Thursday, October 29, 2009

bad news

I'm sorry if you are unaware of this story. I'm sorry that I am bringing it to your attention, I'm sorry it was brought to my attention, I am sorrier that it ever happened and sorriest for the poor girl to which it happened.

I am outraged. Sickened. I don't know why or even how people do the horrid things they do. I don't know how the victims of such tragedies survive. I am disgusted that there are people out there who would do such a thing, or watch such a thing transpire without doing something, anything, to end it.

I don't know how I would rationally handle such an occurance should it happen to my own daughter. Would there be any reason to deal rationally? Could there be any way to react rationally? I have been thinking, almost nonstop since I read and heard about this story, how do I keep my daughter safe?

I know there really isn't any fail safe way to see that she always remains unharmed. The very thought is enough to cause unremitting sleeplessness.

So much for decent sleep tonight.

Feeling Pretty Good Right About Now

Ten weeks ago today, I had Sean. Before I got pregnant, as I might have mentioned, I was carrying around a little extra weight, enough weight to put my BMI in the 'overweight' category actually. Being more concerned that I maintain a healthy pregnancy I did nothing to my diet while pregnant other than alternating the type of bread I ate and how much of it I ate. I started walking more in the seventh month and picked it up to 2 miles every few days in the last few weeks, more than anything, to try and bring his arrival on naturally.

Throughout the nine months however, I decided that after the pregnancy I really wanted to do a complete overhaul of my eating habits and exercise output. Immediately following Sean's birth I began eating more whole grains and fresh vegetables. I cut back on butter and oil and started reading more labels. I have been very diligent without being too obsessed. I have walked, jogged, ran or biked every other day for the past seven weeks. I am feeling good and my hard work is paying off.

In the past ten weeks I have lost 44 lbs. My original goals have far been exceeded at this point and I am actually quite surprised at the results. I am proud to announce that I am smaller than I have been since around the time that Todd and I got married 8 years ago.

I wanted to put off buying clothes but all of my jeans were literally falling off of me so I actually broke down after the race Saturday and went out and bought a pair of 'skinny' jeans. I don't know that I feel 'skinny' but I do feel good. I am not looking to lose any more weight, but just maintain at this point, maybe build a little more muscel. Oh, and finally have legs like these:

I have always loved Meg Ryan's legs. Just ask my sister, for some strange reason she thinks my obsession is weird.

My BMI, which before I got pregnant was around 27, is now 21.3 (based solely on my height and weight which probably aren't 100% accurate in determining BMI), which no longer puts me in the overweight category, but the 'normal weight' category.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Playing with food

Ever since I had Sean I have been cooking and baking a lot more. Before Sean I ate maybe one meal a day at home and maybe 14 meals a week out. Now we eat out about 3 meals a week and I make very few things from a box. I have been spending time on all recipes daily and have subscribed to two food magazines. My TiVo has more Food Network shows than episodes of Snapped and I have started my own cookbook in Word to save all of my attempts at cooking and baking.

Today's experiment: Chocolate Zucchini Bread.

This morning I took the three kids and met a few other mothers for a walk in a nearby subdivision. After our walk we had a muffin at a local coffee shop. The chocolate chips mixed with banana bread were surprisingly yummy so I decided during nap time that I would like to whip up something with cocoa in it.

I found this recipe at

I turned the ingredient list from this:

2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
3 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate

to this:

6 tablespoons Nestle Cocoa
2 tablespoons Crisco Oil
3 eggs
3/4 cups white sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

The recipe made two 9x5 loaves that cooked in about 60 minutes. The bread is pretty good. It is far more healthy than the original recipe but not exceptionally sweet. The chocolate chips added all the chocolate flavor I would have needed. I think perhaps next time I will skip the cocoa and just put in more chips. And maybe a tad bit more sugar. I am not an expert by any means at baking and I certainly don't watch enough Alton Brown, but I am having a great time experimenting with many recipes.

In my search through the pantry this afternoon I came across some "Special Dark" cocoa. I am already thinking about what I can bake using that.

I am also on the lookout for a good Cherry Coffee Cake recipe to make this weekend for my dad and grandmother so if you know of one, please send me a link or recipe and I promise not to alter it...too much anyways.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If Not a Time Machine, an Alternate Energy Source?

I am tired. Exhausted to the core. And to top being exhausted I can't sleep through the night anymore. It's not that Sean wakes me up (which he does) but I can't seem to fall back asleep. I hate to complain, but I just miss the days of feeling rested, whenever that time was.

I have been taking all three kids out on my own a lot more recently and it wears me out as much or more than it wears them out. But it's fall and the leaves are amazing and I just have a desire to be outdoors as much as possible. We have been to Morris Orchard three times in the last five days and yet Bailey squeeled today at the goats like she did the first time she saw them, so I know the trip was worth it.

Our weekends are never restful. Ever. I can't find time to buy our families groceries yet alone read twenty pages of a good book or take a soak in the tub. If we aren't racing, we are training for races or attending festivals or corn mazes. And we want to do these things, at least I want to do these things. But I also want to feel like standing up from a sitting position and not just falling asleep when squatting to tie Bailey's shoes.

And while I'm unloading, I will express my newest concern. Before every race I get extremely nervous, I feel sick to my stomach and it doesn't end until the race begins and I'm on my way. Our next race, in twelve days or less, already has me nervous. I am worried my time will go in the opposite direction, that I'm not really good enough to be out running 5ks. I wonder if I will ever feel confident about my ability to run. Will I ever reach my ultimate goals? Do I even know what those are?

A few minutes ago I was rereading old posts from last year when I thought about taking up running and how I gave it up so quickly. I want to think that this time is different, that I'm already proving to myself that I can do this, but I worry that I will slack off. That the cold winter weather and lack of races will result in my motivation teetering and I will be led astray of my goals and aspirations. I want someone to tell me this won't happen but I know that I'm the one in control. I'm the one who has to make training a top priority.

I know I'm tired now, but if I could only run longer, harder and faster.

But first I need a decent nights' sleep. Here's hoping tonights the night.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Official Results

Todd : 24:15
Overall : 36th/439
Age group 0-99 Male : 30 out of 140 to finish
7:49 mile average
6th male in 30-39 to finish

Jordan : 29:48
Overall : 122/439
Age group 0-99 Female : 58 out of 299 to finish
9:37 mile average

Alexis : 29:48
Overall: 123/439
Age group 0-99 Female : 59/299
9:37 mile average

Erin : 32:41
Overall : 189/439
Age group 0-99 female : 105/299
10:33 mile average

Next race: 12 days Apple Valley 5k through Gross' Orchard in Bedford, VA. I hear it is a most scenic race.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

More Stuff About Run For Their Lives

Photos of the race far better than mine. I'm actually in the second to last one, off to the right in a black tank top. You can play where's Alexis and try to find me. Or not. Still looking for official race results.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Race Results

This morning I ran my second 5k. Todd, my sister, my brother's girlfriend and 800 other runners particpated in the first Annual Run For Their Lives 5k. It was a big event and I realize I like it better that way. It is more motivating I think, at least for me. Our race dues went to 'free' Thai women from sexual slavery which is about the best cause I have found yet for our races.

As in the previous races I had two goals set for myself. No walking and to complete the race in under 31 minutes. I did not walk at all and I even felt like I did better than just a jog the entire time. Also, with thanks to my wonderful and motivating husband who met me at the last few hundred meters, I made it in under 30 minutes. I think my time was 29:43 but the exact race results haven't been posted. Todd did the race in 24:16.

My brother's girlfriend beat me but she says I pushed her. I'm not sure whether she's being literal though because I literally ran into her across the finish line because my husband coaxed me into sprinting the last 100 meters and I ran right into about three people crossing the finish line. They didn't seem to notice. My sister also did awesome, completeing her first ever race in under 33 minutes.

The race was more flat than the other races we have done and our next race is a trail 5k in two weeks, I hope that my time doesn't go in the opposite direction but we shall see. The weather was supposed to be yucky today, as it has been at all three races this year. But the rain wasn't too heavy and was actually nice at times.

left to right; Jordan (brother's girlfriend), Todd, me and Erin (my sister)
Notice the writing on our arms? Those are the names of the women we were running for. Jordan doesn't seem to want to get too close to Todd.

Oh, maybe that's why.

Bailey really, really wanted to run. After the race she was running everywhere. Swinging her arms and everything. I thought it was adorbale, but hey I'm her mom.
Thanks to Ed who watched the kids for us while we ran and for taking pictures of us during and after the race. Unfortunately, the sight of me in a tank top is not really blog worthy. OK, maybe it is but not in a build my self esteem sort of way.

Be Back Soon

I'm going to run out and free some Thai Prostitutes this morning.

At least that's what is says here.

We'll let you know how we did. I'm shooting for under 31 minutes, and I'm running with my sister and someday sister-in-law to be (hopefully) so that should be motivating. I hope.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wanted: Time Machine

Lately I have been struggling with balance. I haven't fallen over the dog or tripped down the stairs, but I am finding I just don't have time for everything I want to do and I can't decide whether to just try harder, go faster or re-prioritize.

Since having Sean I have read no more than two books a month and I am in two book groups, so that doesn't leave me a lot or room. I take pictures but never seem to download them or open up my computer software to play with them. I am baking and cooking more but I am mopping my floor in sections just to get it clean. I want to run, but I want to have a nice hot bath afterwards, there just isn't time for it all. No matter how I plan my day there a tons of surprises and often things take longer than I ever thought they would.

I wish I had more hours in my day. I wish I didn't have to sleep. I wish I had a time machine. Or even better a time turner like Hermione Granger, an extra hour here or there is truly all I ask. I know that as a mom of three, especially three this little, that I should be happy that I get to do anything for myself, but I want to believe that I can do it all; that I can be a great mom and be good to myself.

I am spending time every day considering how to manage all my interests with my responsibilities. I will admit that I would rather do the things I enjoy (baking) over the things that have to get done (cleaning). The other night I decided I would bake my Zucchini Bread and while it was baking I would mop the floors. Then Sean had a bout of Colic or Gas or just all around fussiness and I ended up sitting on the bed with him until we both fell asleep. No bread for breakfast, no clean floors. But then he won't be this little for long and his smiles are far more enjoyable than clean rooms or fresh baked goods, so what's the problem?

The problem is, I still want to read a good book, try out a new recipe, run at the park, and capture the leaves turning. And I feel guilty whenever I choose these things and let the ring around my tub remain.

So I want to know, how do you do it all? What if anything do you sacrifice? What do you wish you had more time to do? If I find a time machine on e-bay, do you want to go 50-50?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On Today's Agenda

Shortly after Sean was born my mother-in-law's significant other had a heart attack. Feeling ever so grateful for all the help and meals I had during my first few weeks postpartum I took this opportunity to start paying it forward. When I called my mother-in-law however, I was surprised at how much of his diet had been restricted. As she went over all the things he could no longer have or had to cut back on significantly I began to realize just how lacking our own diets have become.

Many of the things she told me I was aware of, I just hadn't taken into account when it came to meal preparation. The most startling to me however, was how much sodium I am eating when it comes to canned foods, especially broth. Being a vegetarian we use vegetable stock and broth, but there isn't a wide selection to be found, Walmart for example carries no vegetable broth. The vegetable broth in my pantry, bought at the local Kroger, has 890mg of sodium or 37% of your daily allowance in one cup of broth. I decided right there on the phone I was going to make my own broth.

After a little researching on the web, I found that you can pretty much put anything and everything in broth. Also, I found that the sodium is a fraction of that found in the can and you can even leave salt out completely if you dare and that it is also a fraction of the cost, especially if you save vegetable trimmings from other meals to use in future broths. Yesterday afternoon I did my first batch of broth, having really no idea what I was doing as there isn't really a recipe for broth that I could find. The house smelt wonderful as it was cooking.
It made about 7 plus cups of broth. I saved out 1 1/2 cups for our delicious mashed potatoes, put two cups in a freezer bag and froze the rest in ice cube trays which I later transferred to a big freezer bag.

The mashed potatoes were as good as always though I do think I will add more vegetables in the future to my broth as the flavor was there but not strong.

Later in the day I steamed and pureed carrots for a recipe from Jessica Seinfeld's 'Deceptively Delicious' cookbook. This morning I woke up early and made the Applesauce Muffins that called for applesauce and carrots along with other wholesome things like old fashioned Oats. They look very pretty, but they are less than yummy. Bailey ate one, Coop said no thanks. I myself found them to be fine, but nothing I look forward to making again because of all the preparation work involved. I am after my first recipe from her cookbook, not convinced about being deceptive with vegetables or about it being delicious.

Monday, October 12, 2009

First time for everything.

This weekend we ran our first 5k race. I had found it on a local running website and decided that two weeks between my first ever 4 miler and my first ever 5k sounded like a great plan, even though I doubt it really was. A 5k is roughly 3.1 miles, so I figured if I could do a 4 mile race I could do a 5k. We registered for the race even though our knees and calves were still sore from the 4 and 10 mile races.

This race was so different, and not in a great way. At the big race two weeks ago there were people from other states and countries. There were 1900 runners and 500 volunteers. There were friends and family out in record numbers to support their friends and family. My point, it was easy to get lost in the crowd. I liked that.

This weekend Todd and I were two of less than 80 people running the first annual Hundreds of Feet 5k in Bedford, Va in support of the Bedford Hospice House. It was obvious upon arrival that we were amongst real runners at this race. I was more than nervous as my competitive nature can be unrivaled at times, even when I don't have much in competitive ability.

I tried for the first few minutes to keep Todd's pace which was not a good idea. I just can't match his long strides and running too fast at the beginning of a race can make you expend too much energy too soon. As more and more runners past me by I began to get a little discouraged so I focused inwards to my own goals. I had two this time, no secret goals. To not walk at all and to finish in 36 minutes.

The course was through some 'winding Bedford neighborhoods with moderate rolling hills' which meant two big hills. It's hard to find flat ground around here on which to race. I did my best to keep a good pace but halfway through all I wanted was to walk. I finally succumbed and began to walk at a brisk pace at about the two mile point. This is when I took a moment to take in my surroundings. There were runners in front of my with a distance of about 50 yards and runners behind me at about 100 yards. I felt that it was pretty obvious that I was the last of the true runners. I decided that whether or not I finished in the time I had allotted myself, that I needed to run. So I picked up my feet and did the best I could. At the end though, all I wanted was to walk and as I passed the finish line I again felt dry heaves, but I had alas finished the race with only about 1 minute of walking. However, I was overall very pleased with my time. I finished my first 5k in 32:23. This will be my baseline on which I plan to improve for further 5ks, which there is another one Saturday after next.

Todd finished the race in 25:05, he came in third in his age division. He will tell you it wasn't hard with so few runners (about half were runners, half were walkers) but he really did very well.

The winner of the race, a 20 year old Jordan Whitlock who came in 21st at the 10 miler two weeks ago, finished the race in 17 minutes and then ran the course again just for fun.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Can you screw up pumpkin bread?


When I was pregnant with Sean I was large and hot (it was summer time there at the end) and I did very little cooking. Very little. We ate out quite often. But as soon as I had Sean I wanted to be in the kitchen cleaning and cooking. The cleaning thrill has left but I am still really into cooking, now that I can reach the sink and lean over to get pots out. Yesterday, I decided that I was going to do some cooking and baking while the kids napped.

I did a little recipe researching and then decided to make my own pumpkin bread recipe. With a little whole wheat flour, a little white. A little sugar, a little applesauce. A lot of pumpkin. A lot of spices. It made a lot of batter, enough for two loaves and 24 mini muffins. I topped one load with a struesel topping. I baked it all up and then indulged.

All afternoon.

I have decided that perhaps you just can't screw up pumpkin bread. I just love this time of year. Apple muffins, banana bread, pumpkin bread. There are just so many possibilities.

A few things I would like to know

How does one successfully peel a hard boiled egg? I have never been much for making Deviled Eggs because they look hideous. But as part of a healthier lifestyle I thought I would eat a hard boiled egg as a snack occasionally. I am finding that it is some sort of workout just to get them peeled. Am I cooking them wrong? Is there some sort of trick?

What does one usually use a Mortar and Pestle for? Does the average cook need one?

What size/type vehicle do the Duggars have? Do they just drive a school bus? Apparently if we have more children a suburban may not work for us according to the highly educated and well informed. I thought Suburbans were for big families with loads and loads of kids and cargo.

To be a morning person do you have to be born that way? Is there something I can do to make me a more likable morning person? I would really like to get up before the kids and get a few things done...

Should I skip the egg, grind my own coffee beans and make espressos at 5 a.m.?

Of course, then I will need to know how to make espresso...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I've got to admit it's getting better, a little better all the time.

Before I had Sean I had some extra weight I was carrying around that I really didn't need anymore that I was looking to get rid of. Just as I got serious about the idea though, I learned I was pregnant and pregnancy is no time to be trying to unload extra weight. So I happily packed on more weight where there was already plenty.

But as soon as Sean was born I was determined to lose the 35 lbs I had gained since having the twins, both pregnancy weight and cherry-coke-with-a-side-of-frozen-burrito weight. With six weeks of being very diligent I have at long last lost those 35 lbs. They must make me look quite a bit different because at every turn I have people asking me what am I doing to lose 'all that weigh'.

Well the first thing I am doing? Not drinking 1200 calories of Cherry Coke a day. Seriously folks, I am an addict and I was drinking more than half the calories a person should consume a day in sugary soda. I would love to tell you that I have given up soda completely...but I'm an addict. I have switched to diet soda and because it doesn't taste quite as good I am naturally drinking less soda overall.

Secondly, I am running. I am really, really, really, trying harder than ever before to be a runner. Yesterday I jogged and ran for 35 minutes without stopping. That is a personal record for me. I am slowly but surely overcoming the "I can't run" mentality. I don't run very fast, but one thing at a time please.

Thirdly, I am watching what I eat. I am trying to choose whole wheat bread over white bread. Low sodium over higher sodium. Sticking to portion sizes. I am eating BMLT's (Fake bacon, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato) at lunch, (yes, mayonnaise is bad but a girl has to have a little taste in her food) or a cheese sandwich. I am trying to choose healthy snacks like apples and hard boiled eggs over cheese sticks and cookies. But it's hard. Hard. Especially for me. I love food, good food, bad for you food. I think healthy food is often a waste of my time and that I would rather just not eat. But I have to consume enough calories to not harm my milk production and I need to set a good example for my three kids, especially in a world where our waistlines are increasing on average all the time. So I am trying to eat healthy just as hard as trying to become a runner.

However, it isn't easy and I feel as though what I am eating is consuming too many of my thoughts because it isn't natural for me to eat such health consciously. And sometimes, I will admit, I fall of the wagon so to speak. Last night, after a fairly healthy course of meals I had fried french fries. Yes, Erin, the Deep Fryer was not yet put away and we feel drawn to it like magnets on a fridge. And then afterwards, a Ghiradelli brownie which is the epitome of my sinful indulgences.

So I was feeling a little guilty this morning. I didn't even sit in for my weekly weigh in, I might not even be down 35 lbs anymore. That's why at 6 a.m. I emptied the deep fryer, soaked it, scrubbed it and put it away in the back of a cabinet. I should have put it with the Goodwill stuff but alas I'm not Jillian Michaels, I'm me and I like fried foods occasionally, so shoot me.

But I have to think I'm moving in the right direction. And when people ask me what I'm doing differently, I tell them 'everything'. It seems to be the only way.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Today by the numbers

Cups of coffee: 1

Miles run: 2.7

Photos taken: 0

New cars thinking about buying: 1

Cars thinking about selling: 2

Slices of tomato on sandwich at lunch: 4

Strollers that don't fit in Sequoia: 1

Loads of laundry folded: 4

Loads left: 4

Children napping: 3

I think it's pretty obvious what I need to do.

Take pictures of the laundry.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I get a little carried away and never come back sometimes.

I have come to realize, as you may or may not have, that I get very carried away with a thing or two and focus much of my energy on that thing or two. For example, this time last year, as you may remember, it was my photography. This year, it is running.

The thing is, that I still really want to explore my photographic abilities, it just got even harder when I got pregnant. Now I realize that is just an excuse and not even a very good one so I will have to prioritize better. I have to decide which things I really want to make time for in our busy lives and which things are just going to have to be passed up for the time being.

Once upon a time, for example, I was a bass player and I liked to write songs. Then I just stopped. Or at least it feels that way. Every now and again I would visit my old jazz bass and play around a bit, but I wasn't getting any better because I wasn't really devoting any of my time to it. Then I stopped visiting my bass completely, I packed it far into the corner of the junk room and then moved into the basement, where it may rest eternally.

I really don't want that to be the case with my photography. I just got sidetracked a bit. My computer with my photo software up and died on me a few months back and my artistic life hasn't been the same since. I must find time, scratch that, I must take time and find a place for that endeavor.

In other news, I called the company about the stroller, they didn't grovel at my feet or beg me to keep my massive stroller, but they did send me a new frame (which SHOULD be here tomorrow), this time a triplette frame, without yet receiving the duette frame back, in addition they are also sending me a postage paid tag for the item that needs to be returned. With my plan of running everywhere, I should find the time to take a few pictures, right?

A girl can at least hope.