Tuesday, March 29, 2011

That was sweet little Noah, four years ago today. Whenever one of my kids has a birthday, I always find myself thinking back to the day they were born. This morning while Allie and I strolled through Target at 11:00, I told her that four years ago at that exact moment, I knelt down to buckle Emma into the stroller and my water broke all over the driveway. Allie didn't seem too interested, but I am happy to think back to that day when Noah came into our lives.

I'm convinced that kid might be the sweetest little boy who ever lived. He is super affectionate, and is a wonderful cuddler. He comes into our room every night, crawls into bed, and quietly asks, "Mommy, can we cuddle?" One night he didn't come in, and in the morning when Steve and I realized he had stayed in his own bed all night, we both felt sad that maybe his cuddling days were over. Luckily, that was just a fluke, and he has been in every night since. He is generally pretty sweet to his sisters, too. A few weeks ago my parents were visiting and the kids were going somewhere in their car. Noah told my dad that he wanted to sit next to Emma, and when my dad asked why, Noah said, "Because I love her." Awww. That really warms my heart. (When my dad then asked him if he wanted to sit next to Allie, his response was a little less sweet: "No. She bites!")The kids and I went to my parents' house over the weekend and we celebrated Noah's birthday while we were there, in addition to going bowling, playing laser tag (which was SO fun!), making a train out of chairs, and playing lots of games. Tonight he wants to go to Minsky's for dinner, and I made an Oreo ice cream cake to take along. I wanted to do something different than regular cake, since we just had that over the weekend, but yesterday he told me he was excited about his train cake. Oops. I hadn't been planning to do any special decorating, so hopefully he'll be content if I just pipe a train track and slap a toy train on the top.
We made M&M cookies for him to bring to preschool today, and Allie and I are going this afternoon to read a book to his class while they eat their treats. I'm starting to get a teeny bit nervous about it, even though I realize it's silly to be nervous about reading a book to a bunch of preschoolers. Still, I know Noah will be excited when Allie and I get there, and hopefully the kids will be too busy munching on their cookies to pay much attention to my reading!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Last night we went out to dinner to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday. We got a baby-sitter for the kiddos and it was fun to enjoy a meal during which no one crawled under the table or spit out globs of chewed food or stuck their hand in my water. Our baby-sitter is a sweet eighth-grader at Emma's school and this was her second time watching the kids. The first time she came, it was our first time ever leaving the kids with someone who was not a relative and I felt slightly guilty and uncomfortable about that, but the kids seem to love her and it's gone really well both times.I wanted to make a little treat for the birthday girl, and since it was St. Patrick's Day and also because I've been wanting an excuse to make these cupcakes for quite awhile, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to make them. They are chocolate Guinness cupcakes with a Bailey's ganache filling in the center and Bailey's buttercream icing on top. Seriously yummy, although they took most of the afternoon to make and I probably won't make them again because I don't think cupcakes are worth quite that much effort to me. When I was almost finished with them, Noah came and asked me if I would make those cupcakes to bring to his class for his birthday later this month. I had to tell him no, because not only would it be wildly inappropriate to serve cupcakes with alcohol in them to a bunch of preschoolers, but I think the only cupcakes in my near future are going to come from a boxed cake mix and premade icing!Earlier this week the kids and I made a healthy carrot cake which Noah has happily been eating for breakfast every day, and also a batch of peanut butter oatmeal sandwich cookies. The cookies were pretty delicious and I could have likely eaten them all in a very short amount of time, but luckily we had to bring them up to our church for a bake sale thing they have going on there this weekend. I have pretty much stopped making cookies for just our family to eat, but I always jump at the chance to make them whenever they are needed at the kids' schools or at church. That way the kids and I get to make cookies together and then we get to enjoy one or two (or maybe four or five) and then we take them somewhere where they can't tempt us anymore. It's win-win!Today we went to Kaleidoscope and the Under the Sea exhibit at Crown Center. It was a lot of fun but I think they were all worn out because they all fell asleep early tonight. Steve is asleep in there with them, so I have been enjoying an entire evening of peacefulness all to myself. Bliss!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Since I'm trying to get more exercise these days, I'm also trying to be a little more aware of what I eat. Generally I think I have a pretty healthy diet, except for my darn sweet tooth that is always letting me down, especially at night after the kids are in bed. So, for the most part, I am just trying to cut back on things like deciding to make brownies at 9:00 at night or trying to convince Steve to run to Sheridan's for some ice cream when I should probably be going to bed instead. With this in mind, last weekend when we were at Mimi's for breakfast, I decided that maybe I should order something instead of my usual eggs Benedict. I picked out something healthier, but then I started to think about how I would feel when Steve's eggs Benedict showed up along with my less-delicious breakfast, I wanted to make sure it was absolutely worth it before I went ahead and ordered something else. I was frantically trying to look up the calorie counts on some website on my phone while our server was taking our order, and in the end I couldn't find it in time, so I went ahead and ordered my wonderful eggs Benedict (which, of course, was unbelievably tasty).

After that experience, I found an app that lists the nutritional information for every single thing at pretty much every chain restaurant there is. I was excited to find that because I thought it would be pretty interesting. Um, no. Interesting, yes, and probably really for the best, but now that I know the nutritional information on some things I eat pretty regularly, I kind of wish I could go back to my previous happily ignorant state! There are three places where we go quite a bit - Jason's Deli, Cheesecake Factory, and Chik-Fil-A. At Cheesecake Factory, I order the Chicken Bellagio every single time because it is SO delicious. Well, now that I know that it has 1,981 calories (!) I can, sadly, never order it again. Also, as a general rule no one in our family ever orders fries at restaurants, and we really like Chik-Fil-A because they have good options of fruit and yummy coleslaw instead of fries. I love their coleslaw and usually finish my own little cup as well as any leftovers that my family members do not finish of their own. I will not be doing this anymore, either, because one teeny tiny cup of coleslaw has 580 calories and 50 grams of fat! Jeez! We would be better off eating the fries! Lastly, every time we go to Jason's Deli we order our own things, but then always order a Plain Jane for everyone to share. A Plain Jane is a humongous baked potato that is loaded with everything that makes baked potatoes delicious - butter, sour cream, bacon, and cheese. Obviously, I knew it couldn't be good but split between the five of us, how bad could it be, right? Turns out, bad. Really, really bad. One Plain Jane baked potato has - are you ready for this - 2,291 calories and 146 grams of fat! So. I'm not sure if the lesson here is that you should try and find out the nutritional information for the stuff you get at restaurants, or if you shouldn't because they might end up being ruined for you forever!

Our weekend so far has been kind of a bummer. Emma has been really sick with a high fever and all day yesterday and all night last night she has gone back and forth between sleeping fitfully and crying because she is so hot and miserable. I don't remember her ever having a fever like this, but I hope it goes away soon. I feel terrible for her, and am also disappointed that we have not been able to do the fun stuff we had planned for this weekend.

And, just so this isn't yet another picture-less post, here is a picture of Allie in a dress that she has been wearing for four days now. I bought the girls matching dresses at Costco and I am glad that Allie likes her so much, although at some point I am going to have to wrestle it away from her because by now it's dirty enough that it's starting to gross me out a little bit!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

I think I mentioned here awhile back that I was doing the 30 Day Shred workout. I did it for thirty days in October, and I liked it, but when the thirty days were over I totally stopped doing any working out whatsoever. In January I wanted to get back to it, so I planned to do one of the workouts every other day. I also bought a few of Jillian Michaels' other videos and starting adding them in as well. I really noticed a positive difference in my energy level on the days I worked out so I started doing a workout every day, and after awhile I started to feel like I was ready for something more. I had heard other people mention P90X but it seemed a little more hard core than I wanted, and also the workouts are all between sixty and ninety minutes and I didn't think I wanted to devote that much time to working out every single day. Still, I was getting pretty tired of the Jillian videos, so eventually I caved and ordered P90X.

Now I am on day ten of P90X, and I am loving it! I'm sort of amazed at how much I look forward to the workouts every day. I'm guessing that after eighty more days of it, my excitement may be waning, but for now I am really happy to be getting in shape and actually enjoying it!

When I first started the Shred workouts - which are only twenty minutes long - my kids seriously drove me nuts during them. They would constantly try to crawl under my legs and would be in my space, making it very difficult for me to move. They learned pretty quickly, however, that mommy doesn't like it when you sit on her back while she's doing push-ups! Now though, they are more accustomed to it, and (surprisingly) they really don't interfere much at all anymore. Before I start I make sure to get out some toy - Legos, blocks, etc. - that will keep them busy, and I put a strip of tape down the middle of our rug. They are free to play and do whatever they want on their side of the tape, and I am free to move around as needed on my side.

Of course, occasionally someone will need help in the bathroom or need a snack or something and that's totally fine. The only time that bothered me was during the ninety minute yoga session, when they were really making it hard for me to concentrate. Tomorrow is a yoga day again, and instead of doing it at home, I'm planning to go to a Bikram yoga class with my sister-in-law, who goes all the time. I'm excited, but also kind of nervous about that. Not so much about the yoga itself, but about the temperature. They keep the rooms at 105 degrees with some crazy high humidity level, and I can see myself either passing out or, if not that, at least giving up and tearing out of the room to escape the miserable torture of the heat. Let's hope it does not come to that, but I will update and let you know either way. I'm sure you are on the edge of your seat!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Last week one day, Emma asked me when she could get a cell phone. When I told her I didn't know, she asked me how old I was when I first got a cell phone. She seemed pretty incredulous when I told her I was 22, and even more shocked when I told her that cell phones didn't even exist when I was her age. We started talking about when different things were invented, and she asked if TVs were around when I was little. I said yes, but then told her that there weren't any TVs at all when her great-grandmas were little. "So they couldn't even watch movies?" she asked, as if she could hardly believe such a thing were possible. Noah, who had been listening to our conversation, thought about that for a second, then chimed in with, "Yes they could, Emma. They probably just watched them on their iPads!"