Photo of the day… Smile!

Who Needs a Treadmill?

Because Alex still won’t take a bottle I’ve temporarily retired from running. I’ve gone running twice since she’s been born and it’s just too hard right now to be gone and know that when I get back I’ll be greeted by a mad, hungry baby. Even if I have just fed her she seems to know when I walk out the door and gets hungry (I also think she can sense whenever I’m in the shower or about to eat a meal).

Despite not running I’ve gotten a total body workout the last 10 weeks. Here’s how…

The Hallway:  Pretty Boring.  Imagine hours pacing this, it's a recipe for insanity.

The Hallway: Pretty Boring. Imagine hours pacing this, it’s a recipe for insanity.

The Hallway:
During weeks 1-8 when I was desperate to get Alex to sleep, or just to not cry, I would walk up and down the hallway for the majority of the night doing the walk, shush, bounce combo.  She liked it, it calmed the cries, and was great for my legs and arms.

Bounce, Bounce, Bounce

Bounce, Bounce, Bounce

The Ball:
I’ve had this exercise ball since 2010, but it has been used more in the last three weeks than in the last three years.  We discovered the magic of the ball a little late in the game. We can hold Alex upright and bounce on the ball and it can knock her out.  In fact, I call the ball the “death blow” because it puts her into a dead sleep.  I’ve spent hours bouncing on it.  She’s gotten wise to the ball though.  In the last week it’s lost some of its magic.  When it works it’s a great core workout.

Carrier = Alex Puddle

Carrier = Alex Puddle

The Carrier:
While Alex HATES riding in the car and not for a minute will a car ride put her to sleep, she LOVES swinging in her carrier.  I discovered this around week two when I had to take her to an appointment and she was in a complete meltdown.  The key to the carrier is making sure she is fully strapped in and then I swing her with a range of motion that is pretty close to 180 degrees.  If she’s the slightest bit drowsy this will knock her out.  It will also stop her screams during an unexplained meltdown.  This is our most effective technique but it also has the biggest drawbacks.

1)  If you stop she will generally wake up or start screaming again, sometimes instantly.

2)  I frequently bang the carrier into my shins and knees and have the bruises to prove it.

3)  It is exhausting.  The arm and back workout is ridiculous, you can work up a good lather in just a few minutes, exceeding 10 minutes is virtually impossible.

I have to take credit for Alex’s love of motion.  I ran until I was almost six months pregnant and walked on a treadmill everyday until the day before she was born.  They say that running/walking has a swinging feel to a baby inside you.

Oh well, it’s a great workout.  Who needs to go for a run when you have a ten week old?


Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?

I’ve been going through my baby book lately comparing myself to Alex. It’s been fun to compare. For example, at Alex’s one month well baby check-up she was about the same size I was at birth. Yikes!  Sorry mom. I also found this picture. It’s from my three year old tap dance class. I’m in the middle row, the furthest to the right. Do you have as many questions running through your head when you see this picture as I do?

Bunnies:  Spring 1985

Bunnies: Spring 1985

Here’s what I’m wondering.
–  Are we dressed as Playboy bunnies?!?!
–  If the answer to that question is “yes,” even if it was unintentional, who thought that look was a good idea for three-year-olds?
–  Do I look like I’m playing the part a little too well?  Who taught me that pose?
–  Why isn’t anyone smiling?  Have you ever seen such an unhappy group of girls who are dressed up, wearing makeup, and ready to dance?

Regardless of what the answers to these questions are, I still think we are pretty cute!

Back in Action

So… Dave and I had a baby, hence I’ve been completely negligent on blogging for awhile.  Now that Alexandra has arrived I have even less time to do anything non-baby, but I do have copious amounts of time from 10pm-4am while I’m holding Alex so she will sleep and I need a way to help pass the time.

We have been blessed with an extremely happy, healthy, energetic little girl. She loves to play, I know, she’s only eight weeks, but she really does love playing, and sing and dance with her mom.  We have also been blessed with what our pediatrician labeled, “a high maintenance baby.” Alex can’t help it, she’s just being a baby.  She loves to eat (did I mention she’s smart too, only wants the boob) and likes sleeping (but only cuddled on her mommy, never in the crib).  We have tried and are continuing to try everything. If you have a suggestion, we will take it, but trust me when I say we have tried EVERYTHING.  I frequently wonder what we did to foster this behavior. The answer I’ve come to is… Nothing.  She literally seemed to be born hardwired like this.

So, I’ll be using the night time “free time” that I have to come back to blogging.  There will likely be a lot of baby talk for the next few months because that’s generally first on my mind when I’ll be writing these at 2am, and it’s really all I do now other than pee and occasionally get to shower.  For now, let’s focus on a few pictures of our adorable, happy baby.


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That Sucked

Wow, what a way to start out a work week.  On Monday morning before 6:30 a.m. I found myself on the floor in our basement with my ponytail stuck inside our vacuum cleaner.  Let me explain…

The Scene of the Crime

The Scene of the Crime

For the last few weeks I’ve been noticing how dirty and dusty it is under my treadmill.  The dust bunnies were more like dust elephants.  Monday morning I finally got fed up with it enough to pull out the vacuum and take care of things.  Of course I never think to do these things at 6 p.m., it’s only 6 a.m. when the issue is right in my face.  Dave was also gone Monday morning so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to vacuum a little without risking waking him up.

The Attacker

The Attacker

Everything went fine until I got down on my hands and knees and put my head against the ground so I could see under the treadmill.  That’s when the brushes of our vacuum picked up my ponytail and wrapped my hair around the revolving belt so fast it took my breath away.  Remember the part in this story about Dave being gone?  Well, that meant that I was home alone with my hair caught in the bottom of the vacuum and my screams of pain were going unanswered.  In hindsight I think it was a good thing that Dave wasn’t home because I would have had him bring down a scissors to cut out my hair.  I had to go with the much more patient approach of unwinding my hair and pulling it out just a few strands at a time.  My head was literally within a few inches of the bottom of the vacuum.  There was no way I could carry a vacuum on my head up the stairs to find scissors.  So with my head pressed to the floor I got to work.

The Innocent Victim

The Innocent Victim

You’ll be relieved to know that I survived and so did my hair.  I’m only down a few strands.  Maybe my hair even has a little extra volume after the whole ordeal.  🙂

Kale to the Chief

I’d like to advocate for a green leafy cabbage that until Saturday night I don’t think had ever crossed my lips… KALE!  You may have been eating pizza and drinking beer while watching the Packer vs 49ers, not us, we were enjoying the goodness of kale.  This ancient form of cabbage has recently experienced growing notoriety for its taste and health benefits.  We were a little slow to get on the band wagon but now I would consider us hooked.  With just a few cups you can get your daily allowance of vitamin C (also important to help fight the nasty flu that’s going around) and vitamin A AND kale contains chemicals that have been shown to repair DNA and prevent cancer.  Thank you kale!

January 12, 2013:  Delicious Kale

January 12, 2013:  I look really tired in this picture, maybe eating more kale would help me sleep better too

It is also amazing because in less than five minutes you can have a meal.  Sauté a little kale in olive oil with a little salt and pepper for five minutes.  A few other delicious ideas are butternut squash and kale quesadillas or kale slaw.  Both are very easy.

We will be adding kale to our garden this summer. If anyone has any delicious kale recipes, please send them my way.

Big Fish, Little Pond

For the last week I have been on a desperate search to find a pool to swim in.  Either you need to join the fitness club or they want to charge you $10 for an hour of swimming.  Today I finally found a place that would take me, a local high school that has Saturday afternoon lap swim.  Success!  Kind of.

First, I have officially graduated to a moo-moo swimsuit.  Here it is, in all its glory.  I love it though, it’s comfortable and the skirt covers all the details that should remain personally confidential. 

The Suit

The Suit

Second, swimming is tough and my arms are not in shape.  90 minutes of swimming is equally as challenging as 90 minutes of running.  I also find it to be a great way to stretch my abs.

Third and final, locker room fun.  This particular high school has a classic 1970’s locker room and it hasn’t seen an update since.  It also has some interesting features.  For example, there were doors everywhere.  Doors leading to other mini locker rooms and offices which generated constant traffic.  There were even doors leading into the shower.  Now, I take a shower after swimming so I probably completely traumatized the jv girls’ basketball team when they traversed through the shower area as I was in the midst of my shower.  Unless things have dramatically changed, high school girls generally don’t take showers in the locker room.  I’m sure they talked about the show I gave them after I was out of earshot.  “Seriously, who showers in a locker room?”  This locker room also has the gym teacher’s office in it with giant windows that overlook the changing area.  She also must just be the jv girls’ basketball coach because she was in this afternoon, checking her email, doing paperwork, etc. 

Well ladies, see you next week!  🙂

2012: The Year in Review

It’s not the end of the year without a review of the highlights.  These are my favorite photos of the day, one for each month that sums up the excitement of the year.

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Happy New Year World!


The Missing Piece

I am ecstatic to report that Dave and I have finally finished a two-year endeavor.  It started on December 31, 2010 and came to fruition on December 28, 2012.  We finished our puzzle!  It was a 2,000 piece journey to completion.  Technically, I guess you could say it was a 1,998 piece journey.  Somewhere along the way two pieces have disappeared.  I also originally purchased the puzzle at a garage sale for 25 cents, so the reality is that we probably never owned those two pieces in the first place. 

December 28, 2012

December 28, 2012

This puzzle included a little too much water, sky, tree, tree reflecting in water action to be truly enjoyable.  In fact, to finish the sky we created a technique we call, “the gauntlet.”  Essentially you just try every piece in 5-10 possible places and know that eventually you will have to find the correct piece.  Patience and stamina are required when employing “the gauntlet.”  Your arm or back can cramp up pretty quickly.

I have our next puzzle all picked out and ready to go, in fact we own about 10 more unopened puzzles.  However, I promised Dave that we wouldn’t start another puzzle until I finish organizing all of our photos into photo albums.  The reality is that it could be another 2+ years before we start this game again.

Attack of the Giant Pods

Once every five years the large tree in our front yard drops these giant, black seed pods over our entire yard.  Luckily it is only once every five years or that tree might need to go!  The interesting thing about this tree and its pods is that the tree holds onto them until December and then drops them in mass quantities.  I am, unfortunately, not exaggerating about the fact that this tree drops 1,000s of pods.  What’s worse, the pods drop after it snows so they are generally trapped in the snow and make a complete mess of the yard all winter and into the spring even if we have meticulously raked our yard throughout the fall. 

The Infamous Pods

The Infamous Pods

I will admit to being obsessed with these pods.  I hate the mess that they make, and I routinely go outside and pick them up.  Including tonight, yes, tonight.  It’s barely 30 degrees and the ground is covered in snow but I was determined to get those pods picked up!  I convinced Dave that we needed to take care of the project before the snow forecast for tonight started to fall.  After that it would be too late and the pods would be buried until spring.  So, in the dark, armed with a rake and multiple buckets we headed outside to harvest the pods.

December 27, 2012:  Dave Picking up the Pods

December 27, 2012: Dave Picking up the Pods

That is when I realized that I am officially that neighbor.  Yes, that crazy neighbor that other neighbors likely talk about when they meet on the corner for some neighborly gossip.  I was indeed outside tonight raking the top of the snow, in the dark, and was unlucky enough to have neighbor get home while we were in the middle of the project (Dave likes to remind me that at that point he was in the garage so I will get full credit for the eccentricity).  Until last year we had another neighbor who topped my shenanigans.  I had even developed something of a hobby watching him on weekend mornings.  Not much beats drinking a mug of tea early in the morning and watching your neighbor snowblowing the snow off their grass into the ditch because he likes the grass to get sun even in the winter.  Or the night that I watched him climb a tree at least 30′ up with a hack saw only to saw off the branch of the tree that he was standing on (he did move before it broke off).  Or watching him organize the wood chips one-by-one under his shrubs.  And I SWEAR that he would be leaf blowing at midnight some nights. 

Unfortunately, he’s moved and now the honor goes to me!

My Retirement Idol

Barring any unforeseen circumstances I have calculated that I am likely to still need to work more years in my life than I have currently lived.  😦  It’s no wonder than I find myself extremely jealous whenever a colleague of mine has earned the privilege of retiring, and one of my favorite colleagues entered that wonderful world on Friday, December 14th.

December 14, 2012

December 14, 2012:  Sue’s Last Day

Sue is my retirement idol.  Not just because she has retired, but because she retired the way I hope to retire someday.

1)  People were devastated to find out she was retiring.

2)  Everyone who works closely with Sue definitely had a personal freak out moment when he/she realized that the wisdom Sue possesses was going to be gone for good.

3)  People went out of their way to come to Sue’s retirement party.

4)  Sue worked right up until the last moment of her last day.  She had meetings scheduled right up until the end to help people out and get things done.

5)  Sue is completely content to be retiring and has fun plans for her future years.

Farewell Sue, we will miss you.

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