Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Number of the Day is 5

I finally signed up for my first 5k last week. It's on Thanksgiving. I figured that if I know I'm going to eat a lot on Thanksgiving, and I always do, it would be great to have to do exercise first. I've already been training, running for a minimum of 30 minutes 3 times a week, so this is just an added incentive to stick to it.

This morning was one of my best runs yet. Normally I need a water break after 15-20 minutes, and this morning I ran without stopping for an entire 30 minutes, and then ran an additional 15 minutes after that. My pace was about 6.0 mph and my incline ranged from 1% to 4%. It was tough, but I also hit 4 miles, which is the first time I've done that in a very long time.

All this training has not moved the scale as much as I would have liked, even though I can tell that my pants are getting loser. I'm just one of those people that likes to see proof of her hard work. That's another reason I like running on the treadmill so much and will probably have to get some sort of gadget when/if I start running outside.

I also need to start mixing up my strength training more. I do Jillian's No More Trouble Zones, usually, but even though a lot of the moves are still challenging, it's starting to become too routine. Last night I was checking out the latest videos on demand on ExerciseTV and saw that the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Hard Body Boot Camp was available. I watched the routine and it looks like a pretty good workout. Military style exercise is something I'm very familiar with. So I think I'll do that tomorrow morning, and maybe add the Ab workout too.


Tomorrow is also a special day. Oscar and I will be celebrating 5 years of marriage. We're both taking the day off work to spend together. We plan to go bowling, out to lunch at our favorite grill, to see a movie (probably Couple's Retreat), and then out to dinner at the Melting Pot, which is so good.

We originally planned to spend the night at a hotel, but with Halloween being the following day we decided that that would just be too difficult. Plus Nick has his gym class in the morning, and all the kids are supposed to dress up for it. Then we have the parade in the afternoon and trick or treating in the evening.

Even without the hotel, I still think it will be a great day, and I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Missing Brother

This past weekend Gabe was out of town with my MIL all weekend to celebrate his second cousin’s 8th birthday. So Nick got a lot of quality alone time with Oscar and me, which he enjoyed. He loved having our undivided attention, but he also missed Gabe a lot.

Both Saturday and Sunday he wanted to go wake Gabe up and got upset when he realized Gabe wasn’t there. He also kept looking for Gabe to play with him. He just looked lonely. Oscar and I tried to play with him a lot to make up for it, but it wasn’t enough. He wanted Gabe.

It was especially bad Sunday evening when Gabe got home. Nick followed him around and kept trying to hug him and play with him. Gabe was happy for the attention at first, but quickly grew bored with it. He wanted to be left alone.

After the boys were both in bed Sunday, Gabe needed to get up to use the potty, and Nick, who was only half asleep, heard him, and got very distressed wanting to be with him. He kept yelling Gabriel, and even tried to get out of his crib, which he never does, to go be with Gabe. Nothing could calm him down, short of a car ride.

I felt so bad. I didn’t like him being so upset. It was almost as though he feared that Gabe was going to go away again.

My boys are such very different types of people. Gabe is much more introverted and concerned with his chosen selection of special people. He prefers one-on-one attention and lots of alone time. Nick is more extroverted and loves to be around people. He is especially interested in Gabe and what Gabe is doing, which more often than not, irritates Gabe.

I know part of it is normal sibling issues, but I think the other part is their very different personality types. It’s another one of the reasons I’m torn on having another child. I think Nick would benefit from having more siblings to play with, but I think Gabe needs so much individual attention that it could be hard. I also worry that Nick could get lost in the middle.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I’ve written before about how much I appreciate my MIL, and I do. She’s way cheaper than daycare, adores the boys, and does all that SAHM stuff that I would never do even if I were a SAHM. Unfortunately, since she is family, she also feels that she can do things her way with little regard for the preferences of my husband or me (mostly me).

This coming weekend Oscar and I had made plans to go bowling with friends over a month ago. A week ago my MIL found out that her nephew’s daughter, R. will be with him for the weekend of her birthday and she wanted to plan R. a party (her nephew and his wife recently divorced). She’ll be turning eight. She also wanted to bring Gabe to the party she’s planning, although there is no set time, other than sometime Saturday.

The annoying thing is she just assumed that Gabe was able to go, and that any plans we made weren’t important. I should also mention that Gabe has soccer practice Saturday afternoons, and that he’ll have to miss practice to go to the party (not that he’s that into soccer). My in-law’s country house is close to where my MIL’s nephew lives so she was planning to go up Friday evening and not return until Sunday afternoon, and expected to take Gabe with her for the whole weekend.

Oscar ended up giving in, and we decided we’d go bowling with our friends even without Gabe. It’s just frustrating that she just assumes she can make plans with Gabe whenever she wants, as though she is his parent and not us. Admittedly it will be a more relaxing weekend without Gabe running around, but I will miss him, and we get such limited time together during the week that it’s hard to let him go on the weekend.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


So this past weekend was the weekend of canceled plans due to sick kids (not mine) and bad weather. While it was nice to relax and get stuff accomplished around the house that I'd been putting off (like cleaning off the top of our dressers), it was a little disappointing to have so many things canceled.

Saturday was really cold and rainy, so Gabe's soccer practice was canceled. Although we still went to Nick's gym class. We were also supposed to go to the local farm with some friends, but that was closed due to the weather. Saturday night was supposed to be my girl's night, and I was so excited, but that too was canceled. K's youngest woke up sick, and she didn't want to have a babysitter with a sick kid or expose me to the germs. Totally understandable, but disappointing nonetheless.

To make up for that Oscar asked his mom if she could watch the boys for a couple hours so we could go out to dinner alone. I thought that was super sweet. We went to Outback, his favorite restaurant (apart from Jack 'n the Box). It was delicious. I even had a drink, an excellent blueberry martini. I do like me some vodka.

On Sunday we were supposed to have a playdate with some friends up the street during the Redskins game. Oscar was going to watch football while Gabe and Nick played with their son. Unfortunately their oldest, who is 2, started throwing up that morning and so our friends had to cancel the playdate. Gabe was very disappointed. He's been wanting to play with their son for weeks now.

Oscar did, however, get most of the work done on their pumpkins, which please Gabe. Gabe's pumpkin still needs a face, which I think they're going to do tonight. Oscar got a Sesame Street carving kit, which seems to be this year's Halloween Theme. Nick's is, of course, Elmo. Gabe's is going to be the Count. Elmo came out really well, and looks awesome with the candle shining through.

I got a ton of cleaning done this weekend. We can now see the tops of all of our dressers. All the laundry is folded, including the shirts Oscar stuffs in the back of his closet. I even ironed four of his dress shirts and a pair of his pants, and I never iron! Unfortunately I think that is still a work in progress. No, I didn't burn anything, but I wasn't very good at getting all the wrinkles out.

We also picked up a few new games this weekend for my Wii. One for me, one for Oscar, and one for both of us. Toys 'R Us was having a buy two, get one free sale on all video games. The game we got for both of is the Star Wars Clone Wars game, with lightsaber battles. So awesome. Also, you can get a sweat on if you play for a while. We don't have the lightsaber accessories yet, and yes they do make them for the Wii, but I think that they're on our list of things to get. It's a ton of fun to play. I also got the Wii Fit Plus. Oscar got Grand Slam Tennis.

I'm so glad Oscar finally convinced me to buy (and not return) the Wii and Wii Fit. I'm really enjoying them both.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Tomorrow night I'm going to have my first girl's night in a very long time. We're going to dinner and a movie, and Oscar is watching the boys. I'm even missing bedtime! It feels almost like a first date, and in a way it is. My friend K. and I, have gotten together many times to do family things with our boys (and husbands), but have never hung out just the two of us before.

There's a great shopping center about 15 minutes from where we live, that has a movie theater and a few restaurants, so we're going to meet up there. The plan is to see Whip It, which looks like a great chick flick, without being a romantic comedy. There's a great grill right next door, so that's where we plan to eat dinner.

It feels silly to be so excited about this, but I am. I really don't have any female friends, and I miss it. I love my husband, but sometimes it would be really nice to have another women to talk to about things. I'm hoping that maybe K. could be that person.

Also what do I wear? Casual? Dressy? I have no idea. I was thinking of jeans, a nice sweater, and boots. But I'm not sure.

Okay, I'm done sound like a pathetic wall flower. Let's move on to more exciting topics. Like exercise!


I've been consistently working out for three weeks now, and have lost 5 lbs in that time. I run three days a week and on the other two days I do a video or I use ExerciseTV On Demand, depending on my mood. I'm also playing with my Wii Fit every evening, because that's fun, and addicting, and it tracks progress.

Although, I totally felt stupid last night, when trying to figure out why I couldn't get the step aerobic activity right, I finally determined that I had the fit backwards, so of course it wasn't registering me stepping with proper foot. Also, why I couldn't do any of the balance games, because it was backwards. Not that turning it around improved my score for the balance games by that much. The Wii Fit says I am very unbalanced. However, I have managed to not launch the Wii remote at the TV, so I have that going for me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Listening Ears

We always ask Gabe before we go someplace, or before he goes into a class, if he has his listening ears on. Quite often he does not. In fact he often tells us that his listening ears ran out of batteries, and that's why he wasn't listening. It's most apparent when he's in a class, such as the swimming class he was in today.

I realize that most 4-year-olds have moments where they don't listen or ignore what an adult is saying. I also realize that it is often more difficult for boys. However, if you were to get a group of boys together and instruct them to do something, most likely it will be Gabe that is not participating, or not doing what he's supposed to be doing.

I'm not sure how to correct this behavior, although it's been an issue since he started talking. At first I thought it might have been an issue with how he was parented, since I had a test case of one. Then I had Nick, who is an entirely different kind of difficult, but listens quite well, he just may choose to ignore you. It seems like Gabe isn't even hearing us, despite having perfect hearing.

The threat of consequences or the promise of rewards doesn't even seem to phase him. Although, he can be bribed pretty well with a cookie when we're out and about. Most times he just misbehaves and then gets upset when he loses something or doesn't get a reward, which usually results in a major meltdown. It's so frustrating.

Swim class today was a perfect example. There was one other boy and two little girls in the class. As is usual of children this age they all had a little trouble listening. Gabe, however, just wanted to do his own thing, sometimes even when he was out in the deep water with his instructor. He would wander off from the group because he wanted to put his head in the water, or continue to splash even after being asked not to, or chase after the buoy that they use to practice skills with.

It was the buoy that managed to scare Gabe straight today. In the shallow part of the pool, there's a ledge that the instructor has the kids stand on so the water is only waist high. Across from the ledge is a wall that a life guard walks on, so they're pretty safe. However, Gabe kept wandering down to where the ledge drops off. At one point the buoy had drifted that way and Gabe wanted to get it. It was about two feet from the wall the ledge was attached to, and he grabbed it. However, he was now in the middle of the water with nothing but the buoy and went under water a couple times in his struggle to get back to the ledge.

If he hadn't been able to get out of the water and back to the ledge, I know the life guard who was right there would have rescued him, but it was enough that he listened for the last 10 minutes of class. He was scared into listening and behaving. I tried to tell him that listening is often for his own safety, but he can't seem to comprehend that sometimes. I hate to think that he needs to get scared or hurt to learn why he needs to listen to grownups.

What about you? Do your children have difficulty listening? How do you handle it?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wiikend Update

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but Oscar used to work nights and weekends, which would often make those weekends he wasn't working really stressful, since we would try to cram everything we could into them. Most weekends we limit what we do to only one big thing for the boys. This weekend it was C.'s 3rd birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, followed by a late evening of playing with S. and C. at their house on Sunday. Most of the weekend was spent chilling out at home, which is nice.

Friday was my flex day, and since Oscar wasn't feeling well, he stayed home with me. We went bowling and then out to lunch. It was fun and low-key. I really like that we've found an activity that we both enjoy doing, even if our skill levels are very different. My average is 70 and his is 150. It gives us a chance to relax, talk, and joke around, while having fun. So much of our dating has revolved around eating out and movies/TV, that having something semi-active to do together is a nice change of pace.


On Saturday, Nick had gym class, which he always enjoys. Gabe did not have soccer due to the holiday. After we got home, I finally set up my Wii, which has been sitting in a closet for the past month. Oscar, recently bought Rock Band, and Gabe has been anxious to try it out, even though he doesn't have the hand-eye coordination necessary to play. Poor Nick was so curious about everything, and wanted to participate, but if my 4-year-old was struggling, I wasn't about to let my 18-month-old try.

My Wii came with Wii Sports, which is so much fun. It should be no surprise that my favorite sport to play is the Wii Bowling, and I was actually doing okay. I was at least getting my average, and at one point even bowled over 100, which I could never do without bumpers at a real bowling alley. I also opened up my Wii Fit, which was the main reason I wanted the Wii. I haven't had a chance to do much beyond setting up my profile, but I did set up a profile for Gabe and he played a few games. For him I focused on games that just involved balance, rather than needing the remote, and he did pretty well, and was much less frustrated than he was with Rock Band or bowling.

I still plan to do my Treadmill or video workouts (ExerciseTV or NMTZ) in the mornings, but the Wii Fit seems like something fun to do in the evenings. It's a workout and a game. I'm also hoping that since it is a video game, that maybe I can get Oscar working out on it too. I was really proud of myself this morning, because for the first time I didn't have to stop once during my 30-minute run on the treadmill. I can feel myself getting stronger, and I really like that feeling.


On Sunday, we went to C.'s party at Chuck E. Cheese. Gabe has such a great time. He was so excited to see S., even though they're in two different classes together during the week. For him, it's never enough time. In addition to the normal entertainment offered by Chuck E. Cheese, our friends hired a face painter for the party. Gabe got a Spiderman mask and then a rainbow on his arm. S. had to get a matching rainbow on her arm, because she liked Gabe's. Nick got his face painted too, although he had to sit on my lap for it. We decided on a little pumpkin for his cheek. Later on he also had a little turtle painted on his hand.

Nick didn't have as good a time as Gabe did, but a lot of it is because there is not much that is age-appropriate for him. He's also still fighting a cold, which has him rather cranky. He did like the Chuck E. Cheese ride that takes pictures, and I was dragged to that at least 5 times. He was also curious about the animated Chuck E. Cheese, but didn't want to go near it. I tried once, and he burst into tears. The party was fantastic, and Gabe had a great time, which is the important part.

After the party we took the boys home and got them ready for bed, pajamas and all, and then went over to our friend's house so that Gabe could play more with S. and C. Nick had fun playing with their toys, since other people's toys are always better than your own. C. thought Nick made a good doll, and wanted to dress him up. He ended up with two necklaces at one point. Oscar turned on the football game, and I spent time talking to our friends. We also had some excellent Chinese takeout for dinner. The boys were up way past their bedtimes, but they had so much fun, that it was worth it. Especially since it's only an occasional thing.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fighting Fall

This morning I got up and worked out, although it was the hardest morning yet to force myself to get out of bed. Nick was up for about an hour last night coughing, so I was exhausted. Getting up to do an exercise video just didn't sound very appealing, but I did it anyway. For an hour. And I feel good about it. Tomorrow I'm supposed to run, and as long as I get up, I'll have completed two full weeks of working out.

My schedule is to run for at least 30 minutes 3 days a week and to weight train for 45 minutes 2 days a week plus 20 minutes of yoga in the evenings. My calorie goal is 1500 calories a day. So far I'm doing pretty good and have lost 4 lbs since last Monday.

I'm one of those people that has to watch what they eat and exercise or the weight creeps on, as has happened to me recently. I was eating a lot of junk and was sporadic with exercising and gained about 10 lbs. So frustrating. I also recently discovered that my cholesterol is high, which is really scary, since my dad's side of the family has a history of heart disease.

Unfortunately we're entering the time of year that causes me the most troubles with eating healthy, since I love all the seasonal food. Pumpkin-flavored things, Halloween candy, Thanksgiving dinner and leftovers, Christmas cookies, Egg Nog. I know when the Cheesecake Factory starts selling Pumpkin Cheesecake (mid-October, in case you were interested). So eating this time of year is a challenge for me. Especially on the weekends when I don't have my normal routine to keep me on track.

Also, on a slightly related note, I recently discovered Exercise TV on demand, and it is awesome. There are so many workouts available for free. I've been doing the yoga programs and really liking them. Also discovered that there is a huge variety of free programming available on demand. Some of it is interesting and some of it is really weird. There are even how-to videos for putting on makeup and doing fancy up-dos. How did I live before on demand?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Socializing our Children

I had a really nice weekend for the first one of October. The weather was great, and we were able to have the boys do some fun activities and get things done around the house.

On Friday, Gabe spent the night with my MIL because the high school near her house was having their homecoming parade through the neighborhood and on Saturday there was this Joe Gibbs carnival thing going on. Oscar and I just stayed in with Nick and caught up on the TV shows we had recorded from the week.

On Saturday morning, Oscar and I took Nick to gym class, which was our first opportunity to be in class together, which was nice. We went to every one of Gabe's parent-child classes together, but it's difficult to do the same thing when we also have an older child. Nick is still tentative around all of the older children, he's the youngest in the class, but he does all the skills.

After Nick's gym class we went to the mall to pick up my anniversary present (five years on October 30th), and to get Nick a cat from Build-a-Bear. Gabe has an orange tabby that meows and Nick really likes it, so we wanted to get him one of his own. He calls it a "mow". Unfortunately Build-a-Bear no longer sells the orange tabby, so we got him a sparkly snow leopard instead, which Nick approved of. We named it "Meow", since that's what Nick calls it. However, it still does not replace his beloved red giraffe ("raffe").

In the afternoon, Gabe had soccer practice. My MIL and SIL met us at the field with Gabe. Oscar has been roped into being the assistant coach, but I think that helps Gabe to some extent. We're having a hard time deciding if we should keep signing him up for soccer. He's good at all the drills, but when they break up into team to play games, he's too timid to go after the ball if another child has it.

Later in the afternoon we attended a block party organized by our block captain and his wife. Yes, I totally live in that type of neighborhood. Gabe had a great time. There was a treasure hunt and mini pumpkin painting as activities for the kids. They also invited our local (neighborhood) fire department, which was there for the first part of the party. There was also a ton of food. Nick ate an entire corn dog and loved it, even if it took him over an hour to eat it.

However, I only talked to the couple people I knew. One was a girl (and her family) that Oscar grew up with and the other were a couple we met in Gabe's gym class. I was too shy to go and introduce myself to anybody new, even though I wanted to. I don't know what I think is going to happen, but I can't seem to work up the courage to go up to somebody new and say "Hi, I'm Cookie. What's your name?" I feel ridiculous just typing that. And this is why I will never be the head of the P.T.A. Also, why all my friends are in the computer.

On Sunday, Oscar and I tried to take Gabe bowling, but that didn't work out too well. As usual Gabe was excited about the idea of bowling, but wasn't as interested in actually bowling. Also, he ended up spilling his soda everywhere (we let him get root beer as a special treat), which turned into a total meltdown. We left after one game. My score was as bad as usual (I never get above 100).

The rest of the day went better. I got a ton of stuff done around the house. All the laundry. I even organized all my sweaters, and discovered a bunch that I had forgotten about. Also got the boys playroom reorganized and lunches done for the week.

I feel so much more relaxed now that I'm taking an extended break from school. Getting up early to work out doesn't as feel as hard, because I'm able to go to bed earlier. I just feel better. I know I'm going to go back to school in January, because finishing my degree is important to me, but it's really nice to not have to work about homework for a while.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Starting a Routine

I recently switched doctors, because I didn't like my old one and never went for any reason. It had been almost two years since I had seen any doctor besides my OB/GYN and a dermatologist, so it really was time. I scheduled a physical to get an initial assessment of my health and learned that my cholesterol is high. Since heart disease runs in my family, this is a huge concern. My weight has also crept up to 158, which is technically not classified as overweight for my height, but it's close.

I've let myself slip the past few months. I've started numerous exercise routines only to quit after a week or two. I haven't been eating well, usually eating decently during the day and then eating way too much junk in the evenings and on the weekends. So my weight may be on the high side of normal, but I don't want to be borderline and I want to be in shape.

This week I started a new diet of 1500 calories, and logging everything I eat at the DailyPlate. I'm also getting up every morning at 4:30 a.m. to exercise, which also means I'm going to bed by 9:00 p.m. My routine is to run for 30 minutes 3 times per week and strength train for 40 minutes twice a week to start with, ultimately working up to running for 45 minutes and strength training for an hour. I also am planning to sign up for a 5K in November, so I have something to work towards.

It's just so challenging. Especially when Nick has a bad night, and doesn't sleep well or wakes up while I'm working out. Or if I've had a stressful day at work, and all I really want to do is bury myself in a pint of Ben and Jerry's, but instead I have a nice healthy bowl of cereal. The weekends are the worst, because I'm away from my routine and have access to my entire pantry and fridge, which do not contain the most healthy of foods. Also, the boys have activities and we get together with friends, which makes it difficult too. Not to mention my Pumpkin Spice Latte addiction.

There are so many times I want to screw it, and I have. That's how my weight has crept back up and that's how my cholesterol got too high. I don't want to be unhealthy. So even when working out is the last thing I want to do, I'm going to do it.

This morning was a perfect example. Oscar was flexing today, so he was still in bed when my alarm went off (normally he leaves for work before 4:00 a.m). He told me I could just stay in bed and work out tonight, but I know I won't. It's too easy to come up with an excuse at the end of the day, especially on a Friday. I've worked hard this week. I'm tired. I've had a long day, ect. So I got up and worked out. And I feel so much better because I did.

I always wonder how other people deal with these challenges. How do you motivate yourself to work out and eat healthy even when it's the last thing you want to do?