Monday, September 29, 2008

Big Happenings

First, I am going on vacation next week (Monday), and am SO excited. It's just me and the kiddos, so wish me luck on the 3 flights we have to take to get where we're going. It's a 10 day trip, but I have to interrupt it for a detour to Dallas for work on Sunday & Monday. Just me and Big J on that one. Should be a blast to try and set up a tradeshow showroom with a 7 month old in tow, but we'll get through it. I'm sure the rest of the trip will make up for that little hiccup in the vacay.

Next, our anniversary is on Saturday, and we actually have PLANS. We've roped a school colleague into babysitting, and we're going to sneak away for a late dinner. ALONE. I am so excited that I am - dare I say - giddy. I picked out this schmancy frenchie place downtown and can't wait to eat good bread and not cut up someone else's food before they eat it and possibly even have a conversation with my husband that does not revolve around either of our sweet children. I might even have to go out and buy a new outfit from somewhere other than Target. I do love Target, but think this could be an opportunity to locate a skirt that fits in the waist yet isn't 5 inches longer than it should be. Wish me luck.

So close!

I am just $130 away from my pledge goal for the Komen for the Cure race on October 25. First, thank you to those who have donated. I am grateful for your support of this important cause and of me. I won't let you down - I ran 2 miles yesterday & will continue to train and push myself until I finish running that race!

Next, I am so close to my monetary goal, but would be incredibly grateful for any additional donations. It's NEVER too late to pitch in, and every single dollar helps. I hate grovelling for anything, but would happily walk through a bed of hot coals on my knees for additional donations. Or run 3.2 miles - I think it's going to be just as painful.

If you're not able to donate right now, please consider doing so in the future. Money is always needed to fund research and prevention programs. There are tons of great pink ribbon items out there, and they make wonderful Holiday gifts, too. Thanks for listening to my poorly worded plea.

Go Team Baby Bootcamp!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Since I started on my quest for improved fitness/ better health, I admit that I've done better with the exercise than the healthy eating. I just seem to crave chocolate almost all the time. I can satisfy my craving with something as simple as chocolate milk, but often find myself wanting much more than that. It's a bummer, as giving in to the cravings mean I am taking away from all the hard work I'm doing with exercise. I'm working out 4-5 times a week and still on the running program. I often feel like I am just spinning my wheels, not making any true progress, but try to refocus myself and realize it's a journey with different bumps in the road every day. And frankly, a life without chocolate chip cookies is not something I want to experience.

After I ran this morning and got cleaned up, I tried to pick out a marginally more creative outfit than my usual jeans and T. I pulled out one of my 3 pairs of shorts and grabbed a black blouse. I dressed myself, and realized the shorts were not only comfortable, they were a bit roomy.

ROOMY, people!

I bought these shorts 2 years ago, right before we went to Hawaii. I was pregnant at the time (I didn't know it yet), and they were almost too snug, but I was desperate for something cool to wear in the tropics. I never really imagined that they would be close to TOO big on me. I wear jeans so often, and they are a terrible barometer of weight loss (I always shrink mine in the drier, so they are snug when I first put them on). I didn't really think I'd made any improvement in the last few months, but there you go: my shorts are a little too big.

I guess the running really is helping. This is week 5 of the plan, and it's getting interesting. By the 3rd day of running this week, I'm supposed to be jogging for 20 minutes straight. While I know I CAN do it, I'm curious to see how I feel in the middle of it. I think I'll mix up my playlist, maybe add a little Rocky theme song in the middle to get pumped up. And of course, I keep telling myself that pushing the stroller makes me work 30% harder. I hope this means that race day will be 30% easier than my usual workout, but I have a feeling that's not going to be the case. Oh well, whatever keeps me running, right?

Monday, September 22, 2008

A week's update

Last week was full of busyness - which is becoming the norm around here. Big J ended up with a high fever from his injections, and I spent a nervous 24 hours watching him like a hawk. I'm so glad he's 6 months now & he can take Motrin, because that is the medicine that seems to work the best on my kids. It worked like a charm, and by Wednesday morning he was almost as good as new.

We had friends over for lunch on Thursday (A total rarity. As in so rare, I'm not sure it's ever happened before), and really enjoyed their company. I was a maniac beforehand, as always - cleaning, slicing and dicing in order to get everything ready, but it was so great just to have some adult conversation during the day.

Friday we headed out to the mall to pick up a gift for Grandma Engle (Happy Birthday! We love you!), and get ready for the Ward Campout. After a slow start with the camping, everyone had a good time. Big Sis ran around like a wild dog with the rest of the pack, and even caught a frog (we released him back into the wild). Big J and I went home that night, then drove back in the morning to pick up Big Daddy and Big Sis. She did a great job sleeping in the tent, and it was nice to hang out with other people in the ward in a laid back environment.

Sunday I was in Fall Cooking Mode. Maybe I was prepping for the Autumn Equinox? I don't know what my deal was, but I made a Black Bean Chowder (sorry Pioneer Woman, I will NOT be recommending this recipe), a loaf of white bread and 2 loaves of pumpkin bread (SO GOOD). The chowder was a flop, but everything else was delish. I know I will miss these mild, sunny days when the snow is coming down, but for now I'm wishing for blue skies, 50 degree days and a new black sweater to wear while drinking some apple cider. Where is Fall when I need it??

In other news, I am becoming a little distraught over our ongoing sleep issues. Big Sis was weaned and sleeping 12 hours a night by this time in her life, and Big J is still co-sleeping with us and waking to eat 2-6 times a night. I take full responsibility for giving him these bad habits, but am totally conflicted about how to resolve this. I don't want to wean him yet, but I need to work on better sleep habits for him. It's time for him to sleep in his own crib - and he will go to sleep there, but wakes after 45 minutes & is MAD. I hate hearing him cry, but also hate waking up all night so that he can nurse for comfort. Do I just need to stop being such a weenie and toughen up? I know, I know.... if I have to ask that question, I already know the answer. :(

Thursday, September 18, 2008


What're you lookin' at? It's just me and my biscuit here. Can we have a moment, please?

Mmmm.... Toes. It's what's for dinner.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Just a Wednesday

This feels so good on my poor achin' teef.

It's hard work to grow 2 bottom teef at the same time.

Open wide!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

6 months

My sweet boy, you are 6 months old! I can hardly believe it's been so long. It feels like it was just last week that I held you in my arms for the first time. I gazed into your blue eyes and felt another piece of my life move into its proper place. You have such a sweet spirit about you, balanced with your distinct 'boy-ness'. You are loving and gentle, enjoying cuddles with mom, watching football with Dad and watching your big sister adoringly. You radiate happiness with your gummy grin and your babbling. You also don't hesitate to let your displeasure be known - but you are so laid back that it's not very often.

Favorite Food: Peaches, milk

Nicknames: Big J, Colonel Doctor, J-J, Uncle Fester, Spike

Favorite Toys: Baby Einstein books, Rainforest music, Jumper

Likes: The stroller (he's the best running partner ever), being outside, listening to music, kicking his feet, chocolate ice cream, Baby Tad, smiling at the ladies.

Dislikes: Cereal, peas, shoes, laying on his tummy, rice chex, bananas, being strapped in his car seat.

Physical changes: One tooth coming in with another close to breaking through. Likes to babble, blow bubbles and raspberries. When holding him he will chase you with an open mouth (trying to teeth on anything he can get hold of). Reaches for toys and food, can grasp a cheerio, will bring things to his mouth, and move them from hand to hand. Likes to grab his feet and bring them to his mouth but has yet to start chewing on his toes. Is a champion hair grabber.

Update: My little destroyer recieved 4 injections and had to drink a nasty liquid medication at his 6 month visit today. He is 26 1/4" long, his head is 17 1/4" around, and he is 17.5 lbs! He weighs more than half of what Big Sis does! And he's grown 5" since he was born. I am so fortunate to have such a healthy babe. He was awesome during his shots. Big Daddy held him down, but he only cried for a minute & I didn't even have to nurse him afterwards. We bundled him home right away & after a dose of Tylenol, he and Daddy are napping. Probably the best thing for both of them.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rarities Spotted

I first spotted the elusive beast in the food court. I quickly lost sight of it in the crowds surrounding the dude giving out free orange chicken samples.

Another glimpse was caught near the fake handbag cart, but it stealthily melted into the distance amidst a rush over the latest faux Coach.

I finally got a good look at it near the escalator, where it was dangling a child over the railing and frantically gesturing to its mate/offspring/companion.

It was the ultra-rare FEMULLET. Genus: Homo. Species: Uglificus

The Femullet is in danger of extinction, and is only rarely spotted these days. It seems to prefer to remain near its lair, leaving only for brief periods of time to venture out to the nearest Wal-Mart to pick up some spray cheese and pickled eggs. This Femullet must have been preparing for a mating ritual, as it was particularly enhanced with a perm and adorned with both barrettes and a puffy clip-on bow, the likes of which I have not seen since 1992.

On today's journey I also spotted the extraordinary Satin Disco Jacket. I felt a time warp coming on, as the last time I saw this beast it was part of my favorite kindergarten outfit. My little beauty was pink and blue with gold satin piping and Disco Fever written across the back. Oh sweet jacket, where art thou now??

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A quiet moment

It's 8:24 am and I have been awake since 5:45. Big J was rarin' to go this morning, and despite trying to nurse/ pat/ cuddle him back to sleep, he was not having it. When the alarm went off at 6:00, he knew he had won. He is now down for nap #1 after getting changed, dressed, refusing breakfast (bananas=yuck!) and having some time in his bouncy chair. I've had my own breakfast, caught up on blog reading, checked for any major news stories and am enjoying my morning hot chocolate while the house sleeps once again.

I am so grateful for the little moments in my life. It's not the big stuff that I appreciate the most. Oh, I'll always remember the big moments - when Big Daddy first said 'I Love You', when the babies were born, all that good stuff. But I appreciate the quiet times, the small moments. When Big Sis cuddles in my lap before going to bed. I wrap my arms around her and stroke her hair, and remind myself: 'Appreciate this. She will not always want you to hold her like this'. When Big J sees me in the morning and reaches his chubby fist out towards me while smiling, cooing and spitting at me. I love those kids so much.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A little dream

I love being able to stay close to home and chip away at chores throughout the day. I sometimes wonder how I ever managed to work full time, commute an hour each way, and still spend time with my family while trying to keep up on the house. I didn't do it very well, and marvel at how I did it at all. I don't really mind housework, it's finding the time to get it done at all. I have to work many chores around Big J's nap schedule (schedule - who am I kidding??) or bedtime, etc.

My main bete noir is the kitchen. I like a clean kitchen, but am always behind on it. I blame my dishwasher. It's small, poorly designed and LOUD. I never run it at night or first thing in the morning because it's so noisy. I try not to run it in the middle of the day, as either Big J is sleeping or I am trying to work/ make phone calls & it's not terribly professional to have your colleagues hear either the dishwasher or a screaming baby in the background.

I sometimes fantasize about my dream house. The kitchen is most important to me, as it's the heart of the home. I also love to cook so having space and good appliances is critical. Here's my dream:

I want a kitchen that is large and open, with vaulted ceilings. It will overlook the family room, appearing to be almost one huge space that flows into each other. Tile or wood floors. It will have maple cabinets below and glassfronted cabinets above. Slideout shelves in the cabinets. A special space for all my cookie sheets and baking pans. An open nook for my cookbooks. The countertops will be granite. Appliances - probably stainless, but only if they've invented a stainless look that doesn't hold fingerprints. If not, then black. Definitely a gas cook top with separate, double convection ovens. A large island with an offset counter - one side will be sized for me, the other will be countertop height. A large, farmhouse-style sink with pull out spray nozzle and built in water filter. And most critical in the kitchen - DOUBLE DISHWASHERS. Wouldn't that be dreamy?

I used to think multiple appliances were rather silly. Now that our dishes and laundry have tripled in the last 6 months, I am seeing the light. One of my old friends has 5 children, and I never quite believed her when she said she did 5 loads of laundry every day. Now, I believe it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Nie Nie

I stumbled across this blog: Nie Nie Dialogues and have spent quite a while reading old posts. If you don't know the story, here's the gist: She's a blogger, Member, wife, and mother of 4. She's only 27.

She and her husband were in a private plane crash in mid-August, and they are very badly injured. She has burns over 80% of her body and is in critical condition. Her husband was slightly less injured, but is still heavily sedated and intubated. Their medical bills are around $2 million dollars right now, with insurance covering only half that. Some of the blogging world has pulled together to help the family, and there have been gatherings, auctions, donations, etc. It's truly inspiring to see how her family, friends, and various strangers have rallied around them and their children to help in any way possible.

What's my point?

Click the link and read about them. Check C Jane Run for updates. And say a prayer for them. It couldn't hurt, right?

Big J in Video

I haven't posted video in a while, but I couldn't resist this chance. This is Big J in all his glory - doing the things he does best right now: drool, stuff his fingers in his mouth, yell, kick the Feet of Fury, chew on his toes. I think he is just the cutest boy ever and want to cover him in cream and gobble him up.

I also discovered he has cut his first tooth - bottom front. The razor sharp edge has poked out and I think more are to follow soon. Unfortunately this means his nursing days are numbered. I planned to start weaning him after I get back from vacation next month, but this may move the timeline up. At least he's now discovering a taste for solids. I don't know if it's the homemade baby food, or if he's just ready, but he's now eating 2 meals a day. I didn't say they're big meals, but it's a start.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Week 2 Update

Training: I'm still on the program. It was a little more running this week, mixed in with walking. I did the program on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. I got up early on Saturday, bundled up Big J, and we went up the hill and around the lake by the library. It was a cool, foggy morning with lots of bunnies out along the trail. I'm most enjoying getting outside and exploring different trails and paths. Week 3 ramps up the running, so I'll be interested to see how I do. After the first 5 minutes or so I seem to adjust fairly well, so hopefully it will continue. My knee is bothering me a little bit, but the twinge usually goes away after warming up.

Pledges: I am so humbled to have received more than half my goal in pledges. Your confidence in me is inspiring, and I feel the weight of this responsibility on my shoulders every day of my training. I still have $200 to meet my goal, so I'll be sending out another groveling email asking for pledges and support. For those of you who have donated - Thank You! For those of you still thinking about it - do it! It's tax deductible! It's for a great cause! You won't be sorry!

In other news: I have a lovely goosegg on my forehead. I nailed myself on the corner of the trunk of my car while heaving the stroller back inside yesterday morning. It wasn't bad yesterday, but this morning it was marked by a nice red spot and some lovely swelling in the surrounding area. It's hard to see if you're not really looking for it, but I'm still glad I cut my bangs on Friday & I can kind of sweep them over so you can't see it. I iced it with a bag of frozen peas, but it still aches.

Have you been to El Rodeo yet? I have, and I want to go back. Tomorrow. And the next day. And possibly the next. Good Mexican food is hard to find outside the West Coast, and I'm a little shocked this place is as yummy as it is. In Des Moines? Oh yeah. Cheap, too. You know it's got to be good if the homies eat there. I know, it's a stereotype. But you shoulda seen the guy - he could have been straight out of South Central. Again - in Des Moines? Oh yeah.

Mac vs. PC

I've enjoyed the Mac vs. PC commercials since they launched a few years ago (2006). I'm a long time PC user, but appreciate the stylish sensibilities of the Apple brand as a whole. I know that if I ever want to seriously explore any sort of graphics driven hobby or possibly career, I'll have to switch to Mac, but that's not happening anytime in the near future. I'm also not one to be the first on any bandwagon, and I only obtained an iPod about 2 years ago.

I've watched Microsoft's new commercial a few times now - the one with Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates. I have to say, I am not amused. The commercial is neither funny, compelling, nor smart. It's so bad it's not even laughable, and I can say with confidence that there is nothing about it that makes me confident in Microsoft's ability to keep pace with the ever changing technology market. The punchline is Gates adjusting his shorts to confirm Seinfeld's hope of an edible PC? Has it really come to that, Bill? REALLY??

I have no idea who their target market is with that ad (my parents?), but it's definitely not me. Perhaps I'll be buying a Mac sooner than I think.

Kid Chaos

Big Sis was invited to a party for one her new classmates. His parents were very considerate and invited everyone in his new preschool class. The party was to take place on Saturday, at Chuck E. Cheese. I RSVP'd for her, saying that she would come with Mom and Big J in tow.

I'm not sure what exactly I was expecting, but I guess I never considered the ramifications of showing up to Chuck E. Cheese.

On a Saturday.

For a birthday party.

It was a little chaotic.

It's been several years since I've stepped foot in a CEC, and I think the last time I was there was on a Thursday evening. Not exactly prime kid play time. Saturday at 12:30 was a different story. I can't recall the last time I was so surrounded by such a large pack of screaming, shouting, crying, 3-10 year olds. The chaos was compounded by the buzz, beeps, and whines of 50 electronic "games". A little sensory overload. After a rough start trying to locate the party, we finally joined in the festivities, and the kids had fun. About 6 of the classmates showed up, and the parents were even able to visit a little bit. Big J actually fell asleep in my arms for awhile, but after almost 2 hours of this craziness, I was ready to G-O. I had to come home and decompress from the madness. Unfortunately, Big Sis' appetite for CEC has only been piqued by this little excursion, and we are already hearing refrains of "Can I have my birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese? Plllllleeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaasssssssssssseeeeeeeeeeee??????" Since her birthday falls in the middle of winter (and we live in a tiny apartment), CEC is one of the few options available for hosting more than 2 five year olds at one time. Thankfully I have a good 5 months to steel myself for the madness.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Obligatory School Posting

Yesterday was Big Sis' first day of preschool! She went for a few months last year, but this is her first year of officially starting with the beginning of the school year. I wasn't sad at all - she was so excited that I had nothing to be sad over. Yes, it's difficult to see my girl growing up so quickly, but she is so filled with wide-eyed wonder at the world around her, I am eager to watch her grow and explore with other kids her age. She was ready to go at 8 am, despite not starting class until 12:30. Think she was a little excited? It was a short day, filled with exploring the new classroom, and getting to know her new teacher and other students.

Big Daddy and I tried to make her feel extra special about school, so the night before we went to the mall so she could play for a while, then got pizza for dinner. After I picked her up from school we got a strawberry drink and talked about her afternoon. And then we got ice cream after dinner! Snookie's closes soon, so we had to make it there at least one more time before the end of the season. While she gobbled down her kid cone, Big Daddy let Big J have a lick of chocolate soft serve. I think he's hooked, as he started licking his lips and lunging after the cone for more. He won't eat baby food, but loves ice cream. Let's hope I can eventually teach him a little nutritional balance.

By the time we came home from ice cream, it was bath time. Big J took his first bath in the regular tub. He's not solid with his sitting up yet, so we eventually just laid him on his back and let him paddle & splash. It was a big hit.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The End of Summer

This is the first summer in years that I have been eager for summer to begin, and enjoyed every day of it. We had such a great time. We had family come to visit, went to the Zoo, hit the farmer's market, went to Chicago for a long weekend, I started (and stuck with!) an exercise program, participated in our first 4th of July parade, Big Sis had swim lessons, I had a birthday, we went to the Fair, we hit the park a ton, went to the pool..... it doesn't sound like all that much, but we kept very busy. And of course Big J changed so much over the summer - he's a totally different boy! I can't believe it's now September and school starts this week. It'll be Christmas before we know it! Could I use any more exclamation points?!!!!!