Friday, November 28, 2008

How thankful I am

We had a tremendous Thanksgiving. The weather was amazing, the company was wonderful and the food was fantastic. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the day.

Mommy playing puppeteer
Gavin taking his turnDaddy and the boys

Ian sharing his wisdom with a willing pupil
The kids' dinner table

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Your thoughts, please?

Today, Myles' daycare had a Thanksgiving lunch. Parents were invited to join their children and share a meal and fellowship with other families. It was never an option for Billy and I not to attend. We were signed up the day the sheet was posted.

And yes, the lunch was nice. It was great to see Myles in the middle of the day. What wasn't nice was the scene Myles made when we had to leave! He became so hysterical, I was afraid he would get sick. He cried uncontrollably when it was time for Billy and me to go. Ms. Carla tried very hard to console him but nothing would work. I hung around for about 10 minutes trying to say my good-byes. Billy hung around 30 minutes. It went from bad to worse when I had to leave.

So the question I'm pondering is whether it's the right thing to even attend these gatherings when it's not reasonable to take the rest of the day off. If this were a mid- to even late-afternoon function, I would have skipped out early. But it was over at 12:15. I don't have a lot of vacation or personal days and as you can imagine, my sick days get used up quickly with actual sickness.

There were only about 4 kids from his class and under 10 total who did not have a parent there. Those children had lunch with their teachers...same food, same room, but off in the far corner. At this young age, I'm not sure they know they're missing anything.

But as I saw those few kids sitting without parents, I felt sad for them. Should I? Maybe their parents don't attend these things because they have been through what we went through today. It's something I never thought I'd consider. But then again, I'm not sure I can see Myles as upset as he was today too many times.

So what's worse -- having him eat Thanksgiving lunch with his teachers while 80% of the class enjoys it with a parent or two? Or watching him cry uncontrollably as we return to work? I welcome everyone's feedback!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Weight loss progress

Well, I completed my first week of trying to lose weight and fared very well. I'm down 3.2 pounds for the week to 145.6, with only 4.6 pounds to go!

I certainly had good days and bad days when it came to eating. I've been SUCH a bad eater, I knew I couldn't become a great eater overnight. But I'm happy to say about half of the days last week were truly good days. On the days I did not do well, I made sure to exercise to somewhat make up for it. Yesterday, I was out running again and managed to get back to 2 miles! My previous run earlier in the week ended after 1.5 miles so I was happy with this progress. Although I was up to about 4 miles at one point in time during the spring, I basically took 6 months off from running so being back at 2 is more than acceptable to me. There is a nice 4-mile run by my house that I intend to be doing by the end of the year so I'm excited to have that goal.

This week, of course, is Thanksgiving. I will allow myself to eat a lot that day. However, I'll be cautious leading up to that day, as well as the weekend after, with the hope that I can be close to 144.0 by next Monday, with just 3 pounds to go! Wish me luck...this won't be easy now that Thanksgiving is here!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

T-Rex experience at Disney

Well, we made another trek to Disney this weekend. We went Saturday evening to eat at the new T-Rex restaurant at Downtown Disney. What a place! It is by far the easiest meal out we've ever had with Myles. No rolling cars across the table, reading stories throughout dinner, or taking a walk outside. The dinosaurs did ALL of the entertaining! The meal was pricey - we spent $70, including tip and did NOT have alcohol (although we did have an appetizer). But it was well worth it. This will become a once-a-year outing for us, I hope. If you have little ones (especially boys), I'd really recommend checking it out!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Family friendly cooking - Part 2

Here is another good, easy recipe, especially nice during these cooler months!

Pineapple chili
1 lb. ground pork or beef
1 16-oz. jar pineapple salsa
1 15-oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. chili powder
Pineapple slices (optional)

In 3-quart saucepan brown meat; drain. Stir in salsa, beans, tomato sauce, and chili powder. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Serve with pineapple slices.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Holiday calendar

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, I've compiled a list of some of the things going on in the area through the New Year, many of which we are attending. I hope you will make the time to go out with your little one(s) this wonderful season.

*Nov. 14 – Jan. 2 - Light Up UCF
*Nov. 17 – Jan. 4 - Gaylord Palms ICE!
*Nov. 22 – Jan. 4 - Nights of Lights (St. Augustine)
*Nov. 23 - JCC Family Festival @ Lake Lily Park, 10am-5pm
*Nov. 28 – Dec. 23 - Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest (Eustis)
*Nov. 29 – Dec. 31 - Now Snowing (Celebration)
Nov. 29 - Light Up Mount Dora
*Dec. 6 - Winter Park Christmas Parade @ Park Ave, 9am
*Dec. 6 - Light Up The Holidays @ Crane's Roost, 5pm
*Dec. 20 - Snowfest @ RDV Sportsplex, 2-6pm

I've put an asterisk next to the things we are doing. We always like to go out with friends so feel free to call me if you want to join us. I'll update as I hear of more events in the area. Let me know if you know of anything else as well. I know there's lots more out there!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nights of Lights

There are loads of fun things to do with kids over the holidays. Even if you're like us and don't get invited to many parties, you can always find something fun from Oct. through Dec. Yesterday, I learned of an event I never knew existed. This is rare for me, as I do quite a bit of digging around to find out how we can do things fun (and cheap) as a family. I think the primary reason I was unaware of this event is that it takes place in St. Augustine, a place we do not frequent.

But this year, this event is on our list. It's called Nights of Lights and sounds GREAT! Since Myles has never been to St. Augustine, we are happy to introduce him to a new place. We're even happier to see how much fun he has at the activities. One thing we'll definitely see is their "Winter Wonderland," complete with falling snow, an ice skating rink, ice slide and sleigh rides. When you live in Florida, you LIVE for these types of things when the weather cools (to the freezing 40s!!). They also offer a Santa's Train Tour and Christmas Trolley Tour. While we're there, we'll definitely do one or the other.

We haven't settled on a date yet but we're eyeing Saturday, Dec. 13 and Saturday, Dec. 20. I'll be sure to provide photos and hope your family will also consider this event if you're in North or Central Florida. Happy holidays to all!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Down to earth moments

I swore in a previous blog that I refused to go on any diets or dislike my "mommy body." Well... that was that day, and this is today. You see, I have put on seven ugly pounds this year, which is equal to the number of pounds I'd put on the entire last decade. It is unacceptable.

So as I grapple with the fact that I'm close to outgrowing my Size 8 clothing, I have decided it's time to kick my own butt and lose all seven of those pounds by the end of the year. I have seven weeks to lose seven pounds. It won't be easy (especially since we're basically in holiday season) but I'm feeling pretty bad about how much I have obviously let myself go since breaking my healthy eating habits and beginning the downward spiral in March.

I started getting serious this weekend. On Friday night, I broke out my old Accelerated Winsor Pilates tape. I used to do these exercises fairly well about six years ago, when we lived in our old condo. There was one exercise I could never quite get the strength to do, but I was pretty darn good at everything else. And these exercises are TOUGH.

Well, long story short, I made it through the workout Friday night...after needing to use the "modified version" of four of the exercises and not even being able to touch the one I could never quite do. I realized while doing many of the stretches just how bad my lower back is. I also realized how completely out of shape I am after abandoning my running in early June and not picking up with anything else. I'm still sore today.

So here's my plan:
1. Winsor Pilates 3 times per week. It's a good, low impact activity I can do to regain good balance and re-strengthen my core (abs). It's also great because I can do it in my own home, whether it's dark outside or not.
2. Running 1-2 miles 3 times per week. Okay, that's a start with getting back into my running routine. Next month, it needs to be at the 2+ mile mark each time I go out. I went early this morning, determined to run a full 2 miles (despite my inactivity these last 6 months) and did OK. I ran 1.5 in a little over 16 min., then had to walk .25 so I didn't collapse, then ran the last quarter mile, finishing the two miles in around 23 min. Not exactly great, but it was a start.

As for my diet, I've decided to add in more fruits and take away half of the sweets. I also significantly increased my water intake this week at work and plan to continue that. Finally, I'm going to force myself to eat breakfast at least 5 days a week (something I'm very bad at) and stop eating after 7:30.

Hopefully, by doing these things, I can enter 2009 where I started it. Goal weight: 141 lbs.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fast, easy cooking for working moms

If you're like me, one of the last things you have time to do after working all day and being away from your child for 9 hours is cook an elaborate meal. But you also know it's unreasonable and way too expensive, not to mention bad for your waistline, to be eating out every night. You also want to serve balanced meals, not cereal every night.

I have been working hard to find good recipes that are kid friendly, simple to make and fairly inexpensive. I'll start sharing one weekly on this blog...get on me if I slack off!

Here's a good one, which I made last night and which Myles always loves. The ingredients combined cost me around $6-$7 and it easily feeds two adults and 2 kids. It usually takes me a half hour from start to finish, but 15 min. of that time does not require any of your attention. Typically, I only give about 15 min. of my full attention to cooking when making this meal. And it's quite delicious!

Apple Sausage Rigatoni

6 oz. dried rigatoni (about 2 cups)
8 oz. cooked smoked sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces (*I use the healthy turkey sausage)
2-3 Golden Delicious apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1/2 cup whipping cream (*I use the light cream found next to whipping cream in the dairy aisle)
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or other blue cheese
Snipped fresh basil (optional)

1. In a 4-quart Dutch oven cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Set aside.
2. In same Dutch oven cook sausage until lightly browned (usually about 3-4 min. for me). Add apples; cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are lightly golden, 5 min. or so. Stir in cooked pasta, whipped cream, and cheese. Heat through. Garnish with basil. Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A day off...take it for yourself?

I am taking this Friday as a personal day. Originally, I hoped to drive 90 miles to spend some time with my dad, who is battling cancer. Although those plans aren't working out, I will still take the day off. After all, I have a few days to take by the end of the year, so why not?

As I started planning for the day, I began feeling guilty about taking Myles to daycare when I'm not working. The last day I took off (Halloween), I kept him home and we had a very fun day. But this time, I just feel too behind in life's tasks to give up the opportunity to take the day for myself. I have already made a list of things I'd like to do Friday that would be humanly impossible to complete.

But I can feel good about getting some of the things done, right? For one, I need to continue my Christmas shopping, which I've been SO good about this year, having already finished my dad and brother and started Myles and my sister. I also have a small pile of things that need to go to the children's consignment store, and one larger item for Craigslist. And yes, I still need to take down my Halloween decorations. And bake a pumpkin roll. And get a pedicure. Okay, actually I don't need to get the pedicure...but i could use it!

How about you? When you elect to take a day off (and you or your child aren't sick), do you ever send your child to childcare? Should I feel bad for this?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I voted!

I'm proud to say I voted this morning! As a mom, I feel the duty to vote for the person/people who will make our nation a safer, more peaceful and prosperous place for Myles. I'm very happy to report I voted for the person I 100% believe will do that!

Of course, since I don't operate a political blog here, I won't be saying WHO I voted for. Most of you know anyway.

I'm also fasting food today, spending the time I would normally be eating, in prayer for our nation. It's time we came together again as one and stood together for the greater good of ourselves and our children.