Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Blog blahs

I'm taking a break from blogging of undetermined length. It has been feeling a bit like a chore lately, and I feel like I get tied into the computer and my time slips into the void of the Internet. So, I'm stepping back for awhile and will be back when I feel like I have something good to say.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009


R is coming into his own, and I am concerned. He is now 15 months, is fairly sure on his feet, communicates through a few words, many grunts, and some pointing, and he knows what he wants.

He was a fairly easygoing, pleasant baby, but I fear his toddlerhood will not be the same. He is known to giggle and run away from us, straight up the stairs or for the corner of a steep wall. He looks right at us as he throws to the floor pieces of cereal or his full sippy cup. When we say, "No, no!" He laughs and does it again.

This is not good. I thought R was my chance for well-behaved child! He now also cries when something is taken away from him, so our house is a constant zoo of crying, fussing, and fighting as Q pries things out of R's hands.

I have to laugh at myself sometimes as I chase the two of them around taking away toilet paper, rocks, handfuls of dirt, the cat's tail....the list goes on. And what one does the other must copy.

At a play date today, Q was playing the top of a sand pile on the volleyball court. R toddled over as quickly as his chubby legs would allow, climbed as high as he could, then fell over in a face plant, filling his mouth with sand.

Later, I lost sight of R momentarily, and frantically rushed around the jungle gym only to find him careening down the tall, twisty slide, laughing delightedly. He is fearless and that makes me fearful.

I guess I can be glad I have spirited children, if that's what you want to call them, but I would be lying if I said they didn't exhaust, frustrate, and worry me.

They are my little imps!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

My bum is sore, but I think I'm in love

The title may be false advertising for this post. It is not going to be as racy as it sounds.

I went to a day-long training for Spinning yesterday at a gym in Janesville. It was great.

Now that I am focusing on fitness as my career, I decided to branch out and expand my expertise. I know people are passionate about Spinning, but I had never really gotten into it. I have taken classes and definitely gotten a workout, but I never made it a habit. After yesterday I think I am hooked.

Spinning can really send your heart rate and calorie count skyrocketing. And there is such an art to it to combine "hills" and cadence to work strength, endurance, and interval training. I found it fascinating.

That said, we did two hour-long rides for a total of 45 miles on the bikes. My tush was sore. I definitely need to invest in some of those padded bike shorts.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Stick to the schedule

I am turning over a new leaf. As I have previously mentioned, our single salary household has led me to live a simpler life. No more manicures and pedicures (or rarely at least). No more housekeeper (I miss her). I am forced to bear the hardship of mopping my floors and painting my own nails. Poor me.

I am trying to juggle the duties and disperse them a bit through my week. I hate to have a weekend full of laundry and cleaning. I'd rather save my weekends for play. I'm trying to think of my domestic duties as more of a job. I am basically on the clock from 8:00 to 5:00 with the bonus of getting to play with my kids often.

Organization and scheduling doesn't always come naturally to me, but I am trying to make it second nature. About a year ago, I started planning our meals for the week on Sunday. I would make a grocery list with all the ingredients. I am taking this a step further now. I bought a dry erase board for the week and on it I list our meals, and what activities we have scheduled from swim lessons to library story time to exercise classes I am teaching.

Now I am scheduling cleaning each day. Monday: bathrooms, Tuesday: dust and vacuum, Wednesday: mop floors or clean bath and shower, Thursday: laundry, Friday: bills, Sunday: meal plan and grocery. That way I pop my Ipod on and have a little portion of chores from 15 minutes to an hour each day rather than a massive cleaning job on the weekend. The lumped together top-to-bottom house cleaning tends to loom before me, and I end up putting it off for a week or two. I am proud to report my house has been extremely clean the last few weeks.

This is plan is not without its flaws. It only works when it is carefully aligned with afternoon nap time. Otherwise Q "helps." While I was cleaning bathrooms Monday, he was following me around with a sponge, slopping dirty water everywhere. Cute perhaps, but very frustrating.

My new approach is working well and has me feeling productive and in control. If I go back to work full time I know my perfectly orchestrated schedule with disintegrate. But then I could probably afford a cleaning lady again!


Monday, July 13, 2009

Greenish thumb

I am a master gardener. Well, sort of.

I have previously mentioned my absolute distaste for yard work and gardening. But this Spring I decided, I would fight my instincts and dig my hands in the dirt. Of course I had to take baby steps as we live in a rented town home and can't exactly dig up the grass. That was fine by me though, as I wasn't ready to fully commit to the gardening process.

My mom the true master gardener, helped me plant containers of flowers, herbs, tomatoes, beans and peas. I dutifully watered them (with just a few days of shriveled dryness mixed in) and fed them with Miracle Gro. Now, I am reaping my harvest.

It is not exactly vast I realize, but it is tasty. Those little cherry tomatoes are a sweet burst of flavor and the snap peas are crisp and delicious.

We have an abundance of herbs, and I have been using the basil and parsley regularly. I have a bumper crop of mint though I don't have many things to use it in. You can only have so many mojitos! My cilantro unfortunately went to seed, and I love that herb so I won't let that happen next time.

Dozens of tomatoes are hanging from the vine ready to turn red. I can't wait to pick them! It is so fulfilling to eat something you grew.

Our front porch is filled with color from the robust flowers overflowing their containers.

So, I am a gardening convert. I will never be like my mom or sister with a huge yard packed with plants. Just the thought of all that watering and weeding tires me. But I think I will graduate to a few raised beds when we have our own yard again.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Work from home rip-offs

I am so sick of home party-based businesses. From makeup to candles to cleaning products to jewelry and snack mixes. Don't invite me. My moms' groups has several of these "entrepreneurs" and my email inbox is filled with party invites. "No pressure," they say. "Just come and hang out and sample fabulous products."

I don't believe it for a second. Of course they want you to buy. They want you to purchase a lot so they can make money. And then they want you to host a party. Or maybe become a salesperson as well on their team so they can make money off any money you make.

My first experience with these so-called Multi-level Marketing businesses was when a Mary Kay saleswoman accosted me at the mall shortly after I graduated from college. She lured me into taking part in a "facial" and buying a bunch of products I didn't need. Then she constantly called and checked in to see what I needed. Eventually she told me Ishould start my own Mary Kay business. No thank you.

I honestly feel bad for most of the women who get sucked into these so-called opportunities. I assume there are some fairly legitimate MLMs, but most seem like pyramid scams designed to make money for the very few on the backs of stay-at-home mothers trying to earn some extra cash.

Many of these women pay upfront for their product and then try to sell it by convincing friends and family members to host parties. They might earn a small profit initially, but soon they have used up their contacts and have a surplus of products they bought with their own money. They don't realize that they are the main customers. They are the ones buying up the product and usually they are not the ones making any money. They are encouraged to recruit new sellers to join their team and increase their own profits, but this cuts in to their own client base and alienates acquaintances. I know I steer clear of the conversation when I hear someone starting to hawk their products to solve all your ills.

You have to be suspicious of a company that doesn't just sell its products directly but instead depends on a pyramid of mostly untrained salespeople. There are better ways to make money and ways that won't cost you in the long run.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Festive 4th

It was a lovely, busy weekend filled with barbecues, fireworks, and family. We took the above picture of all the cousins in a field of poppies near my parents' house.

We started the weekend with a 5K in my hometown. I ran a 24:01 and was happy with my time (but less happy the next day when I heard my sister got a 23:30). T pushed the boys in our giant running stroller. They had fun somewhat but got pretty restless, and Q was elbowing and harassing his brother.

Afterward we watched the parade. I haven't celebrated a 4th of July in my hometown in about 12 years. It was surreal watching the cheerleaders and marching band from my high school go by. They looked like such little kids!

We went back and forth between my parents' house and two barbecues seeing old friends and eating a lot. Either T or I have had to work most holidays, so it was almost strange to just do the normal things.

Today my mom made lunch and my sister and her boys came over. Q just buzzes with excitement when they are around. I am so happy for him that he will grow up with them.

It was just a nice, nice weekend. You can't ask for more than that.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Kid games

I was pulling out all the stops today. I just couldn't come up with enough ideas to keep the kidlings busy. Q would not lay down for a nap. R took a brief one but then was wide-eyed and ready to go.

So, we went upstairs and played with trains and trucks and puzzles and a shopping cart and stuffed animals and watched "Clifford" on PBS. Then we went down into their room and read book after book and pretended we were animals crawling and rolling around and making noises. Then we sang songs and did the hand motions that accompany them. Then we went outside and pulled wagons and threw balls, rolled balls, and kicked balls. We raced to the light post and back. We played follow-the-leader. We collected leaves, flowers, rocks, and sticks. We took a walk and climbed on a big rock.

And it was still only 4:00 p.m. Sometimes the days seems to be a decade long. At 4:05 however, I managed to give them a snack and get them both down for a nap (after much squealing and whining and a room change for R).

So at long last they were zonked out. It was a major effort to drag them out of bed for their 6:30 pm story time. Q put up quite a fuss and yawned throughout. Then dinner, then baths, more books, bedtime.



More unwanted drama

It's been a rough week! Last night, I was walking on the treadmill, watching So You Think You Can Dance, when T stepped out to take the dog for a walk.

When I finished up and started to head downstairs, I could hear the boys chattering. I sighed and went to break up the party. As I expected, Q had climbed into R's crib. He does this a lot lately for some reason and keeps both of them awake. But there was a lot more going on than just that.

The crib sheet was yanked off the bed, the letters from R's name on the wall were pulled down, as was a picture.

And there was blood all over the inside of the crib. I felt a momentary sense of panic as I scanned their bodies looking for horrible injuries. I finally found a tiny cut on one of Q's toes that he said he got when he climbed into the crib (then maybe you shouldn't do that!). That little cut bled like crazy. Q was surprisingly unfazed by the whole debacle. I carried him into the bathroom and stuck his feet in the sink. I wiped down the crib and both boys, replaced the sheet, rehung the letters and picture, and ushered both kids back into their beds.

That's when the oblivious T returned from his walk.

Too many scares for me this week.

And this morning, much more harmless but still tiring. Q found T's hi-lighter, drew on his brother's face and his own, and let the dog chew the cap.

It's always something isn't it? Right now, my main goal is just keeping them alive!