Saturday, November 30, 2013

Just a Typical Trip to Mass

Dear Woman who sat in front of us tonight during Mass,

I would like to apologize for our 20-month-old daughter.

You see, we went to a different church tonight.  We do go to Mass every week, even though I am sure it looked like our little girl had never seen the inside of a church or been told to sit more for more than 5 minutes at a time.  As I am sure you noticed...she doesn't do that.  Ever.  But we do go to church.  Every week.  And we go through this, every week.  

We really really tried, again, to keep her quite and sitting down.  I packed her favorite book.  "Brown Bear, Brown Bear."  She LOVES it at home and will sit and look at it ON HER OWN, completely in to it.  Not at church.  She didn't care what Brown Bear saw.  I am sorry, that it ended up in your pew.  She tossed it there.  I tried to catch it.  I missed.

I am really sorry that she smacked you on your back as you sat, quietly listening to the reading.  She has NEVER done that one before.  I tried to stop her.  I missed.  

(On a positive note, she did try to pick off the loose hair sticking to the back of your shirt before she slapped you on the back.) 

I am also very, truly sorry for any little bits of cracker that you might shake out of your coat tonight when you get home.  You see, we don't normally go to church at this time.  It is dinner time.  She didn't get a snack after her nap this afternoon because all she wanted to do was sit in her high chair attempting to buckle and unbuckle the strap on her seat.  So she was hungry.  I pulled out the little peanut butter sandwich crackers in an attempt to stop her from screaming because she couldn't hold her new baby sister.  She did stop screaming.  However, that came at the cost of her pulling apart the sandwich to lick the peanut butter out of the middle and then shove the rest of the cracker in her mouth.  That resulted in little bits of cracker falling in the pew in front of us.  Where you were sitting.  Again, I tried to catch it.  I missed.  Sorry.

I would also like to apologize for the gurgling noises during the homily.  She was drinking her juice nice and quietly and then all of a sudden she throws her head back and starts to gurgle.  I know, that sound should only ever be heard when brushing teeth, and never by a church.  All I can say is at least it stayed in her mouth...

I promise you we that we really do try to work with her on staying quiet.  She just doesn't get it, and she isn't old enough to understand bribes, such as "if you stay quiet during mass you can have some fruit snacks, or ice cream, or ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS!"  

I promise we try.  

God Bless You and your quietly sitting boys,
The noisy family behind you

I have read article after article, blog post after blog post on how to keep a toddler quiet and attentive during mass, and how even though they are moving and crying and trying to escape up the aisle and trying to dip their entire arm in the holy water, they really are absorbing the information.  I just keep reminding myself that this stage of life will pass, she will eventually sit and listen, until then, I will continue to pack "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" and write apology letters to the people sitting in front of us. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A New Bag of Tricks

We were blessed to welcome another beautiful, healthy little baby girl into our family on November 2nd.

Her name is Katerina.

Not that I will ever boldly attempt to say that I have things figured out as a mother, but the second time around brings about more feelings of confidence.  Kind of like teaching.  The first year, you're barely hanging on, figuring out things to do with your students sometimes hours before the come waltzing into your classroom.  The second year, brings new challenges, but you at least have a "bag of tricks" you developed that first time.

I have my bag of tricks.


Katerina is not Jackie.

My bag of tricks was for Jackie.

Sure there are general tips that are pretty much the same for every baby.  Have the new diaper ready to put down before getting old diaper off, how to get a good latch for nursing babies, teething rings, bibs, timeline of when to take baby to doctor check ups, and so on...

However, I am quickly learning how two sisters may look very similar (despite one having GOBS more hair than the other) but be two completely different babies, and how even small differences and send that "bag of tricks" out the window.

As it just so happens, the two biggest differences between the girls is also the biggest issues parents of newborns face right off the bat.  Sleeping and eating.  Although, to be fair, that is about all a newborn does.  That an poop.  But doin' just fine there...lots of poop.

When it came to sleeping, other than being a very LOUD sleeper, we pretty much hit the sleeping baby jackpot with Jackie.  When she was a week old, we could no longer handle the grunting and squeaking that came from our little princess.  She was swaddled nice and tight and put to bed across the house in her crib.  Best. Move. Ever.  From that point on everyone in the house was getting four-hour chunks of sleep at a time.  Every single transition we have made with Jackie that involved sleep has been a breeze.  She now goes to bed (or takes a nap) in her "big girl bed" without a fight or fuss.

Katerina a sleep is a different story.  She likes to sleep, and sleeps very quietly.  She is just picky about where she sleeps.  We started off right away trying the crib.  No dice.  Tried the swing.  Nope.  The longest stretch of sleep in either of those two places is about two hours.  Kat likes to be where the action is.  She doesn't want to be off by herself.  I want her off by herself.  I want her sleeping in her crib.  I can be stubborn.  However, the other issue of eating has caused me to bend in my stubbornness and for right now, Kat sleeps soundly in her car seat on the floor of our room.  We start off the night with anywhere from 4-6 hours of sleep and from that point on, we get up about every two hours.  It is still a work in progress, while I try to update my bag of tricks to include things for miss Katerina, she will eventually sleep in her crib...

I thought Jackie was a good eater, and compared to my other mommy friends she was very typical.  The nurses at the breastfeeding clinic were impressed the first time I took her in when they discovered she was eating 2-3 ounces in about a total hour feeding.  This continued for 2-3 months before she was finally efficient enough to cut that time in half.  We struggled big time in the beginning to get just the right latch and position so she wasn't making me want to cry every time she latched on.  It was a very long process.

Now here is where my bag of tricks first came in handy.  I knew how to get Katerina to latch on correctly and the best way to hold her.  Within a couple days the soreness was gone and she was eating like a champ.  The first trip to the breastfeeding clinic to get weighed shocked everyone.  She was eating 2.5-3 ounces in half an hour!  Wow!  We have ourselves a super eater.

Having a super eater should be great, and it is because I know she's getting what she needs.  However, this has provided a new set of problems.  My milk has come in faster and in greater supply, Katerina is super-efficient.  This means she is eating too much too fast.  Causing our little one to spit up in great quantities multiple times a day.  It has been a crazy, milk-soaked week trying to figure out how long to feed her, how long to prop her up, how often to burp her, and guessing how much she is eating.  Tomorrow we are heading back to the clinic to see what advice they may have for this problem. Until it is solved, I just don't feel comfortable having her sleep across the house in the crib.  I don't want to have to change crib sheets as often as I'm having to chance Kat's clothes!  :)

I know as time goes and Katerina shows us more of her sweet little personality, I will add many new tricks to my bag.  I just hope the love that Jackie shows her little sissy stays around for a long, long time!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Jackie and her Daddy

To say that Jackie is a "Daddy's Girl" is a bit of an understatement.  I thought I would post a little about the two of them, so that one day, when he is saying "No, you can't date that boy..." She will know just how much he loves her, and how much she loves him.

"Da-da" was the first word out of her mouth.  Once she realized that the sound "Da-da" made daddy smile so big, she was hooked. 

It wasn't until a couple months ago that she started saying "Ma-ma."  However, "Da-da" still gets the sweetest little smile to accompany it. :o)

After a weekend at home over the summer with daddy, I would go in on a Monday to get her out of bed and she would just look at me with this stare, "Why are you not daddy?" and then look over my shoulder to the door waiting for him to come in behind me.  When he didn't, she would race to our bedroom door and stand there insisting that "Da-da" come out.

As SOON as she heard the little "beep-beep" that the alarm on the door makes when someone opens it at the end of the day, she will drop ANYTHING and race to the garage door, squealing.  Get a hug from daddy and then proceed to help him take off his shoes.  That is a must.  Shoes must come off!

Even now, when I am the one who gets home later and he's with her most of the evening.  She will come see that I walk in the door and then abruptly turn around and go hug daddy's legs. 

Even how they wake up in the morning is the same.  Grunt.  Stretch.  Roll over.  Peek out one eye and glare at me.  Close eyes again.  Roll around.  Grunt.  Then finally sit up. 

They are both "big dippers."  Jackie wants to dip everything she eats.  In katsup, salsa, sour cream, anything.  She saw that first from daddy. 

Spice is nice!  I've known Ethan was a spicy guy for a long time...and I like things spicy too and ate them while pregnant with Jackie.  (So maybe this one is my fault).  The other night, Jackie ate an entire hot link.  Last night it was spicy Rotel dip (with the HOT Rotel) and added jalapenos from the garden.  Don't even think about giving that girl something bland... she won't touch it.  I imagine family dinners in my future with the following "This is a good recipe, but the chicken could use a little something's a tad bland."  That could come from daddy or Jackie.

You will never see popcorn disappear faster than trying to have some with one of them.  I have NEVER seen anyone eat shovel popcorn the way my husband does.  Even the first time he made popcorn for our movie date, I had to be fast about getting some, or I would miss out.  (That is unless I wanted the little trail of kernels left in the chair when he got up.)  That is until I saw Jackie eat popcorn.  Didn't take her long to figure out that one piece at a time is nice, but a FIST FULL of popcorn is even better.  Even her babysitter commented on it!

There is something so sweet about a little girl's love for her daddy.  I sure hope he's ready to have TWO fingers wrapped around TWO little girls :)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

This One vs. That One

Jackie is almost 18 months old.

I have no baby book for her.

Haven't started.

Don't mistake that for a lack of pictures.  We have LOTS of pictures.  Just no organized scrapbook chronologically marking every "first" for her to read through later in life.

I just kept saying "I'll get to it." the mean time, I'm now 8 weeks away from little Katerina joining in with Jackie and all the fun thing they will get into growing up so close in age. 

So, I figured I would start now by comparing pregnancies, since Jackie's is still pretty fresh in my mind.  If I try to wait until baby #3 comes along, I might forget it all. (That might be a good thing...)

So here's a comparison of "This Pregnancy vs. That Pregnancy"  or "Jackie vs. Kat"

Getting Pregnant:
Jackie:  Took four months.  I thought it would happen like THAT.  I know that still isn't very long in comparison to other couples who tried for many, many months before getting pregnant, but I figured it would be no time.  (I guess I just had to wait until "God's Time.")

Kat:  Boom.  Like THAT.  This time I thought it would take 4-6 months for it to happen, so we started trying a little early.  Maybe she will be the "punctual" one! :)

Finding Out:
Jackie:  Had sort of "given up" for the month of July and put it out of my mind.  But 3rd Annual Mystery Weekend was about to start and I needed to know.  Took a test (an old one given to me from a friend at school who she insisted "didn't need anymore.").  It said negative.  No big surprise.  SURPRISE later when I saw the test in the trash reading positive.  Confused.  Googled false positives.  Drove to store to buy a new test.  This time digital.  No needing to figure out any line crap.  Got a two pack.  "Pregnant" read out loud and clear.  Called Ethan at work.  Called doctor.  No alcohol on 3rd Annual Mystery Weekend.

Kat:  I was in the "we are trying" mode, meaning not drinking unless I'm sure I'm not pregnant, already taking prenatal, and waiting until I was a week late to take the test.  Even though I was pretty sure I was.  Used #2 test in the pack of two bought before.  Positive.  Yelled to Ethan from bathroom.  Called Doctor.  No alcohol all summer...

Jackie:  Had about a week and a half of "Knock-you-off-your-feet nausea" and did nothing but lay in bed the entire first week of August.  Started teaching and coaching just in time for the "So-tired-even-blinking-is-exhausting" stage.  Came home from practice at 6ish... and went to bed.  Threw up a few times if I ate too fast.  I'm a teacher.  I eat fast at every meal.  Had to learn to SLOW down.

Kat: No real long period of nausea, just would hit me from time to time, usually in the evening.  Barfed off and on.  Tiredness in first trimester again, this time, there's no going to bed after getting home from school.  Had a one-year-old to take care of.  (Although, I have found that the first trimester tired and coaching is nothing like the third trimester tired and coaching.)

Jackie:  Didn't have too much of a problem probably until the last month or so.  Had a hard time getting comfy and sleeping long enough.  I woke up a couple times a night to go to the bathroom.  Heart burn was only a problem if I ate too late before going to bed.  I snored.

Kat:  Take everything I said about Jackie, multiply it by two and then speed it up about 4 months sooner.  I hit the uncomfortable sleeping stage back in July.  Last night I got up every hour (on the hour) because my bladder urgently required me to.  That's a pretty normal night.  If I eat much after 6:30 I can pretty much assume I'll be up 'till midnight.  Heartburn a nightly problem, even if I just eat ice.  I snore. 

Jackie:  Any and all things peanut butter.  Just couldn't get enough of the stuff!  And milk.  We went through twice as much milk.

Kat:  Ice. Not just any ice, our ice from our freezer.  You know, the dense cloudy type that gets nice and soft once it sits in the water for just a little while.  I know it doesn't make sense, but my mouth actually starts to water when I see that my cup, filled with ice, is just at that perfect chomping stage.

Mood Swings:
Jackie:  Eh...not so much. 

Kat:  About the same.

Jackie:  I was "big pregnant" during the winter months and that was actually pretty great.  I remember being worried that I would slip and fall on the ice, but luckily that was one of the "warmest" winter's we have ever had.  I didn't have to worry about ice at all.

Kat:  Ugh.  Big pregnant during August, September, and still to come, October.  I actually lucked out with this being one of the coolest Augusts on record, but that didn't mean the heat didn't come.  It did.  We're in the middle of it now.  I was so worried about slipping on the ice, but turns out, coaching is just as dangerous.  I tripped during our first game and stumbled onto the bench, hitting my face on my manager's shoulder.  Good thing the parents sit up in the mezzanine and couldn't see how red my face was. 

Jackie:  We started building our new house about a month after we found out Jackie was coming.  We closed on both the new and old house on Christmas Eve.  I was almost at my 7 month mark. Get new house ready, Jackie's baby room ready, showers, and plan for a long-term sub (who would be giving my kids their state assessments).  Yep.  Busy.

Kat:  Transfer Jackie to new room (current transition in progress...night #1 has started).  Coach volleyball.  Teach.  Got everything ready for sub before school started (whoo hooo...go me!). Plan baby shower for Sister-In-Law.  SIL has baby 9 weeks early.  Plan baby shower for later in September.  And most recently on the list, redo all of sub stuff due to hard drive crashing.  Last week was a rough one.  It will all get will all get will all get done...

Jackie:  Everything.  We had nothing, but a crib.

Kat:  Winter clothes for newborn - 3 months.  We may have two girls, but when one was 3 months in July and the other will be 3 months in February, those hand-me-downs aren't gonna work!

Feeling Baby Move:
Jackie:  I felt the first little flutter right around 18 months.  I know because that's when I had my sonogram and she was moving and turning all over the place and I was just feeling little tiny movements.  Ethan could feel her move for the first time when I was 22 weeks along.  I distinctly remember this because it was Thanksgiving. :) Jackie continued to be quite the mover, but only when I was resting.  If I was up moving around she was almost rocked to sleep.

Kat:  I felt her for the first time around 15 weeks, just tiny little punches.  Ethan could feel her by the time we had the sonogram at 18 weeks.  Since then it has been NON STOP MOVEMENT.  Big movements.  I swear at night it looks like she is trying to escape from the left side of my belly.  I am definitely blaming her on my stretch marks!  Oh, and she doesn't "rock to sleep" when I'm moving.  She's moving too.  Such a different sensation! 

Jackie:  My goodness, I think I still had people coming up to me in January (7-8 months along) saying how I didn't look pregnant at all.  

Kat:  HA!  My Father-in-Law asked if I was sure I wasn't have twins by the time I hit the 7 month mark.

Jackie:  Everyone kept saying how pregnancy goes so fast.  It's 9 short months (actually...10).  It didn't feel fast to us. We just kept waiting, anxiously.  Ethan would constantly tell her that it was time for her to come out so he could hold her. 

Kat:  I stupidly thought this pregnancy would "feel" like it went faster because we were busy with Jackie.  Nope.  Not at all.  I am so excited for her to come and meet us all that it seems like time is dragging on.  Not to mention I've been uncomfortable longer than I was with Jackie, and I still have 8 weeks to go. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Mega Meltdown Madness!

Terrible Twos...

Who was the "genius" that coined that phrase?

Because all they did was cause parents to be completely and totally take by surprise when the "terrible two tantrums" started at 16 months.

We are a WAYS away from two.

But yet, here we are.  Right in the middle of a 16-month-old screaming fit.  Screaming because...
~  She wanted to brush her teeth.
~  She wanted ice cream.
~  She couldn't walk UP the slide.
~  She was hungry but didn't want...grapes, blueberries, cookies, crackers, sausage, eggs, cheese, or any other single thing we tried to feed her.
~  She wanted a fork.
~  A "big-person" fork not a "baby" fork.
~  She wanted mommy's big-person fork.
~  She wanted to stay in her chair and play with the tray.
~  She wanted to throw food.
~  She wanted to eat like a dog off of the table.
~  She wanted to STAY in the hot car and play in her car seat.
~  She wanted ice cream.
~  She wanted on the couch.
~  She wanted to sit on the arm of the couch and fall off.
~  She wanted ice cream.
~  She wanted in the bath tub.
~  She wanted to drink the bath water.
~  She wanted out of the bath tub.
~  She wanted ice cream.
~  She wanted in her crib.
~  She wanted out of her crib.
~  She wanted her BLACK puppy, NOT the yellow puppy.
~  She wanted to pick green tomatoes out of the garden.
~  She wanted the iPad.
~  She wanted the remote.
~  She wanted the phone.  NOT her play phone, mommy or daddy's touch-screen phone.
~  She wanted ice cream.

The list could go on...  But our sanity won't.

So I did whatever any good parent of the 21st century does...

I Googled it.

Apparently this is a VERY common thing. There were MANY suggestions out there on how to handle the screaming fits of a child who cannot TELL you what is wrong.

On a good note, I found that we are doing most of them.  Redirection, praise for stopping, love and hugs when she's being good, not giving in to her "wants" when she's acting like that, telling her "no" and walking away from her so she eventually finds something else to do.  On a bad note...we haven't had much success. Again, this seems to be common.  Something that she will "grow out of" and we will have to be patient and firm.


I will mention that it is not around-the-clock screaming at our house.  She does still have many many moments of sweetness, discovering of new cool tricks, learning to say new words, and cuddles.

And we are VERY fortunate that she hasn't tried the screaming trick in public.  Yet...

So patient and firm we will be.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Wanna Grape?

We have a new game around here.

It's called "Wanna Grape?"

You see... Jackie is at that age where she loves to play with her toys, loves to pull things out of drawers, and loves to read, look at, chew on books.

As long as mommy or daddy is sitting right beside her in the living room.

I am a multitasker.

I have to be.  In order to be a working mom and have some sort of order around the house (however small it may be), I have to multitask.

Jackie doesn't like it when I multitask.

In fact, she will cling to my legs screaming at the top of her lungs if I so much as attempt to wash a dish or cut up a veggie for dinner.

This doesn't work for me.

So, one day, while I was washing and cutting up my recent fruit purchase at the store, Jackie was loudly exclaiming that she wanted my full and undivided attention.  I needed to get this task done so I could move on to fixing dinner (or sweeping, or loading the dishwasher, or folding laundry).  So I very nicely asked her "Wanna grape?"

She did.  She reached up and I picked one off the bundle and handed it to her.  She popped it in her mouth, rolled it around a little bit, and walked off.

It worked!

She played with some noisy toy in the living room for a couple of minutes and then wondered back into the kitchen.

"Wanna grape?"

She signed "please."

Again, popped the grape in her mouth and walked off to find her toy.

This little game was repeated many times until daddy got home from work and dinner was ready.

I had stumbled on to the BEST GAME EVER.

It's a win. Win. WIN. Type of game.

I get to multitask - win

Jackie gets a snack - Win

Jackie gets a healthy snack that I'm OK with if it ruins her dinner - WIN!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Stupid Calendar

I lay here in bed tonight, almost an hour past my normal bedtime awake and thinking.

I can't stop thinking.

I have had an amazing day, spent with wonderful family celebrating the 50 year marriage of my in-laws.

Not going to lie...part of the reason I am still awake is that I ate WAY too much food and the baby inside my tummy didn't leave enough room for it all so I feel like the BBQ and cake are hanging around my throat somewhere.

But that's not the main reason I'm thinking.

I did something stupid.  Something I have been avoiding like the plague for the last month.

I looked at a calendar.

I have less than three weeks left before my summer officially ends and the school year begins.  I have known that this was coming.  I have known that school was just around the corner.  But somehow looking at the calendar makes it all seem much more REAL.

Now I am slightly stressing out and growing more and more panicked as I  think.

I have not done ANYTHING school related in many weeks.

I have avoided ANY educational articles.

I haven't even wanted to TALK about school stuff, unless it involved someway to move the start of the school year back, oh...maybe another two months.

And now, here I am three weeks away from reporting to school, and two weeks away from dropping Jackie off at daycare instead of enjoying our lovely days at the pool, park, or just out running errands.  

My school to-do list has barely even been looked at.  And there are MANY things on that list.

I thought last year was hard going back to work after having almost 5 months off.  This year is worse.

I am missing the desire.

It's just not there.

I am waiting for it to show up.  It always has before.

Unfortunately, this is the longest I have ever had to wait for the urge to get back in the classroom.  To get back to the work-day routine.

And now I'm worried it won't come.

This thought makes me sad.  I never wanted to be that kind of teacher.  I never lived for the summers.  Have I lost my passion?  Or have my priorities simply changed??

I just keep thinking over and over again...  I will be dropping MY CHILD off for SOMEONE ELSE to watch, while I go spend my days with OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN. The logic just doesn't make sense to me.

I know thousands of teachers and coaches do this every single day.

I just don't want to.

And maybe now that I've written it down and hit "publish" I will be able to sleep.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Chatter

Today is the last day of June...feels way too soon to say that tomorrow is July.  JULY???!!!  I always felt (and still do) that the 4th of July marks that speedy downhill slide of summer ending.  Before I know it (and before I'm ready, I'm sure) I will be back dropping off Jackie at daycare and heading to my classroom.

I have mentioned before that our dogs are escape artists.  This fact has cost us time and money trying to keep them contained.  I have always said that they would ignore pain just to escape out of a cage or fence.  (I have no doubt that they would run right through one of those "invisible fences.")  Well, this week Breck proved it once again.  While at the vet for her 6 month check-up, she attempted to escape from the metal kennel they were keeping her.  The ding dong ended up ripping off her dew-claw and needing antibiotics, pain killers, and a bandage for three days in order to keep it dry.  She never did get out of that cage.

It is a long-running joke that you'll have a nice workout after attending a Catholic Mass. Up. Down. Kneel.  Sit. Shake hands. Sit. Kneel.  You gotta be in shape for that kind of thing.  Now, just picture trying to do that with a VERY wiggly and mobile 15 month old, who not only doesn't understand why she can't run out into the middle of the isle, but also LOVES to hear her voice echo, or get in laughing competitions with kids sitting down the pew (even if they aren't laughing, all they have to do is look at her...Jackie will play).   Today I had to go fetch a plastic Easter egg out of the middle of the isle.  Don't ask.

Oh...and add to the list another baby girl who is even MORE active in my belly than Jackie was.  If there is a correlation between movement in womb and movement as a toddler, we could be in trouble...  

Totally had a pregnant mom afternoon.  Put Jackie down for her nap and enjoyed some yummy ice cream.  (Double Dunker from Turkey Hill.  Ohhhhhhhhh....sooooo goooood).  Then proclaimed to my husband that spaghetti sounded good.  No spaghetti in the house so I finished up the guacamole and chips from dinner last night. Spaghetti still sounds good.  Don't judge. 

Jackie has taken her love for all things babies even further.  Now if she even sees babies, she's making the sign for "please" and pointing at the baby with a loud grunt.  She wants to see the baby.  Pet the baby's head.   Attempt to give the baby a hug and kiss.  Now this is absolutely adorable when she does it around people we know, with other babies we know.  It can be a little embarrassing when she toddles over to a random family in a restaurant and tries to reach into their baby carrier to see the baby.  Still...we are hoping that this will make for a good and loving transition from only princess to older princess.

PS...I did try to take Jackie to the back of church when she was getting her loudest.  Guess what?  There was a baby back there too, who was sleeping.  That plan didn't work, back to the pew we went.

Ethan is off for the week from work.  We just love having daddy home with us.   A list of Honey-Do's and a trip to KC for our anniversary are on the list for the week.  Hoping with the drop in temperature we can get a fire or two in as well.  I could use a S'more :)

I could totally do the stay-at-home-mom thing.  The house always looks better, laundry isn't 6 loads behind, and I feel so much less stressed than when I'm trying to do all of the "at-home" things while working.  I love my summer routine.  I really could do it all year long.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Let's Get Real: The Challenge

I am a realist.

Ok...maybe a dreamer with a realistic approach.

It has taken me a long time to add the "realist" title to describe myself.  Why?  Because it tends to sound pessimistic.

I am NOT a "Negative Nelly."

However, I do know myself.  I know what I am capable of and what I am willing to do, and probably more importantly I know what I am NOT capable of and what I am NOT willing to do.  (Half of the things I pin on Pinterest will NEVER get tried.  Hence, the dreamer part of me...)

So when I approach health and diet eating right, I do so realistically and knowing who I am.  (I think this is CRUCIAL to anyone wanting to make a lifestyle change and be healthy.  Not necessarily lose 15 lbs. for a trip, but to make LIFE LONG changes what will not only have a positive impact on you AND those who are closest to you.)

ME:  I like LOVE all kinds of food.  The good and the bad.  There's not much I don't like or won't eat.  My favorites include (but are not limited to), ice cream, bread, eggs, pancakes, salads w/ vinaigrette dressing, buffalo chicken, pizza, ice cream, veggies with dip, a medium-rare steak with baked potato, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and did I mention ice cream???  :o)

And I don't diet. I don't believe it in.

Any of the "diets" I have tried in the past restrict you from over half of those foods I just listed above, and realistically I am not going to stick to something for a LIFE LONG change that doesn't allow me to have each and every item on that list.  (Plus some...)

Therefore, those diets didn't work.  Or didn't last.

Which brings me to Advocare and the 24 Day Challenge.

Now, Advocare has a long line of products from everything to muscle building, weight loss, to skin care and chap-stick.  For me, the draw was the challenge.

Maybe it's the word "challenge" that got my attention at first.

I like a good challenge.  I am competitive.  I like to win.

The 24-Day Challenge is divided into two main parts.  A 10-Day cleanse and then a 14 day MAX phase.  I will be honest, before the challenge I had never done a cleanse and I wasn't a big believer in it.  I thought they were too restricting.  But the draw for me was the second half.  The MAX phase.  The last two weeks of the challenge are designed to bring LIFE LONG habits into your real life that you can stick to.  Making simple changes to everyday eating.

~  Protein for breakfast.  Always have protein with breakfast.
~  Drink water.  Lots of water.
~  100% whole wheat bread/tortillas.  A simple, but huge change.
~  Introduce your life to SPARK!  (The sugar free, energy drink that might just change your life...another post about that coming soon!)
~  Correct portion sizes.  (This one was big for me, for some reason I thought I had to feel very full after every meal...not true!)

And those are just a few of the simple changes to make to everyday life that will have LIFE LONG effects!  Plus they are changes that are easy to get family and picky eaters on board with.  Sometimes they won't even know.

For me, the real "challenge" part of The Challenge was the cleanse.  No dairy.  No wheat. was only for 10 days.

10 days.

That is doable.

That is realistic.

And it is good for you.  Someone once described it to me (in terms mom's can really understand) that it is like cleaning out the lent catcher after running laundry.  Or (for you guys) changing the oil in your car.  Something that helps get the "yuck" out and give you a fresh new start.  Reverse scenarios above if that applies to you :o)

Oh and BONUS! They have a 24-Day Challenge that is appropriate and modified for breast feeding moms. All my mommy friends should definitely check this out!

Now, the one thing that had me reluctant to get on board with Advocare.  Cost.

Not going to lie, the challenge can be a little pricey.  (Selling at 190.25 for a set.)

However, if there is ONE thing that is worth investing in, it is your health.  And if this can help jump-start a big change, that will continue to show the benefits well after it is completed.  It is WORTH. EVERY. PENNY.

Plus, if you are someone who eats out often, you will actually find that Advocare is cheaper!

Double-Plus, you will find yourself spending less money on things that aren't as healthy, like coffee and pop.

I still eat ice cream.  I still have bread (whole wheat!).  And I still have mashed potatoes.  But those items are portioned out appropriately.  Mostly I have acquired healthy habits that will be easy to follow throughout the rest of my life.  (Don't think I'm perfect, there are still areas I struggle...more on that later).

A challenge that is doable, attainable, and REALISTIC.

Enough said.  If you are interested, contact me and I can help you out!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day

I have started, and restarted, deleted and started again.

I'm just having a hard time putting in to words how wonderful, great, super, awesome and amazing Ethan is at being a Dad.  

So I thought this would be better.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Putting it all Out There

As a Senior in high school, I weighed 180 pounds.  To an 18 year-old young lady that number was mortifying.  I can't even begin to count the number of hours I spent in the locker room with other girls who were 60 lbs lighter (and complained about it...).

I didn't want ANYONE to know.

It was always on my mind.  

I even had a teacher one time say to me "great volleyball game last night, but wow, if you were 20 lbs. lighter, just think what you could do."  

Yeah, really.

I just couldn't escape it.  

And then I went off to college to play volleyball, and I was so excited. Not just for the volleyball, but because I KNEW that with the intense workout I would finally lose those 20 lbs. After the 14 days of incredibly intense 3-a-day practices, one devoted solely to conditioning, plus an extra hour of weight training, I was ready to get on the scale.  


Seriously??  Ugh!

I decided then and there to stop looking at numbers.  I started noticing that other girls around me would be a smaller size with a smaller number, but they didn't look as good.  It may sound self-centered, but it worked.  My self-confidence started to rise. Rather than compare numbers, I compared people.

Fast-forward another five or six years.  Ignoring numbers and comparing people had brought on a whole other set of problems.  First of all, I was still comparing how other people looked to me, but now I think in my head I was still comparing the 178 lb. athlete from college. 

Which I definitely wasn't.

Ignoring the numbers had allowed for me to let the number get out of control.  All the way up to 240 before I  finally did something about it.

What did I do?  What life-changing moment would "wake me up" and get me going?

I started dating Ethan.

This was HUGE.

Two rules I had for myself when we first started dating.  
#1:  Don't eat more than him.
#2:  If he tried to lose weight, so would I

For the first rule, that helped big time.  Ethan, is not the typical guy eater, at least not what I was typically used to. He didn't completely load up his plate with food, devour it and go back for more.  He didn't eat a entire pizza. He had two pieces.  My rule meant that I had to either eat less than he did or the same amount.  For someone who grew up with some very skewed portion sizes, this was probably one of the most beneficial things in life.  Training myself to eat less. 

He started to lose weight, so did I.  

I took up golfing and swam at least a mile a day.  

These two new rules alone helped me to shed 50 lbs in less than one year!  I then adopted another rule.

Get on the scale.  Pay attention to numbers again.  Numbers don't lie.

I stopped comparing myself to other people and how they looked and started to just be happy with where I was and what I had accomplished.  And being REALISTIC.  As long as I stayed within a little 5 pound bubble of 190-195 I was happy.  


What did the future hold?  The relationship progressed, we got married, kids were sure to come.  Ugh.  Looking into the future sure looked daunting.

Gain weight for baby.

lose weight.

Gain again for baby #2.

Lose weight again.

It sure sounded exhausting and scary.  (And it still does)

However, I now have a new tool in my back pocket to help.

A program that fits what I believe.  

Be realistic.  Make simple changes that have huge payoff.  And of course EAT.

I will talk a little more about this program another time, it deserves a post all to itself.

The point is.  12 years later, no longer 18 and I'm back to looking at numbers, but in a different way.  I keep track of the number just so I don't get out of control.  I no longer compare.  No longer do I look at someone and say "well her number is lower so she must be healthier" or "she's wearing a smaller size, but I still look better."  No more comparisons.  Just making sure that I feel good about myself and where I am.  How do I feel?  Am I setting a good, healthy, and realistic example for my kids?  

Because in the end if I am not happy with myself, only I can do something about it.  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Everyone Has a Breaking Point

I've hit mine.

I have gone through boxes...BOXES of Kleenex.

My nose is so raw and chapped it hurts to smile.

I can't breath out of either one of my nostrils.

I'm losing sleep...hours of sleep.  At this point I would give ANYTHING to sleep a quarter of time time my daughter does.

I'm very tired of the "oh are you sick?" and "I feel so bad for you" and "oh you must be miserable" comments.

And I'm just tired.

So I give up.

I'm going to the doctor.

I better feel better tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Baby Love

Timing couldn't have been more perfect.

Just about the time that Jackie started to take notice of her baby doll, hugging her, kissing slobbering all over her plastic face, and taking her little plastic hands to play "Patty Cake" was when we found out baby number 2 would be coming sometime in early November.  It was almost as if she had a sixth sense.

It wasn't just the dolly either.  Somehow around mid-April Jackie suddenly became OBSESSED with my belly.  Lifting my shirt up touching it softly (not pinching like she does everywhere else...), and even laying her head down and cuddling up with my tummy. 


She was only barely a year old.  She doesn't understand yet. 

Does she???

And then she noticed other babies.  Wanting to hug them and kiss slobber on them, just like her dolly.  She's always been social and liked being around other kids, but this was different. 

It's funny how God works.  How He prepares us for the unknown and unexpected.  Well, not totally unexpected. We always talked about having a kids close together.  19 months close for the first two.  :)

I know that introducing a new born baby to it's older sibling can be a challenge. I know there can be lots of jealousy and almost hatred toward the new arrival honing in on already claimed territory.  I'm sure there will be a transition period, but I am hopeful that time will be short. 

Jackie has already demonstrated love.  Even before we officially knew there was something to love, she was ready. 

And in the mean time we will continue to encourage the hugs and kisses and love that she shows to her dolly, other babies, and my tummy.  Because she may not technically understand how her world is going to change, but she does understand love.

And that is all she needs to know.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Oh's summer, you will blog again!"

"Now I will have something to read"

The previous quotes were said to me this weekend by my husband. 

Flattered that I am, that he likes to read what I write, I was a little taken-aback.

I blog during the school year...

Kind of.

Ok.  There is a bit of a difference between the blog count over last summer and this last school year.  However, I will argue, that there is a hidden factor that makes a bigger difference than whether or not I'm spending 8 hours a day with teenagers. 

A keyboard.

You see, we recently "traded in" our home laptop for a new tablet.  I have had an iPad for a while now, and Ethan wanted to try out the Dell tablet.  We, did not, however go for the keyboard attachment.  (Mistake...we will be getting one eventually.)

Blogging and a keyboard go hand in hand for me.  I know I may not be technologically "with it,"  but I just can't chicken peck or text-type an entire blog. 

"But Jill, what about your laptop at school???  It has a keyboard."

Yes, it does.  However, I do have a problem with doing a person blog while on school time.  I always flash back to The Office episode where Jim times Dwight every time he is "off-task" and therefore stealing time from the company.  Plus...I have enough to do while I'm there to blog about my home life.

So, yes.  There has been quite a space since the last blog post, and I'm sure there will be more frequent views into our lives as the summer progresses. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Berlin Wall

No, I am not talking about the wall that divided East and West Germany for decades.

I'm talking about a pillow.

Sleeping habits of a person are as unique as the individual.  Some people sleep only on their sides, stomach, or back.  Some snore (thankfully neither one of us does that on a regular basis), some sleep walk, some are heavy sleepers, while others will wake at the sound of the furnace kicking on at night. Some need a completely dark room, some like a TV or radio to be on while they sleep.  Some need huge fluffy pillows, others a flat almost non-existing pillow.

Ethan and I have our sides of the bed, his closest to the TV and mine closest to the path to the bathroom.  We are both relatively light sleepers (until the morning, and then for some reason not much will wake Ethan up. Hmmmm...).  The TV stays on while we fall asleep and then shuts off by automatic timer.  We both roll around throughout the night.

The point of my story comes in two parts of our sleeping habits.  At any given point we could be on our backs, sides, or stomachs.  I'm pretty sure we hit all areas at some point in the night.  And pillows.  I am a flat pillow sleeper, and Ethan likes a little more plush to his head rest.  Always at some point before falling asleep, I make myself a little "pillow sandwich" surrounding myself on both sides with a pillow.  One of those ends up between Ethan and me.  He has dubbed that "the Berlin Wall."  A wall which we complains keeps him from cuddling up with me in the middle of the night.

It's not my fault!  It's all Jackie's fault!

I didn't used to need the pillow sandwich.

You see, when I hit the half-way mark with my pregnancy I was no longer able to sleep on my back.  Which I didn't think was that big of deal.  Until I would find myself awake in the morning on my back.  I rolled in the middle of the night and would end up with very sore and achy in the morning.  So I needed help from rolling directly on to my back.  I found that if I put pillows on both sides of me, it would keep me from rolling.  Plus it was comfortable!

Too comfortable.

Because now, with no baby in my belly and no reason to keep from rolling on my back I still need the sandwich.  I can't get comfortable without it, and with years to come of having more babies and actually needing the sandwich I don't see that habit changing anytime soon.

I guess until then the "Berlin Wall" will have to stay up, and the East and West sides of our bed will remain divided.  I guess we'll just have to wait a few years before we can "tear down that wall."


Monday, January 21, 2013

Around the House

I has been a cold winter filled with many different "yucky bugs" floating around wherever people gather.  Because of this, we have been spending quite a bit of time just hanging around the house.  Here's what we've been up to.

~  We rang in the New Year just as new parents should.  Put baby to bed, watched a movie, and were asleep by 10:30.  I did wake up at Midnight to pray the fireworks wouldn't wake up the baby... then rolled over and slept some more. 

~  The second semester of school is off to a great start for me.  Fun new projects, activities, and lessons for the students.  This does make it very hard to ever think about leaving it to stay home with kids.  Although, even in the middle of some awesome couple of weeks of school I find myself dreaming and thinking of what I could be doing with Jackie. 

~  Jackie took her first steps!!!  I guess we have to count them as her first steps, even though I didn't see it. :-)  Ethan was playing with her in the basement in her little play pen.  Apparently she was at one corner of the pen and let go and walked to the other corner across from her.  A couple things I have learned about our first born is that she is one determined little child.  (It's funny how you can pick up on little personality traits so young...)  If she wants to do something she will do it.  She has the balance, she has the know-how, she just doesn't have the want yet.  So as soon as she figures out that she can get from drawer #1 full of stuff she shouldn't get into, to drawer #2 full of stuff she shouldn't get into FASTER.  We're in trouble. 

~  We still need to baby proof.  I guess we better get on that!

~  I have officially been baptised into the Mommy World.  (If we had a boy, it probably would have been much earlier and a different body fluid...)  Jackie awoke one night around 11:00, which is rare, so when she wakes up there is usually a reason.  Ethan went and grabbed her, tried to rock her back to sleep, but decided to bring her to bed with us.  He handed her off to me and went somewhere to get something.  I placed her on my chest and we snuggled. She rolled over on to her back, sort of in the crook of my arm.  And without even the slightest warning, and before I knew it we were both covered in gross, nasty, disgusting baby puke (which is just like adult puke) and Ethan was rushing back into the bedroom to be passed a crying baby covered in throw-up.  I just stood there.  Dripping.  Yuck.  Bath for her, shower for me.  We did get her back to sleep in her own bed by 1:00. 

~  I am NOT eating any more of that leftover potato soup. 

~  I still haven't figured out why she threw up.  She's had two instances of puking in 2013 and both times she never acted sick!  Never whined or cried or continued throwing up.  Just played with her toys, took naps and ate crackers followed by juice.  My students think she is practicing faking sick to stay home from school.  Hmmm...could she be that crafty?

~  I am on a housekeeping/laundry roll!  I have finally figured out a system that keeps me from having to clean clean clean on the weekends, which always included at least 6 loads of laundry to fold.  (Thanks to a friend for sharing her method!)  First of all.  I'm an early bird.  I try to get up at 5:00 AM, sometimes it's more like 5:30...  I put a load of laundry in the washer in the morning.  When I get home from work I put it in the dryer and another load in the washer.  In the AM (dark and early!) I fold the load coming out of the dryer, move the wet to the dryer and put another load it.  I just continue that pattern.  It has been fantastic.  I'm folding and putting away one load (may two if I'm feeling productive) a day...and I've even had a couple days where I don't have ANY to do!  (I know that will change as our family grows).  I have been making an extra effort to keep the house picked up and kitchen clean.  It has been working!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Christmas Candy

I had grand plans this year.

Last year, we moved right before Christmas.  Putting up decorations consisted of a single nativity snow globe that was given as a gift.  Needless to say, making Christmas candy didn't happen. 

This year, I was going to do it.

I made my list of candies I wanted to make

-  Peanut Clusters (with Heath toffee bits throw in...the ONLY way to make peanut clusters)
-  Peanut butter balls
-  Rolo Pretzel Pecan bites
-  Hershey Kiss Pretzel Peanut M&M bites (the alternative to Rolo Pretzel Pecan bites...hubby's not a fan of Pecans or Rolos)

I bought the supplies.

I got right down to it once I was home and baby was down for a nap, I whipped out those peanut clusters with heath bits.  Soooo good!  I really should make those more often than just Christmas time.

And that's where it stopped. 

We got busy and when I wasn't busy I didn't feel like messing up my kitchen.

And when I got a sweet tooth (which unfortunately happens more often than my figure needs it to) I had quite a stash of Rolos, Hershey Kiss, and Peanut M&Ms. 

The pretzels and pecans are unopened.

Maybe I'll save them for next year.