March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Girl's Weekend Out

I couldn't resist posting some of the fun images from my girl's weekend!

Here's where the fun began... Mani/Pedis!
Poor girl needed a chisel...
Me and my Sister-In-Law
I was just super impressed with a dude getting a pedicure.

We then went back to get dolled up for the night and headed to dinner at the Rock Bottom Brewery:
Beer was the only thing I guess I thought was worth taking a picture of.
Meanwhile, the boys were having their own fun:
Jack watching the "big kids" play video games. He want to be 10.
We then went to see Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women at the Hennepin Stages Theatre. I kid you not when I say it was hotter than the sun in there. If any of you ladies go to see it, make sure to dress lightly.
Me and my Sister-In-Law @ Hennepin Stages for Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women
We ended the night with a game, Bailey's and fighting over who was going to snuggle with this big beast of a cuddly dog:

He could be a robot, but he is 75 pounds of dog love
I had the honor of sleeping with the dog beast otherwise known as Zin (lovingly named after wine). Let's see... he took up the whole bed and snored all night. I broke up with him the next morning.

The next day we headed to my house to hang out with my little munchkin- he had tons of fun with grandma and auntie while I stared off into space in a comatose, hungover, lack of sleep splendor. 

Jack showing off his letter skills with Grandma & Auntie

It was such a fun weekend. I love getting together with these ladies and look forward to the next time!

Do you have a Wordless Wednesday to share? 




March 29, 2011

Dear Diary

Over the weekend, the Moopies (The Moopies are the women from my husband's side of the family and the name was originated by Grandma who called her... girly parts... her moopie) got the chance to hang out and go see a show. We went to see Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women. The inspiration of the show came from the author's discoveries of their childhood diaries and to sum it up, I laughed so hard at this show I was crying. I was also inspired... to find and read my high school diary.

Front cover. I guess I didn't like the pretty lady on front.
I have no words for this...
 I discovered a number of hilarious things:

1. I was extremely boy crazy. As in "like totally" over the top liked a different boy every week (and sometimes more than one at a time.) With every single one of them, I would say "If he doesn't like me back, I'll just DIE." Yikes. I'm happy to know that I survived after saying that so many times. I'm totally mortified that I was kind of the creepy desperate waiting by the phone type of girl.
2. I got in fights with my friends. A lot. We always made up the next day.
3. I got in fights with my sister. A lot. We always made up the next day.
4. I had a NASTY potty mouth. The F-word is prominent throughout my posts.
5. My diary is "scented". I'm not sure what it was scented with and I cannot believe that 20 years later it still smells the same. I think I just got shivers down my spine.
6. I always had a "sign off" time. I stayed up freaking late for a 15 year old!
7. Holy cripes. Did my mom really read this?
8. Did I read that right... I was EXCITED to start the 10th grade? What the...
9. I had really deep thoughts: "Sometimes I have to wonder if God is trying to send me a message, only it just isn't clear what that message could be."
10. Is skaggy a word?
11. I actually referenced a Def Leppard song in one of my entries. Love Bites. LOL.
12. I had a bummer Christmas in 1991 because I didn't get a CD player.

This is one of my favorite entries...
9/4/91, 11:18pm
Dear Diary- Tonight was so weird. Another episode of how my friends hate the guy I like. I like him so much. Or, is it just "moments"? I'll never know! I gotta go. Dying of cramps. Love Always, Joanne

Little did I know I would be plagued by my friends disliking just about every guy I dated for the rest of my life. Thankfully, I  grew up and finally stuck with one regardless of what anyone thought. He turned out to be my husband. After 9 years together, I can safely say they approve.

One of my favorite excerpts... the relationship graph:


This one is absolutely awesome as well:
12/29/91
"Dear Diary- Well, I don't think I ever got a chance to tell you but I had a job but I got hurt pretty bad. I worked at Spudster's at Rosedale and it just sucked!!! Everyone knows how much I hate to clean and shit like that. Then there's the cutting up food- I don't think they meant my thumb. That was pretty gross but minor I think. The major thing was on fryer- the word says it all- I got hot grease splashed on my hand so my middle finger got a blister, my ring finger got singed and my entire pinky got blistered. After my next paycheck I'm quitting." I actually got workman's comp for that injury- it was pretty bad and I still have the scars. I moved on to a much safer job that next summer- a Car Hop at an A & W drive in. Coolest summer job EVER.

Here is how I described myself in the 10th grade:
"I wouldn't pretend to be someone I'm not. I am a preppy, semi ok-looking (LOL) concerned about my future type fun/serious person." OH and note... "The headbanger type doesn't exactly turn my switch anymore." Priceless. I'm curious about what exactly I thought a fun/serious person is?

Do you remember in those Teen magazines how they used to have a poetry section? I apparently loved it because these little clips can be found all over my diary:

Ummm... Creepy Stalker much?


How SAD is that??

I'm so glad that I can look back and laugh. I'm even more glad that I was able to drop the drama queen business (no, really... I am not a drama queen anymore...). I don't remember if I kept another diary, and if I did, I imagine my crush on an upper upperclassmen hockey player would have made for some hilarious reads (considering my insane embarrassment over it to this very day). The remaining 2.5 years of high school were laden with highs and lows. I even had an honest to goodness high school sweetheart whom I dated through my freshman year of college.

If I can learn anything about looking back at the teenage me- it is that I had passion. I was passionate about my friends, my family, boys and music. I learned that at times, I had little faith in myself and I looked to those around me to give me confidence. I learned I was competitive- I wanted to be the best singer, the best flutist, the best actress. I wanted friends. I wanted to be loved.

So, even though I blush in horror at some of the atrocious things I wrote about in my diary, I realize that I haven't changed all that much. I am still passionate about my son, my husband, my family and my work. I still have days that I look to others to give me confidence. I'm still insanely competitive and driven.

When is the last time you looked back at the teenage you? Are you completely changed or do pieces of you still remain? 

March 25, 2011

The Week In Rant: Healthy Booster Seat Edition

Ahhhhhh Friday. Hello. I needed you and you didn't disappoint by showing up.

Let's kick off the weekend with a little Week in Rant, shall we?

IN THE NEWS
I know the new big mommy thing in the news this week are the new recommendations from the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) regarding car seats. For those of you living in a bubble, here they are:
  • The "rear-facing until two" is a guideline only. Young children who are very small, or born prematurely, may need to stay rear facing longer--until they outgrow the weight and height limits for the rear-facing carseat. And, kids who are big may outgrow the size limitations younger than age two and may need to be turned forward-facing earlier.
  • Once a child outgrows the size limits of rear-facing, he should be forward-facing in a harness carseat until he outgrows that seat.
  • You can check your carseat's size limitations on the label or in the instruction manual. In general, convertible carseats are safe for rear-facing until a child weighs 35—45 lbs. Height limitations vary as well.
  • Kids need to remain in booster seats until at least EIGHT years of age, or when they exceed the size limits for a booster and they are ready for a seat belt.
  • Kids should not be riding in the front seat of a vehicle until they are at least 13 years old.
Are you ready for my opinion (you know I have one). These are RECOMMENDATIONS only. Not the law. We parents have to make a lot of decisions and usually look to the AAP as a guideline for making what we think is the correct one. Of course, in all my sarcastic glory, if you don't follow these guidelines you are likely to be chewed up and spit out in disgust by the perfect mom community out there (you know who those people are... the ones who give you the stink eye in a store or restaurant when your child is acting out). As always, my advice is: do what you feel is best for your situation. I considered leaving Jack rear-facing until he was 2; however, he outgrew those limitations fairly quickly and we turned him around at a year in my husband's vehicle and around a year and a half in my car. I don't feel I need to justify our decision to anyone. I intend to keep him boostered until he exceeds the size limit and he will definitely not ride up front until he is 13. But, you know how it goes... he is two and a half right now. I'm sure my opinion (and the AAP's opinion) will change a million times before then. Final thoughts on this subject? Settle the heck down folks. The cops aren't going to pull you over if you turn your kid's seat around before the age of 2. 


GUILTY PLEASURE NEWS
I have made it no secret over my blogging years that I watch and love American Idol. The last few years have been a yawn though and seriously considered scrapping the sheer amount of time required to stay committed to the show until I realized how much I liked the new season. I LOVE J-Lo. I don't know why, but I love her. She's pretty to look at and she usually has decent, constructive criticism to offer. Don't care for Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson just kinda fades into the background. I like the changes they made to the show letting the viewers get to know the contestants a little more and showing behind-the-scenes stuff. As far as the contestants, there are the usual few who for some reason are insanely popular yet I can't stand their voice (ahem... Jacob Lusk). Last night's episode was one of the best in a long time. Especially after they saved Casey Abrams and dude kept throwing down the F bombs. I always thought Idol would be so much better with more swearing. 




HEALTHY ME JOURNEY NEWS

While my weight loss seems to have slowed a little (11.5 pounds gone over 12 weeks), I am losing at a rate of about .5 - 1 pound a week. I HATE that it is a slow process for me but at the same time, I know that this is a healthy, long term way to keep it off. However at this rate, my goal of losing 60 pounds seems insurmountable. I am still following the WeightWatchers program to the letter and am trying to make myself into a runner, which is kind of laughable but I am determined. I started Couch to 5K (thanks to the iPhone app, it makes it pretty easy to follow) and hope that it will be a slow and steady way to get me into it. I plan to do it first on treadmill and then, God willing, it will actually be warm enough for me to do the program outdoors (because yes, I am fully aware that running on pavement is completely different than a treadmill). My bridesmaid dress fitting is less than a week away and I am actually looking forward to it. I know that I have taken inches off my bod and it WILL need to be taken in. That was the first of many goals in this journey and I'm not going to lie: IT FEELS GOOD!!! 

Thought I would show a couple pictures to highlight my progress. The top one is from early December 2010 (a month before I re-joined WeightWatchers for the eleventy-billionth time- I'm on the right). The bottom pic is from 2 weeks ago (again.. me on the right). My face has trimmed out- that is after only 11 lbs! I'm so excited to see pictures after I have made it to goal. Heck. I'm excited that I want pictures of me taken at all.


 
By the way... you can now join up with Mixed Bag of Rant on Facebook! Like it today and join in the rantilicious discussion!

http://www.facebook.com/mixedbagofrant


Have a beautiful weekend!!






March 17, 2011

Spring is Almost Here... I Think... I Hope...

Being a Minnesotan, you get a mixed bag of response when it comes to the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. Some live for our Winters and the playground of skiing and sledding fun that mother nature provides but others (especially by this time of year) cannot wait for it to just be over.

Here are my top 10 Pros and Cons of the Spring Season.

Let's start with the Cons: 
1. The beginning of Spring just looks kinda gross. Muddy. Dirty. Wet. Stinky. Yuck.
2. Road Spray. My car looks disgusting even 2 minutes after pulling out of the car wash.
3. Flooding. I live in the southern metro in the Twin Cities or "across the river" as it is often referred to here. The only negative about moving to this side of town is the annual spring flooding of the river. There is no escaping it. Two alternative main arteries are typically shut down leaving only the main highway which equals an additional 30 minutes (or more) of commute time that lasts for upwards of two months. It is the worst and there is no escaping it if you live "across the river".
4. I have no idea what to dress my kid in. Is he too hot? Too cold? It is confusing.
5. Dog poop. Yup. All that dog poop we neglected to pick up out of the snow all winter long? It's still there and now is basking in all its sloppy glory.

Runner Up Cons: The return of bugs... I hate bugs and having to consider swimsuit season being around the corner. Yikes.

Let's end on a high note. Here are the Pros:
1. Nothing feels as good as driving with the windows down and the moonroof open.
2. Birds. Every year, on schedule, I hear this strange noise like someone threw a rock at my office window. I turn to look and see that my finch friend has returned, confused as ever, trying to fly through my window. 4 years and counting, he still hasn't figured out there is a building there.
3. Being able to walk/run outside (without the fear of getting plowed down by crazy drivers).
4. The start of BASEBALL SEASON and watching Twins games out on our porch.
5. Happy hours on a patio. Nothing better than cool drinks in the warm sun.

Runner up pros include: my birthday (May Day!) and Mother's Day, taking my toddler to the park and of course: MN Zoo babies!

I think it is safe for me to say that the pros of Spring's arrival definitely outweigh the cons for me. Most importantly, I am excited to feel some warmth on my face and just get the heck out of my house. Cabin fever much?

What do you think? Happy for Spring's arrival or sad to let Winter go?


March 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Toddler Lessons

We are making sure that Jack is learning the important things...









Do you have a Wordless Wednesday post you want to share? Let's link up! 


March 15, 2011

Counting Blessings. Saying Prayers.

I feel as though there is so much sadness lately. Along with the rest of the world, I watched the events of the Japan earthquake unfold right in front of my eyes. Between the shocking images of the devastation, the continuing aftershocks and nuclear power plant drama, I am pretty emotionally drained.

An old colleague of mine has a 2 year old daughter, just around 6 months younger than Jack. They recently found she had a brain tumor and she has been documenting her surgery and recovery over the past month or so via her blog. I have been meaning to write about this but can't seem to find the right words to say how much my heart goes out to her family and how many prayers that I have said for Lyla's recovery. I have read a lot of blogs over the past few years from my vast network of online mom friends- some of whom have encountered heartbreaking tragedy with their little ones. I read the story and followed the Twitter of Layla Grace and sobbed uncontrollably when Layla passed. I am constantly amazed at the power of the electronic world we live in and how far of a reach it has. Not since my nephew's newborn fight with meningitis has something hit so close to home. Although my former colleague and I have had good intentions of getting our kids together for a playdate, busy jobs and lives seem to always get in the way. She has kept a wonderful blog about Lyla's life dating back to her pregnancy and I have been following along. When I read about Lyla's condition, my heart just broke for them. I simply cannot imagine my off the charts energetic little boy suddenly being wheeled off for MRIs, being poked and prodded and having to go through brain surgery. The thought of it shakes me to the very core. I am amazed by their strength and their determination in making sure Lyla gets the best care possible and their resolve to make sure she makes a full recovery. Such amazing people. I am praying for them every single day and endlessly checking the blog for updates on her recovery. Lyla is such a tough little girl and I just know she will be okay. 

Between Lyla and Japan, I am choosing not to take a single second for granted. It is easy to get caught up in the insanity of every day. It is easy to get worked up about things that are essentially trivial. Every day that I get to have with my husband and child is a blessing.

Many prayers for Lyla & family, Japan and any others who need them during these sad days.

March 11, 2011

My Weight Loss Journey- An Update

Are you this person?

The person who has clothes from 10 years ago sitting in the bowels of your closet. The pants that, especially after childbirth, you can barely fit your right leg into? The cute shirt that you get over your head and get trapped in because you can't get it off and wondered how you even got in on the first place? The person who swears that if you can "just lose 10 lbs" you'll feel a million times better but several years later you are still working on losing the same 3 lbs over and over?

Well, I am that person. My husband has begged me a million times over to go through my clothes to give away to Goodwill (or several other charities that we have contributed to in the past). Some of them, even considering they are probably out of fashion now, I refuse to part ways with. I have struggled in a millions different ways in losing weight since having Jack, but can now finally claim a small victory.

I lost my first 10 lbs. 11.4 to be precise.

Getting a little brave over the weekend, I pulled down a pair of jeans that I used to wear pre-Jack and not only did they fit, but they were falling off of me. The accidental wrong pants purchase that I made back in December, the ones that I couldn't button? They are a perfect fit. Most of the clothes that I have been wearing for the past two years are significantly baggy on me now. Most of my belts have had to be moved up a notch or two. For the first time in probably 4-5 years I am actually going to buy SHORTS to wear this summer.

This is just a SMALL victory? I call it a small victory only because I have a long way to go to get to goal. Since bringing my weight loss journey to the public eye, I have had some people ask: what is your goal? Not only have I been mildly ashamed of how much I want, ahem, NEED to lose, but it seems like a totally insane goal which is why I haven't said it. Thanks to the support and inspiration of my weekly WeightWatchers meeting group, I feel like I can say it in hopes that saying it to the world will actually help me get there. My goal is to lose 60 lbs.

I'm insane, right?

I've made a thousand excuses for why I could never make it to a healthy weight. Genetics, lifestyle, people telling me that I look smaller than I am so why bother... but I am refusing to accept these excuses anymore. I don't want to get the "look" from my doctor anymore. I don't want to be put into THAT category anymore. I'm done. I often hear that if I lose that much weight I will waste away into nothing. Not true. I've been there before. Granted I was a college freshman, but I've been there before and loved the way I looked. No doubt, I worry about not making my goal because I will simply give up and give in. All I can do is keep doing what I'm doing, because apparently, it's working.

I am surrounded by many friends who talk a lot about wanting to lose weight. If I can offer any unsolicited advice: saying it won't make it real. You have to make an honest commitment and dedicate yourself 100%. I also hear "I've been successful on WeightWatchers before." Me, too and it slays me that I've done it so many times. I'm committed to making this the last time. It can't be a diet- it has to be a lifelong commitment. Period.

I would love to tell you that the journey thus far has been easy, but it hasn't. I am surrounded by temptation at work, driving in my car, at home, out with my friends and it takes every ounce of willpower to make the right choices. My journey hasn't been perfect. I've gone out. I've drank beer. I've had McDonalds (*GASP*). However, I have lost weight (or remained steady) ever since joining and committing to WeightWatchers.

To say that I'm proud of myself is an understatement.

March 09, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Dinnertime Entertainment

Having dinner with Jack is the best time.

Please excuse his manners (talking with his mouth full) and his lack of utensil skills.

video


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Do you have a Wordless Wednesday post to share? Link it up here! 

March 07, 2011

Best Mom Purchase

As soon as I saw the SocialMoms blogging prompt for today, I had to dive in.

What is the best purchase you ever made as a mother? - Did you buy something that benefited mostly you or your kids? How has this purchase made your life easier? How often do you use it?

I wrote a blog post back in August 2009: The Baby Cage and Other Baby Must Haves that went through a bunch of the stuff that I thought was the cat's meow back when our toddler monster was just a baby monster. Narrowing it down to a single product is easy. Not long after I wrote that post we bought a video monitor. This purchase has turned into the single most useful tool thus far in our parenting adventures. 


After what seemed like endless hours of scouring the internet for reviews, I sucked it up and spent the money on the Levana Interference Free Digital Wireless Video Baby Monitor with Night Light Lullaby Camera . We were having tons of sleep issues with Jack from not wanting to go to sleep and waking up crying in the middle of the night and we were totally at our wits end. We got the monitor so we could try doing cry it out. Up until that point, I couldn't do it. The cries would break my heart not to mention my fears- what if something was truly wrong and I ignored it? I kid you not, having a video monitor CHANGED OUR LIVES. I was able to do cry it out because I discovered how bad he was playing us. He would cry, stand up and look at the door, wait for a second to see if we were coming and cry again. I didn't like hearing him cry of course, but he quickly figured out that he was supposed to be sleeping when he was in his bed. We were able to move his naps from our bed and living room (where he slept on a cot similar to the one he had at daycare) and back to his crib. We can see when he is farting around NOT sleeping and be able to go in and intervene. We were also able to immediately tell when he was in trouble. He woke up one night in an obvious panic, struggling to breath. Turns out he had a very nasty case of croup, but we were able to assess the situation immediately and get him to the ER. Even now that Jack is 2 1/2, we still use it every single day. He is still in his crib and although he has yet tried to scale the side, I still have a fear that he will so the monitor is my peace of mind and comfort knowing that he is safe. It is seriously our best purchase ever and worth the extra cost. This particular monitor also has nightlight and we can play lullabies remotely from our receiver which is nice because we can soothe him without having to disrupt his sleep.

Anytime we hear parents say that they don't think a video monitor is worth the cost, we always try to tell them how awesome it is to have one. I know there has been a couple news stories out there about video monitors being unsecure (meaning anyone could drive by, turn on the handheld device and tune in which is yeah... kinda creepy). This was a concern for us when we were doing our shopping so we made sure the one we bought had a secure connection. Yes, I also know the Summer monitors were recalled because of a strangulation hazard. Here's a tip: don't plug it in or connect it right next to or on the crib. We put in a shelf up high and away from the crib and we can still hear and see him just fine on it.

Have I talked you into how awesome video monitors are yet?


I'd love to hear from you! What is your number one mom purchase?

March 03, 2011

Perspective From a Miscarriage Survivor



Possible death penalty for women who miscarry? I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone could think this is okay. I haven't heard much about the details but really, are there any details that could make a law like this right?

Most women who make the decision (or don't make the decision?) to have a baby know the risks. From www.americanpregnancy.org:

For women in childbearing years, the chances of having a miscarriage can range from 10-25%, and in most healthy women the average is about a 15-20% chance.

The first time I got pregnant in 2006, I was totally over the moon. And naive. I never, EVER thought that I would miscarry. It happened quickly at just 6 weeks, but it was long enough to love, long enough to feel, long enough to dream and make plans. To say I was completely crushed when I started miscarrying is an understatement. I don't think I have ever cried as much as I did in that moment and in the days to follow. I didn't know it was possible to love something so much. I couldn't understand it. I still don't. I'm not sure I ever will. I blamed myself for the longest time and researched up and down. What could I have done differently? What did I do to make this happen? Could I have done anything to stop it? The answers: NOTHING and NO. The one answer I consistently found in my research (as well as what I was told by my doctors):


The reason for miscarriage is varied, and most often the cause cannot be identified. During the first trimester, the most common cause of miscarriage is chromosomal abnormality - meaning that something is not correct with the baby's chromosomes. Most chromosomal abnormalities are the cause of a faulty egg or sperm cell, or are due to a problem at the time that the zygote went through the division process.

It would be two and a half long years until I finally got another positive pregnancy test and a first trimester filled with nothing but fear. If I do ever get pregnant again, I'm sure I will go through that fear all over again.

I have since allowed myself some forgiveness, but I have never forgotten. I truly believe that I have a little angel who watches over us and has given me peace.

So dear idiot lawmaker who thinks he has a brilliant idea, until you grow a uterus, shut your hole. A miscarriage sufferer goes through a lifetime of punishment, sadness and fear. Let this serve as a lessons for Americans: DO YOUR RESEARCH when you are voting. It doesn't always have to be Democrat or Republican. Let it be about the things that are important to you. The things you really believe in. Don't vote garbage like this into office.

March 02, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: You Can't Help But Giggle

The laughter of my child is completely infectious.

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My little buddy and I. We sent this to daddy when he had to work late. I don't think he was too into saying cheese for this one.






 
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