Monday, June 30, 2008
I was thinking the other day that I wish I had a personal 'business' card to hand out when I meet other moms or try making friends. I've heard of Mommy cards before, but hadn't really thought much about them, as I used to work so much that I had no personal life much less any opportunity to meet other parents with children Malaina's age. Now that my schedule is much more flexible, and we are getting involved in so many more activities, I thought it might be fun to look into. Many of the websites I found wanted a fortune for cards ($35 for 50 cards? Get outta here!), but then I found Vista Print and their very inexpensive cards. I don't know about the quality, but the price was right at $5.99 for 50 cards! This is with shipping, but after I applied a coupon code I found online. Here's what my cards will look like (I blurred out my phone numbers to frustrate all you stalkers out there. You know who you are):
Being the cheapo that I am, I chose the slowest method of shipping @21 days. I'm hopeful it won't be nearly that long. I feel sort of dorky about ordering these, but they are so dang cute that I can't wait to share them with my friends. I don't always like to hand out my regular business cards and I never seem to have a pen to scribble down my phone number. Problem solved!
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Nap time was nightmare-ish today. He fell asleep at church twice, but didn't sleep for more than 20 minutes each time. When we got home, I followed the book, and as soon as I saw him rubbing his eyes and staring into the distance, I cuddled him, patted him, and laid him in the crib. He went down like a dream, but 20 minutes later he was awake again. I tried soothing him, but nothing worked for more than a few minutes. Then he got MAD. I don't like the idea of 'crying it out', but nothing seemed to console him. I knew he wanted to eat for a few minutes, but I also knew he wasn't really hungry (I had fed him about an hour prior). I stayed strong, and just tried to soothe him by carrying him, rocking him, patting him, etc. No go. This was his first full blown tantrum, and it was hard to listen to (I'm a total sucker for crying, and always want to hold & comfort the kids). After a good half hour+, he settled down again and slept for another 30 minutes, but was then wide awake. Of course he later fell asleep in his Jumper (it's like Ambien for babies).
I'm not one of those moms who hover and race in at the slightest sound, but he seems to wind up really easily when it comes to sleep. I end up laying in bed, listening for him to start to whimper and end up just being really tense and not sleeping at all. I can't do this forever unless I can support a serious caffeine habit. And that wouldn't be healthy right now. I feel overwhelmed, as I know the issue is intertwined with sleep, crib, family bed, and nursing. I know I've given him bad habits, but just don't know how to go about breaking them (or where to start first). I am just so very very tired.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I like food, and I'm not afraid to say it. I enjoy preparing it & I enjoy eating it even more (especially if I don't have to do the dishes afterward). In my tiny family, I am notorious for my food cravings. During pregnancy it was gyros, grapefruit, grapefruit juice, milk, burritos, and lots of ice cream. I've been doing well on the 'diet' which I started along with my exercise/ get healthy program this week. It's nothing specific, just keeping a food diary (a first for me, and something I'm not terribly comfortable with), and eating less pasta & bread and more fruits and veggies. Well, after I made the angel food cake to go with my Strawberry Shortcake for Tuesday's party, I had 9 egg yolks left. I hate to waste good food, but couldn't think of much to do with them. Enter epicurious, and their genius search feature. You can enter an ingredient, and up pops a plethora of options. In my search for 'egg yolks', I stumble across Creme Brulee. I love creme brulee, and the recipe looked fairly easy, so I thought "why not"? Well...... I've had two servings today. They were not at the same time, and one was topped with raspberries (another fruit serving!). It was sooooooo good, but I am wrestling with my guilt about this, as I was beginning to feel a little pride in building consistency with better eating habits. I can rationalize with the best of them, but can't seem to do so in this case. I definitely didn't need the second serving, and I probably could have powered through it. But I know myself. I would have obsessed over it. And obsessed. And obsessed. I might have even ended up digging through the fridge in the middle of the night. I'm hopeful I can move on from this (the craving, the guilt), and view tomorrow as another opportunity to make healthy choices. Not every day can be perfect, and the great thing is that tomorrow always offers the chance to improve upon yesterday. Good news: I am feeling more energetic, and am enjoying the BBC class. Bad news: I am SORE (I didn't think I was so out of shape, but I was wrong. So very, very wrong).
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Every year as my birthday approaches, I always think "This is the year I get in shape. This is the year I get healthy." I don't think I'm afraid of doing the physical work. I know it's not easy but I'm not looking for a quick fix or miracle pill. I'm pretty sure I'm afraid of the process. Any person who is more than 10 lbs. overweight for more than 3 months can tell you that being heavy is complicated. Losing that 10, 20 or 30+ pounds requires patience, work, and introspection. It's the introspection that concerns me. Taking a hard look at yourself is never fun or easy, and it's been much easier to avoid that process and keep those feelings boxed up. Being a bit of an overachiever with a smidgen of perfectionist (thanks Dad!), I know all about engineered failure. It's far less of an ego blow to simply not try when you know a project is really difficult, and you will struggle. Why risk trying and failing when you can simply not try at all & keep your pride intact?
I had the above discussion with my sweet husband this morning, and while I think he empathizes with me, he also helps me to keep things in perspective. He pointed out that I need to focus less on the exterior, and more on the interior. It's really is about being more healthy. If I can work on that, the physical stuff will improve, too. Or as he put it: "You just need to decide exactly when you'd like to develop adult-onset diabetes". Nothing like thinking about losing your toes to make a walk to the park seem pretty appealing.
It was also inspiring to watch some of the Hy-Vee Triathlon this weekend. On Sunday morning the run portion was headed right past our apartment. Malaina got excited when she saw the runners & wanted to eat breakfast on the porch so she could clap & cheer like the other supporters on the street. I whipped up some pancakes & we all sat outside & watched the runners go by. We talked about what they were doing & why, and I watched the variety of sizes, shapes & ages jog to victory. I'd love to do a triathlon some day, but don't have access to a pool right now. I'm going to have to settle for running in the Race for the Cure in October - which must be important to me, as I actually planned my vacation so that we'd be home that weekend. If Baby Bootcamp can start me on the path to better health, then I'll have another 10 weeks to train before RFTC at the end of October. October 25th is highlighted on my calendar. Good luck to me?
Saturday, June 21, 2008
After our time at the Mall, we headed to Old Navy so I could look for a rashguard for Justin. I found swim trunks for him last weekend, but Matt suggested we get a rashguard to help keep him warm in the pool. Being cheap, I wasn't happy with the price of what I found at Old Navy, but I did rustle up some good stuff in the 50% racks. Malaina scored 4 new t-shirts, a sweater, and new jeans, and Justin got 2 pairs of jeans. It seems weird to be buying long sleeves and heavy pants right now, but I know that when October rolls around I'll be happy I squirreled those away. Seriously - when long sleeved t's are $2.50, I can't say no. I think I take even more pleasure in finding bargains because I know that the kids' clothes will not always be so inexpensive.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thanks for making the rest of us moms feel inadequate, Jenny Masche. Thanks for making me realize that I don't have any real excuse not to exercise.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
We headed to Elgin to meet up with my Aunt & Uncle, and had a great time catching up with them. My cousin Stephanie was there, too, and her two girls. All three girls had a great time running around, riding bikes in the basement, making cards on the computer, and just being young girls. After a delicious dinner, we headed back to the hotel, and fell into bed.
We got up on Saturday morning to a bright, sunshine-y, humidity free day! We drove down to the Aurora outlet mall to do the shopping I missed out on Friday night. I found a few good deals, and then it was back into the car and over to Lincoln Park Zoo. Parking was crazy, as half of Chicago decided to head out to Lincoln Park and the North Shore of Lake Michigan. We finally unloaded the troops and cruised the zoo for 3 hours. It was free! And it's a great zoo. We saw polar bears, tigers, lions (Malaina was wide-eyed at the lion gnawing on a giant bone right in front of her), giraffe, ostrich, rhino, monkeys, birds, and my favorite: the river otter. We loaded our weary travellers back into the car, and went exploring to find the cupcake shop I had been obsessing about: Sweet Mandy B's. Located in the Lincoln Park/ DePaul neighborhood, it had a sweet little store front, and zero parking. Matt dropped me off and circled the block while I ordered my 'cakes. I found the staff to be a little lacking. The girl was a little irritated when I wasn't ready to place my order within .03 seconds of walking through the door. She gave me the stink eye while I looked over the goodie case (cookies, cupcakes, cakes, pie), and seemed irritated when I asked a question or two. I completed the transaction, and was glad that I was the only one who made the trip inside - the interior was tiny, and claustrophobic to me. As I walked past the cafe on the corner to wait for Matt to pull up, I chuckled to myself when I overheard a lady at an outside table exclaim to her young daughter "Ooooo...look! She went to Sweet Mandy B's and got cupcakes!". Unfortunately, my cupcake bliss had to wait, as we were both starving by the time we got back to the hotel (Saturday evening traffic - not so good, especially when we were going OUT of the city). Saturday must have been my lucky day for the month, as we ended up trying the Weber Grill Restaurant. I've wanted to try this place for years, and I was not disappointed. It was a bittersweet experience, as the food was fantastic (we shared prime rib, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, a chopped chicken salad, and onion soup), but the kids were both super cranky by the time the food hit the table, and Matt ended up walking Justin back to our room while I finished eating. We finished the night with Matt & Malaina at the pool - one of their favorite things to do together. I didn't even have the energy (or the stomach space) to truly enjoy a cupcake, so I saved them for another day.
Almost as tall as a polar bear (OK, not really, but don't tell her that)
Mmmm... Weber Grill Restaurant. I give it 3.5 out of 4 stars.
This is the Field Museum, which is located adjacent to the Aquarium (and the Planetarium). We did not have a chance to visit on this trip, but will another time.
When we were done at the Aquarium, we headed back out to the suburbs to find some dinner. We were going to take the 20 out of Illinois, so it made sense to head towards Schaumburg to eat before we made the killer drive home. (Seriously, if you're going to Chicago, I advise staying in this area. Woodfield Mall is right there, along with a ton of restaurants, hotels, IKEA, and several major freeways. Plus we saved at least $150 a day by not staying downtown).
The upper left corner is Banana Chocolate Chip. Below that is Creamsicle. The yellow are Lemon, and the far right 'cakes are Red Velvet (they didn't have a huge selection of flavors). First, I'll say that I did not eat them all in one sitting. I may be a cupcake fan, but I am not a glutton. Very often. I even shared! What I liked about them: The Lemon were the very best. The cake was light & moist, and tasted like lemon, but not in an overwhelming or chemical way. The Red Velvet were good, but the batter didn't seem smoothly mixed, and they weren't quite as tasty. What I didn't like about them: The Creamsicle were not good. The cake was bland & flavorless, and the frosting was sickly-sweet. The Banana Chocolate Chip was just not cupcake material. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't really good either. I also thought that the frosting application was sloppy. I really like it when the frosting is piped on the top of a cupcake. Net/net: These were not nearly as good as Valley Junction's own Carefree Patisserie.
The drive home was both faster and uneventful. We stopped outside of Dubuque and grabbed some soda to help us stay awake, but otherwise there were no delays or problems. Malaina watched Annie on the DVD player, Justin slept, and Matt and I talked. That's the one advantage to road trips: I feel like Matt and I get to catch up on so much stuff that we don't chat about on a daily basis. We stopped outside Ames so I could feed Justin, and finally made it to our front door at about 2:45am on Monday morning. The drive home took about 7 hours - much better!
The only downside to the trip is that I have not gotten to bed before 2am any day this week. Part of that is due to this monster project I've been trying to complete, but I'm not happy about reverting to my night owl ways. Justin is usually wide-eyed & awake at 7 am, and I don't operate well on 5 hours of sleep (at least not unless there's a nap during the day.....and there never is). Now I'm hungry & craving cupcakes. I may have to rustle one up when I finish this project tonight (they added more stuff to it and gave me a 24 hour extension. Thanks). I definitely deserve it!
Monday, June 16, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Malaina loved riding the camel, and kept telling us that she wasn't scared at all.
Justin was SO good. He rode in the Bob, napped, and didn't make a peep the entire time we were there!
As soon as we got into the zoo, Malaina insisted we see the elephants (and kept at it the whole time). When we finally moseyed over to the elephant area, she took a look at the mom & baby & completely lost interest. I think her favorite part was being squirted by the baby elephant statue!
I recommend a visit to the zoo. It's a really nice size to see in just a few hours, and there's lots to do - feed the animals, ride a camel, ride the train, etc. We wanted to try and hit the Science Center, too, but just ran out of time. That night we had dinner at PF Chang's (so good!!), and made it an early night. Yesterday we took a jaunt over to the mall and Malaina played while the boys strolled through Scheel's. We had lunch at Panera, then Matt and Malaina went to see Kung Fu Panda (highly enjoyed it), and the rest of us went to Valley Junction and the Heart of Iowa store to pick up a few local goodies for them to take home. Then it was off to the airport (via a newly found shortcut - avoiding flooded Fleur Drive). Justin's expression shows how we all felt about Grandma & Grandpa leaving.
Now we're scrambling to get ready for the long weekend in Chicago - catching up on laundry, cleaning, and I'm trying to finish a blanket for the new Baby Payne (isn't she precious??). I'm just grateful that the one thing I did get accomplished this week was to mail my Father's Day cards. They might actually reach their destinations on time!
Monday, June 9, 2008
Grandma & Grandpa Engle came to visit this weekend! They travelled from Gardnerville, NV to see Malaina in her dance recital, and to meet Justin for the first time. We went to the Farmer's Market on Saturday, and had a great time seeing all the beautiful produce, sampling Kettle Korn, and Dad even chatted with a few other Aussie Shepherd owners. Malaina got to ride the train, and could have done that all day. Justin was sacked out in the Bob the whole time, but I think he enjoyed himself, too. Later that day we put Justin in his Jump Up (see video below), and I guess he was so worn out that he fell asleep! After dinner we went to Snookies for a little ice cream and Iowa atmosphere. Sunday was a quiet day, and we had to abandon going to Pella in favor of staying dry and off the flooded roads. Grandma and Grandpa got some one-on-one time with the kids while Matt and I snuck away to a movie. What a great weekend! We should be off to Winterset today to see the covered bridges.
Justin in his Jump Up! He seems to enjoy it, and it always cracks me up when he gets some momentum. (Ignore the conversation in the background)
She was a little wishy-washy about going to dance class towards the end of the year, but I think performing in the recital (and having the chance to watch the more advanced dancers) has convinced her to continue taking lessons in the Fall. We'll move from a half hour class to an hour class, and they will even learn a little tap dancing! The Website is here Capitol City Dance Center, and I like them for their small class size, close location, and reasonable price.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Our Louisiana red beans finally came on Monday, and boy were they good! There are not many things that live up to their memory, but I am so glad these did. Even Malaina enjoyed them, especially when we started telling her stories from our time in Louisiana (and calling her our Cajun Queen).
Here's a little shot of Justin, hanging out with his buddy Henry Bear. And one when he woke up from his morning nap. I don't like the pacifier in pictures, but he looked so cute all bundled in his blanket (and cuddled up with Daddy).