Saturday, February 28, 2009

Keeping Score

One Point Andy:
Arranging for a babysitter so he could take me out on a date tonight.

Two Points Andy: 
Buying me a swim cap, goggles AND an awesome new tennis racket for the spring. 

Three Points Andy:
Opening the truck door for me even though he had to go to the drivers side, unlock the door, and come back to my side to let me in (the passenger side doesn't have a key hole, he asked me to wait so he could open it).

Four Points Andy:
Tucking Jack in, complete with singing, when we got back home. 

Five Points Andy:
Oh wait, I mean five points ME.  As in winning our game of mini-golf... by FIVE POINTS. 

Let it be known that the agreement was that the loser would have to do DDR... and try.  You can imagine my glee and the anticipation I felt waiting to see the manliest man I know boogie down with his anime self.  However, as the expert on the game ahead of him was getting ready for his final round, the machine locked up.  Andy wasn't able to fulfill his duty as the loser, so I now have in my possession an IOU to see Andy's dancing revolution.  You can be sure that I will NOT forget to redeem it. 

I love winning. 

And I love Andy.

More than winning.

A lot more.

Good thing too.

Since this is the only thing I have ever won in our relationship.  

I have to celebrate the small victories. 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Good Thing We're Only Speaking Hypothetically

You know what might put a damper on a great mood?


If your baby is sick for a whole week.

Like really sick.  Like a temperature, and constant snot, and a chest rattling cough and absolutely no appetite.

That would be sad.

Hypothetically, what might make it even sadder might be that the mum of that poor sick baby is training for a race and wants to go to the gym, but can't because her infected child might infect all the other children.

And maybe, it would be even lamer if that mum was also a really social person who needs lots of interpersonal interactions (face to face people, not cyber) but is quarantined at home because of that poor sick baby. 

Maybe, we could make the story more interesting if we imagine that that socially deprived mum of that poor sick baby finally decided to at last shower and put on something other than her robe.  Low and behold, once she got out of the shower the poor sick baby was still sleeping so she decided to go all out and put her make up on and even dry her hair.

That might make this pretend story happier.  Especially if she finished with her hair and looked at herself in the mirror and thought, "Wow.  I'm smokin' today!  Since when has my hair looked this awesome?"

And probably, by the sounds of it, the next thing that mum would do is put on an actual grown up shirt, to compliment her hair.  Not like a tee shirt.  But like a fitted shirt.  Even one that has a deep vee.

Yes.  That is exactly what that mum would do.

Man I bet that mum looked good.

Then, hypothetically, she would do her best to keep the poor sick baby comfortable and happy until the handsome prince arrived home.  I bet, hypothetically, she would hear his car pull up and leap up, ready to be fawned over for her really fabulous hair.

Alas, hypothetically, the prince did arrive with a present for mum, I mean, he might have, but he also might have arrived with a new phone for himself, which was a significant distraction from the pretty mum.

It is a good thing that it only happened hypothetically because waiting to be noticed and then going unnoticed is very sad. 

It might, along with the cooped up feeling of being home with the poor sick baby all week, hypothetically, make a mum like that overreact to friendly teasing by the prince.

Then, feeling bad about overreacting and about wasting a good hair day the mum would, of course, in theory, end up in her good jeans and her grown up shirt, on the floor scrubbing crusty remnants of flung baby food (and since this hypothetical baby hasn't had an appetite for a week, you can imagine, hypothetically, how long the crust has been there). 

I bet, if I can guess where this story is going, that the mum and the prince made up quickly and both apologized and kissed to seal the deal. 

Hypothetically though, what if the prince had a prior engagement (on the calendar for months) that would leave the mum alone for the evening, on top of a solo day! I bet that mum would console herself with a trip to Target.

And I bet, when she went to Target she would try a few things on, just for the fun of it.  And, as is apt to be the case in a situation like the one we are discussing, I bet that mum looked in the mirror, under the glaring lights, and realized that her hair wasn't all that great and that her grown up shirt was covered in snot. 

I bet that mom quickly left the dressing room and headed straight home, hypothetically. 

And since it would be about par for the course in our story, I bet the mum enjoyed the outing but upon returning home realized that she forgot the two actual items that she needed.  

Hypothetically, my guess is that mom came home, snuggled her poor sick baby, gave him a bath, sung him a song, put him to bed and ordered pizza to be delivered with all of the toppings that she likes but the prince doesn't.  Then I think she took a deep breath, put on her prince's sweat pants, took her pizza to the couch and watched Survivor.  

That sounds exactly like what that mum would do. 


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Scale is Broken

Hey! Did you know that today is the beginning of Lent?

I forgot that it was coming around until I saw someone's FB status of what they were forgoing for the next 46 days (Lent ends April 11th this year).

I've done Lenten fasts in the past, but never really held it as a tradition in my life.  I love resolutions and the beginning of new things, but I've felt trite giving up some bad habit for 40 days because of a liturgical tradition I'm really not all that familiar with. 

However, as I've been asking my body to do more work at the gym (except this week as Jack is still a pitiful, sleepy, snugly, snotty lump) my good eating habits have dropped.  I know that seems weird, but it is happening.  I think I didn't prepare for the increase in my appetite and when I felt unusually hungry instead of eating a snack to fuel my exercise I eat a snack to "treat myself."

On Monday I was realizing that my sweet tooth has become a sweet habit.  I'm simply in the habit of grabbing something sweet and fast.  

I know you know what I'm getting at.  

Starting today, I will say no to: cookies, cake, brownies, ice cream and candy.  I thought about going NO sugar, but that involves reading all the food labels and forgoing my coffee.  I'm not nearly that motivated.

Who knows, I might be in 46 days. 

Here is why I've decided to participate in Lent this year:
  1. I was already thinking about giving up sweets, so I don't feel like I've been coerced or guilted into giving something up just to sound spiritual.
  2. Sweets are not good for me.
  3. I think it is very good practice to occasionally deny myself things that I want (shoes, "me time," praise) but don't need.
  4. My "three pound flux" on the scale used to err toward minus three.  This week it has consistently "erred" plus three. 
So there you go friend.  Day one.  Good thing I didn't have a brownie for breakfast!

Are YOU practicing restraint in any area of your life, for Lent or otherwise?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

If I Eat This, What Am I?

I made a solo trip to Trader Joe's last night and enjoyed every minute of it!

Here's what we're having for dinner this week:

Last night: 

Wheat Pitas stuffed with seasoned lamb, feta, lettuce and homemade tzatzkiki sauce.  Basically a gyro.  I've never made lamb before, but TJ's had a pre-seasoned rack that you just stick in the oven and ta da, you have lamb.  I don't recommend it though.  The flavor was good, but it was very fatty and once I cut away the fat and bones there wasn't much left in the way of meat.

The rest of the week:

Salmon with rice and baby broccoli. I'm... oops, I almost let something slip that I shouldn't.  Talk to me tomorrow and I can tell.

Orange Chicken.  This one is "Andy's." If I have it in the fridge, with some of TJ's microwave rice (which I think is ingenious) then I can ask him to make dinner. He can follow directions with the best of 'em, but anything beyond that kind of freaks him out. We're only two years into the plan after all. 

Shrimp with whole wheat pasta and a creamy garlic sauce and green beans.  I've never cooked shrimp before either, but someone told me TJ's frozen shrimp were great, so I thought I would give it a try.  I guess I was feeling adventurous last night. 

Sweet basil chicken sausage with pasta and red sauce and a caesar salad with freshly slivered parmesan cheese.  I like having fast and easy meal makings so that when I'm feeling lazy I can just boil the pasta and toss everything together.  

Grilled chicken and roasted potatoes with sugar snap peas.  We'll see if I can get Andy to eat the peas in their pods.  Any bets?

I also have a few other standbys on hand in case of a culinary emergency:

Chili and nachos
Open faced tuna sandwiches
Clam chowder
Freezer pasta meal
Breakfast (we go through eggs like nobody's business)

It looks like it will be a good week of eating.  I just hope I actually get around to making all of these things.  That seems to be the problem.  I stock up, only to find that a third of it goes right to my garbage can once it is past pull.  


I'll keep you posted.  Especially about the shrimp.  I'm intimidated by those grey little guys.  

Monday, February 23, 2009

Good Morning Monday

I love my living room.  

For one, it is the room I spend the most time in (or at least tied with the kitchen).  It is where Jack and I play catch and read our books.  It is where Andy and I cuddle into the couch to watch CSI or Biggest Loser.  It is where I fold laundry or ignore the laundry with my latest book selection.

It is also walled with three giant windows that face east.  I have come out of my bedroom the last week and been greeted by early sun.  The days are getting longer and sky clearer.  As I open the blinds each morning, Jack smiles and then turns his head to avoid the glare, then I sing our morning song:

Way up in the sky
The little birds fly
While down in their nest
The baby birds rest
The bright sun comes out
The dew falls away
Good morning!
Good morning! 
The little birds say

Usually, after our wake up routine Jack is eager to get on the floor and check on all of his toys.  He crawls from one corner of the room to the other, playing with each of his favorites.  While he checks on everything I make some chai, check my e-mail and do whatever else I need to do to get the ol' gal moving.

The plan this morning was to feed ourselves and then while my sweet babe explored I would put on my gym clothes and whisk us both to the gym for an energizing work out (play time). 

However, as is often the case, Jack is unpredictable.  All of my plans have to be flexible.  This morning Jack has snot pouring out of his nose, a feeble little cough and a creeping temperature.  Poor baby.  I'm sure he would be fine playing at the gym, but i don't really want to be that mommy who brings her sick kid and infects all the other kids.  At least not today.

So instead of making the trek, we're cuddling and playing quite games.  Jack gets a quick burst of energy and plays with abandon, and then crawls back to me to sit quietly on my lap.  I am sorry that he doesn't feel well, but boy to I love the way he melts into me!

I'm imaging a day of more, but shorter naps, lots of story reading and most likely no shower.  My mind is racing, thinking of all the things that I should, could and want to do: clean out the fridge, explore my dreams, catch up on e-mails, plan March's menu, research planting a vegetable garden, fold the laundry, clean my room, vacuum and sweep... Then there are the things that I had planned to do, and now need to move to a later day: grocery shopping, taking Andy's clothes to the dry cleaner, the gym...

I want to feel productive.  I want to have something to show for the end of this day.  But truthfully, very little will probably actually get done.  Andy will come home and the laundry will still be on the couch.  I will still be in my robe and dinner will not be finished.  

I'm okay with it.  Luckily for me, Andy is okay with it too. 

My novel and glass of water are positioned right next to the couch, for those moments when Jack dozes asleep in my arms and I choose to just hold him rather than put him in his crib.  

The dishes are done because last night I made sure that when I woke up at least one room in my house would be clean, so at least that is something.

Regardless of how many checks I get to put on my list, today is still going to be a great day.  Never again will Jack be one day away from being 11 months old.  Never again will it be February 23, 2009.  Today is special.  It holds great promise.  

I am going to enjoy it.  Living this day, with passion, energy and love.  

This is the day the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Softer Side

I have to apologize.  Again.

My post yesterday was very snooty.  I don't like it when I'm snooty.  

I try really hard in my real life to be approachable and kind and somehow my words just ran away with me.

I never want to think that my way is the best way and other people are silly.  Well, maybe I'll think they are silly, but I don't want to say it out loud or broadcast that opinion to anyone who will listen (read).

Please forgive me.

Maybe I need to flex my celebrating muscle a little more and embrace the lovely aspects of birthday parties.

I much prefer to think of myself as sweet and whimsical instead of sassy and sarcastic.  So let's move on from my soap-box tirades, shall we. 

Let me tell of the simple pleasures of today:
  • Jack feel asleep on my chest this evening.  I know it is better to let him put himself to sleep in his crib, but I just eat it up when he snuggles into my neck.
  • I have white tulips all over my house.
  • Andy brought home Thai food so I didn't have to cook.
  • I ate two giant brownies.
  • I wore my red heels out of the house, finally. 
  • New friendships are growing in my life.
  • New ministry opportunities have presented themselves and I'm walking into them with Holy Spirit courage.
  • Andy and I watched a movie on Monday and he cried!  I know it is terrible, but I really like it when he gets emotional.  His tender side is just so... tender!
  • I used a new shampoo and my hair is extra soft.
  • I spent all day with this lovely boy and his funny faces:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I would like to share with you the most ridiculous piece of mail I have ever retrieved from our postbox:. 

A blue tri-fold brochure/advertisement with a giant number one on the cover and titled "Birthday Party Planner" from ToysRUs. 

Okay, before I even look inside, I know this is going to be silly.  Call me crazy, or no fun, but I don't really think Jack needs a big blow-out birthday this year.  Yes, I am truly and amazingly grateful that he has been born and I love celebrating the wonderful little man that he is, but really? Except for the classic cupcake-frosting-messyface-sugarhigh picture (don't even get me started on the cupcakes) that I keep to show his future wife, he will have absolutely no idea what the party is all about. 

But wait, the card gets better.

Some highlights from the first page:

"Somebody special is turning one!  It's been an amazing year filled with firsts.  Now, it's time to get ready for the event of the year!"

Okay.  Pause.  The event of the year? Um. I don't think so.  Sorry Jack.

Here's what you can get from Geoffrey's (the ToysRUs giraffe mascot) Birthday Club:

Birthday cards, suprise gifts and phone calls from Geoffrey
In-store celebrations with balloons...
Annual Party Planners with savings opportunities


Here is what the party planner advises me to do to plan the perfect first birthday party... 

EIGHT WEEKS before (seriously?) make my guest list and set the date, place and THEME.  Really?  Jack's favorite toy right now is an empty tennis ball tube.  What would the theme be?  Trash that can be toys?


Four weeks and counting, of course, make my gift registry at ToysRUs... and to the rest of the planning stuff

Two weeks to go, order cake and balloons (aren't they they #1 choking hazard? Or is that hot dogs?).

Three days before the "event of the year" call and remind anyone who has not responded to your invitation ("Hi, this is Jack's mom.  I'm just wondering what you have against my son?  I mean, this IS his FIRST birthday party.  I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you just forgot.  We'll see you Saturday at 1:00pm SHARP.  Please remember that we have registered at ToysRUs.  Thank you.").

I don't think this list will really work for us.

Also included in this handy dandy dual-purpose planner/advertisement is a checklist of the planning ESSENTIALS, which apparently include, but are not limited to: 

A commemorative bib
A helium tank
Pinata (for a ONE year old?!)

Okay, I'm sorry, I know I've been a little snide, but doesn't this all seem silly to you? Anyone? Is this really what motherhood has become?  Throwing the perfect first birthday. If so, count me out.  

Luckily, I am surrounded by friends and family who simply love me as a mom, and love Jack as the wonderful baby he is.  We celebrate each milestone as it comes (by the way, my baby boy is WALKING!) and pray daily that he grows up loving God and growing in wisdom.

Jack's first birthday IS approaching, but I'm pretty sure we'll celebrate sans pinata.  

After all, does this boy looks like he needs centerpieces and party favors to be happy:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Embarrassing But True

At this very moment Jack is dozing off to sleep.  I am staring at a house that has been ransacked by a lovely, long, messy play date and am toying with the idea of taking a nap instead of restoring it to order.

Oh the luxury of motherhood.  Deciding that naps rank higher on the priority list than dishes.  

But before I cozy up in my down comforter, I have a confession.  

Every Monday I wake up disappointed.  Disappointed that it is not Tuesday.

Care to guess why?

Because Tuesday is Biggest Loser night of course!  

I am hopelessly addicted to the Biggest Loser.  

I'm not sure why I've made such a deep and long lasting commitment to a reality show, but I have.  

Confession #2: I cry almost every episode.  I know Jillian and Bob are over the top with the self-empowerment speeches, but I just can't help but think, "These people may have never thought of themselves in any good terms."  I also cry because I can just imagine the change in their lives when they are 100 pounds lighter.  

I'm a sucker for any sort of make over, really.  But these people are doing the work.  They are learning how to change the course of their lives.  It is good to see people opt for exercise and healthy eating instead of surgery or pills.  I really get emotional when they are able to go off of the 13 medications they have to take each day or when they can fit into some outfit they thought was just a dream.  

Confession #2.5: Pill-popping and quick-fix "health" gimmicks really get me riled up.  I am very sad for our nation and its struggle with obesity and health in general.  I know I'm a bit hypocritical - I know I could do better for my body (read confession #3) but I would say that I live by an 80/20 scale.  80% good for me, 20% for fun.... sometimes 70/30.  But I ache for families that consume only meals from boxes or drive-thrus, or whose primary entertainment comes from a glowing box.  How can so many people just not know how to care for themselves?  
I better step off my soap box before I get too squirly. 

Confession #3: When I wake up on Mondays and face the disappointment of waiting one more whole day to see the next chapter in the Biggest Loser journey, I usually console myself by doing some sort of baking.  

Then I eat whatever I've baked as I watch the Biggest Loser.  

Don't tell me you don't do the same thing!

Brownies have been the craving lately.  Or chocolate chip cookies.  But I think my baking phase is dying down (luckily, the more I'm in the gym, the less I want sweets).  Maybe I'll go back to microwave kettle corn.  Maybe. 

Confession #4: When I go to the gym on Wednesday, I visualize Bob coaching me as I run on the treadmill.  There is no way I would want to face the wrath of a Biggest Loser trainer, so I run extra far or push just a little bit harder than I do the rest of the week because I have a fresh mental picture of someone cheering me on.

By the way, I added
a whole mile
to my run today.
I'm feeling pretty smug.
That brings my mileage to
I guess I still have more work to do.
But we've got to celebrate the small things.

Confession #5: Biggest Loser is my gateway reality show.  I scorned reality tv for so long.  Now, not only do I watch B.L., but I also keep up with Survivor.  WHAT!?  Why?

I don't know why!

I just do.

Confession #6: I'm blushing from all this self-revelation.  I hope you still love me even after you know my shameful secrets.

Now, I have about 30 minutes left to close my eyes and ignore the scattered toys.  After that, it is back to the pick up, play chase, tickle tummy, start dinner routine.  

I have not baked anything yet today, and I just might resist this week.  After all, I want Bob and Jillian to be proud.

And I want to not feel my bum bounce when I add my next mile.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sweet Dreams

If I ever have an extra $15,000, I want this bed

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Third Time's a Charm

Oh man!

This summer, if all goes as planned, I will check one of my lifetime goals off of my list.  

I have just registered for my first Triathlon!

Truly though, it is not the first triathlon I have registered for.  I have registered for two in the past.  I was unable to compete in either of them through a series of odd circumstances.

The first TRI I registered for I trained for half-heartedly.  When I gave myself a concussion by over-eagerly trying to catch a frisbee and running my face into a tractor a few weeks before the race (true story.  ask me about it sometime) it was a good excuse to... excuse myself. 

The second one that I registered for was just last year.  I knew that I would need some sort of motivation to get back into shape after having Jack, so I registered with two other gals as a relay team.  I was the running leg.  I did train for that one and was ready to kick butt (or at least stumble across the finish line) but the swim leg of our race discovered she was pregnant and her doctor told her not to compete.  The registration was non-transferable, so there went that shot.  However, I did meet my goal of banishing the baby weight.  Yay!

So now I'm attempting to tackle this monster once again.  

Swim .5 miles.
Bike 12
Run 3.2

Sounds easy enough right?

We'll see.

But I'm totally excited to sweat and show this world (and myself) what I'm made of!

This time I HAVE to do it.  I've registered with ... (just a sec, let me count... Robyn, Emily G., Jamie, Stephanie, Tara) FIVE other women.  We're each planning to complete the whole thing.  


So in just a few minutes, I'm off to my first ever spinning class.  I don't own a bike, as of yet, so I'll be busting my petals in the gym for a while.  That is fine with me.  I don't participate in outdoor athletic endeavors the day after it has been snowing.  I'm not that hardcore... yet. 

Be sure that I'll keep you posted on my progress.  I have 27 weeks to go from one mile endurance to 16 mile endurance.  It can be done friends, and I am going to prove it.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hello Again

So sorry.

I have no excuse.

But I do sincerely apologize.

Don't despair, I have re-entered my blogging life. 

What you have missed in the last two weeks:
  • Jack started swimming lessons.
  • I poured myself the last bit of chai in my fridge and as the last drop feel from the box, a spider also fell, from where I do not know.  But it landed, all leggy and squirmy, right in my chilly morning beverage.  GAH!  I fished it out with a straw and washed it down the drain.  Then I drank the chia anyway.  Don't judge please.  I am now mother to a BOY, who knows what kind of future interactions I will be forced to have with spiders.  Shudder.
  • I'm considering giving my hair a break from the bi-monthly dying and going back to brown for a month or two, but I really do NOT want to give up my red. I also don't want frizzy, shattered hair.  Hmmm.
  • Don't go to this website.  It will suck you in.  $1?!  That is it? $1!!? 
  • I am now an expert in Indian cooking thanks to my latest just-for-me outing to a cooking class.
  • I really like basil.

I have in mind the beginnings of several more updates for you.  I will tempt you with just the titles now, but plan to have them to you in their entirety in the near future.  Look forward to:
  • Third Time's a Charm: My year to conquer a triathlon
  • Embarrassing But True: Confessions of my unnatural infatuation with...
  • How Many Kinds of Cheese are in YOUR Fridge?: An exploration of my current eating habits.  For the record there are currently seven DIFFERENT kinds of cheese in my fridge, eight if you count my favorite cheesy dip
  • Parenting Politics: Title may be changed to "Mommy Manners" as I will be discussing the challenges of thriving in the Mum Club. 
  • You Got Me: Words that make me buy things. 
Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fancy Vs. Martha

Dear Fancy,

I have a problem. With bedding. Particularly fitted sheets. 

I pride myself in having a tidy house and drawers with everything tucked away neatly. However, when it comes time to fold fitted sheets, I despair. They start out almost tidy, corners wrapped around themselves... Then, before I know it, my fresh sheet is a triangular wad of cloth. 

I was going to ask Martha Stewart, but was hoping you, my dear Miss Fancy, would be a bit more sympathetic to my plight. Martha intimidates me.


Sufferer of Triangular Wad Syndrome

Dear SoTWS,

I applaud your decision to contact me instead of Martha.  While Martha has her areas of expertese, I have to say, she has NOTHING on my fitted sheet folding method.  I know because after watching a video tutorial, staring Martha, I was still unable to cleanly and effectively store my fitted sheets. This failure on the part of the so-called Domestic Diva lead to what I am about to share with you.

It just so happens that I have a fitted sheet in this pile of laundry.  Incidentally, and as an advice bonus, I will recommend that you never be too on top of your laundry.  Most people today are on to the falseness of "I have to wash my hair" as an excuse to get out of an unpleasant activity, but "I have laundry to do" is still widely accepted.  I find it works particularly well if you have a husband who wears a uniform to work, or if you have a child who will go without pajamas if you do not finish. 

So this is probably what your sheet looks like when you lay it out, correct?  I won't judge you that it is all creased and un-salvageably wrinkly because it has been sitting in your pile of clean laundry for a week.  I am not here to judge.  I am here to enlighten.

Start by smoothing out the edges of your sheet.  It is simplest to begin with the short side of the bedding.  Find the point at which you can pull the edges of the sheet into a straight line.  The elasticy rim (technical term, try to keep up please) will not be smooth, that is okay.  The point is to make the EDGE of the sheet smooth and rectangular. 

Fold the short end in toward the center of the sheet.  Both top and bottom.  This serves two purposes, 1) to hid the pesky and unsightly elasticy rim 2) to further straighten the edge of the sheet.  This makes for much easier handling through the next few simple steps.

Fold the sheet in half.

Fold in half again.

The rest is just plain, old folding. Take a look...

I like to fold both outside edges in toward the center.  I then select one edge and continue to fold it toward the opposite edge until you have created a perfect, clean, rectangular and well-behaved fitted sheet.


Take that Martha!

One final note.  If you have trouble keeping the sheets neat and tidy in their drawer or closet, I recommend purchasing a small, stackable Rubbermaid box (somewhere around 8x13x3 will work the best).  You will find that it fits a fitted sheet almost perfectly and the structure of the box keeps your Fancy-folded sheet from being jostled and eventual turned into a lumpy mess of fabric.

I know you will find this instructional discussion of sheet folding infinitely helpful.  As always, I am pleased to be of assistance.