March Madness

My kids’ hockey seasons are wrapping up in the next couple of weeks, I’m happy to report, and my son’s soccer winds up this weekend. Looking forward to less driving and more time at home. If I’m totally honest, though, my husband has been shouldering the bulk of the running around for the kids’ activities, so I’m sure he’s going to be ecstatic come March 24th.

Workouts have not been happening for a couple of weeks. I have been totally exhausted (work has been really busy) and have tended to choose more sleep over workouts. On the other hand, my eating has been pretty good, and last week I started using the Lose It app (loseit.com) and totally love it. I had previously resisted my dietitian’s attempts to get me to food track electronically because I’ve always found anything online to be a pain in the ass (PITA), but this app allows you to scan food labels into your phone and then tracks the nutritional data, to enter your own recipes easily, and is, according to my dietitian, fairly accurate in calorie counts vs. other apps out there. I was already food journaling, but using this tool helped me I was eating plain ol’ too much, even though the food I was eating was generally good for me.

Still making my way through The Book of New Family Traditions (Revised and Updated): How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays and Every Day and have started Sundae Mondays for the kids. Basically, I’m putting together breakfast sundaes for them every Monday morning so that they have something to look forward to that day. Mondays suck for pretty much everyone, and I’ve definitely noticed that it boosts their moods at the beginning of the week to start out with something fun.

Off to do some yoga before bed. Today was a long, tough day at work and my back needs to decompress.

What are your favourite apps?

 

Happy March

I woke up earlier than planned today and, in a particularly grown-up move, told myself to get out of bed and workout. So I did. It was about 4:45am when I rolled out from under my cozy covers, found the workout gear I had set aside earlier in the week but didn’t use, stumbled into the bathroom, and then headed down to the basement. By 5:30am I had made my way through a full body workout and was immensely proud of myself. I ended up being tired all day, but there was no way I was going back to sleep so at least I did something productive.

Tomorrow will be spent at a rink out-of-town, and I will likely have to leave the house around 6:30am to get there. I’m hoping to get home by 8:30pm but may not. As I’m heading to bed immediately (it’s just after 8pm here) since I was up so darn early, I’m laying out clothes just in case I’m unable to sleep all the way to when my alarm goes off. And if I don’t wake up early, I’ll have the clothes ready for a late day workout once I get home. I know I will be really low energy when I get home so it’s going to take some major self-talk tomorrow night to get onto the treadmill. I’ll let you know how it goes! I’m predicting that I will be working out much more predictably in March…

Project MIMAB (Make It Merry and Bright): Update

It’s almost the end of November. That means that not only will I be older (turning 37 on Friday), but also that Christmas is coming. Preparations have been going well for the big day. Internet shopping is the best. thing. ever. I have almost all of my gifts purchased.  For the kids, we decided that we would venture into the world of video games this year and are getting them an Xbox Kinect. I spoke with several moms who I know limit their kids’ gaming and they spoke highly of the Kinect system, stating that after a session of video games, their kids were sweaty and happy. The moms also said that they personally enjoyed the games and often spent time playing as a family. After hearing that, I took the plunge.

As for the rest of the holiday preparations, we have the tree up (but not decorated – that’ll be part of our Christmas countdown activities) and I’ve decorated the mantel.  Here’s the end result (ignore the bad lighting – I’m no photographer):

I’m so happy with how these decorations turned out. The framed print and the garland were downloaded here from eighteen25.  I had the print done at London Drugs and put in into a frame that I got on sale at Michaels, and I printed the garland portion off at home and pasted the print-outs to some green cardstock I had kicking around. The rest of the ornaments I already had, so it was relatively inexpensive in the end.

I just received our Christmas cards (sorry, no pics of these) from Snapfish the other day, and while I think I should have gone with glossy rather than matte, I’m happy with how they turned out. It’s just a matter of addressing and sending out now.

I haven’t started any Christmas baking yet, but that’s probably a good thing. On the baking list this year:

  1. gingersnaps (the best recipe ever is here. So good that my grandma asked ME for the recipe.)
  2. Christmas-y Rice Krispy treats from here
  3. red velvet cupcakes using Bakerella’s very excellent red velvet cake recipe

I’m not sure what else to bake. It’s been so long (6 years) since I’ve done any hard-core holiday baking that I have very recipes that I’m tied to and I wouldn’t mind trying out some new ones. Links and suggestions welcome!

Here’s how you know that I’m a total holiday junkie: I’ve ordered matching pj’s for my family from Hanna Andersson. Candy cane stripe is a good look for Christmas morning, right?

True confession time: I have not been working out and my eating has been not very good, either. I get home at the end of the day and am totally lacking motivation to do anything active, but I’m also tired, so I end up carb-ing up in search of energy. It makes no sense that I am absolutely certain that I would feel better if I just did something, but can not motivate myself to get my (gradually enlarging) butt off the couch. It’s a mystery to me that my mind can process all of this information and yet here I sit, kicking myself for not working out and still NOT WORKING OUT.

From here until Christmas, I’m committing to 15 minutes per day of something. It may be cardio, it may be yoga, it may be abs, it may be stretching. At this point, I just need to get doing anything, because that’s 100% better than nothing. at. all.

My veggie intake has also been crap, so I’m going to promise to have a low-sodium V8 per day, even if I have nothing else veg-wise, because you can not get any easier than that.

What’s your favourite holiday treat?Does your family do anything out of the ordinary/silly for the holidays? What’s your favourite holiday tradition?

My answers to the 3 questions above:

1) my mom’s jam jam cookies

2) I apparently like to get my family (me, husband, kiddos) matching clothing items

3) for my favourite tradition, when I was a kid, we used to celebrate Christmas on my mom’s side with a French Canadian tradition called reveillon, where we’d go to midnight mass (actually held at midnight) and then go to my grandparent’s house and have a meal (including tourtiere) and open gifts

 

 

 

Game Plan Weekend: Make it Merry and Bright

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I was in dental school for 4 years (ending this past May) and I did 2 years of pre-dentistry before that.  When I went back to school for pre-dent, my daughter, who’s now 6 (going on 16…oh, the attitude!) was 7 months old and my son was 2 1/2 years old. Needless to say, my school schedule didn’t really allow me to focus on celebrating the holidays. Sure we got around to putting up a tree most of the time (there was at least one year we didn’t), and I always fit Christmas shopping in, but I didn’t really get to establish holiday traditions for my kids. And I love my husband and think he’s pretty awesome, but he is not really a superstar in the holiday celebrations department (probably because his family is really not big into celebrating, well, anything), so that’s one area where he didn’t pick up the slack.

This year, though, is DIFFERENT. Sure my work is really crazy since I’m trying to sort everything out with buying a dental practice, but I pretty much don’t bring home work stuff and, except for running the kids to their (admittedly too many) activities, I do have time in the evenings to get stuff done. This year, I want to CELEBRATE the holidays and give my kids the kind of holiday season that I remember (probably unrealistically, but whatever) from when I was a kid. What does this look like? Think deck the halls, merry and bright, comfort and joy. Think lots of time with family; sitting by the tree in the dark and enjoying the glow; music, music, music; baking and holiday goodies; skating outside in the dark; drinking hot chocolate with cold, red cheeks; It’s a Wonderful Life, Love Actually, and Die Hard (I have an eclectic taste in movies).

What I want to do is spend November getting ready for the holidays so that we can really celebrate the holidays with our friends and family in December and stretch out the merriment, rather than trying to jam everything all in in a few days.

What I’ve been finding is that I’m NOT getting much done at night because (a) I’m really tired and have often fallen asleep at 8:30pm (not kidding) and (b) when I’m not completely lacking in energy, I don’t have a game plan and end up puttering around, trying to figure out what to do.

What I’m saying, essentially, is that’s it’s time to put together my game plan for the next 2 months to that I can really enjoy the Christmas season this year and make it memorable for my kids. I also absolutely need to be fitting in workouts so that I have more energy and my body feels better, and I haven’t been doing that, either.

The Game Plan

1. Follow the Christmas Countdown at Organized Christmas. I will take the liberty of ignoring those tasks that I don’t think work for me.

2. Decide what holiday traditions I want to try to establish. I’d make this a family decision, but seriously, my husband is holiday challenged, so I’m just going to take the reins on this one. For ideas, I’m checking out Pinterest and reading the pertinent sections in The Book of New Family Traditions by Meg Cox.

3. Set out a workout schedule for the next 2 months, along with rewards for meeting my targets. My goals must be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound).

4. Set aside an hour and meal plan for the whole next 2 months. Have a backup plan for the nights where we’ve had an unexpected change in schedule and need to get something on the table fast.

I think that’s it for now. I’ll let you know how the plan’s going as the month progresses. I totally realize that I’m overreaching, but I like to think big.🙂

If you had to put together your ultimate holiday playlist, what 3 songs would be on it? My 3: All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey, Baby It’s Cold Outside (I like the Colin James version, but I’m not super picky about who’s singing it), and White Christmas by Bing Crosby.

Packing for the Olympics

The last week has flown by.  No meal planning today, as we’re leaving for the Olympic Games in London tomorrow!  The kids are with my parents while we’re away, so today I’m getting a bunch of stuff done without interruption: laundry, paperwork, my workout, packing, and Olympics-viewing on TV.

Was up at 4:30am this morning, part of a plan to head off jet lag.  Planning to be in bed by 7:00pm tonight, with the hope that I will be able to sleep having been up so early today.  Setting my alarm for 3am tomorrow morning, which is 10am in London.  Our flight to London, the second leg of our journey, departs from Calgary at 6:40pm, which is 1:40am London time.  Wanting to minimize the effects of the time difference, we’re planning to get on that plane, put on the eye masks, and sleep as best we can.  Benadryl may be involved.  Our flight will arrive at Heathrow at 10:15am and we want to enjoy the full day.  I’m hoping that caffeine upon arrival, getting outside and into the sunshine (well, at least into the daylight – we’ll see what the weather’s like), and soaking in the excitement of the Olympics will allow us to make the most of our first day there.

I have so much stuff running through my head that I want to blog about, and yet, blogging never seems to happen these days.  Well, here’s a little randomness that summarizes what I’ve been excited about lately:

  • I am addicted to Pinterest.  Seriously, have been getting the best ideas for kids activities and have finally found a good way to keep all of the online recipes I want to try in one place.
  • I love the Olympics.  So, so much.  I’ve been watching every chance I get, flipping between channels, and following results via Twitter.
  • Speaking of the Olympics, I hosted a little kids’ Olympics party last Friday afternoon while the Opening Ceremony was unfolding.  The kids had fun and were entertained, but I didn’t have a chance to watch the Opening Ceremony closely as a result.  Pictures hopefully forthcoming.
  • While we were away camping the other weekend, my husband and I – with a little help from our kids – put together a travel bucket list.  It is gigantic and entirely unrealistic, I’m sure.  However, it was fun to talk about it and made our drive a little less onerous.  Expect me to post our list sometime soon.
  • I’ve been doing quite well with working out consistently.  I’m still working on the eating – so hard to turn down summer goodies with all the social events going on! – but I’m feeling stronger and fitter.  I still want to find a new personal trainer, but it’s not the highest thing on my priority list at the moment.  For now, I’ve been following the workouts from The New Rules of Lifting for Women, practicing yoga about 4 days per week, and walking 4 days per week.
  • My summer bucket list is well in hand.  Want to post that, too, but it hasn’t happened yet, as with some many of my to-dos.
  • Took the kids camping two weekends ago.  Weather for the first day was not the best, but we had s’mores and hot chocolate, so that made up for it.  Hope to get around to posting pics, because the scenery in the Cypress Hills is amazing.
  • Just over a week away from owning my own dental practice.  This is not so much exciting as terrifying, though.

A little more about our Olympic plans:

As I’ve mentioned previously, my husband’s cousin Brianne Theisen is competing in heptathlon at these Games.  We threw caution to the wind with respect to our line of credit and, with the help of Brianne’s dad (my husband’s first cousin), we booked a package via Ludus Tours.  Ludus was able to source tickets for Athletics for Friday evening and Saturday morning, two of Brianne’s four sessions.  We found out yesterday, though, that Brianne’s grandparents (my husband’s uncle and and) are now unable to attend and we were given the opportunity to take over their hotel booking and tickets for Athletics.  This means we’ll be staying at the same hotel as Brianne’s parents and will be sitting with them in premium seating for all four of Brianne’s sessions (Friday morning and evening and Saturday morning and evening).  While obviously we felt terrible for Brianne’s grandparents, we are totally stoked about the tickets we’ve now managed to score.  I can’t believe I’m actually going to the Olympics!

How is your summer unfolding?  Anyone else surprised by Michael Phelps’ performance so far?

Wiped Out

It’s been a long day.  Well, it FEELS like it’s been a long day, but it hasn’t been really.  I got to sleep in because the kids did and my husband didn’t have to leave for work early, so it was a relatively late start.  I had a great day of activities planned for the kids and we did some amazing things:

That’s about the point that the wheels fell off the bus, so to speak.  From about 5:30pm onward, my daughter kept picking fights with and teasing her older brother.  There was a whole lot of screaming (and not just the kids), some tears were shed, and I was totally losing it.  On top of that, I thought that things would be better after supper and I took the kids out shopping for the camping gear.  It did not go very well.  My daughter did not go to bed well, either.  It probably took her an hour after I put her to bed for her to fall asleep (at least, I think she’s asleep now….).

In any case, I didn’t get my strength training in and am kicking myself for not just plunking the kids in front of the TV this morning while I got my workout in.  I hate to let the TV “babysit,” but if I happen to find myself in the same situation tomorrow morning (that is, I’m not up and working out before the kids are up), that’s what I’m doing.

That’s my goal tomorrow, by the way – to get my workout in before the day starts.

And I still haven’t posted my meal plan for the week, but hopefully I’ll find a spare corner of time tomorrow and get that up.  I like to be able to refer to it online myself, since I seem to lose my meal plan in the paper clutter that’s strewn across my kitchen and dining area.

At least today wasn’t totally terrible.  Besides the cool art and science projects, I have been eating quite well lately.  It’s really quite a big deal that I managed to deal with my stress today without resorting to eating handfuls of dry cereal or slices of bread to soothe myself.  Instead, I gave myself a couple of time outs and just walked away while counting to 10 more than a couple of times.

I’ve got more fun stuff lined up for tomorrow.  I’m hoping to head to the zoo and start packing up for camping.

 

 

 

A Week in Review: Regular Workouts, Summer Activities, and Chocolate Cake

  • I have actually started working out regularly again: lifting weights, walking, and doing yoga.  My physio did some acupuncture on Tuesday so I didn’t do my planned workout as he advised (weights), and then I had the mega migraine last night so I didn’t get my workout yesterday either (he advised something light, like walking).  So, I walked tonight.  Overall, I have lifted weights twice, practiced yoga three times, and walked twice in the last week.  It’s a start.
  • I’ve got my kids for the next several weeks, before I start work/take over my future dental practice.  Last week was rainy, so there was more TV than I wanted, plus some indoors crafts and games.
  • Over the weekend, though, it started to heat up around here, so we’ve been outside a lot more.  The kids stayed overnight with friends of ours on Friday night (another of my husband’s cousins and her husband) so that my husband and I could have some alone time (which basically boiled down to dinner out and a couple of episodes of Breaking Bad Season 1).
  • Saturday, my husband and I tackled our mudroom.  Wish I had taken before and after pictures, because you couldn’t really see the floor for all the shoes, backpacks, and random gear strewn about, and now we’ve got shoes on shelves, summer gear in a bin, and even empty shelves for expansion.  I may get around to posting a picture of the end result…
  • Sunday I did some grocery shopping and we went over to visit friends and their pool.  It was a beautiful day and I didn’t have to make lunch, so what more is there to say, right?  We then had another set of friends and their son (the friends who watched our kids Friday night) over for a barbecue and to watch the Rider game.
  • Monday I babysat my nieces and the kids spent a lot of time in the sprinkler.  We also did some tie-dying and the kids loved it.
  • Yesterday, I had my kids – no nieces – and we did some science projects, which you can find here and here, and again they ran through the sprinkler a lot.  I also baked and iced a cake for my husband’s birthday, which was yesterday.  It was totally delicious – probably the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made – and you can find the recipes I used here (Devil’s Food Cake) and here (Chocolate Buttercream Frosting).  Later, the kids and I  did some hopscotch on the front driveway, visited with our neighbours, and then went inside where I was hit by the migraine just before my husband came over and took over.
  • Today, I had my nieces again.  We ran errand in the morning and then there was more sprinkler and swing time before I tried out some face-painting using these tutorials here and here as inspiration.  I didn’t want to post pictures of my nieces, but here are my kids:

  • As for the exciting travel news I mentioned earlier, my husband and I are heading to London to watch his cousin compete in the Olympics!  We’re pretty pumped and have booked our hotel, flights, and some event tickets.  Neither of us has been to London (unless you count Heathrow), so feel free to send must-see and -do recommendations my way!

What were your favourite summer activities as a kid?  I loved jumping on our trampoline, running through the sprinkler, going swimming at the lake, and playing hide-and-seek with all the kids in the community.