Friday, January 29, 2010

I love learning something new.

I am addicted to blogging.  It’s the plain and simple truth.  You have perhaps never known someone to create, work on, delete and ponder so many blogs and posts in your life.  I think there have been eight or nine blogs and several hundred posts.

No, I’m not kidding.  Thank you very much.  I have deleted all but four of them.  This one, the baking one, the running one and then the photo one for the family are all that remain of my blogging endeavors. 

So I love blogger and their free site.  I really do.  But I don’t particularly care for the blogger posting layout.  It’s just always annoyed me and I am always trying to change it and learn a thing or two about the grand ‘ole internet.  Well today I think I finally learned something. 

You see over at my baking site I have decided to bake up a whole weeks worth of muffins starting on Sunday.  And I wanted to tell my oh so many readers what I was working up…but I couldn’t figure it out.  I can’t write HTML code myself and I was just not getting the result I was looking for otherwise.  I grew very frustrated, drank a diet coke and ate four slices of oatmeal bread while pondering the question via google and burning my Friday evening away.

Until finally I learned about something called Microsoft Live Writer.  And I did the unthinkable.  I downloaded it, which I never ever ever do.  Download anything that is.  I’m honestly just plain scared to.  My computers get virus’ more often than any of my toddlers and that seems to be saying something.  But desperate and obsessed I proceeded with the download. 

Here it is, only two hours later and I am writing my first post on it.  Thus far I am loving it.  If nothing else it  allowed me to create a document in Word bring it over to Live Writer, get the source code and then post it, like I wanted to, in boxes elsewhere on my site.  Whew.  Just what I wanted.

I love learning. 

It’s why I went to college for seven years.

Truth be told.  It was only 5 1/2 years.

Title? Really? For every Post?

I was going to write and send thank you notes today for the twin’s birthday party that took place more than two weeks ago.

But the phone wouldn’t stop ringing and my concentration was broken over and over.

I was going to bake a Chocolate Cavity cake.

But I can't seem to get my bowl to be removed from the Kitchenaid stand. Seriously.

I was going to wash my hair.

But it's all just going to fall out anyways.

I was going to pay my taxes.

But I forgot that I am completely broke.

I was going to write a few posts.

But I am frustrated and sad and have no original ideas or thoughts that are my own.

I was going to run.

But sick kids make for poor sleepers and early risers, who cares if I'm fast anyways?

Oh, that's right. I do.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Why does butter have to be so bad for you?

I am doing, at least for me, rather well staying active this winter. Last night, for example, I went to a Zumba class at 7:30 and followed that by attempting to run a few quick miles through Wyndhurst, a local shopping and dining community that houses both Romp 'N Roll and the dance studio where the Zumba class is taught. I figured it would be safe enough to run there by myself at 8:30 p.m. on a Tuesday. But alas, I am a big fat scaredy cat and with recent news of a shooter in Appomattox, a short distance away, my nerves were a little rickety. Long story short, at one mile when a man approached me to ask where some local bar was, I called it quits. I then came home to ride 12.5 miles on the recumbent bike, all in all it was a good training day.

However on the other side I have let my eating get way out of hand. A few weeks ago I reached a total of 60 lbs lost since having Sean. I was thrilled but I began worrying that I might be losing too much weight. I still have a little stomach pouch but other than that I have thinned out considerably since having Sean. Something I attribute mostly to breastfeeding, diet coke over Cherry Coke and running. But I was worried that at my current weight loss, which has steadily been a pound a week now for three months I was going to get too thin. So what did I do? I let the reigns down and have been gobbling up everything in sight. Luckily I have only gained two pounds and that is even with devouring entire Banana cakes by myself.

But thinking about my food consumption for one day has me a little nervous that if I don't restrain myself I will be looking at a weight gain of more than 60 lbs in the not to distant future. Yesterday for example I ate four slices of banana bread for breakfast, three slices of pan pizza from Pizza Hut with two breaksticks, followed by a snack of more banana bread (I actually defrosted some of the frozen, that cake is irresistible), a small bag of M&M's, and some Cinnamon Goldfish. For dinner I had cornbread (that I will post about later) and black bean soup. I tried to not eat anything late last night but I just couldn't help it and ate more Cinnamon goldfish right before going to bed which I know is a serious faux pas.

So help me folks, I was doing so well last fall and I think it was because I had so much weight to lose. Now that I've reached my goal weight I am having a hard time setting and sticking to healthy eating perimeters. I know it's all ok now but I know how much I like food and am honestly worried that I won't be able to stop myself before returning to my old ways.

I was eating BLT's everyday, now I eat pizza. I was making quick breads with appleasauce and egg beaters, my banana cake had shortening (OH MY!) and sour cream. I was snacking on the likes of apples and chex mix. Now it's been brownies and more brownies. I am hoping that the realization yesterday of how bad my eating has become will allow me to regain control.

Several people have hinted to me that I could stand to gain a few pounds which is why I went crazy through Christmas and the New Year but I know that overall I have to be eating healthy and that is just what I've not been doing the last five weeks. So here is to saying NO to second helpings of Macaroni and Cheese and yes to more mixed vegetables.

I'm even working on a new mantra, wanna hear it?

Be strong and brave, Alexis. It's only food.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


First, let me just say that I am a bakeaholic and having a new baking blog is turning out to be very bad for what I was trying to get to be my new and improved eating habits. Now my eating habits consist of two cinnamon bagels followed by Double Chocolate Ghiradelli Cookies. I never thought of myself as much of a sweets fan until about four months ago but now I can't seem to control myself.

Our weekends are so busy that I can't even compile a complete to do list before Sunday night rolls around. We have had birthday parties the last three weekends and next weekend we have a baby shower to celebrate a new person for whom we'll have a party to attend next year. Not that I'm complaining, I like cake. But it does make getting to the grocery store and fitting in a decent training session even harder than before.

Fortunately, however, we were lucky enough to have Todd's mom help us out this weekend and yesterday she came over to spend the afternoon with the children and Todd and I went for a good long training session. We ran over 7 miles, four of them through icy trails and snowy paths from the snow that fell over a month ago, followed by 10 miles on our bikes. Todd got a bike for Christmas and hadn't gotten a chance to take it for a test drive. He wanted to go 15 miles but the trails were really icy and slowed us down a bit and we don't like to leave our children for too long. Overall it was a good day. It's nice to have a few people who will watch the three children so that we can get a good run in. The 7 miles yesterday really wore me out so I know I have a long ways to go before I'm ready for a half marathon.

It's the end of the week and I have failed yet again to reach my measly goal of 15 miles yet again. This upcoming week I think I may aim for less distance more often. I am having a hard time getting in a long run and so I'm just putting running off. I think going downstairs and getting on the treadmill whenever I get a chance may result in more miles overall. I may just take to wearing my workout clothes all day long.

But tonight I am in the mood to bake. Maybe a Banana 'N Cream Bundt Cake.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The craze that's sweeping the nation. Like a crimper but for your hips.

So apparently there is this aerobic fitness program that blends dance moves with resistance training and it has become so popular that there are 40,000 people teaching it in over 75 countries.

The program, which you may have heard of, is Zumba and one of those 40,000 people resides here in the city we live in and teaches a class twice a week at a local dance studio not even a block from Romp 'N Roll. One of Bailey and Cooper's friends mom was going to go for the free session last night and wanted to know if any of us other mom's wanted to give it a try. Naturally, I said 'why the heck not?'

Once upon a time I was into fitness. I wasn't very fit but I wanted to be a member of the local YMCA (one block over from the dance studio here in Mayberry), and there I got to try out classes for Pilates, Yoga, Cycling, and more often than anything else Aerobics. Now that I am running, biking and ever so occasionally lifting weights I thought it was a great time to add something else to the mix so I don't burn out on the other activities.

So last night after I overstuffed myself on Macaroni and Cheese and Rosemary Texas Rolls I got dressed and headed over to the small dance studio where the class is taught. There were six other females in the class as well as the instructor. I was seconds late so the class started as I was walking in the door.

It was quite the experience. I learned several things about myself that if I already knew I had forgotten in the past five years. I have no rhythm, nope none what so ever. I stayed in the back of the room and kept wondering if I attend the class regularly if my rhythm would ever improve. I also have very poor coordination skills. If I wasn't regularly looking foolish I was still two steps behind. However, I felt great, I did work up a sweat but it wasn't so much that I had to stop and take a breather and I was able to keep up with the others who mostly looked like they did this sort of thing nightly.

Overall, I loved it. I doubt that I will ever have the skills of Shakira when it comes to belly dancing as my hips are compulsive liars and I don't think the song Boom Boom Pow will ever grow on me but I think that I will go back next week. You know, just for fun.

Monday, January 11, 2010

30 Minutes of Wonderful

A lot of our friends are pregnant. I can think of six of our friends who are pregnant and another who is adopting a baby girl in April. I am surrounded by women who are expecting, hoping to get pregnant soon, or have just had a baby. I feel as though we have officially entered that stage where our friends are all building their families. It's an exciting time for a lot of people and I am happy to be able to experience it with many of them. That's seven babies in the next six months, I am just waiting to see who else will become pregnant before year's end.

With so many friends who are expecting the topic of pregnancy and conception comes up quite a bit in conversation. Last week at dinner several friends were discussing having more children. Two of them have adopted and would love more children, one of them is currently trying and the other is trying to convince her husband about having another. They are all a little older than me and several of them aren't sure they want to have another baby because of their age, their schedules, or time. Because following this conversation I had a forty minute drive home with no kids in the car and no one to talk to on my cell phone I gave a lot of thought to family size and children in general.

I can honestly say, if money were no object, and unfortunately it is with each new child, I would have a soccer team of children. I love every bit of it. Sure I get grumpy, I have my bad days, I lose my patience, but that was the case before children and my life was not nearly this fulfilling. I love every bit of it.

I love being pregnant. Really and truly maybe more than anyone I have ever known I absolutely love being pregnant. Sure I had morning (really night) sickness and difficulty sleeping but there is nothing else like being pregnant. You treat yourself so well, others treat you so well. The early movements of the baby the first real proof besides a gray image on an ultrasound screen that there really is a life growing inside of you.

Then there is the birth. Hard and difficult but amazing. And the beautiful moment when you finally get to see and hold and meet your new baby. Those first few weeks are so terrible, not because you lose and never catch up on sleep but that the sleep deprivation robs your memory of that small pink skinned treasure, they grow so stinking fast, babies do. And then just when you think it couldn't get any better, they start to smile.

As they grow the days feel short yet sometimes too long. They are constantly on the go, you are constantly trying to catch up with them. And they start to crawl, and walk and talk. And you think that it is amazing, these mundane and ordinary skills, but truly it is amazing. You call friends and family, snap pictures, jot down 'baby rolled over' in the baby book.

And they transform slowly yet seemingly right before your eyes from infants to babies to toddlers. And there language grows and it's no longer just 'no' but 'no, mommy come here and help me'. The trials of parenting, difficult though they are, easily wiped from your memory at bedtime when they curl up to be read to and blow kisses at you standing at the door.

And it's all still so early and maybe there really is a bad time ahead and terrible tantrums and harsh words spoken but I'll keep my ignorance for now. I'm sticking with my claim, if money were no object I'd take a half dozen any day.

At the same time, now is the first time in eight years that I am not desperately seeking two pink lines on a pregnancy stick. I feel busy with the three I have, especially with them all so young, but I love having so many children and babies around us. They make the world seem so much brighter. I can't wait to meet and hold each of these new people. And where as I don't want to get pregnant any time soon, it's still there, the desire to have more children. Where many people would probably find three to be more than enough I find the words of Karen Carpenter echoing in my head, 'we've only just begun'.

I know it sounds hokey but I have wanted children my whole life, a whole flock of them. And then there was such a long time when I didn't know if we would ever have any of our own. But just as I never take running water for granted thanks to the year I lived in the house with the very shallow well, I will never take my role as parent for granted. Even if someday, I do indeed buy them a birthday cake from Kroger.

Minor setbacks and excursions

Sometimes achieving your goals is just harder than you imagined, even if they appear completely attainable. I had every intention of running 15 miles last week. 15 miles. Doesn't even sound like all that much, but there is so much on the calendar and on the to-do list and 15 miles was a measly 6 miles by weeks end.

I'm not giving up, that was just week one. But this week (I am starting my week's on Monday) I am going to aim high and realize that I am just not a fan of the treadmill. Yesterday, our team madness ran a mock 5k at a park nearby. It was cold. About 24 degrees. And there was still ice and snow on the ground from the snow that fell a week before Christmas. But I managed to come in on this flat and easy trail in under 25 minutes. That forces me to realize that the treadmill is a necessary evil to keep up my physical ability during these treacherous winter months (this is shaping up to be the coldest winter I have ever known).

Last week was a little setback to my goals, but I'm not giving up. Instead I am filling up the calendar with early spring races and looking ahead to the half marathon and running on the beach.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 Goals

It's that time of year again. Time to decide to quit things, time to make resolutions to change or improve. It's January. There's freeze warnings throughout the East Coast. Man, if it weren't for tomorrow being Bailey and Cooper's birthday I think I could honestly say that I hate January.

You see I made not so much a list of Resolutions but a list of 'goals' for 2010. I tried when thinking of my resolutions to be reasonable and make goals that were attainable. For instance I would love to quit biting my nails and I have stopped for months at a time but I always start back up again so I just left it off the list. No reason to let this year get off on the wrong start. I also thought of adding 'grow hair back that I have lost' but I don't really know how to get back all the hair I have been losing since I had Sean. I don't know if I am deficient in something or if it is normal to lose seven hundred pieces of hair each morning in the shower but I know one can not resolve to just grow back their hair because my husband would not be balding if that were the case. So realistic and attainable, that was the aim.

So here they are in no particular order. (You may notice a certain theme.)

1. To take training more seriously. I vow to run 15 miles a week or 60 miles a month throughout 2010, meeting an overall goal of breaking 700 miles for the year. This goal will require running approximately four times a week. So I must also resolve my issues with the monster, I mean treadmill in the basement. It is after all below freezing in these parts and will be all week.

2. To run a 5k in under 25 minutes. Sure I would like to do it in less than 24 or 23 minutes. But I want goals that are attainable for this year. If I reach 25 minutes than I can make more goals but for now I would like to come in under 25 minutes.

3. To work more with Bailey and Cooper on letters, numbers and colors. Their brains are in the sponge state and we must take advantage of this period. In a few short years they won't be listening to anything I tell them and will refuse that an apple is an apple even if it most obviously is, we must make the most of this time.

4. To reboot the Thomas' financial goals and plans and get savings back on the priority list. 'nough said.

5. My most lofty goal. I would like to run a half marathon this year. The half marathon I have in mind is in September so I have nine months to train for it and if I keep with goal number one it shouldn't be any trouble but I am still nervous about this one more than the others. I will save the 26.2 for 2011. I also want to do the Virginia 10 miler but it falls after the half marathon and if I can pull off the half I don't think the 10 miler will be unattainable.

6. To cook more meals at home and eat out less. This one may actual be harder for me than running the half marathon.

7. To train with and compete with the rest of East Coast Madness in two adventure races this year.

I know things like cutting out refined sugars and sweets in general should be on my list but it isn't. Instead I have started a new blog(read: Yes, I am truly crazy) and have been baking up a storm and am enjoying every moment of it. Also, it makes me want to run more.

I have high hopes for this year.