Friday, August 29

Surgery and frustration


Item 1: My bottom 2 wisdom teeth have been successfully removed with little to-do. My new love is general anesthesia. I was chatting with the dr one minute and waking up the next to, "Are you ready to try and sit up?" a mere 45 minutes later. I had maybe an hour of pretty severe pain once the first pain pill wore off but before the second one could be taken. And a few bouts with a minor amount of nausea. But otherwise not so bad. Eating yogurt, pudding (both fat-free!) and cream of chicken soup (low-fat and low-sodium). Seems like recovery will be fairly swift, thank goodness.

Item 2: I guess I am taking a different approach to the Biggest Loser contest than some of the others. Instead of truly counting my WW points, I am trying to change the way I eat in general. My diet has become about 20x healthier as a rule. I know I could probably cut back more points-wise. But what I really want to do is attempt to be a role model for my kids. I want to try to cut out more processed foods and eat in season. So it seems because of this, I am not losing weight as fast as I'd like. I have only lost 5 lbs in 3 weeks. Technically that is entirely acceptable, but with everyone else dropping some major pounds, I feel like I am not trying hard enough. That does frustrate me to some degree. I am exercising every day and I can feel that my legs are getting stronger. I hope I am making muscle and that is part of it. I plan to keep up the daily exercise for the duration of the contest (Oct 5) culminating in the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure 5K (with the Buddy Walk thrown in on the same day for good measure). After that, I want to make a plan (that works for my family) to continue to exercise at least 4 days a week. Hopefully that along with a new eating mindset will help me to eventually see the weight loss I desire. I am not expecting to win the contest with this course of action, but I feel like the long-term benefits are more important than the short-term. I just needed the contest as a beginning motivator and it has worked out perfectly for that.

So I guess what started out as a rant in my mind about the lack of weight loss, has really turned into a reality check for me. I am getting what I want out of all this, a healthier me and hopefully a healthier family. That is all I can ask for.

Thursday, August 28

Some Kangaroo facts for ya


I know this is strange, but I realized today while reading Is Your Mama a Llama? (which has a scene with a kangaroo) that I don't know much about how they use those pouches. So if you are interested, read on.

Kangaroos usually have one young annually. The young kangaroo, or joey, is born alive at a very immature stage, when it is only about 2 cm long and weighs less than a gram. Immediately after birth it crawls up the mother's body and enters the pouch. The baby attaches its mouth to one of four teats, which then enlarges to hold the young animal in place. After several weeks, the joey becomes more active and gradually spends more and more time outside the pouch, which it leaves completely between 7 and 10 months of age. Female kangaroos enter into heat within a few days after giving birth; they mate and conceive, but after only one week's development the microscopic embryo enters a dormant state that lasts until the previous young leaves the pouch. The development of the second embryo then resumes and proceeds to birth after a gestation period of about 30 days.

How ridiculous is that? I watched this video (a little gross but SO fascinating) of a kangaroo giving birth and it showed just how tiny that baby is. It really is still an embryo.

AND the fact that a kangaroo gets pregnant again right away and the embryo "pauses" until the other joey is finished with the pouch? Those kangaroos are some crazy creatures.

Tuesday, August 26

Random things...


1) Last night we were watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and I found my perfect breakfast food. Bacon pancakes! They are being served by Brownstone Diner & Pancake Factory in Jersey City. Just so that you know how much I love the idea of this pancake, I will tell you a secret. I ate a bowl of bacon covered with syrup most mornings of my honeymoon. So if anyone ever travels up that way, try this place out and report back.

2) I am in love with something else. Remember when Erica was talking about bento boxes a while back? Well, Parents magazine featured neat lunch box ideas in its back-to-school issue. One of the articles was about bento box lunches. These adorable containers fit inside each other so nicely to make the cutest bento boxes. I want so badly to get Leah one, but since she doesn't eat lunch at school, it's hard to justify. I may just get one anyway. :)

Friday, August 22

Still lacking pictures


I still haven't gotten the pictures from Erin's birthday from Laurie so here is a video of her birthday present. We had gotten her one of those Dora ride-on cars, but she didn't like it as much as this, which we played with at a neighbor's house. So we had to get one too.

Tuesday, August 19

Exercise addiction


I can see how people get addicted to exercise. I always feel so GOOD after I do it. Yesterday I took a class called 30-30-30. That's 30 min of floor aerobics, 30 min of step aerobics, and 30 min of strength training. I thought I was crazy to take it, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I think running for a week prior helped my stamina tremendously. It ended up being lots of fun.

Today we met Christina and Joe at Discovery Place for lunch and some play time there. Of course I currently have no camera, so Christina will have to post pics for you. The kids had a blast looking at sharks, playing with the pulleys and levers, and running around the kids area. Kaitlyn and Erin had just as much fun as the big kids once we let them out to crawl around. They are all coming over tomorrow night for dinner and play too.

Thursday Erin has her 1 yr portraits. The photographer told us to bring in a mini-cake for her and let her smash it up right in the studio. How cool is that? So I guess I should get a cake tomorrow, huh?

Sunday, August 17

Biggest Loser update


As you know, I am competing in a Biggest Loser competition. It began last Sunday on my vacation. But I was determined to keep track. I made myself write down EVERY BITE I ATE the entire week. I did NOT eat the bacon that was cooked every morning or the cherry pie and frozen custard everyone else consumed. I had two s'mores and a piece of Erin's birthday cake and that was about the extent of the bad stuff. I made my own healthy breakfasts like Egg Beaters with tomatoes and mushrooms, or oatmeal with a little brown sugar. I ate mostly sandwiches or salads for lunch. I had to eat what the group ate for dinner, but it was grilled chicken one night and salmon another. Of course on my nights to cook (along with Laurie) we made cheeseburgers and then tacos. So cheese and sour cream... sigh. But I was WAY better than I have ever been on vacation so that is all I can say about that.

I also exercised EVERY day. The only exception was the day I learned to water-ski. I figured that was enough exercise for that day. EVERY day I jogged. We mapped out a route that was 2 miles and I did parts of it. I ran 1.4 miles the first few days and 1.7 the last few. Last night when we finally got home, I so didn't feel like running. Mike talked me into just doing a quick run (since the weigh-in was this AM) and I ran an entire mile - to the front of our neighborhood and back! I can already see the improvement in my running.

And the best part of all this? I lost 2.4 lbs this week! That is 1.65% of my body weight (the competition goes by %, not lbs). So job well done, I would say.

Happy late Birthday my baby girl!


My baby is one! When did that happen? As was stated in the last post, my camera fell in the lake and is not currently working. So no pictures until I get them all from Laurie.

Anyway, Erin is cruising a bit around furniture. She learned how to crawl up stairs on our trip (supervised, of course). She says Mama, Dada, Leah (eeeeeeee-aaaaaaah!), baby, and pup-pup (puppy). She can sign more, milk (still just flapping her arms), eat, bath, change, wash hands, water, and all done. Erin LOVES her milk so don't ask her if she wants milk until you have it in your hand ready to give her. :) She is still napping twice a day mostly, but I have a feeling that won't be lasting too much longer. She just wants to be a part of everything. Often she watches Leah and Ian playing and calls Leah's name because she wants to join in.

On her birthday, we gave her one of those pop-up toys where you press the button or flip the switch and the animal pops out. She loves to close them all, that's her favorite part. She got a mini-cake and was hesitant. I had to cut slices and put them on her tray because the icing was a little hard. She got more into it after that but wasn't nearly as messy as Leah was. We are gonna have cupcakes with the neighbors next weekend so maybe we will have more mess then.

The funniest thing... yesterday in the car, we were handing her board books. She would take the book and hold it on both sides just like she was reading! And sometimes the book was upside down. I laughed so hard every time I glanced in the rearview mirror.

She is my little doll and I adore her. I am already feeling like I want another baby because I miss her babiness, but I am firm on waiting until after our cruise next summer. I can't believe how fast they grow up though.



This was without a doubt our best family vacation ever! Here is a bulleted list of the things we did:

* played in the lake A LOT
* wakeboarded & tubed & swam a mile across the lake (Mike)
* water-skiied (me!)
* rode in the boat (L & E)
* dropped our camera in the lake :(
* made s'mores by the fire and made up silly songs about pirates
* grilled out almost every night (ate some AWESOME salmon)
* met lots of Maddexes
* won a little bit of money playing craps at the Turtle Creek Casino
* played mini-golf when it was too windy to swim
* did a wine tasting and bought a bunch of bottles from the Chateau Grand Traverse Winery
* walked around downtown Elk Rapids and ate some yummy frozen custard (not me)
* played Bocci ball
* played some Mario-Kart on the Wii
* watched some Olympics, like swimming, gymnastics, and volleyball
* made lots of things out of dominoes (Mike, L & Ian)
* ate cherry pie (also not me)
* just chilled in the hammock
* read 4 books (me)

Doesn't that sound like the perfect combination of relaxing and action-packed? Thanks so much to Bryan and Laurie for including us. We would love to go back sometime.

Friday, August 8

Off we go...


We are leaving in an hour or two for a week-long trip to Michigan with the Maddexes. So don't expect a post from me for a while. I am glad to get out of here and do something besides sit in my house and play little kid games. T-minus 26 days until Leah goes back to school and counting...

Thursday, August 7



that Joshua won. But it was a popularity contest at the end. Some awesome performances tonight, like the Wade Robson rabbit routine. Good to see that past contestants are doing something in the dance world. I already miss this show...


Tuesday, August 5

Biggest Loser in real life


On Sunday, we are starting a Biggest Loser contest. Nikki is heading it up and will be handing all of the numbers, money, etc. The gist of it is... $50 buy in, 8 week long contest, report your weight loss to Nikki at the end of each week, "Biggest Loser" is the one who has lost the most body weight percentage at the end of the contest and he/she takes the pot. Since many of the "losers" are at different locations, we'll be operating on the honor system and using pictures of our feet on the scale at the beginning and end of the contest. Of course, "before-and-after" full body pics will be taken too. :)

So far, I think we have about 7 or 8 losers, so if you'd like to play too, just let me or Nikki know asap. Like I said, contest starts on Sunday so you don't have much time to think about it. If you are interested in weight loss and need some motivation (like I do) this is right up your alley.

So... how much of a loser can you be?

Look Ma! No cavities!


Leah did so well at her first dental visit today! She woke up this morning asking if we were going right away. When we got there, she went straight back with the hygienist, no looking back. I actually teared up then. An older man in the waiting room said, "She's a big girl now," when Leah left and I had to try hard to compose myself. They called me back for the exam and the doctor was pleased with the spacing in her teeth. He did say that her frenulum (the skin attaching your upper lip to your gums) was attached kinda low and we may have to snip it one day (yikes!) but otherwise everything looked great. Here she is on the big day:

That's her dentist, Dr. Savage.

On a funnier note, Erin fell asleep in her high chair eating lunch. This is a child who has never fallen asleep anywhere but her bed since she was a newborn. She even stayed asleep while I transferred her to bed. Holy cow, she must have been tired.

Friday, August 1

The newest water baby


We went to the water park this afternoon and Leah did so well! We have just finished another round of swim lessons, this time in the preschool II class. Leah did not pass, only because of her fear/hesitation of jumping in. She has been putting her face in fairly well if she chooses to do so. But DO NOT TOUCH her while she is doing it. And jumping in, she wants you to be close to her and holding her hand.

Well, today that seemed to change a bit. She was jumping to us without holding our hands. And she was going under all the way! I taught her how to put her hand on top of her head. I told her she was only going under if the water covered her hand. It was cute to watch her put her hand up every time. So YAY!

Also, we have been in a dilemma about ballet and gymnastics next year. I really wanted Leah to do gymnastics. But she LOVES ballet. She always claims to love it more and says, "I like ballet better because I really love dancing." I looked over the schedules and the best times for us (with Leah's school and Erin's naps) are at exactly the same time for both of them! So we had to choose one. And we chose ballet. So you can look forward to seeing adorable pictures of the recital next May.

We will probably try to work gymnastics into it next year. Incidentally, ballet will cost us $42/mo and gymnastics is $56/mo. If she had done both, that would have been $98/mo just on lessons, not to mention her preschool costs. That kid is sure getting expensive. And it only gets worse...

Baby Borrowers


I don't know if anyone watched the show Baby Borrowers on NBC. Basically there were 5 teenage couples who got to experience being parents to babies, toddlers, pre-teens, teenagers, and caring for the elderly. They just aired the "Where are they now?" bit and NONE of the teen couples are still together. I find that very interesting. I wonder how much the show influenced that. I guess after doing the grown-up thing together, they realized that they were not with the person they wanted to do it for real with. So I think the show was a success in the fact that it really did show at least those couples how it would be in real life. And you know what? They all appreciate their parents now too. I hope other teens were watching.

Slow Cooker Recipe


So a few weeks ago, I found baby back ribs on sale at the grocery completely randomly (I had just gone in for a milk/bread run). Seriously $2.99/lb! So I bought two racks. I finally got around to cooking them a two nights ago and OH MY GOSH! Best ribs I ever had! Here is the recipe:

Smoky-Flavored Barbequed Ribs

3 1/2 lbs pork loin back ribs (or whatever kind you like)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
3 Tbsp liquid smoke (bottled in BBQ section)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or crushed)
1 tsp salt
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 cup cola
BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's Honey BBQ, DE-licious!!)

1. Spray inside of 5 to 6 quart slow cooker with Pam.

2. Remove inner sin from ribs. (I did not do this, but probably would have been easier if I had.) Mix brown sugar, pepper, liquid smoke, garlic and salt. Rub mixture into ribs. Cut ribs into 4 in sections. Layer ribs and onions in slow cooker. Pour cola over ribs.

3. Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours or until ribs are tender. Remove ribs from cooker. Drain liquid from cooker and discard.

4. Put ribs back in cooker and pour BBQ sauce over them. (I used an entire bottle and had another one to dip into when we ate them.) Cook another hour on low.

Seriously, best ribs ever.