Wednesday, February 28, 2007

And today's challenge for Super Mom....Childcare Calculus

Will it never end? Today the new wrinkle in our scheduled to the moment lives--PDQs babysitter needs to have surgery and will be out for nearly a month. "Lucky" for us that one of those weeks is Spring Break and she can go to daycare with Boobah. After that, the assignment for Super Mom is to coordinate daycare before and after school.

Boobah's babysitter (BB) doesn't live on a bus route for PDQs school, she can watch her after school but getting her to BB creates some scheduling issues for Super Mom. BB might be able to pick her up at school but will need Super Mom's van to do so and needs cooperation of another child's parents as he arrives from preschool at the same time school ends.

PDQs babysitter (PB) has asked two neighbors to help out during that time. Its up to Super Mom to negotiate times and rates with these neighbors. PDQ knows one of the women marginally and dislikes her son, she doesn't know the other woman at all.

Grandma & Grandpa live 5 hours away, Grandma works Tuesday and Wednesday every week but maybe they could come provide some relief.

Boobah's school (BS) has an enrichment program one afternoon per week that Boobah attends as well as one of PDQs classmates. Can Super Mom negotiate a car pool with said classmate and get BS to allow her to attend for 2 afternoons?

Just considering the possibilities has given me a headache. I have a whole month to get everything negotiated and in place--thank goodness for small favors. I manage big projects for a living and sometimes I think arranging our lives is far, far more difficult!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

And the winner is....

Mold. I took Boobah to the allergist today where she was a total trooper! She winced a little but didn't cry at all when they did a scratch test of the 14 or 16 most common allergens and Purell (that's her arm with all the dots). The only thing that she tested positive for...mold. So, we can assume that is the culprit--the party was in the basement of the building and they'd been playing with a parachute, running around and rolling on the floor. The doctor did say that it is possible that it was something else and if she has another reaction we can look into other possibilities. G-man followed up with the people at the gym today and they went and looked at all the dispensers to make sure it was Purell.

We'll be carrying around Benadryl from now on, just in case. She also seems to be suffering from the after effects with a runny nose and now runny eye (which the allergist assured me wasn't pink eye, because what we need around here right now is another reason for one of us to stay home from work!).



Mission Accomplished

Well, PDQ was permitted to return to school today. Although we need to keep checking for the damn bugs. I have taken more showers and washed my hands more in the last two days than I can ever remember and that's saying something because I am a bit of an obsessive hand washer any way. G-man went to Target at 8 last night and bought us all new pillows because none of them had gotten washed yet and the kids needed to go to bed. We were still trying to get our back-up comforter dry at 10PM, of course the new one I love--dry clean only so its sealed in a bag for a couple of weeks along with all of the talking, moving, half plastic stuffed toys.

After the discovery that PDQ wasn't the first kid at daycare to come down with it and there had been someone there for the last month with them the daycare provider closed to do her own sanitizing today. G-man is home finishing up the laundry, because it takes a lot of loads in super hot water and super high drying to get all of the bedding, clothes, stuffed animals, pillows, etc. clean in our house.

I made it to the gym this morning. I left later than I intended. For a change I really appreciated G-man's snoring, it made it impossible to go back to sleep and thus I did eventually get out of bed and head to the gym. With limited time I got on the elliptical that I like (it works different leg muscles depending on the ramp) and worked my butt off for half and hour, that's all the time I had. I flew through a shower to discover I had no brush, threw on clothes to discover the proper socks but no big girl shoes. But I made it to work before 8, with hand combed and dried hair, running shoes, and ready for the day. Thanks G-man for bringing me real shoes (he even sent me a picture asking if they were the right ones, they weren't and those make my heels bleed, guess I should throw them out).

Monday, February 26, 2007

Oh Yeah! Another Craptastic Day! Lice!

First it was the fever. Then it was the allergic reaction. Today its lice.

I can't tell ya how grossed out I am. Poor kid has long, very thick hair. She hates to have her hair brushed let alone me pick through it for hours looking for bugs. I admit, I am having a hard time trying to get over my stereotypes from growing up that only poor, dirty kids get lice. I remember the boy from elementary school that we all stayed away from because he had lice. Oh how I hope that no one in her class finds out it is her who has it.

UPDATE...

She's been shampooed, NIXed and gone over with the nit & egg combs. Ick, ick, ick! I went through her hair again and can't find anything else. She has to be checked out by the nurse tomorrow before they'll let her back in school. After Boobah's ER trip this weekend there was no way I was putting chemicals on her head. She spent 2 hours with mayo in her head and a plastic bag wrapped around it (yes, she could breathe)--after much internet research this was one of the home remedies. I went through her hair and couldn't find any evidence of bugs but I feel better for having done something.

The silver lining, there was a 2-hour delay this morning and no AM Kindergarten so PDQ didn't miss any school. Also, the allergist is seeing Boobah tomorrow, our ped was amazed, said it usually took 4-6 months to get in!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Of Mommy Guilt and Stupid People

Yesterday both girls had a birthday party to attend, on opposite sides of town at basically the same time. Since I took the party at the dreaded Chuck E. Cheese last time, G-man took it this time. I took Boobah to the party at the gym. She parties, I work out, all is good. So, trying to get my bingo card filled out I pick swim for 30 minutes. It was so hard. When I was done my legs were like jello and I was dizzy. I wasn't sure which was stronger, the sense of accomplishment or the desire to puke. I took a quick shower, did a few nautilus machines, chatted with Es and went to pick up Boobah and that's when the fun began!

I am waiting and waiting with the other Moms and Dads when a woman comes up and asks if I am Boobah's Mom and says she is all red. I go with her, a bit confused because the party should have been over 10 minutes before and we've been waiting for her and suddenly it seems as if I've done something wrong. I get downstairs and Boobah's face is red--nothing I haven't seen before when she was really hot. Then I look at her hands that are nearly purple and her ears as well. There are people talking all over each other...She didn't eat anything...Should we call 911...It just happened...We tried calling you...You *have* to take her somewhere you have to figure out what its from...Benadryl, anybody got Benadryl...it was all I could to check her over and try to figure out what was going on. The father of the birthday girl is a physician. He was very quiet so I expected it wasn't so bad or he'd have had them call an ambulance. So I asked him if he thought it was okay for me to take her to the ER, he looked me in the eye and told me yes--she didn't show any signs of respiratory distress. So I wisked her away feeling like I'd done something wrong. I could see all of those faces screaming at me and hear the voices reverberating in my had. Should I have stayed at the party? I never left the building. She goes there 2-3 times a week. She has an emergency form on file.

I drove to the ER with the rear view mirror trained on her. Her cheeks were red and puffy with welts, and her ears were bright red. We got to the ER and the admitting clerk had me fill out a form. The volunteer that came to take us to the pediatric ER wasn't nearly as slow moving, he showed us right back, they immediately put us in a room and the nurses descended upon us. They asked questions, checked out all of her vitals and were obviously in charge. Then in came a resident, Dr. Lipschitz just like from Rugrats except this one was female looked to be about 12. It was obvious from the way she came in and started doing things around the nurses that she was just in their way. If I'd had to choose one of them, it would have been one of the nurses.

They assured me that she would be fine. We discussed her fever earlier in the week but it seemed to be far enough in the past and never high enough to be a viral rash flushing itself out. They gave her some Benadryl, explained to me that it was considered a major allergic reaction, she was red from head to toe with welts on her face and a rash on her body and that we needed to figure out what caused it. The last thing she ate was grilled cheese and yogurt hours before the party. Things she's eaten a million times before.

The attending physician (I think the same one that sowed up her head 2 years ago) gave me a sheet on anaphylaxis and said we were lucky, her reaction didn't involve her respiratory system. He also assured me that we'd done the right thing bringing her in. He suggested a second reaction could be more severe and we should follow-up with an allergist. So, less than an hour later we were headed home. My head was spinning and I was finally coming down off my Mommy crisis reaction.


I called the Mom from the party when I got home to let her know that everything was okay. She gave me the low-down on what had happened prior to the redness. It seems that they used hand cleaner on all the kids hands so they could have pizza. Then Boobah said she had to go to the bathroom so the Mom took her. That's when she noticed she started turning red. My suspicion at this point is the hand cleaner. They said it was Purell which she's used a thousand times but more than once someone mentioned a new cleaner.

So, now instead of guilty I am a bit concerned about their ability to deal with an emergency. No one paged me, no one called my cell phone. Es confirmed for me that she never heard my name over the PA. I will put notes at school, daycare and the gym that she shouldn't use hand cleaner. We will follow-up with an allergist. The not knowing is the scary part, what if she encounters it again and no one notices? I've always been sympathetic to parents of kids with peanut & other food allergies but now I have an all new appreciation for the fear they must have every day.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Future MILF Weigh-In: New Commitment, Week 1

This week I decided I had been pretending for the last 6 weeks. Knowing I wanted to lose weight but make exceptions here and there, this doesn't count, that doesn't count, oh that's about a cup, etc. Obviously it wasn't working, I was was up and down like the stock market--as were my moods. So on Tuesday I decided it was time to make some changes around here.

I joined Spark People which has a cool user interface, lots of resources, message boards, and good exercise and food trackers. I am putting everything I eat in there. I love that it gives a calorie range by day and it tracks things like fiber, fat, protein and calcium. I am a geek, I like numbers so the more the merrier.

I joined a program at the gym that introduces you to new equipment and work-outs. There are 35 squares on the bingo card, for each row you complete there is a prize and if you complete 20 you get a t-shirt. Good secondary motivation. So far this week I've completed 5, including a 20 minute stint on the stair climber yesterday that was excruciating. It feels good to mix it up.

I also read (and reviewed) Good Kids, Bad Habits and realized how much my choices impact everyone else in my house. Its hard to develop good habits in the kids if your own need serious work. Monkey see, monkey do is way more effective than do what the head monkey says. It was a little bit of a surprise that the kids eating habits aren't so bad, they eat a variety of foods including fruits and vegetables. It is the constant need for dessert we need to curb.

Last but not least, I gave up chocolate for Lent. I was eating a little here, a little there and lying to myself about how it adds up. I thought it was a good way to get the mind, body, spirit connection going as well.

So coming into Tuesday I had a -1.6 for the last six weeks. Since Tuesday I've lost 2.8 pounds. I don't expect to keep up that rate of weight loss. But I do expect to continue a downward path. I do expect there to be bumps in the road. I already feel better both mentally and physically.

Any other Future MILFs over at Spark People want to start our own little Spark Team? Thanks to everyone for your comments every week, knowing that I have a cheering section really helps! Hope that the rest of the crew had a great week!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

My goal: De-funky the monkey

Well, first goal accomplished, the funky monkey bathrobe is off the child! Boobah has run a fever for the past two days. She has not wanted to take off said funky bathrobe. When forced to get dressed to take PDQ to the bus or to the doctor, she wore it over top. She's even worn it to bed instead of PJs.
Last night when I went in to kiss her good night before I went to bed, I noticed a vague throw up smell. I patted her down, smelled the sheets and blankets and couldn't find anything. It was deja vu, just like those days with an infant and you can smell the invisible spit up all day long but you can't locate it anywhere! I was relieved to know G-man had smelled it as well.
So, hopefully I can keep her occupied long enough with Blue's Clues and Jo Jo's Circus to get the funky monkey robe clean before she realizes she's not wearing it!
P.S. This is my first picture with my new camera, thanks G-man!
UPDATE!
We managed to get the monkeys clean and dry! We did have a short stint in big sister's robe until hers was dry.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Commit Me!

Between our anniversary yesterday, reviewing Good Kids, Bad Habits, Ash Wednesday tomorrow and my lack of progress in becoming a MILF I've been thinking a lot about commitment--or lack thereof--the last few days. Seven years of marriage, 4 kids, a huge mortgage, now that is commitment. G-man and I've weathered our shares of ups and downs but my commitment to him and our family has never been in doubt. Once I made up my mind that he was the guy for me I was in it for the long haul, for better or worse. Thankfully its been more better than worse, I feel lucky that we've weathered our storms. We're both a little older and wiser and I think we are both more appreciative of what we have given the demise of his first marriage.

On the diet front I've been significantly less committed. I thought that joining Mom-o-matic and the future MILFs and writing about it here every week would be enough to keep me committed, I was wrong. I've been committed for days, maybe more like hours during the last 6 weeks. I've been a little more like the chicken than the pig. At some point I decided I either need to shit or get off the pot--to quote my Grandma Gloria.

So, yesterday I joined the bingo game at the gym. They did my fitness profile--you know, the humiliation of having all your parts measured and a calculation of your body fat. There are 35 squares on the card and if you complete 20 of them, you earn a t-shirt. I am all about free stuff and trying to win something so its a little added inspiration. It also pushes me outside of my comfort zone to try new activities. Today I did the hill program on the bike and did strength training.

Lent starts tomorrow, its the time in the church year between Ash Wednesday and Easter, 46 days. It is traditionally a time of fasting and abstinence. I remember growing up that my Dad would fast on Sundays during Lent, we learned to avoid him late in the day because he was cranky! So, I've decided that in order to feed my spiritual self and be better to my body I'm giving up chocolate. Its been the stumbling block to a lot of progress during the past 6 weeks so for the next six, I'll live without it.

Finally, after reading through the MILF roll yesterday and hearing good things about Spark People from Cape Buffalo and Toddlers and Bananas I joined today. I think WW has lost its novelity for me and Spark People has a much more user friendly site. Hopefully its a tool that can help me through my weight loss journey and a new commitment to my health and that of my family. If you hang out over there, give me a yell--I'm Mama Maven

Monday, February 19, 2007

Maven Says: Good Kids, Bad Habits

I was an overweight kid who has fought weight demons all my life. Trying to keep my kids from the same fate is constantly on my mind. So, as the Mom of two girls I've tried to be open with them about choices--healthy ones and not so healthy ones. Collins new book, Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge® Guide to Raising Healthy Children, by Jennifer Tratchenberg, M.D. seemed to be a way to measure how well I was doing.

Overall, I thought the book was a kinder, gentler version of the Discovery Health Channel's Show, Honey We're Killing the Kids! In the show, they start off by showing the parents a giant image of what the kids will look like as they grow into adulthood if they continue with their current habits. It is a bit scary, okay more than a bit! The book takes a much gentler track. In the beginning there is a quiz that covers 6 areas from nutrition and exercise to safety. Based on your scores in those areas and on the ages of your children you can focus on the parts of the book where you get the lowest scores (1-10 scale). This definitely makes the book easier to digest, knowing you don't have to change everything at once. At various points in the book it gives Real Age projections about what habits will make your children older or younger than their chronological age when they reach adulthood. The suggestion that you follow-up on your changes by re-taking the quiz every 90 days was a bit more work than I was planning.

Throughout the book "Dr. Jen" uses the 4I's--Identify, Inform, Instruct, Instill--to describe how to deal with various situations. Identify the issue, Inform your kids about it, Instruct them how to deal with it, and Instill the good habit. There are shaded boxes on nearly every page of the book giving additional facts or resources on the subject matter being discussed. The book also has charts, tables, and online resources at the end of each chapter--along with a reminder to check out http://www.RealAge.com/parenting. I would like to have seen a few more well written True Parenting Stories as I thought they added a new voice to the book outside that of the pediatrician author.

While I have worried most about nutrition and exercise I was surprised to learn that one of the areas where we need the most work is safety. The reminder that accidents are the number one cause of death in kids 1-14 was a real wake up call. With Boobah being nearly three when we moved into our new house we didn't do as thorough a job as we should have child-proofing our new house. We will be putting in a new medicine cabinet, cabinet locks and re-fitting the girls' bike helmets.

I didn't learn anything new, but I don't know that there is "new" information on any of the areas. The easy to read and digest format had good examples of how to establish good habits--even if they aren't always fun. I would rather have a root canal than take my kids to the grocery store but I appreciated the suggestions for establishing healthy eating habits by letting kids go to the store and pick out new foods and learn to read labels.

Good

  • Easy to read

  • Straight forward examples and strategies

  • Lots of charts, examples of forms, and web resources

  • Real Age predictions tie current behavior to future health

  • Break down of areas into age categories and highlighting the areas most applicable for each throughout the book (rattle, teddy bear and backpack symbols)

Not So Good

  • Oversimplified in some areas

  • The goofy "Up" theme to the chapters, Gear Up, Chin Up, Smarten Up...Give it up already

Recommend It?

Definitely suggested reading for parents who've made it through What to Expect When You're Expecting and What to Expect The First Year. The age appropriate break-downs also make it a handy guide for kids transitioning from toddler to preschooler and early elementary to late elementary school--can be consulted again for each age group. A good common sense guide for understanding how what kids learn today sticks with them for the long run.

Happy Anniversary Babe

Today is our seventh wedding anniversary. You can see a picture of the big day here. It seems like we've travelled a lifetime together in those seven years. I couldn't have imagined when we met playing online backgammon all those years ago that we'd ever meet, let alone be celebrating 7 years of wedded bliss. We've packed a lot of life into the last seven years--two beautiful daugthers, the ups and downs of life with the boys, two houses, countless home improvement projects, vacations, funerals, weddings, and the one thing I could always count on was having you with me. You knew what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it, even if I didn't want to hear it.

Although our musical tastes are worlds apart, there has always been one song that has been ours. It is the one song I can remember dancing with you to--in my tiny apartment, at our wedding, in our kitchen, even naked once or twice. So, here's to you My Valentine.



I love you!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Future MILF Weigh-In: Week 6

Well the yo-yo continues, last week down two this week up one. I started the week out great making it to the gym F, Sat, & Mon and then the snow and ice came. I was in the house with the sugar and the salt and they won. I am weak. Man, I need to find some control. I am not out of control like eating a whole box of cookies or bag of chips but I am not making the best choices and my motivation seems to have taken a short (oh please let it be short!) break. I need to make a choice every time I put something in my mouth instead of shoving it in and thinking about it later.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The only time its okay to blow a stranger

So we had a serious ice, sleet, snow storm yesterday. School as cancelled, G-man had a code yellow day and my boss told us not to come in unless we absolutely had to. My first thought--snow day! We could all spend the day at home together, wouldn't it be great. Yeah, in what alternative universe were my dreams coming from? I had a ton of work to do, several conference calls that I needed to do to keep things moving. I set the girls up with a new puzzle, some new books and the Disney Channel while G-man used the snow blower on our sidewalk and driveway.

After he ran out for coffee G-man decided to help the neighbors--our new neighbors. We've only been in the house since last July. He plowed through most of the sidewalk and driveways where people hadn't had a chance to shovel yet. The neighbor across the street wanted to know the rental fee, G-man told him a beer. They laughed, G-man came home to keep an eye on the girls so I could do my conference call.

We had big plans for a dinner at the dining room table, with china, crystal, and wine. I went out into the muck to get things from the grocery store. It was a zoo, the snow was piled in places but mostly it was a big icy mess. I watched a woman in a minivan spend a lot of time trying to get out of her parking place and praying I wasn't next! When I got home G-man told me that we were invited to the neighbors for beers and snacks. Cool, appetizers to go with dinner! I threw together a token snack to take along. We got Boobah to take a much needed nap and we headed out for our first visit to the neighbor's house. It was fun, we spent 2.5 hours talking, laughing, eating dip and drinking. Ellie had the 9 y.o. son wrapped around her little finger, she was literally leading him around the house. By the time we made it home it was nearly time for the girls to go to bed. We ended up with frozen pizza an a piece of our Valentine's cake. Not so good for future MILF-i-tude but good for the soul.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day to you, cha cha cha

In addition to Valentine's Day we have a SNOW DAY! I can't figure out which excites me more. I have work to do but its a whole lot more palatable when I can do it in my PJ pants here at home. I started the moring off with a conference call staff meeting followed by a quick lesson in the finer points of using the snow blower. I comptemplated going into the office until I turned on the TV and found the weather woman standing on the corner near my house beside ice and snow covered roads and very little traffic. G-man found out early that they would be opening at noon, as he was putting on his shoes to leave they called to say not to bother. We are all tucked safely at home, what a great mid-week treat (we'll see if I feel the same way at the end of the day).






I haven't slept well all week so I spent the time productively--making cards and mastering my Christmas present from G-man, a Cricut machine. I also made picture frames for my Mom and sister who are coming to visit this weekend and spiffy boxes of conversation hearts for the girls' teachers. Yesterday afternoon we made cupcakes in cool heart shaped foil pans for Abby's V-Day party today (or now I guess tomorrow).







Tonight we will pull out the stops, finally using the new dining room table. Jimmy the wonder painter has been here this week so it acutally has color on the walls as well! China, real glasses, candles--I am sure the girls will love it! Off to find a great recipe for shrimp and chocolate icing for the cake.



Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ch-ch-ch-changes, la, la, la, la

I've been out busily investigating our (well I guess Ellie's) preschool options for next year as I wrote about here. I found a place I really like, they have two schools and they were both quite nice. One is between the house and the office, the staff is nice, the school building is cheery and welcoming, all the kids seem to be having fun. My gut says, this is a great place, she'll meet lots of kids. I am having a slight panic attack over signing Ellie up.

I (and I think I can safely say we) have tried hard not to bend to the pressure to push the girls. They've been in home daycare, they've done half day preschool that was more socialization than academic. I don't know if it is working mommy guilt or what but I've always had some bias against daycare centers. With the preschools they've been in I've had a lot of control, been in the classroom, made special trips for pick-up and drop off--was I doing that just to make me feel like I was involved and not bad mommy for working? Was I just trying to prove I could have it all or was I just being cheap?

This year I've learned, I can't have it all, I don't think I really want it all. Leaving early, coming in late, and leaving at lunch to run between school and daycare has made me a little nuts. G-man used to work a bizarre schedule that had him home a few days each week and he could share the limo service--this year he does one drop-off, for which I'm grateful, but all the mid-day running still falls to me.

I've also seen the downside of her home day care, I am forever indebted to the Lovely Miss Lois, World's Most Laid Back Daycare Provider. One or both of my girls have been there since June 2001. Ellie, with her early September birthday and precociousness needs a bit more direction than Lois provides. Let's say--channel her powers for good not evil. In wanting to have it all (or pocketbook preservation or not wanting to let such an important person in our lives go) mode I was considering leaving her at Lois' a couple of days a week and at the school the other days. G-man and I talked it through and I am convinced the right thing (is there really one?) to do is to put her at the school everyday. She thrives on consistency and routine. It will make my life easier. It will cost more than my first year of college.

Well, at least I think I am convinced. I can't quite seem to make myself write that check.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Pick a caption


This outfit says:
a. Future fashionista
b. Don't blame my parents, I dressed myself
c. Just say no to hand-me-downs
d. I'm 3!
e. All of the above

Scott told Ellie to go get dressed this morning and this is what she picked out and put on. To go to church. With people we know.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Future MILF Weigh-In: Week 5

I made it to the gym 4 days this week, work was kicking my butt and I picked up a Boobah from daycare in serious melt-down mode so I didn't make it a fifth day. I did pull out my old Walk Away the Pounds video for an at home hold over when it is cold. I did feel a transition this week, to needing to exercise. I find myself looking for my next fix, how do I fit in a trip to the gym. I really feel better when I exercise and now I am seeking out my high. Once this week I went in the middle of the day, I am keeping my gym ID and a set of exercise clothes in the car so that if the opportunity arises I can taken advantage of it.

So this morning the scale said 2 pounds down, yeah me! I need to take my measurements and track them, I think I am seeing progress in my saddle bags, a huge (pun intended) problem area for me.

Shout out to all of the MILFs-to-be! Hope you had a great week and are working a plan that works for you, no matter what other people think of it. Finding your groove is so important because if its yours you will stick to it. Thanks to Oh the Joys for sharing her story in a post, I went back and read it and it was inspiring. It made me remember that I did this once, I can do it again and then the hard work starts--maintaining it. The new WW ad campaign about becoming and after and staying an after really hits home for me!

Summary:
Goal for 2007: 60 pounds
Lost this week: 2 pounds
Total lost: 3.6 pounds
Goals for next week:
-Exercise at least 4 days
-Write EVERYTHING DOWN (I had a bit of a BLT issue still)

Healthy Favorites:
-Kashi Frozen meals, Rosemary Chicken or Shrimp, filling, lots of fiber (thanks Esmerelda for turning me on to them)
-Hershey Dark Chocolate Kissables, okay not healthy but 39 of them for 5 points. I can ration out 10 and eat one here and there and only spend a point

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Is it really only Thursday?

It has been one of those weeks, I have worked long hours on a ton of little things, there is no big deliverable I've been driving towards to get the big payoff of having accomplished something. I guess the big accomplishment of the week happened on Tuesday when a project got killed. We'd been working on something and I asked several times if it was the right thing, finally someone much higher up than I asked the same question, in the end I went back and put the information together, gave it to the financial whiz and got back the answer--bad idea, very expensive idea that might get us laughed at--that is pretty much the high point. That particular project killing got me a much more complicated business changing kind of project to replace. Fun to figure out but with everything else I have to do more than my brain can absord at the moment. I've been to 18 meetings in the last four days, most of them I ran, a few of them I even planned before I ran them. More than once I showed up having no idea what the topic was and winged it!

I have put together notes from none of them, followed up on none of them, I haven't had time to think about much of anything. When I get back to my desk I just sit down and turn into a pile of gelatinous ooze trying to figure out exactly what it is I should do first, I start something, think of something else, switch to that, go back to the first. I guess the report that multi-tasking is a loser was right. I do it pretty well but I think at the moment I've hit the wall. Hopefully tomorrow things slow down and I have time to actually get something done.

Despite the kind of week its been, it has been fun. There are big changes going on, the stuff I have been writing is making a difference, the people I work with are great, and it feels like some real change might actually happen. I have to say, the year I spent feeling crappy from my gallbaldder was really stupid. I feel so much better I know I am more productive. For awhile I was even sleeping better, now my mind is moving so fast that I wake up planning things or trying to figure out an important detail.

The girls and I had a great time last night, we played Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders and Dora Dominoes. Then we cuddled up in the bed with a new Cam Jansen book and the 20th reading of the Arthur in a Pickle book. Today I had conference with PDQ's teacher and all is well. Then I went off to visit another preschool for Boobah. I loved the place, its on the way to work and I am pretty sure we'll enroll her there next year. I was thinking last night, a year there will cost more than tuition, room and board my first year in college--and its not the most expensive place I've been to visit. Guess that's why I need to keep working!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

I Have Become a Glove-less Pansy-Ass

So, I used to live much further north in the land of ice and snow where a serious parka and boots were a necessity. I used to run from my car to various buildings when it was in the 20s without a coat and get scolded by the secretary's and threatened that I would catch my death not wearing a coat let alone gloves and a hat. I laughed and dashed out into the cold again.

Then I moved to the Mid-Atlantic 9 years ago. People here don't do snow, this morning school was cancelled, there was maybe, maybe an inch of fluffy white powder. I don't want to risk my children's lives on a bus to get to school but come on people?! I have learned to keep the basics stocked because if the s-word or the i-word are simply mentioned on the radio or TV there is a knock-down drag out at Safeway over the last roll of toilet paper and gallon of milk. You see that kind of thing in the frigid North but only if they predict that a blizzard is coming and then only when it has started snowing. I wear a coat when it hits 40 degrees, this week I've added gloves, zipped my coat up over my mouth and even used my hood a time or two--to walk to my car.

I bought 2 pairs of grow-up stretch gloves when ice skating lessons started in the Fall, they were a bit big on the kids but better than cold hands. When they put out the kid sized gloves in the stores I bought a 3-pack for each of them. So we are up to 8 pairs of gloves, then Abby got a pair for Christmas and we found the giant pink fuzzy Dora gloves from last year so we are up to 10 pairs of gloves. This morning it was snowy and cold, I was able to finally put together 2 pairs of gloves after much digging and probably a few words that the children shouldn't repeat. I also found 3 other random gloves only two of which I bought this year. I know we aren't the neatest people in the world but where in the heck does this stuff go?! Abby wears the same gloves skating every week but they aren't in the bag any more. Its only been winter-like around here for the last two weeks, its not like they are lost in the snow bank somewhere. Are the socks and gloves mating somewhere? If so, shouldn't I have some fuzzy slippers or something to show for it?

Monday, February 5, 2007

Wallpaper Conquered

Here are the pictures from the finished bathroom (as requested). Thank goodness its done!




Sunday, February 4, 2007

Redneck Woman

Growing up in the sticks of Southern Ohio I thought the only people who listened to country music were the "farmers" who proudly wore their bright blue FFA jackets and hung out in the Ag building. While I had to drive by cows between home and town I still saw myself as quite cosmpolitan. Now all I can do is laugh. I hadn't even driven on the interstate until I was 18--where I live now that Interstate pales in comparison to the 6 lane highway that runs behind my neighborhood.

I remember the song playing when I moved into my dorm freshman year--Blister in the Sun by the Violent Femmes was blasting from the room across the hall. I learned to appreciate a lot of music that year, some more than others. The remnants of the hair bands, the Violent Femmes, Randy Travis, Billy Ocean, Billy Joel, The Hooters, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the B-52s filled my college days. I listened to it all, often in an altered state at a fraternity house or in The Town House, our favorite bar. Country music was a small part of the mix but not the center of my music universe. That happened when I went off to graduate school.

I graduated from college with a degree in marketing during the recession. I couldn't bear the thought of taking job in telemarketing so when my alma mater offered me a chance to work there and give me a scholarship to go to graduate school I jumped at the chance! So began the commute from Marietta to Athens, OH 2-3 days a week for two years. Forty-eight miles of two lanes roads through rural Southern Ohio. I knew how far it was far it was to my destination from every landmark along the way. I knew the two places I could get gas and three radio stations--two of them played rap and one country, and thus my devotion to country music really began. I'd drive with the radio up at night to keep me awake, on beautiful blue skied days with the windows down singing at the top of my lungs on the endless black ribbon through nothingness.

I've heard all the jokes that go along with the stereotypes of country music, most of them from my husband. I've been to Jamboree in the Hills--the only time I've ever seen someone in a Speedo and cowboy boots. (My sister and BIL actually got engaged there) I saw Garth Brook in the height of his popularity. I tried to learn to line dance to Boot Scoot Boogie and God Bless Texas. While I wasn't much for the hats and boots (on myself), I did like the stories of country music and the fact I could make out the words and sing along. Oh yeah, the guys in tight jeans didn't hurt either. Then I grew up and moved to the 'burbs. I was a closet country fan for awhile but soon discovered I was far from alone, a lot of the other Mommies were listening to country too! What a relief, something else we could share besides stories of the kids.

These days one of my favorites is Watching You by Rodney Atkins its the story of a little boy who curses in the car and when his dad asks where he learned to talk like that--he replies "I've been watching you Dad." Later he asks his son where he learned to pray, again--I've been watching you Dad--a great reminder that they are watching us all the time and learning to be like us. PDQ has become a fan too, much to her father's chagrin, and sings it at the top of her lungs sometimes with the real words, sometimes with those she's made up as she goes along. Of course, the "hell yeah!" part of Redneck Woman, she's got that one down pat. She's also loves I Got a Brand New Girlfriend. I know that someday we will probably hate each others music, but for now its something that she and I can share and it makes me smile everytime she launches into her version of the song on the radio.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Future MILF Weigh-In: Week 4

This morning I am savoring my weigh-in reward, a non-fat, decaf latte from Starbucks (2 pts). It replaces my old Friday habit of a White Chocolate Mocha, I think I shed a tear or two when I found out it had 7 points! One thing I do pretty consistently is stay away from beverages with calories, the expceptions are the Friday non-fat latte and an occasional glass of wine (only if there are kids around of course).

Aunt Flo came to visit this week with her bag o' tricks. She and Sugar Mama are a bad, bad combo. It didn't help that I went to two birthday parties featuring sugary goodness and someone plopped a big piece of cake on my desk from a celebration here as well. Its hard enough trying to keep from biting the heads off my poor family during her unwelcome visit, let alone without chocolate to calm the beast.

I made it to the gym 5, yes f-i-v-e, times this week. Thankfully the girls love to go to the kids program there, its a win-win they might get to see some friends and get a chance to run around and I get to exercise without feeling guilty for not spending time with them.

Two weeks ago I did really well with eating better, last week sucked all the way around, this week I did less well with the eating and much better with the exercise. I remember going through this cycle before. First I get the eating under control and then when I start exercising I feel like its a license to eat more, hopefully this week I will settle into the "I'm exercising and its a waste not to eat better and see all the results" place.

Summary:

Goal for 2007: 60 pounds
Lost this week: 1 pound
Total lost: 1.6 pounds

Goals for next week:

-Exercise at least 4 days
-Write EVERYTHING DOWN (I had a bit of a BLT issue as well)

Healthy Favorites:
Newmann's Own Light Sesame Ginger Dressing (also great as a marinade)
Homemade vegetable soup, make some on the weekend and have it for lunches all week
Kashi TLC crackers-Original 7 grain and Honey Sesame in 2 pt packages

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Happy Valentiversary

February 19 G-man and I will celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary--sometimes it is hard to believe its only been 7 years, other times it seems like we've been together forever. We are not always very good about communicating what we expect when it comes to gift giving occasions. This year however, I had an answer for him--I want a camera of my very own. We've been out shopping, none of the stores have had the camera I think I want with power so I could try it out. I love internet shopping but I want to touch the thing that will allow me capture our lives now to reflect over later.

About 2 years ago Scott announced that he wanted a fancy camera for Christmas and, oh by the way, my sister was getting married Labor Day weekend and if he could get the camera before that he could be the official photographer. I got him the camera and ever since he's been carrying it with him pretty much everywhere he goes. He's taken thousands of pictures, he's done wedding pictures, family pictures, nature pictures, and lots of candid pictures. It has provided me with lots of git giving opportunities as well--flashes and light boxes and lenses oh my! So, given his equipment and skill, why do I want my own camera?

I've discovered that since ceding the picture taking responsibilities to Scott, the recording of our lives all comes from his perspective--what he finds cute, endearing, funny, beautiful or meaningful is what is reflected in all of our pictures. There has been more than one "discussion" of the fact that there is not a single picture of Boobah's face with her cake at her second birthday party but there are 20 of the frog who met its maker in our patio umbrella. Sure the frog pictures are cool, as are the photos of the giant green horned tomato worm, but these are not the pictures that I want to use to fill my scrapbooks. I want Mommy pictures.

Writing here has given me a place to express my perspective on our lives. Although we talk about things, its interesting to read our take on the same event. Someday I think the girls will appreciate our different takes on life. I can't wait to have a camera that I'm not afraid to take somewhere because I might screw it up or don't want to have to take a suitcase full of accessories with me.