Friday, September 26, 2008

Aging Gracefully

Today is Steve's 41st birthday.  While there are way more than 41 things I adore and admire about Steve, I'm sticking to 10 for time's sake.  Here they are, in no particular order:

1.  His even temper.  He is able to look at things objectively and solve problems without getting emotionally worked up.  That's a good contrast to me!

2.  His laugh.  He has a cheerful, happy personality, but doesn't laugh out loud often.  When he does, it's contagious.

3.  His work ethic.  Whether it's washing the windows or designing a bridge, he puts his whole heart into a project and doesn't stop until it's done to perfection.  

4.  His inner drive.  This one goes along with his work ethic - when he makes a decision to do something, he does it. 

5.  He's an amazing dad.  When we were dating, I imagined he would be a good dad.  I had no idea he'd be a GREAT, AMAZING, BETTER THAN I EVER COULD HAVE HOPED FOR dad. Honestly, I can't imagine our kids having anyone better.  

6.  His youthful spirit.  When he's playing with the kids, or hopping on his skateboard, I see the kid in him emerge.  It's in there.  And he still looks hip, coordinated and sexy doing skateboard tricks on the driveway in his shorts and bare feet.  And I cringe, hoping he doesn't fall.

7.  His love of family.  Not just our immediate little family, but my family, and his family too.  The patience, kindness and attention he shows his mom is inspiring.  And he has seen my family through some trials and challenges as well, without backing away.  He's in it for the long haul.

8.  His "wild" side.  Watching him ride away on his motorcycle, or drive crazy in the dune buggy, I am glad he has a sense of adventure within.  He knows what his limits are, and doesn't push past them.  But he's not afraid of thrill-seeking.

9.  His quiet side.  I am more of a talker than Steve.  I like to process things out loud, and hash and rehash things.  Steve keeps things more to himself, in a thoughtful way.  He talks when he has something to say, and is quiet when he doesn't.  I respect and appreciate that.

10.  His love.  He makes me feel loved, and I know he is in this forever.  And so am I.

Happy Birthday Honey!

May the next 41 years of your life be as full as the first.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Anyone who says weightloss is easy has never tried to lose weight.  It's amazing how easy we gain weight (at least me) and yet it easily takes twice as long to lose.  

This week, I was up 1/2 pound.  

I've also discovered that my body holds on to its weight when I'm exercising hard.  The weeks when I barely go to the gym, or work out lightly, are the weeks when I've lost more weight.  I'm 3 weeks away from my half marathon, and my weekly mileage is climbing.  I'm running harder and longer.  I'm burning way more calories.  But my body goes in to a panic mode and holds on to everything.

Once my race is over, I'll scale back and work out lighter.  And wait to see if I end up a little lighter.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Third one's a charmer~

Grant has a strong, independent personality...he speaks his mind, and doesn't give up easily. He is used to getting his way, and having all of us cater to his every whim.

Now it's time for him to learn that the world doesn't really revolve around him. Jack and Olivia are not giving in as easily when Grant demands something from them. They are realizing that it's okay to say no.

And this is what happens:

Jack is quickly developing a defense mechanism against his younger, much smaller brother. Bite marks on the back, blood blister on the foot caused by a thrown paint can, bonks on the head from a drumstick...just to name a few of the injuries inflicted by Grant, this week alone. Time outs are becoming more frequent.

On the flip side, however, along with the challenges comes a whole lot of cuteness.

Grant, playing "Grant in the Box"

"Yook Mom...Gant a basketball"
(Spoken in Grant-ese from the backyard this week)

Now I just have to learn to say "no" to a face like that.  I'm working on it.

My Artsy Side

I like to think of myself as a relatively creative person.  I love to sew, create cute cards and scrapbook.  But when it comes to painting, drawing, etc., I struggle.

I have had this giant tv box in our house for 3 weeks, trying to figure out how to craft a sort of realistic looking boat, to use for the FAME program at Olivia's school next week.  

I started out drawing the boat on the entire box front, full height.  Steve looked at it and said "It looks like a cardboard box with lines on it.  That wouldn't float".  He was right, it looked ridiculous once I stood back and really looked at it.  (Wish I'd have taken a picture of that part of it...)

After a few modifications, several coats of paint, a little patience, and a huge reduction in personal expectations, I have produced a semi-believable boat.

Michelangelo I'm not.  But it will have to do!  

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cleansing Body & Soul

A couple of weeks ago, while my hair color was processing, my hairdresser told me about this new service that she was providing - Ionic Foot Detoxifying.

The theory behind this, is that our body accumulates excess minerals and toxins, which our bloodstream cannot flush out.  The process involves immersing your feet in a tub of salt water, then an electric coil is placed in the water which emits a slight electric current, which then somehow sucks the toxins and excess minerals out of the extremely porous surface of the bottom of the feet.

I was skeptical at first.  Not really believing that there was this build-up.  But I had nothing else to do while my hair was processing, so I decided to give it a try.  I stuck my feet in this tub, and picked up the latest edition of People to catch up on celebrity gossip.  

20 minutes later, Teresa said "Wow, take a look at the water!"  I looked and saw the most disgustingly colored water I'd ever seen.  And it was thick with blackish-greenish-orange sediment.

I was thoroughly disgusted, but didn't really notice any immediate change.  That was two weeks ago.  In the past two weeks, I have slept better than I have in months.  I have more energy.  But more than that, I have been a better wife and mom.  I have been more patient with my kids.  I haven't yelled once, in two weeks.  That is an all-time record for me.  

I went last night to get my hair cut (she didn't have time to cut when she colored, hence a second appointment).  I thought I'd do it again, and see if I got the same results.

Here's what the water looked like 20 minutes in:

And here's what the water looked like after my feet were 
out and the sediment had settled to the bottom:

The nay-sayers claim it's caused by the reaction of the coils in the salt water, and that nothing really comes out of your feet.  Skeptics can say all they want. Maybe it is just a coincidence. But I saw it first hand, and am a believer. And if getting that stuff out of my system makes me more of the mom I want to be, I'll take it.

I survived!

Last weekend, I competed in the Pacific Grove International Triathlon!  It was an amazing experience, and challenged me mentally and physically more than ever before.

The race started with a 1mile the Pacific Ocean!  We swam in the cove off of Lover's Point in Pacific Grove.  The water was a balmy 56 degrees, and full of kelp.  The swim is jokingly referred to as the "Kelp Krawl", which is an accurate description!

We had to swim 2 loops around the cove, exiting the water in between.  I jumped in the water a few minutes before my starting time to "get used" to the water.  As if that was possible.  It was so cold that it took my breath away, and I didn't think I'd be able to swim.  But somehow, after I got out of the water and stood around for a couple of minutes in my line-up, when I got back in the water, it actually felt warm and I was able to get into a good swim rhythm right off the bat.  And the kelp didn't even really bother was just a nuisance!

Here I am, coming in at the end of my bike ride.  
Check out the stud BEHIND me!  
In his little matchy-matchy suit, and BEHIND me!

This was the start of the run.  
Steve was irritated because this other lady slowed down in front of me, 
and started talking to her friends on the sidelines.  
This was a RACE for heaven's sake, not a social gathering.
It was a beautiful day, perfect race weather.  The sun came out at the end of the run, and it felt amazing to breathe in that ocean air and enjoy the breathtaking surroundings.

Here are my two adorable boys...truly taking in every moment.  
Don't they look enthusiastic? 

All finished...with a big fat medal around my neck.  
No, I didn't actually win the race.  
I finished in 3 hours, 33 minutes.

My next race is the Nike 1/2 marathon in San Francisco on October 19.  After that, I think I'll take a break from these crazy intense races, and try something a little more yoga.  Or sitting on my couch with my feet up, watching movies and eating bon bons.

Still Losing...

While I'm not losing weight like they do on "The Biggest Loser", I'm pleased to say that the number on the scale continues to decrease...very gradually.  

I'm now just .6 lbs away from where I was when I got pregnant with Olivia, nearly 10 years ago.  Not to say I'm at my ideal, perfect weight, but it is a good feeling to see the numbers going down, instead of up!

And looking at this picture, it's obvious that I need a pedicure.

Friday, September 12, 2008

What DO Vegetarians eat?

My darling brother Shepard and his wonderful wife Breanne were in town this week.  We hadn't seen them since their wedding in July, 2006.  

Leading up to their visit, I was a bit concerned about what to cook, as they are both pretty dedicated vegetarians.  I wanted to accommodate them as much as possible, while still fixing foods that the kids would eat.

Turned out to not be as hard as I thought.  We had veggie lasagna one night, pesto pasta another night (I grilled some salmon for us to have on the side), made big salads and steamed some veggies.  

Shep and Bre offered to cook dinner for us one night.  Shep & I went to the store, bought what he needed, and they went to work in the kitchen.  

Jack and Olivia had a ball helping shape Falafel patties (and coming up with all sorts of rhymes - falafel waffle was our favorite!).

Dinner was amazing.  We enjoyed the falafel patties topped with avocado, mango salsa & sour cream, a yummy veggie medley and fresh watermelon.  Everyone loved it.

Having them here for a few days, and seeing how healthy and radiant they are made me think that perhaps I should take the Word of Wisdom a bit more literally when it says "eat meat sparingly".   I don't have immediate plans to cut out all meat from our diet, but I think some menu adjustments are in order.

Slow & Steady

Here's my weekly weigh-in.  

A minor miracle in my mind, as I ate dessert almost every night this week.

Anyone up for a brisk morning swim?

During another lapse in judgement a few weeks ago, I signed up for the Pacific Grove International Triathlon.  Tomorrow is race day, and I'm wondering what the heck I was thinking.  

Leaving the house at 5:30 am to go for a mile swim in the OCEAN is not exactly how I envision the ideal Saturday morning.  But come starting time, I'll feel that rush of adrenaline that is a bit addicting, and I'll jump in that kelp-filled water and swim my heart out.

Then I'll jump on my bike and ride 26 miles along the beautiful coastline course, admiring the beauty of the world in which I live.  Then, I'll drop my bike and run 6.2 miles along Cannery Row, and thank God every step of the way that my body is healthy and whole and strong.  And when I cross that finish line, I will run straight into the arms of a supportive, encouraging man who is willing to chauffeur me around to races and cheer for me every step of the way.  

And then I'll collapse for a week.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Did we ever think this looked good?

Last weekend, we drove down to So. Cal for the weekend.  While there, we attended the 40th birthday party of one of Steve's good friends - Brenan German.  They attended Jr. High and High School together, graduating from Villa Park High in 1985.

The party was an 80s theme, and dressing appropriately was a requirement.  We hit a couple of thrift stores, and scored the perfect outfits.  A few accessories from Target, a borrowed crimping iron (thanks Stefanie!) and some bright blue eye shadow and frosty pink lipstick, and we were ready to go!

As we were walking out the door, leaving the kids with grandma for the evening, Olivia looked at me and said "I don't want to be mean mom, but you look sort of ugly." Steve on the other hand, thought I was totally HOT! He was checking me out all night.

The party was a blast, and we fit right in with the mullet wigs, Madonna look-a-likes and such. 80's music blasted from every speaker, and lots of stories were shared. Most are not appropriate for posting here...

This picture was hanging on the entry wall when we walked in - it's a picture of Steve & his group of friends right after graduation, before they all went their separate ways.  

Steve's the blonde stud on the end in the red shorts.

It's all very "Breakfast Club-ish", don't you think?

Race To A Waist

A few weeks back, I stumbled across a blog, starting an online "Biggest Loser" type competition. Each participant put in $25, and after 12 weeks, the person with the largest percentage of weightloss takes 90% of the money, and 2nd & 3rd split the last 10%. I've desperately been trying to drop the last of my 3-baby weight, without much success. I thought maybe this was the push I needed. So, I signed up. Each week, I have to email the coordinator a picture of my feet on the scale, showing the number. It's a little bit humbling.  

Notice the little toes supervising, making sure I didn't take one foot off...

For added motivation to me, I've decided to post my weekly weight on my blog. I'm not asking for encouragement.  Just knowing that readers will know if I snuck that Twix PB bar or peanut butter M&M's or ate the leftover mac-n-cheese will make me think twice about doing it...

We're 3 weeks in, and I am currently in 14th place overall, but came in 2nd this week. It's slow and steady - I don't have a personal trainer or chef. But I figure if I continue at this pace, by the end of 9 more weeks, I ought to be pretty happy with what shows up on the scale.  And if I keep it up, I may just win the $500 1st place prize.  A good start on a new "skinny" wardrobe!


Last night, as I was brushing my teeth, I happened to glance in the mirror.  I saw something white and wiry sticking out of the top of my head.  I stopped brushing for closer inspection.  Then I screamed.  Then I pulled this out of my head:

Then I started to cry.  Good thing I have an appointment to get my hair colored tomorrow.