Friday, July 31, 2009

We'll do 100....wait, what?!?

I'm a cardio girl. Give me a gym full of equipment, and I will spend a long workout alternating between the elliptical, StairMaster, bike, and even the dreaded Versaclimber. Then when I'm finished, I'll walk towards the weights, then keep right on walking into the locker room.

I'm bad at cross training. Which I know is bad for overall health. I have gotten very good at stretching due to my various running injuries, I do it before I even get out of bed in the morning. So my flexibility is great. What's not so great is my muscle tone, it's there, it's just hiding a bit.

I've tried getting into the yoga craze. I spend the time cursing at myself, or I start to think of all the other things I could be doing at that moment. Like having a snack. Yoga and Pilates is hard. When it's time to work the core, I flash back to junior high, when my friend Jen and I would do a Calanetics video (precursor to pilates). We had to do the "100" and our reaction to that exercise is forever burned into my brain. Not good.

I get motivated to train when a new season of the Biggest Loser starts up, I'll check out the Exercise On Demand channel to see what's new. I look at my folder of magazine articles that I ripped out, showcasing new toning exercises. I dig out the arm weights. This lasts for about a week.
I just love the feeling of working hard and sweating so much you have to take your shirt off (only in the privacy of my basement). I love logging my miles on the calendar, to see my progress. But I guess my attempts at strength training, however few, still pays off. I can lift a 5 year old in one arm, and an almost 3 year old in the other. So I must be doing something right.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Forget 5:00... 2:00 is my Happy Hour

Sometimes I feel like I'm getting away with something. Like back in the day when you're home from school because you're sick, but you really could have gone because you're not that sick. Today I was thinking how great it was to throw on a bathing suit under my clothes, get Luke to camp and take Eliza to the pool for swim lessons. Then come home for lunch and ice pops, then to the playground for a playdate. After that it's our quiet time. Eliza naps, and Luke does something low key, a computer game or he draws or plays with his toys. How great is that? And it's Wednesday, formerly known as Hump Day.

I love 2:00, our quiet time. I have an hour or so to do whatever, run on the treadmill, read or watch something mindless from the DVR. But it's funny, even though I've been a SAHM for four years, if I come across Little House on the Prairie or The Price is Right on television, boy do I feel like I'm playing hookey.

This doesn't mean I'm a slacker, I think I'm the opposite. I do something around the house seven days a week, laundry (which is just endless in the summertime), vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms or bedrooms or any room. I can't end my day with a messy house, it really bothers me. When things are in place, the kitchen is clean, kids are in bed, then I feel like I deserve my glass of wine and couch time.
Or frog time. Goofy kids, they caught some frogs from the front yard today and put them in a jar. You can tell how long it's taken to catch them, this photo is from June, when we were still waiting for it to feel like summer.

Monday, July 27, 2009

As close to healthy Mexican Food that I'm going to get.

If I have a splurge food, other than pizza (further explanation at my OIP post), it's got to be Mexican Food. I literally just sighed as I thought of what my next sentence should be. I love to go out for Mexican on my birthday, and I usually start my meal with, what else, a margarita. I go for one with salt, on the rocks. Then I like to pick a menu item that is focused on veggies, as opposed to protein, to avoid that overly full belly feeling.

I've been thinking of a way to make our regular intake of homemade tacos a bit healthier, and I finally hit it. Over the weekend my bro and sis in law made some killer salsa, made of all fresh from the farmer's market ingredients. I've wanted to take a stab at making my own salsa, but I've been intimidated by it. Why, I'm not so sure. When J told me how easy it was, I gave it a whirl.

It really was easy, and so delish...tomatoes, red onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pepper. Mike grilled some skirt steak, a shucked ear of corn, as well as vidalia onions. I grated some cheddar, and got out the sour cream, and my salsa. We threw them together along with whole wheat taco shells (also heated on the grill), and I'm telling you, it was so good, and so fresh, I didn't get any food guilt eating them.

We had another dinner with the leftovers and seriously, I almost licked the empty salsa bowl.

A Lovely Blog Award...

Well whaddaya know, I just got a blog award! Thanks so much to Momma Such at Raising My 4 Sons! Her blog name says it a Mom to one boy, I can't begin to imagine Luke's energy times four! Thanks for reading my blog, I've been enjoying connecting and learning from so many of you.

The rules of acceptance are to pass the award onto fifteen other blogs you enjoy reading, and let them know you sent it to them. Ladies, here you go!

Nicole at Mom's Home Run

Heather at Run Faster Mommy

Melissa at Bloggin 2 Noggin

Christina at Peanuts Page

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I have no idea what color my parachute is.

I love being home with the kids, that's a given. I am very lucky. However, my "career" is on hold, which I've gone back and forth about since day one. What is difficult, is that all I have to do is turn on the television, and see where I used to work. It's a constant reminder of what I used to do, and makes me think that I need to figure out what I'm going to be, when the time comes.

The newspaper I worked at is in the same building as a cable news channel. I loved my old job. I did well, and worked with a great group of people, many of whom I am still in contact with. You never knew who you would see in the lobby. Or on the elevator. Or in Au Bon Pain. I know that Shepard Smith eats at Wendy's, and that Geraldo Rivera's skin is orange. I miss that life, especially when I watch Megyn Kelly while cleaning up after breakfast.

So what does this mean? Do I miss working in media? Or sales? I'm really enjoying blogging, it's given order to my thoughts (other than this past Sunday night). I've always liked writing. I'm thinking back to when I was a teen, and wrote stories for my friends about boys they liked, or poems about high school angst. I have journals and diaries stacked on a shelf in my bedroom. My very close friend J told me I need to just sit down every day and write, something, anything. I sent her a snippet of my writing, she's a writer and editor (once you are, you always are J) and I'm excited about what she had to say. So I'm starting a new habit, writing a bit once a day, and we'll see what happens.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chocolate Bacon? Yes, Chocolate Bacon.

I keep seeing this food combination lately, on the Food Network and I think the Travel Channel. Fancy chocolate bars filled with shredded bacon, and strips of bacon covered in chocolate. At first glance I thought it looked kind of gross, but food lover than I am I had to investigate further!

Mike has been craving a classic grilled cheese with bacon and tomato, and both times he's ordered it they were disappointments. Both diner/deli's served him a sandwich that was toasted bread, the cheese inside was barely melted to blend the insides together. So I made them for dinner last night, a bit of a splurge. I made up for it with today's lunch, a Morning Star Farms spicy black bean burger on a whole wheat roll, with leftover grilled veggie salad.

But back to the bacon. I just happened (wink) to make a pan of brownies yesterday, so I took a small bite with a bite of bacon......and it was really good. The bacon adds a deeper flavor to the chocolate, and if possible, made the brownie chewier. I'm a sucker for a salty/sweet combo, my favorite is pretzels dipped in whipped cream, so count me in as a chocolate bacon fan.
Every christmas I make a shortbread cookie that has potato chips as an ingredient, but now I'm thinking of other possibilites......chocolate chip bacon cookies anyone?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Did I forget how to sleep?

Last night I had a really hard time sleeping. For the past couple of weeks I've been waking at around three a.m., I toss and turn for about an hour, then fall back asleep. This happens pretty often, I've been a bad sleeper since I was a kid. But I went to bed last night around 11:30, exhausted, only to be wide awake at two, with my mind just going and going. I didn't want to bug Mike, so I came downstairs and watched mindless television for a couple of hours (Little House on the Prairie, as well as Kendra and Denise Richards reality shows). You would think that would get me sleepy, but no, I actually made a snack of peanut butter toast. Which was not the smartest thing because I think it gave me energy! So I wandered around the house, checked facebook, blogs, email. Then went in to Luke's room to watch him sleep. Made it back into bed around 5:15, but with Mike's snoring, I didn't drop off to sleep until the sun was up. I was up a short time later with Mike's alarm clock.

I'm tired today, but I've done more with less sleep, and it's sunny which helps. It was actually nice last night, to have the downstairs to myself with everyone else tucked away. I even took a picture of the usually bustling kitchen, it felt like it was sleeping too.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Chick Lit and Lit Lit

Do you have a book that has made an impression on you, one that you go back to and re-read over and over again? Right now my book club is reading Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale. The member that chose it said she reads it every summer. It was good, in a Harry Potter kind of way.

I did another one of those Facebook questionaires, you had to think of 15 books that have made an impact on you. After I listed them, I realized that I have chick lit in there, but the classics as well. I was one of those students who looked forward to the books we had to read for English class, two of my all time favorites are Catcher in the Rye and To Kill A Mockingbird. Oh, and My Antonia. And Gone With the Wind. And the Thorn Birds. And Rebecca. And any F. Scott Fitzgerald.

On the other hand, I love a good chick lit read. I think there is fluffy mindless chick lit, but I have favorite authors whose topics are substantial, and at times heavy. Everyone loves Bridget Jones Diary, and I heard they are making a third Bridget movie, about her journey to have a baby. But my favorite contemporary author is Marian Keyes. Her books tackle addiction, abuse, death, divorce, with characters that I wish were real. I met her at a book signing, and keep my signed copy of Sushi for Beginners next to my bed. Love love love her. Jennifer Weiner also hits you in the gut at times, as a new Mom I cried on the subway reading Little Earthquakes, and Goodnight Nobody really resonates with me as a stay at home mom who left her career for family.

For some books, I can remember the time of year, or place that I was when I read them, on a cruise, a couch at my in-laws, my car during a lunch break. I'm a terrible sleeper, which started when I was around eleven. I would go in the bathroom and read until I was tired enough to sleep. I'll admit it, I got into the whole Twilight craze, and crept out of bed at one in the morning to read New Moon in the hallway.

Then there are children's books.....but I think that's a topic that deserves a post all it's own.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Distraction Day

It's summer, but it's been on the cool side. Mike took today off, he truly needed a mental health day due to all the lousy news we've been hearing regarding D's health. I tried to think of some things to do to take his mind off things, and we ended up having a pretty good day.
After we picked up Luke from summer camp, we headed over to Clarke's for lunch. It's a small roadside restaurant, which used to only be open in the summer. You would order your food from the window and eat in your car or sit at the one outside picnic tables. But they've expanded a bit, the menu is larger and it's now open year round. We always get the same thing, cheeseburgers, hot crispy fries, and a chicken sandwhich for Eliza. It's not a place to go if you're dieting, today I ate more fries than the kids. (Biggest Loser diet? what Biggest Loser diet?)

Then we went further down the road to Hencle's, where you can pick your own berries. We picked 8 pounds of raspberries, not including the berries Eliza housed as she walked up and down the rows. We have a bunch in the fridge, the rest I'm freezing for winter smoothies. It was really meditative picking the berries, the sun was shining, but the breeze kept us cool.

I'm now getting ready to feed the kids, but I think it's time for another distraction...cocktail hour on the deck.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Boilermaker 15K '09...completed!

Today was the Boilermaker, a 15k in Utica, NY. This was my third year running. This is a unique run, because of the distance, and it's hilly course, but also because it ends at a brewery (Saranac anyone?) so the whole city celebrates. I ran it with my sis in law J, and Mike's Uncle B.

The first time I ran it, it was a very hot, sunny, humid day. It was a hard run, but I did it without stopping, and learned a few things for my future training (hills hills hills). Last year was a vast improvement, although the computers failed at the race, so the chip results were inaccurate. At any rate, this year I started hydrating on Thursday, lots of water and grape Powerade Zero, and kept up my stretching to keep my hamstring relaxed.

We headed out around 5:30 a.m., it was actually a bit chilly, I was wearing a $5 Brooks wicking shirt I picked up at the Boilermaker Expo. Major score, the shirt fit great and really kept me cool when I needed it to. Made it on the shuttle bus, and porta potty lines with no problems, and lined up with six minutes to spare. There were 12,000 runners, so it took us almost 12 minutes to get to the start. But then we were off, passing musicians, dancers, and everyone on their lawns cheering us on. The city has a competition among neighborhoods over who has the best cheering section, the winners actually win a block party!

Half a mile in I felt a cramp, WTF?! I realized that since I was the driver today I was a little lax in my water intake, so I grabbed some at the first water station, and immediately felt better. So then, I was cruising along and right at mile two, my left arch started acting up, the last thing I expected. My toes were curling, and I started getting that lovely shooting pain up my arch from my plantar faciitis days. So I slowed down a bit, and tried to flatten/straighten my foot until it went away.

I got into my groove, and decided to keep the same pace the whole way, I wasn't going to worry about time. I didn't want to fall apart before the finish. All of a sudden around mile four, I felt a foot hook around my heel and trip me a bit. It was a total accident and the girl apologized right away, but I was really happy I didn't fall. I am very clumsy and that could have spelled disaster!

The crowds were great, I cruised up the hills and at mile seven they started saying we were almost there. That's when I really focused on having fun and not focusing on getting to the end. After all the build up, I wanted to savor the moment. J started pulling ahead, she had a time that she wanted to beat, B was further back a couple of miles. The next thing I knew we were passing the mile nine sign, and I decided to sprint. I tried taking advantage of my long legs and increasing my stride, but then I started to feel it a bit too much, so I slowed down. Next thing I knew I was over, and J was waiting for me at the side. Another one completed.

We got our free Pomegranite Wheat Beer, and headed home. Looked up my official time - 1:37:05. Not super, it could be due to my little mishaps, but I did shave a minute off last year.

Settled in after a loooong shower, and Mike made a batch of zucchini and corn fritters, with corn fresh from the cob. I've had three already, guilt free. After all, it is race day.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My health and fitness inspiration.

This is my Dad. He's 64. A former Tri-Athlete and Marathon Runner, he was also a swimmer and diver for Chapel Hill. He still runs on a daily basis, and started eating meat again a few years ago. So as his 37 year old daughter, I feel a bit lame if I don't run because I'm "tired."

He started bringing my siblings and I to the health food store back in the late '70's, it was a tiny store with creaky wooden floors, and we picked out carob chip candy bars and cookies at the end of each excursion. He stir fried our veggies, tossed tofu into milk shakes, and made salads large enough to serve six as a snack. I learned that eating healthy was just a way of life.

We took hikes in the nature preserve year round (my brother fell through some ice in a creek one winter, that was scary), swam in the lake in Maine and the beach in North Carolina, played tennis and rode our bikes everywhere we could. We never sat around, there was always something to do to burn off energy.

My parents have been divorced for over 30 years, and my Dad has had some ups and downs in his life. We had a few rocky years, but they were finally healed when Luke was born. He always asks about my races, and sends me running or food articles that he thinks I'd like. He knows the newest gadgets, on his last visit he brought this stick that he uses to massage his calf muscles.

Now that I'm the parent, I love how my kids like to share my smoothies, pop edamame in their mouths, and ask me how my exercise was. I'm already leading by example, because I myself have a wonderful teacher.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Biggest Loser Baker Style, Round Two

Thursday was the end of my Biggest Loser Competition with Mike. I dropped three pounds, nothing exciting, but better than nothing. This has been a very social, and at times, stressful month, so I was happy. Mike is getting on the scale this Thursday. He thinks those quick four pound he lost were regained over the holiday weekend, so he needs to drop them again. Which I'm sure he'll do. Those lucky boys and their crazy metabolisms.....

I'm getting back on track tomorrow, for another round of competition. I bought a dress on sale at the end of last summer, and never got a chance to wear it. It's pretty tight, so I'm using that as my weight loss goal. We're heading back to NY in a few weeks for an annual family BBQ which is the largest gathering we have, next to Christmas. So I'd like to wear the dress. It's pretty cute, and green, a color I don't wear often.

On a side note, I took four days off from running. Did five miles today, and a bunch of hills, to get ready for this Sunday's Boilermaker. It's amazing how good you feel after your body gets a long rest. I felt really strong and was really cruising at times. So it was either the rest, or listening to Coldplay's "X&Y."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hoping for a Happy Fourth

I'm getting ready to head down to visit my family in NY for the Fourth with mixed feelings. I'm excited for a LI beachy BBQ holiday, haven't had one in a while, so the rain better stay away. I have two new nieces to visit, one is only five days old! But at the same time, D is having her surgery tomorrow, which we're scared about. To say she's a trouper is an understatement, wanted us all to go on with our holiday plans while she recuperates. I'm praying it goes well, and that her oncologist comes back with a plan for a quick recovery.

But back to the Fourth. I'm definitely patriotic. I love my country, I think we are all so lucky to have been born in the U.S. My Grandfather was in WWII, my Dad was in Vietnam. My cousin served in Iraq. I pray every day for our servicemen and women all over the world. But that said, I feel that in many ways our country is at a cross roads, and I don't know what the future is going to hold. I saw a video this morning that is a perfect example. It's of NY State Senate Democrats sitting through the Pledge of Allegiance in protest after losing political control of the Chamber to Republicans. This whole Democrat vs. Republican battle is getting very old. It truly scares me when elected officials play games with our government. And what kind of example is this setting when they can't even respect the flag of our country? Something to think about, in between all the burgers and brews.