Thursday, February 25, 2010

Simple minded

Am I the only simple minded person on the face of this earth who watches Lost just because it's entertaining, has fun characters, great scenery, and I want to see where the story goes?

Really-it does not make the show any more enjoyable for me to have it pointed out that one of the posters on the bedroom wall in this week's episode was of the band that Charlie once mentioned to his brother that they could have a chance of opening for. Why do you people even know this?!

Who knew that just watching a show for entertainment sake was such a rarity?


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Take that Monday

I wasn't about to let Monday be the end of my pregnancy running. So I laced up the shoes today.

I'm happy to report, no gagging, no choking back vomit, and no wetting my pants. (though that last part was a little iffy for a bit....)

I maintained a 9 min/mile pace (give or take a few seconds), and pushed the last 1/2 mile at an 8min/mile pace. Go me!
This is a big deal-I am a slow runner.

Granted I was running an indoor track so I didn't have to face the elements, but hey-I was canceling my gym membership today and they made me come in and fill out some forms to do that, so I figured I'd take advantage of their facilities one last time.

Speaking of indoor tracks (brace yourselves, I'm about to vent), aside from the fact that it was a shock to my system to go from running in head to toe layers outside in 20 degree weather (not counting wind) to running where it was so warm I was sweating in the first mile...I swear it was 85 degrees in there (it was a treat to run in a tank and skirt again!), I learned that there are issues with an indoor track. The running in circles gets monotonous-but I can deal with that. The place has a 4 lane track. Not huge, but plenty big. I've run it at night before and it's been fine. The daytime is a different story. For some reason, everyone goes the opposite direction during the day. Why? not sure. Why did it bug me? Creature of habit. I got over it.

Also, moms with strollers. UGH.
Let's be real. I have a boatload of kids. I'm all for using them to workout and squeezing in working out whenever/however you can. I get that part-more than probably any of the stroller brigade does. But when you have a 4 lane track, and the lanes are VERY clearly marked Lane 1 & 2: walking, Lane 3:running Lane 4:running and circuit training, why, please tell me WHY do you think it is ok for you to straddle the first three lanes, and mooch into the fourth?
Also, I get the want, no need, to keep your toddler in the stroller happy. Been there done that. But really, does it have to require containers of cereal/snacks that they a-spill all over, b-keep throwing which then causes you to stop your wagon train in the middle of the track to chase the container down, c-pass back and forth from stroller to stroller? OK, props for teaching your kid to share-so I'll forgive that if you quit stopping every time they try to pass it back and forth!

I know I sound like a b****, I'll blame the pregnancy hormones. And the fact that every time I tried to run around the parade while maintaining my pace, and not running anyone over or crashing into anyone I would get the look. You know, THE look. I know the look well, even out of the corner of my eye. I've given it enough times to be too familiar with it. *sigh*

All that aside, today's run felt awesome. Thank goodness! It's been too long since I had that happy ache in my legs. Though it wasn't as many miles as I hoped to put in, with the quicker pace I'm happy. It's a shock to be able to lap people, because I've always been the one being lapped. (it's kind of fun to be on the other side!) It made me grateful for the awesome trails in my city that enable me to run outside instead of being stuck on a track. Grateful for a body that functions well, even if I am going to have to face reality and not put in the miles that I was hoping to this year. Baby in exchange for less running = more than a fair trade! Much more. Also, I'm glad I never ditched that cheap Craigs List elliptical that's gathering dust in the garage. Looks like it will come in handy again. Just hopefully not too soon.

I hope your Wednesday was better than your Monday too. Even if your Monday was great.

Monday, February 22, 2010


I went running today-it was so sunny and bright out I couldn't help it! I wanted nothing more than to pull a Forrest Gump. You know, "Run Forrest, Run!"
I even called Aaron to pick me up wherever he found me on his way home. That way I could just go out and run as far as my little heart desired and not have to worry about a turn around point.

It was a good idea. I thought.

First, it was cold. Much colder than it looked. Like any sweat that attempted to leave my body instantly froze to my face cold.

I spent the first mile gagging and actually heaving a handful of times, trying not to puke all over myself. Good times!

Had a decent next mile and a half, almost two miles, until the frigid wind blowing in my face was just too much and I turned around to head home. The wind was blowing so hard that when I turned my head to spit, it never hit the ground. Just caught the breeze and flew. (good thing no one else was out running today)
Running uphill into the freezing wind was like trying to swim upstream in an icy river. It was the suck.

The bright sunny afternoon was deceiving. As Aaron so kindly pointed out, "the sun looks nice and happy at the Arctic Circle too. It doesn't mean it's warm out." Point taken.

So much for just going out and running for as far as I could in one direction.

But then to top it all off, for about the last two miles home I had to make a concentrated effort not to pee my pants. Have you ever tried to not pee your pants while running? Not easy. In attempt to make sure I don't put myself anywhere near dehydration, I made sure to drink enough before leaving. More than enough I guess.
Also, that's when the Braxton Hicks contractions kicked in. Nice. New record for me. I think the earliest I've had them kick in before was around 16 weeks. I'm only 14 weeks. That's fun.
Annoying cramping plus full bladder being squished by expanding on a daily basis uterus = uncomfortable. I ended up walking a heck of a lot more of the distance home than I wanted because my bladder just couldn't take it any more.

I think my body is trying to send me a message. Something along the lines of "Hello! You're pregnant for the millionth time!"

Any bets on how long I can ignore it?


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sweet Tooth Sunday-more on Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies.

You knew that was coming didn't you?

I tried 3 more recipes this weekend.
Normally I would have been through every suggested recipe and a dozen more by now, but since now everyone knows that I'm pregnant, I can admit that I'm sick as a dog and blame that for my lack of baking.

Also for my lack of running. And that is really ticking me off. 9 days since my last run. The fact I can't run on a daily (or even every other day) basis is kind of killing my plans for the half marathon I was banking on in March. With any luck I'll get out today. We'll see.

Back to cookies.

The 3 recipes I tried this weekend were all suggested in the comments on that original cookie quest post.

Recap on the first two recipes:
This one, "The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever", was good. The dough was great. I liked it quite a bit, but it didn't make me giddy with excitement.
This one, "The Last Chocolate Chip Cookie", wasn't bad, but I didn't like it as much. I will admit that I did not use turbinado sugar (my closest store is 12 miles away. I'm not making a 30 minute round trip to pay through the nose for a different sugar), so maybe that would make that special difference. Don't know. Maybe I'll grab some next time I'm out and retry. Though I would then contend that I should be able to default to chocolate chip cookies at any time using things that I normally have on hand. Turbinado sugar is not one of those things.

So, the next three.

These recipes were suggested by LL (Martha Stewart's basic drop cookie-using choc chips as the "add in"), Heather (the Kitchen Aid recipe), and Cassie's recipe.

My kids loved all three. Big shocker there, right?
I took all three recipes (pretty darn fresh from the oven!) to our friends who we hung out with on Saturday so we could all eat cookies together while we laughed so hard we almost peed our pants. It was lovely. ("Oh! John Wayne!") No complaints, good comments on all three recipes.

Also, if you happen to live close, please feel free to call me any day and ask if I have cookies sitting here that need to be evaluated. Odds are the answer is yes, and I'd love your opinion.

Before I break down my original thoughts, I will disclaimer that I felt awful on Sat night. It probably wasn't the best time to taste test cookies, but I have more dough and will be rebaking all of these today (feeling slightly more human right now), so I will let you know if that changes my opinions.

#1: The Martha Stewart recipe
This cookie looks very good. That probably sounds stupid, but I'm serious. This looks like what a good cookie should look like. And like LL promised, texture varied from firm and crisp on the outside to soft in the middle-a good cookie for dunking. When I mentioned to my friend that it didn't knock my socks off she was surprised. "Really? I think it's really good." Not bad, but I didn't find myself swirling away in a pretend world singing "OHHHH sweet mystery of life at last I've found you!"

#2: The Kitchen Aid recipe
Again, not bad, but just didn't do it for me. I like the consistency of the cookie-more flour than most recipes (3 cups instead of the standard 2 1/4-2 1/2), and yet it didn't make it tough at all. Aaron keeps asking me to do this recipe again, but use milk chocolate chips. That says a lot because he only likes one recipe.

#3: Cassie's recipe
I have to admit I was curious, especially because one of the ingredients in this recipe vanilla pudding mix. Huh? Going against my belief that choc chip cookies should only contain basics that I always have on hand, I had to try it. I was curious. It was a Saturday night, you know how far I live from the store, and I had no vanilla pudding. Thankfully a friend of ours did, so I promptly shooed my husband out in the cold to go steal their food. Good times!
I may have to start buying vanilla pudding regularly.
This was my favorite recipe this weekend. I worried that they would taste like pudding, but they didn't. Good texture, good consistency. These were also my other friend's favorites. This is a man who claims chocolate chip cookies are his weakness. He did admit that it may have been his favorite because it was the first one he tried, but he did go back for more of this one, so I'll take that as a good sign.
(I neglected to take a picture of this finished product)

I tried the suggestion that someone offered me of rolling instead of just scooping.

For comparison I did half of each sheet. I noticed a slight difference, but not as much as I expected I guess. Verdict? Not sure. Easier to just use the scoop still probably. When it gets down to the final two recipes, I'll do the rolling vs scooping thing again and see if I find a difference.

So, as of right now, the two reigning champions are Cassie's recipe (can be found in the comments of the original cookie quest post) and the first recipe I tried, "The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever" that is on the Savory Sweet Life site.
I am baking this afternoon, so I will let you know if my opinion on any of these recipes is different on a day when I don't feel so sick I could curl up in bed and die.

Next up: Denise's recipe and Annie's recipe (also both in the comments on the original post), and one I'm putting together myself.......


Monday, February 15, 2010

The cookie quest continues....

I'm still on the hunt for the perfect cookie.

I tried the first two recipes on my list and thought both were good, one better than the other, but still not a recipe that made me weak in the knees. I did take both recipes to a meeting with a dozen or so people-their preference was split almost perfectly down the middle. Not helpful! But I guess that really doesn't matter too much since I'm looking for my favorite. Although one person there is fairly culinarily inclined, so I'm going to try a couple of his suggestions and see how that works out.

The plan is to get to the other recipes this week now that I've done a Costco run and have two gallons (yes, they are in gallon jars) of chocolate chips.

Can you believe that I ran out of chocolate chips?

I know.

I am now fully stoked on butter and chocolate chips. Life is good.

Looking forward to trying out the other recipes that have been suggested. Still welcoming any other suggestions you may have as well!

That one recipe that I mentioned in the first cookie post was good. The dough was great. I think I have a couple of adjustments in mind, so we'll see where it ends up.


8 Ball, a bag and a cat

Yah, I think I'll just leave it at that.


Dallin turns 5

Five years ago this little one joined out family.

He had kind of a rough start, spending the first week of his life here:

And then getting only a few weeks reprieve before landing here:

Add to that the fact that 7 days before he was born we moved, two weeks after he was born Aaron had surgery, and then the week before he was re-hospitalized, Aaron was hospitalized with meningitis....his first month and a half of life was one hectic time.

It's a good thing he liked to snuggle. I needed that at the time.

In the 5 years since then, he's been appropriately tortured,

Picked up some interesting habits,

Developed some unique talents,

Gone fun places

And met some interesting creatures

He's gotten plenty dirty,

But cleans up pretty well

And thankfully, he chose to actually blow out his birthday candles instead of spitting them out.

(Even though he had to think about it.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Use your creativity wisely

My children each have a household chore daily. Not big things, but things that need to be done on a regular basis-especially when you have this many people in one house. These chores consist of a daily pick up/wipe down in the main bathroom, vacuuming the floors, emptying/loading the dishwasher, helping with one load of towels (wash/dry/fold/put away), and taking out the garbage. All roughly 5 minute jobs. 10 if you go slow.

Often while the kids are at school I'll give them a jumpstart. No, sadly it's not to be nice, it's for my own sanity. If the sink is so full of dishes that I can't find the bottom, I'll load the dishwasher and hand wash the big stuff so that they just have to put away. Or I'll get the towels through the washer and dryer so that they only need to be folded and put away.

Such was the case today.

The towels were sitting clean and fluffy (and still slightly warm) in the dryer. Waiting to be folded.

Child #2, the oldest boy, nearing 10 years of age is on laundry today.

I asked him, more than once to get his chore done this afternoon. He wanted to finish putting together his Valentine cards for school tomorrow. I told him that as soon as the towels were done, he could have at it.

And then he disappeared.

And I happened to walk in the laundry room.

The towels were no longer in the dryer.
But they were also not sitting on the couch in a laundry basket where the kids usually plunk them.

And then I noticed that the laundry that had been in the washer was now in the dryer. But the washer was not empty.

Oh no.
The lovely clean fluffy towels (that were all the childrens' towels by the way-yes they each have their own towels, by color), were staring at me through the big glass door of the washer.

I thought I must be mistaken. Maybe he had rounded up one more dirty load of laundry and in a saintly manner started a new load of laundry. There are after all two towels of each of the bright colors....

And so I sought out said child. He was in my room putting together Valentines.

And I dared to ask...."did you just take the clean towels and start the laundry over? After they have already been washed and dried?"

"uh-I didn't want to fold them right now."

Are you kidding me?!? *sigh* Thankfully he had forgotten to hit the start button, so they were just sitting there and not being rewashed yet, but seriously?!

I get the not wanting to fold issue. I have had clean laundry sitting in baskets in my room for two days. And actually half of it is folded, I just haven't bothered to put it away yet. Point being I understand! I don't like laundry any more than you do-and probably even less!

But c'mon-You couldn't just hide them behind the couch or something? Put them in a basket and leave them in the laundry room? Even take them down to your bedroom and hide them?

Points for attempting to find a way to get out of your chore, but work on your application of avoidance please.



I wonder what I would do with my wife's blog if I had the chance......



My dogs' lips

Apparently my dogs are feeling self conscious.

One of my dogs is in heat. The other appears to be headed into it as well.
Fun stuff. I do not remember as a kid that our dogs went all weird when in heat. Maybe they didn't. Mine do. I have two psychotic animals tearing through my house most of the day lately. Strange creatures.
(makes me fear my girls hitting the teen years)

I must be a neglectful dog owner, as I did not realize that their cycling gave them extra need for primping. They have been rolling in the slightly thawed garden-thus necessitating extra bathing. They have been pawing at anything and everything-thus necessitating extra nail trimming. They have been shedding like mad, which means extra brushing. But apparently that wasn't enough.

Oh no.

Despite the fact that these two little dogs of mine do not-and we have decided will not-have any male companionship in their current state, they feel the need to pretty up.

With my lip balm.

They'd better be enjoying their replenished with pomegranate oil Burt's Bees soothed lips.
They stole my lip balm. Didn't eat it, just mangled the lid off and played with it. Which proves to me that all females want soft lips. Even those that are not human.

Do dogs even have lips?


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Great Winter Rebellion

Here we are at that lovely time of year again. Everyone is stinkin' tired of winter.

We've had the annual January thaw, so you can see grass in some places. There are some confused little bulbs that are starting to sprout. And darn it-if that sun out there isn't tempting....

This is when we start to do crazy things. In the spirit of one of two things-either a big fat "neener, neener, you're getting more snow!" to those poor folks getting pounded back East right now, or the spirit of "since you're getting snowed in, we'll get out and enjoy our little break on your behalf", everyone seems to be taking a hibernation break.

Strange things happen when it's February, we're tired of sub-zero temps, and the sun comes out.

We start hanging out without coats. Heck, without jackets!
The kids have a snowball shortsleeves.

and barefoot.
(Except for the 3yr old who is currently living in his Lightening McQueen jacket day and night.)

A crazy amount of people decide that since the temperatures are soaring into the low 30s now, it's a great time to get active again. A ton of little bundled up babies and toddlers are in strollers feeling their parents' craziness. The kids break out the bikes and skateboards again. The basketball hoops are suddenly all in use.

And then there's the guy I saw out running this morning.
It was beautiful and sunny, and a whopping 33 degrees in our big capital city about 40 miles up the road, which means that it was roughly 5-10 degrees colder out here. (not sure why that happens, but it does) So it was likely in the mid to upper twenties. This guy was out running in shorts. And a tank top. And he was bald. After living with a bald man for the past nearly 10yrs I can tell you that bald=cold more easily. No insulation on the noggin. My first thought, "he's crazy!".... second thought, "dang I wish I was out running right now!"

So in the spirit of the great Winter rebellion, today I am wearing capris. And a t-shirt. And enjoying the sun streaming through the windows while I pretend that it's warm outside. Take that February!

Until I step outside to get the mail and get smacked in the face with a frigid breeze.
Darn reality.



We finally saw Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Cute show.
The monkey was the best part of the show. Don't get me wrong, the whole show was fun, but the monkey was the best.

And thanks to the monkey, you may now randomly hear "Steve!" uttered around my house.

Also occasionally something about gummy bears.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Tonsillectomy-round two

Because darn it, it just wasn't enough fun for the family the first time!

The good news is that this one doesn't involve me. Well, at least not the way the last one did.

It's Jacob's turn. Lucky kid.
(please note the sarcasm)

Remember how I set a record for my dr when it came to ASO numbers? (blood levels of strep)

Overachievers in all the wrong areas. Yes, we are!
My levels topped out at 660.
Normal is under 200.

Jacob, ahhh, my little Jacob...he's had some issues we've been trying to nail down for over a year. The best news we got was that it wasn't leukemia (seriously-no words to explain that feeling). The frustration was that we couldn't figure out what it was.
Thank heavens for our pediatrician. He's amazing. Seriously.
He had the thought that we'd run some more blood tests on Jacob, and asked that we come back a few weeks after Jacob was treated for strep throat (in Dec).

The blood test? ASO titer.
My old friend.

Jacob has outdone me. and then some.

AFTER a full course of antibiotics, his blood levels-on their way down-are you ready for this?



But hey-the good news is that I know of a great ENT. And they now travel to a clinic just 15min from my house one day a week, saving me an extra 20min drive in each direction to get to the consults.

Jacob goes under on March 5th for his turn. He keeps asking me "Will they let me sleep through it?" He is thrilled each time I tell him that yes, he will be asleep. And that he can eat all the ice cream, jello, smoothies, yogurt, etc, etc, that he wants for the week afterward.

I, on the other hand, am not looking forward to watching my kid experience what I just did. Everyone keeps promising me his recovery will be exponentially easier than mine. Gosh I hope so!


Friday, February 5, 2010

What the world needs now is Vitamin D

No, not "love, sweet love". Though that wouldn't hurt either I'm sure.

I'm serious. Vitamin D.

*also, a disclaimer-some of you will seriously disagree with me and think I'm nuts. Well, even more so that you already do. That's ok. It's my blog, my opinions. Feel free to fertilize the lawn with them if you'd like.*

We've all gotten so uber paranoid about sun exposure that I think it's safe to say that most people are deficient in it. Not to mention that we're under the constant cloud cover of winter in many places so there isn't even much chance for soaking up the sun.
It could be worse I guess. I could live in DC right now. (did you hear they are supposed to get 2 feet+ of snow tonight and tomorrow?!)

Think about it; people are happier in the summer usually, aren't they? It's pretty hard to be all angry and irritable on a bright sunny day.

Sure you can take Vit D supplements, but as with most things, supplements aren't as effective as the natural production of D by your body. Here, let's take a direct quote from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as a pandemic. The major cause of vitamin D deficiency is the lack of appreciation that sun exposure in moderation is the major source of vitamin D for most humans. Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, and foods that are fortified with vitamin D are often inadequate to satisfy either a child's or an adult's vitamin D requirement. Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets in children and will precipitate and exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis, and fractures in adults. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased risk of common cancers, autoimmune diseases, hypertension, and infectious diseases"

Holy smokes! Did you see that? "a pandemic"?! Let's hit on that increase your risk of a number of serious health issues. Hold on to your hats-this is a big scare. Ready?

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a higher incidence and higher rate of dying from many common cancers (including colon, prostate, breast, and many others), higher risk of type 1 diabetes, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, schizophrenia, and pre-eclampsia. And that's just touching the surface of non-skeletal issues!

Interestingly, there are many fibromyalgia sufferers who report markedly decreased pain when their vit D levels are monitored and kept in a good range. So D just might make a difference.....

But how do you fix that under the dreary blanket of winter weather?

Dare I say it out loud?


Oh dear. Hear the wilds unleashed.

Really and truly, if you can't get real sun, get a little fake sun!

(no, I don't work for, promote, get freebies, blah, blah, blah from any tanning places. Though I wouldn't complain if they offered freebies. anyone?)

Those of you who have known me for more than oh, 20 minutes, or are familiar with my skin issues know that I have actually been prescribed phototherapy, aka: tanning. A little odd to sit in a dermatologist's office surround by posters proclaiming my untimely and grotesque death should I not slather on sunscreen from morning till night (and even on cloudy days) and be told "you need to be in a light bed". Yes, there is a caution, don't overdo it, don't go every day, start at just 3-5 min, don't stay in more than 10 even after your skin has become acclimated.
But you know what's interesting? It's the most effective treatment I've ever had. Ever! Really. All the meds, the injections, the prescription courses...none of it is as potent as a trip to a light bed twice a week.
Most people don't know though that my skin issues are not just skin issues, they stem from a chronic immune suppression....and wouldn't you know it....the light exposure helps on all sides. I get less infections when I've had more light exposure! Not to mention that I feel better. And that's a big deal for someone who has always fought the Jan-Feb winter blues (S.A.D. anyone? I used to think it was bunk), especially with a rampant family history of depression.

Aaron and I did a little experiment last year. The poor guy is constantly dragging because he runs himself ragged doing everything necessary in his life. I told him that in the spring and summer I sit outside in the afternoon and either just soak up the sun or read a book for about 20 minutes and that afterward, I feel so recharged and ready to face the day. We started looking into recent research on Vit D/lack of D-specifically natural production of it. We thought we'd see if it worked for him. Interestingly, as he began sitting out in the sun for 15min on his lunch break, or after he came home from work, he began to feel more energized. Hmmmm....placebo effect? Maybe. maybe not. Maybe that good old D really does help after all.

A couple of interesting reads if you feel like it: HERE, and HERE.
(The second is a study and is much more technical, the first a quick read of just a few paragraphs.)

My point? Maybe there is none. Or maybe the reason the whole world has gotten so cynical, sarcastic and intolerant is because we're all so scared of the sun that we're all D deficient and it's making us ornery. Hmm...I like that second one. Everyone just needs more sunshine!

(More blah, blah, blah stuff: I'm not a dr, I'm not telling you to go tanning, or that there are no risks (esp skin cancer), etc, etc, etc. Be smart. Don't overexpose (in any form! ha!), and don't blame me if you get sunburned. Hey-I do still use sunscreen if I'm going to be out in the sun for a fair amount of time. And just because 5 min of sun makes me a new person doesn't mean it will do the same for you.)