Sunday, September 23, 2007

Happy Autumn!!

Autumn is my favorite season. I love the weather and the food and the colors. Much like JM, I view the first day of autumn like the first day of the year.

Today was a beautiful day. The weather was warm and sunny. We walked over to my parents house for some cream of crab soup, a perfect first day of fall meal.

We opened up all the windows and screen doors so the lovely breeze could blow through the house. We spent most of the afternoon cleaning out Lisey's dressers. She has grown so much over the past year that none of her clothes from last Fall really fit any longer. We filled a box and a half of her too-small clothes. I realized she desperately needs plain colored long sleeve shirts, so next payday I'll put that on the list of must-haves.

It was such a nice day that I brought the kids out of the basement and sent them into the backyard to play. They ended up playing "sniper" until dinner, hiding behind trees then jumping out and pretending to shoot each other. Not what I would have chosen for the game but extremely entertaining to watch nonetheless.

I was still in an autumn mood so I made a potpie for dinner. I wanted something warm and comforting and savory and that just sounded good. With grapes, the perfect first day of autumn fruit.

I brought all of my Halloween t-shirts out of the back closet to wear over the coming weeks. When the weather cools down a little more, I'll put away tank tops and sandals and bring out the sweaters and boots.

I believe that I am suddenly having a craving for an apple crisp with caramel drizzled on the top. Normally I am very much against cooked fruit, but I will make an exception and bake one this week to celebrate the season.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Living with Asthma

I took Marc this week for a routine follow up with his asthma doctor at Hopkins.

*Unrelated editorial note - when I did a search for the phone number of the clinic I searched under "Johns Hopkins Asthma Bayview". Yahoo asked if I mean John's Hopkins. Oh hell no. Because it is not John Hopkins or John's Hopkins. It is Johns Hopkins.*

I feel very luck to live so close to Hopkins. When Marc was first diagnosed with asthma, he was just barely 3 years old. I was thrilled to learn that there was a pediatric asthma/allergist specialist so close to us. I am always in the waiting room with at least one family who has FLOWN IN to see this doctor.

His progress has been amazing. We took him off the Singulair at the last visit and he's been doing great. At this point, he does Nasonex daily for the allergies and then also Pulmicort to help control the asthma. He only uses his Albuterol inhaler when needed - it's been just a handfull of times since our last visit.

The doctor says he's doing great - hopefully he will be one of the lucky kids who outgrows asthma, though he'll always have the dust mite allergy. He commended me on controlling the environment - we have no carpet in his part of the house and non-allergen casings on the pillows and mattresses, even in our bed because he sneaks in there so often. No stuffed animals in the bed and everything washed in HOT water, double rinsed at least every other week.

I mentioned the trouble we often have when we travel, because we stay in hotels that are not as clean as our house, of course. He suggested doubling up on the dosages of both medications 3 days before we leave and while we travel.

Our next visit is in June. If he makes it through this winter with no major respiratory infections or pneumonia, we will try to take him off the pulmicort at that point. I asked about him getting Flu Mist and he advised against that - apparently the Flu Mist vaccine uses a live virus and it can cause problems in anybody with reactive airway problems. He said he should absolutely have a flu shot though, since the flu can cause real problems in kids with asthma.

Our appointment was over pretty early, so we had time to go to the Inner Harbor. It was a beautiful day and we walked over to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch, then back to the Science Center where we spent the afternoon at the Animal Grossology exhibit and the Space exhibit.

It was fun to spend some one on one time with Marc. He's grown into a really interesting person and I just love to hear him talk about school, friends, interests, etc. It was such a shift when we saw the doctor - Marc did most of the talking, answering the questions about his symptoms and his medications. The doctor told Marc that if all his GROWN patients were as well-informed and responsible about their asthma he would be thrilled.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Word Cloud

Hopping on the bandwagon - I've seen these one several blogs so had to have one of my own...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What's the Secret?

It has gotten to the point now where most people are able to notice that I've lost some weight. Often the question that follows is "What's Your Secret?" They seem very disappointed when I tell them, There is no secret. I had to eat less and exercise more. It has been hard work.

But for those of you who really want to know (some of you have asked) here is what I've been doing:

1. Eat less - This was a real pain in the butt for the first few weeks. At the risk of sounding super weird, yes, I actually measured everything. That meant using the measuring cup, or counting out the pretzels, etc. At this point, I don't have to do it any longer, because I've gotten used to what the portion sizes look like. But it was quite a lesson for me.

I also kept a food diary for the first month of everything I ate. Again, this was a total pain in the butt, but it was also extremely useful. Having to look up the calorie content of everything I ate made me think twice before putting it in my mouth.

I also try, if I know we're going out to eat, to look at the menu first and the nutritional info if they have it. That way I can have a pretty good idea before we go what I want to order.

I have also started planning out my meals, as much as possible, for the week. It not only helps with the grocery shopping, but I can adjust a little bit. If I know we're having a big dinner, I'll have soup for lunch. If I know I'm going to a luncheon one day, I'll plan something lighter for dinner.

And the main thing is this: there is absolutely nothing that is "off-limits" to me. I like food. I like good food. If I tried to eat nothing but salad and fruit I would go crazy. I have one night off per week that I can eat whatever I want without guilt (so I can have my royal red robin burger and love it). I also allow myself an occasional sweet treet. But that's the key - it's occasional.

2. Exercise more - Erik & I had to sit down and put it on the calender. It's hard to find time to go to the gym, but we've worked it in. Right now, I try to go three times a week. Twice a week I'll do 30 minutes of weights then 30 minutes of treadmill. The third time I'll do 45 minutes on the treadmill. If it works into the schedule, I'll trade that third trip to the gym for a pole dancing class instead.

When I do weights, I do a pretty standard weight circuit and aim for 2 sets of 12-15 repetitions. When I can do 2 set of 15 without any struggle, I move the weights up.

We also signed up for the mommy & me yoga class with the kids once a week. It's not a heavy duty work out but I do try to practice the stretches with the kids every few days. I am not very flexible so I need to work on that more than anything.

SO, that's my "secret". It's really no secret at all. The first month was very difficult and there were nights when I wanted to eat an entire pizza instead of going to the gym. I also felt like the weight was not coming off and that was frustrating. Especially when Erik was losing SO much faster.

But now we are well into the 2nd month and I've built some momentum. I haven't change my routine very much but I'm losing weight more consistently. My goal was 5 lbs a month, and I've been able to keep with that.

I guess it takes some time for the body to adjust and I'm glad I stuck with it. I know I've lost inches, judging from the problem I'm having with my pants falling down all the time.

For all of you who are joining me in the quest to be healthier - yay!! I love the company.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It was a good day

This is one of those what-I-did-today posts. Because it was a good day.

First of all, Erik played paintball this morning, but my kids were angels and just quietly played in the basement watching TV and eating pop tarts. I didn't wake up until 10:00 a.m. - they let me sleep that late.

We headed down to Arundel Mills, with a stop at the bridal shop because my bridesmaid dress came in. I tried it on to show Erik and um... yeah... It was WAY too big. Too big to just fix with alterations. I momentarily panicked because the dress was special ordered - until the very nice lady assured me it was no problem. There was plenty of time to order the next size down.

The dress was SO big she actually had me try on one that was TWO sizes down, but then it was way too small in the bust area - yay! I'm not losing my boobs. She suggested going one size down then having it taken in just the few places that were a little loose.

Next stop was Arundel Mills, and the kids were very excited about Medieval Times. We met up with Marc's teacher and his wife and two kids. It was really fun to spend time with another family and I was very happy the evening went so well. The kids were angels, Marc ate all his chicken (he's so picky, this is a MAJOR big deal) and I'm not sure I've seen the kids having so much fun in a long time.

After dinner and the show, we went to Bass Pro to let Erik shop for lures (barf - they are so gross) and watch the fish in the big tank. I also wanted to go to the Quiksilver outlet because (despite my advancing age) Roxy is one of my favorite brands. The shirts were so awesome I got two for me, then two for Lisey and another two for Marc!

As we were leaving the mall Erik mentioned that he was noticing my jeans were starting to get loose... I had been hitching 'em up all night long. These used to be my "skinny jeans". It's bizarre.

On the way home, I put in Cats for the kids to watch. Because I love musicals, and I love cats, so naturally, I love the musical Cats. I realized Lisey had never seen it - and I guessed right. She was totally enthralled.

When we got home, the kids tried to figure out which of our cats matched the characters. I got out Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats and we read a few of the poems to narrow it down. We decided that Floyd is totally Grisabella (not one of T.S. Eliot's cats but oh well) and Anakin is the Wild Rumpuscat. Charlie is a definite Jellicle Cat - and Lisey now knows where he goes when he stays out all night... Dancing at the Jellicle Ball!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Quest for NYC - Half Way there...

Well, my goal was to lose 15 lbs. Today was the official half way mark. And I've lost...

7.5 lbs!! I'm officially right on target, and I'm thrilled.

And I celebrated by eating an entire custard filled Krispy Kreme donut and it was gooooooood.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Things I am Loving Right Now

It's time for another edition of ten things that I just think are cool and make my life a little bit happier.

1. Edible Arrangements. Chocolate Dipped Fruit Basket - Behold the glory. Erik had a bad week and in lieu of flowers I picked up this baby for him. We've been enjoying it's chocolate covered goodness non-stop. It's chocolate covered heaven, that's what it is.

2. Medieval Times. Kid's Month! - I've wanted to take the kids for a long time to Medieval Times but it's just SO expensive. I decided to see if they had any specials running and lo! Hark! It's kid's month - And kid's are FREE with purchase of an adult ticket. Folks, that's a savings of $37 per kid. We are totally going next weekend.

3. Starbucks. Pumpkin Spice Latte - yes it's back. It's like the leaves changing color or the geese flying south. As I'm still on my quest for NYC, I've found if I get this with skim milk, no whipped cream, and only two pumps of the syrup, it's not a total diet buster and still tastes yummy.

4. Think Geek. Give your kid herpes! - Marc's favorite toy collection now has additional microbes available, including herpes. And fat cell. These are a great Christmas gift for the person who has everything - except heartworm.

5. ExVestigator. ExV's blog - Just pimping my hubby's blog. He doesn't know how to do it himself.

6. Mommy & Me Yoga. Sorry no link for this one, but it's a non-credit class that is being offered at our local community college. (I take exception to the name, as my husband and I and both our kids registered, but that's okay. We'll tear down gender stereotype walls one brick at a time.) My kids LOVE it. They want to practice their poses every night before bed.

7. Free massages. Several years ago I did some legal work for a good friend of mine. It was a somewhat complex matter and he was newly married with a new baby at the time. Instead of having him pay me, we bartered - he's a massage therapist by trade. Later on, he moved and we lost touch for a few years, but recently we got in contact again. He was reviewing his old clients and realized I still had 11 credits left!! Did I mention he makes house calls? Erik and I both got worked on Thursday night. Aaaaaaaaah.

8. Shiny Toy Guns. Hello little boys, little toys - I've talked about this band before, but I get to see them again at the end of the month in Philly so I've been listening to them more often lately. This is Lisey's favorite band. She knows all the words to Le Disko.

9. Twilight. Twilight Series - Okay, so I kept hearing the ladies on this bulletin board talk about these books all the time, so I checked it out. I had to get over my immediate prejudice against it, as the author is a graduate from BYU. But I have to admit, these books are pretty good. Fluffy, yes. But I like brain candy.

10. The world's greatest cheeseburger. Red Robin - Tonight, we feast. My personal favorite is the Royal Red Robin Burger. Because meat, cheese, bacon and mayo just isn't enough - they put a fried egg on the top. I can feel my arteries clogging already...

Monday, September 03, 2007

Yay! Another Meme!!

I've seen this on a few different blogs lately so I'm joining in with my anwers.

1. What time did you get up this morning? 9:20 a.m. - I got to sleep in because I had a dentist appt and therefore the morning OFF work.

2. How do you like your steak? Rare. The bloodier the better.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? The Bourne Ultimatum. Yummy Matt Damon.

4. What is your favorite TV show? Robot Chicken.

5. What did you have for breakfast? Mini-donuts and coffee.

6. What is your middle name? Lynne.

7. What is your favorite cuisine? American comfort food - like, macaroni & cheese or cheeseburgers.

8. What are your favorite chips? Pringles.

9. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Muse, Black Holes and Revelations

10. What kind of car do you drive? Toyota Sienna - hot mom minivan.

11. What is your favorite sandwich? Hot corned beef on rye w/ swiss cheese and spicy brown mustard

12. What characteristics do you despise? Refusal to take responsibility, lack of simply courtesy

13. What are your favorite clothes? jeans, sweater, boots

14. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation where would you go? New Zealand

15. Favorite brand of clothing? Anthropolgie for casual, Talbot's for work

16. Where would you want to retire? Outer Banks, NC

17. Favorite time of day? Nap time

18. Where were you born? Havre de Grace, MD

19. What is your favorite sport to watch? Ice Hockey back when they had more fights

20. Who do you think will not do this meme? People who don't read blogs

21. Who do you expect to do this first? Hopefully hubby

22. Pepsi or Coke? Pepsi One or Diet Coke w/ Splenda - no nutrasweet for me

23. Beavers or Ducks? Ducks - I'm from the decoy capital of the world, you know

24. Morning or Nite Owl? Totally a night owl

25. Pedicure or Manicure? Pedicure. It lasts longer.

26. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? I'm getting a tattoo next week

27. What did you want to be when you were little? Married to John Taylor of Duran Duran

28. What is your best childhood memory? The day I got my first cat

29. Ever been to Africa ? No, but my parents have and I'm so jealous of them

30. Been in a car accident? Yes, just a little fender bender many years ago

31. Favorite day of the week? Sunday

32. Favorite restaurant? Don Pablo's

33. Favorite flower? Daisies

34. Favorite ice cream? Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch

35. Favorite fast food restaurant? Taco Bell

36. How many times did you fail your driver's test? Once and only passed by one point the 2nd time - I can NOT parallel park

37. From whom did you get your last email? My friend Kristen

38. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Victoria's Secret

39. Bedtime? I try by 10:30 but usually it's closer to midnight

40. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? The whole of Outer Blogness

41. Last person you went out to dinner with? Husband and kids

42. What are you listening to right now? My husband taking off his shorts and yawning

43. What is your favorite color? Blue

44. How many tattoos do you have? Two, but getting another one next week

45. How many are you sending this meme to? Open to anyone who reads it!!

46. Favorite magazine(s)? People, Playboy

47. What time did you finish this meme? 10:15 p.m.

48. How old were you when you got married? 25

49. How old do you want your kids to be when they get married? Not really an age, but at least done school with a job.