REALLY hear the voice of God, but keep reading, because it doesn't really matter.) What she heard "God" say is "Do you want Him back?"
At that moment, she realized that she didn't. She realized that her son was no longer ill, no longer feeling the inevitable pain of this world, no longer struggling and her pain was not for him, but for her. Her answer to "God" was, "No, I don't want him back."

This sparked something in me. Made me think about my losses. Do I want them back?

My sister was a recovering alcoholic. She really struggled in life. It was painful to witness. She was ironically killed, five years after her recovery, by a drunk driver. Wow. Irony. She once told me she often drove home at night and had no idea how she got there when she was drinking. She could have been the driver, not the victim. Ugh. No, she is out of her struggle with life. I want her to stay for all eternity in a place that would feel safe and welcoming. (Crying right now..)

My mom and dad were both irreparably affected by the loss of my sister when she began drinking and then when she was killed. It was so tragic to see my strong, responsible, amazing parents suffer. The only thing that miraculously began the healing process was their love affair with their grand kids.

Then my mom got sick. Terminally. I saw my dad for years, serve her in that illness. He changed her oxygen tanks, cooked for her, cleaned the house, did the shopping and kept his marriage vows in a way I had never imagined he knew how. When mom died, we were all broken, again irreparably. We knew nothing would ever be the same again, and it wasn't, but then came Doris.

My dad was married for five years and happy again before his massive and sudden heart attack last August.
Would I want them back? I have to say no. What I want is my life to feel whole again, which I can't say is impossible. Just because I can't see right now how it will all come back together, doesn't mean it won't.

Don't think I'm not happy. I am very happy. I have a wonderful family and unbelievably supportive friends. I have a great job, am healthy. I do love life, but my life is fractured. In spite of that I don't want any of my family back. I may feel alone sometimes, like no one really knows me, because there is no one with whom I can recall those childhood stories with, but I am not alone.

This realization has been a powerful step in my healing. Thanks for reading.