Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I did it!

Tonight, the last day of June, I made my exercise goal. And for the most part, my food goal.

This was an exceedingly difficult month to give myself a goal like this-- but I did it! The first half of the month was full of my crazy busy-ness. The second half? My husband's. None of this kept me from my exercise goal, but it definitely made my food goals harder. Being away from home for many meals on top of several parties was, well, often too much temptation for me. And when we were in dire need of groceries and all I had to eat for lunch was a couple of cheese quesadillas, well, I shoveled them right in and considered the salsa my vegetable.

Which leads me to my next thought. Today the girls and I spent the evening in a hotel room-- my husband's hotel room, to be exact. He was stuck downtown all week for a conference for work. Yesterday the girls and I rounded up some food in the food court of a mall. Today I got a wee bit smarter and brought some food from home, but when there is no where to cook, it's tricky to figure out the right things to eat. We are often on a tight budget, which I presume makes it even trickier. Of course, this is assuming that more money affords you to purchase easier, healthier, ready-to-eat food. Is this true? I suppose I hope not.

So anyways. Tonight I settled on cheese and (wheat-free) crackers, yogurt, strawberries, chips and salsa. As you can see, not too many veggies in that line up. And lots of fat.

I'm going to work harder at brain-storming some ideas for healthy eating out of the house.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Break

This picture has nothing to do with anything other than I thought it was interesting.

We're one weekend in to our "summer break" which is actually only a 12 total day break from school. My girls go to a year-round school, you see. It's an absolutely perfect arrangement for every conceivable reason except for one: no tuition breaks over the summer. Phooey. But they get a couple breaks that we're looking forward to using to relax.


I simply adore their school. I want to snuggle it up and smooch it all over. I mean, clearly, I must truly love the school to have given hundreds of hours of my personal time to it over the past few months to raise money for the auction. But I do.


Iris's class size and teacher have afforded her a true luxury of taking the time she needs to come to grips with her separation anxiety. It's still not gone. Nine months in to the school year and she still cries at drop-off. But it's a good place to work it all out. She is surrounded with support. Iris insists she doesn't need to go to school because all she does is "play all day". A smile spreads across my face every time she tells me this. Yes, she plays. And learns through her play. Iris is straight up reading now. READING. She just turned six last week and she reads. She reads in front of other people, as well, which, for a kid with anxiety, that just blows my mind.


And Eloise? She has the perfect lead teacher to help her navigate the tricky ways of socializing with her friends. How to use words-- kind words-- instead pushing and hitting. The preschool classes are bigger than Iris's class and again, this is perfect for Eloise. She has more experiences with different kids that way. Coming up in September she will no longer be the baby of the class. It's going to be a treat to see how she moves from being the baby in to being one of the "big kids".


It's helpful to sit and really remind myself of the great benefits of their school when I get frustrated at how, well, crazy broke we are because of it. Every month when Matt or I lament not being able to afford X,Y or Z, I verbally remind one or both of us, it's for our girls. For one of the most important gifts we could give them-- an amazing start at a lifetime of learning.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Muddling through

This weekend marks what I believe to be the end of the insanely crazy schedule our family has been keeping. It's difficult when even things like birthday parties and other joyful moments get lumped in to the category of "let's just get through this and then life will calm down".

Iris's birthday and birthday party went mostly fine. I was extremely upset about a few major snafus, but, in the words of my wisdom-filled six year old, everything can't always turn out the way we picture it in our minds. Truer words have never been spoken. I've since calmed down and have now re-considered the party a success. In the end, I think my own delicate feelings were hurt more than anyone elses. Here's a couple of sweet pictures of the party:


But we've survived. We've mostly had fun. Now, we sit back and wait for the sun to shine on Seattle and really get our summer started. It's probably wrong of me, but I've been wishing for summer to follow the same path as our winter and spring, which is to say, extremely mild. I feel like over the past six months our days have only wavered in temperature about 30 degrees.

The one thing I've been doing a reasonably decent job keeping up with is my exercising goal. I've missed a few times here and there and thought I was out of reach of my goal. However, today I calculated it and if I did 35 minutes of exercise a day for the next ten days I would get there. Or seven days of my usual 45 minutes of exercise with a few more minutes thrown in there somewhere. Not too bad at all! It's very interesting to see that even in the midst of craziness, I can fit in the exercise.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Six.

Six years ago this evening I was laboring in a room at a small birth center with my doula, my midwife and my student midwife. I probably knew deep down that my first child, whose sex I did not know until she was born, would not be birthed without some heavy interference. I was terrified about the whole thing. And then, the next day at 2:26, in a bed at the hospital, out she came. Almost 10 lbs. Red hair from the get-go. She looked like a wrinkly old man. I was a mother. Iris was my daughter. The beginning of our adventures together.


My dear Iris, I love you more than I could ever express. Happy sixth birthday. I hope all of your dreams come true!






Monday, June 14, 2010

Oh, my.

This was an incredibly stressful last week. I may have mentioned that I co-chaired my daughters' school auction and we finally got to the big night last Saturday. I was easily putting 40 hours a week worth of work in to this auction at times, so needless to say, I'm glad it's behind me. Life can be back to boring and I'll get chores done once again!

Clearly my exercise goal fell completely to the wayside the past few days. Yesterday was more of a day to be hungover and recuperate from the night before, so no exercise then, either. I may not hit my goal, we'll see. This week is actually another very busy, though it still pales in comparison to last week.

Iris is going to be six on Friday. It's a little crazy to think about, how is she growing up so quickly? My girls have seen very little of me over the past few days so I'm grateful to have time this week to play, eat together, do more bedtimes with them. Back to the same ol' same ol'.

Hopefully I get back to posting a little more regularly! And maybe even getting up pictures? We'll see.

Oh, my.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

June Carnival of Natural Parenting: Outdoor Fun

Welcome to the June Carnival of Natural Parenting: Outdoor fun

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared their stories and tips for playing outside with kids. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I fell out of the Carnival of Natural Parenting while I was extremely busy doing a few other things with my bloggy time (like detailing my elimination diet) but it seemed time to jump back in to it.

This month's topic is "Outdoor Fun". I'll be honest: part of me felt a little dismayed about this topic. I'm not going to be some sort of fountain of information about fun outdoors activities. If I had my druthers, I'd be curled up on the couch, even on the sunniest of days.
But! We do live in Seattle, and I do have to admit that probably the number one thing that makes the cost of living here even slightly bearable is the natural beauty that surrounds and envelops us. I may not be outside basking in its glory every day, but not a day goes by where I don't thank my lucky stars that I live in the most beautiful place in the entire country. And maybe the world, but I can't say for sure being that I've never left the US (sad, I know).

Carrying on. So what do we do for outdoor fun? Up until June 2009 my family of four (and dog and cat) was cramped in to a small second floor apartment without a yard. Our outdoor activities included countless trips to local parks, school playgrounds, beaches on the Puget Sound, dog parks, walking paths, wading pools and open green space, all within about five miles of our apartment.

Since moving to our house, however, we now have a decent sized yard (for city living standards) that we're really starting to enjoy. Hobo Mama (you know her, right?) and her adorable family have taken the reins on putting in garden beds in our yard. Long story short, her family needed a space to garden, we had space that needed to be gardened. Or wait, I guess that really is the whole story. Anyways, my kids haven't been too involved in the whole set-up part of this process yet, but I am envisioning them having fun watching all of the food growing up out of the beds and working in the kitchen to prepare meals from some of the garden's eventual bounty.

Hobo Mama and our collective children planting gobs of pea vines.


We also put in a brand-spankin' new deck in May 2010. It was like adding on another room to our house. If the weather is nice, which it is right now maybe 50% of the time, we're out there. Relaxing, eating, playing, you name it.

Our house is nicely situated close to a playground that has a wading pool. We are at said playground maybe 3-5 times a week. When the pool re-opens for the summer we will be down there every day we can splashing in the water.

The other beautiful thing is that any resident of Seattle, including us, is very close to "beaches" of the Puget Sound. I say "beaches" because if you are a reader from, say Florida or Michigan, what you are thinking of as a beach is not what we have. Ours are rocky and cold. Yours are sandy and warm. While our beaches don't lend themselves to slathering oneself with cocoa butter and frying in the sun all afternoon, they do nicely lend themselves to amazing exploratory expeditions. Recently the tides have been getting quite low and the girls and I have found ourselves splashing though tide pools in our boots. We turn over rocks to look for starfish and crab. We find moon shells and jellyfish. It's so much fun.

Playing keep-away with a starfish.


All of our time on the beach is spent with a backdrop of islands, mountains, water and ferries.

Iris and a friend at the Lincoln Park beach.

We don't ride the ferries as much as I would like to-- they really are so much fun-- but we do occasionally. Earlier this Spring when the girls were finally on the mend from the chicken pox we took a day trip to Vashon Island. Once there we explored two different beaches and played on a fun playground at Dockton Beach Park overlooking Quartermaster Harbor and Lisabuela Park overlooking the Puget Sound on the the west side of the island. At Lisabuela, especially, the girls played for a very long time with just rocks and sticks as I sat on a log and took in the peacefulness. At one point they constructed a whole drum set and microphone stands and put on a show. Clear evidence that kids don't need fancy toys to entertain themselves!

The band on the beach.

While I may occasionally be heard griping about the rain, the truth is, Seattle's weather is my absolute favorite. Does it rain a lot? Yes, it does. But! It very rarely rains so much that we can't be out in it. We all own rain boots and rain jackets. The girls have rain pants. At school and at home, the girls are outside rain or shine and they don't seem to mind it either way. The rain provides for lots of puddle jumping, after all!

I could write on and on. I could write about vacationing on Orcas Island. About driving up to the mountains to go sledding when it's about 50 degrees at our house back in the city. About going apple picking in central Washington. About visiting Snoqualmie Falls. I'm not even an outdoor aficionado and I swear there is just so much to do it makes even the laziest couch potato sound like they could write an adventure travel guide.


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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Ouch.

So, yeah. This exercise thing. I did the most cliche thing in the book which is start out fast and furious and hurt myself. I'm not really hurt hurt, but still. Ouch!

On Monday night I did the little routine for working on my abs that I did every day for about five months straight two years ago. Turns out that if you don't work your abs at all (except for stretching them out from all the junk food) then doing the same ol' routine is going to murder your abs. I went on a looooong walk pushing Eloise in the stroller on Tuesday and when I laid down to do the ab work again that night I couldn't even do one measly crunch.

In fact, the abs still hurt tonight. If I'm laying down and want to sit up, I can't pull myself up with my abs at all. Dammit!

No exercise on day three partly because of that and partly because the time completely got away from me and I am eyeballs deep in working on things for my daughters' school auction. I did realize, of course, that this auction was coming up, but I still pressed myself to set a lofty goal. It seems like every single day, week or month I have a solid excuse for not exercising. Now, though, I need to do it. I'll give myself a day here and there to not do anything, but the vast majority of days I can fit in a little something at the very least.

So let this be a lesson to you! Start out slow or you'll be side-lined lickety split!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

<---- You see that, over there?

I decided to keep an exercise log here on my blog. At least for a little while.


Every time I set a goal for myself I find it best to log it somewhere in a public place. Even if no one sees it, it feels like it keeps me more accountable to the goal because someone could. When I was exercising more to be at a healthier weight for my wedding it really helped quite a bit, so I'm emulating that here. I wish I hadn't deleted it from my wedding blog, it would probably serve as a great motivation!

So why am I doing this?

My reasons are probably identical to just about anyone trying to lose weight: I want to look better and increase my overall level of health. But I'm not ashamed of my shallowness, the biggest reason is to look better.

I am very tall-- six feet even. I've always been "big boned". For most of my adult life I've hovered somewhere between sizes 10 and 14 without actively doing too much to change that. Since having two kids my body, like the body of everyone who isn't a movie star or supermodel, changed for the worse. My tummy has never been flat, but it's downright lumpy and flabby now. When I worked at losing weight for my wedding I spent several months at it and I think I lost maybe 15-20 lbs. and got to a size 8/10. Ideally that would be my goal now, but instead of focusing on the numbers of the scale I'll focus more on fitting back in to most of my clothes.

That summer, you see, I bought a bunch of new clothes. New clothes that are sitting in my closet untouched since that summer. I stopped caring about eating right and exercising shortly after the wedding and by the time the next summer rolled around nothing fit me anymore. Funny how that happens.

What are the steps I'm taking? Well, they worked well for me before, so I'll do them again:
  • 1000 minutes of exercise per month. Included in this is going to be more swimming and work specifically on my abs. No substitute for crunches every night!
  • No eating after dinner time except for on the weekend.
  • No sweets except for very special occasions. Luckily this will be easier for me since I'm gluten-free right now and for the most part the sweets I come across are cakes, cookies, etc.
  • Making healthier food choices. Instead of eating beans with a pile of chips, I'll eat it with a corn tortilla, for example. Nothing huge, just being more aware.

Last time I also put a huge sign up on my fridge to remind myself that looking hot at my wedding was more important than stuffing food in my face. It worked! Ha ha. I don't have a specific goal in mind this time, which makes it a little different, but I'll come up with something. A prize I win if I get to my two-summers-ago size. Any suggestions? Stuff that has worked to motivate you in the short-ish term?

So wish me luck! Track my progress to keep me on track or maybe even join along?