Saturday, January 29, 2011

Grammy's Home!!!

I have lots to do on my blog... one of my main goals today (this weekend!) is to figure out how to get to reply to the great comments you all have been leaving for me.  A lovely blogger sent me an email showing me how to do it but as I skimmed over it I thought... I'm going to need to look at this again when I have more time.  LOL.  I've never felt so computer illiterate than since I've started my blog!!!  Anyway... that was just one of the things I had on my "Blog to do list" for the weekend and I hope I get that and at least a few more done.

But... Grammy's home!  Yay!!!  I wasn't expecting her home from Florida until tomorrow but she decided to come home a day early and I'm so excited!  She's already been over this morning for a long needed and missed chat (the phone just isn't the same!) and to get reconnected with the Brodster (he was so excited to see her... she's been gone for a month but he actually saw her car come up in the window when he was playing and started to jump up and down!).  She made Brody lunch and put him down for a nap and she's going to go with me to the girls' basketball (cheerleading) game this afternoon and we're going to check a few things out later too. 

I'm so happy to have my mommy, the best grammy, my best friend, back in town.  I know she needs and much deserves these long breaks she takes (the next one is not too far away... she leaves again for 6 weeks in the middle of March!  That will be a tough one!!) but I really miss her, and the kiddos really miss her when she's gone.

As a (mostly) single mom I really do rely on my parents for a lot of help and I thank God every day that I am lucky enough to have such amazing ones.  I know there are a lot of moms out there, both single and coupled, who either have moms and dads that don't offer much support, or have moms and dads that are too far away to help much, or have moms and dads that aren't around anymore at all and when I think of how much harder, and how much less rich my life would be without my wonderful mom and dad, I remind myself of how lucky I am. 

Are any of your kids as addicted to Grammy as mine are?  LOL.  Ava actually could hardly talk to my mom on the phone while she was gone.  Every time she'd get so excited to talk to her and then when she'd hear her voice she would break down into an inconsolable crying mess.  It was so heartbreaking to go through!  And I know it was really hard on my mom to have her heart pulled out from a thousand miles away like that. 

We tried video chatting a few times but for some reason since Dell replaced my entire hard drive and mother board last month I can't seem to get the microphone to work right so it ended up being more trouble than it was worth.  We'd have to call on the phone at the same time so she could hear us and we'd hear her through the phone and then in speaker through the computer like 3 seconds behind.  Hilarious and chaotic.  LOL.  And every time Brody would see her talking on the computer screen he would climb all over me trying to grab her out of the screen!

SOOO I'm going to hopefully have enough time to get a few more things done on the old blog this weekend but I'm super excited to have something so great tear me away from it a little bit!!  I'll check back in later and let you know what I got accomplished today towards my goals and anything else interesting that happened.  :) 

Getting My Foot To Work Again And Other Random Events Of The Day

So I had my first physical therapy appointment today.  Here's what I have to say about it:  Yuck. Ouch.  Blech.  That basically covers it.  It was kind of interesting; I did learn a lot about my injury and how I'll be building my strength and motion back up.  But aside from that it was like... please quit pushing my foot in all of these directions that it doesn't want to go... But Dave the executioner had his earplugs in.  Or he just didn't care.  Whatever.

While I was starting with these exercises and complaining to myself about how much it hurt I was reminded about something one of my best friends went through about a year and a half ago.  She dove into a pond in a spot she thought was deep... but it wasn't.  She hit her head on the bottom and broke her neck.  It was so scary to get this news and to see her in the hospital dealing with this injury and so scary to think about how lucky she actually was and how so many people who break their necks end up completely paralyzed or even dead.  She was alive and they predicted she would get almost all of her movement back.  And she did.  And I went to the hospital every day I could to sit with her and keep her company and help her in what ways I could (limited ways since I was 7 and 8 months pregnant at the time) and watch as she started a grueling physical therapy process.  And I watched her take steps and then walk and then regain the use of her right arm (the worst affected area from the injury) and so many more miracles.  So I guess I should quit my bitching about some little therapy on my foot and be thankful my injury wasn't worse than it was.

So I have dutifully scheduled my PT appointments for the next 3 weeks out.  Yay me.  Actually I'm looking forward to getting the use of all of my limbs back again.  I'm not going to be able to Live My Best Life until I can get back to being a more mobile mom and also getting back to really working out again so I guess today I started on the first step towards those ends.  Oh btw the therapist told me that I had the most common orthopedic injury in America, and that most people who do this end up doing it 3 or 4 more times in their life.  What an inspirational speaker that one is.

After PT I was tired and sore and I came home to a bored Ava and a yet again not feeling well Brody.  Ava had picked out her own outfit while I was gone (a pretty common theme lately... I try to keep it slightly in check but the girl is quickly following in the footsteps of Punky Brewster).  Here she is checking out her handiwork in the foyer mirror. 

After a quick lunch (grilled chicken salad!) I got the Brodster down for a nap and was aching to do the same.  I set Ava up with some paints and prepared to rest a little while she did her magic, but instead ended up cleaning.  Not quite as relaxing. 

She's so funny when she's drawing or painting.  She won't let me look at what she's working on until she's done.  I convinced her to let me snap these pics of today by promising I wasn't actually looking at the painting I just wanted to get a picture of her doing it. 

So finally I want to talk about snacks.  I love em.  Seriously when I'm counting and watching what I eat I have to make room for several small snacks throughout the day.  Are any of you like this?  I'll eat less at lunch or breakfast or dinner to ensure I get a couple more snacks.  I try to make them pretty healthy and have at least one or two that are fruit, but I also need to have something salty and crunchy every day, particularly at night (particularly while I'm staying up until 3 am reading blogs....).

Tonight I tried something new I bought last week.  Orville Redenbachers Natural buttery salt and cracked pepper mini popcorn bag.  You know, like the ones that are the 100 calorie bags?  Except this bag is 200 calories.  Same size but twice the calories.  I almost didn't buy it when I noticed that but then I remembered seeing someone on Ellen once (I think it was Bob from Biggest Loser) showing Ellen all of these great healthy snacks.  There were several of the 100 cal snacks.  I don't remember what exactly it was but there was something that Ellen said something along the lines of, "this is so small though, and it's so good, I'd want to have like 2 or 3 of them."  And Bob said something like, "so what!  It's 100 calories!  If you want to have 2 once in awhile, have 2 and don't feel guilty about it!"

At least this is how I remember it going.  It's also possible that Bob said something like, "Ellen, NO!  Don't ever even consider having more than 1 of these snacks at any given time on any given day ever!  Don't you know anything about staying healthy?"  I'm not sure.  It's all semantics.  I guess it could have gone either way.  And let's be honest, it's not like Ellen couldn't afford much more than I could to have 2 snacks at a time but let's not dwell on that.  Regardless, I've decided that I'm not going to stress about a 200 cal snack as long as I don't do it all the time. 

ANYWAY my point in all of this is to say that... these salt and pepper little popcorn bags are AMAZING!!!!  I mean seriously good.  Everyone in my family loves popcorn like I love Diet Coke but I've always kind of been able to give or take it.  But I do like salt and pepper flavored chips so I thought I might like this.  And I did.  I highly recommend you go straight to your grocery store and buy a box of this yummyness.

I should probably mention that this is just my opinion of a snack I tried tonight.  I'm not getting paid by the Colonel to tell you about it's yummyness, I just felt the need to pass on a good find.  :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Great New Healthy And Delicious Recipe

When I started my "healthier" eating journey a few months ago, one of my favorite things to make was "healthy" pizzas.  It really made me feel like I was having something kind of sinful and delicious but still fairly good for you. 

Using either a FlatOut flatbread (90 cals, 2.5 g fat, 9 g fiber) or a pita or tortilla that meets roughly the same cal, fat, and fiber requirements, I would spread a wedge of Laughing Cow light garlic and herb cheese (35 cals) over the "crust."  Then I would spread out 1/4 cup of pizza sauce (20 cals).  Then I would sprinkle 1/4 cup of my store brand (Kroger) fat free mozzarellla cheese (50 cals... although I do admit to possibly inflating this serving size to closer to 1/3 cup on occassion... LOL) and then one serving (12 slices) of Bridgford turkey pepperoni (80 cals.. and the best turkey pepperoni I've found by far!).

I bake this little concoction at 425 for 11 minutes and... wham-o.  Let me just say this little pizza is AWESOME.  And it's a great very filling dinner for under 300 calories with a lot of fiber.  Good stuff.  I make it all the time. 

Then I read something about Laughing Cow coming up with a blue cheese flavor that is also just 35 calories per wedge.  I thought... hmm... I have got to get my hands on that so I can try my pizza as a buffalo chicken pizza.  I seem to buy Tyson Southwest flavored fully cooked chicken strips by the barrelful and put them in my lunch salad just about every day, or use them in wraps or some other yummy combo.  These have 120 cals per 3 oz serving.  I thought... I could bake those on top of the flatbread with the blue cheese, buffalo sauce, and fat free mozzarella and it would be amazing.

But... I couldn't find the Laughing Cow blue cheese anywhere.  I looked all over.  I could find some stores that carried some other of the new flavors of Laughing Cow cheeses but never the blue cheese.  Until last week... when I happened to be in a Meijer, a grocery store I tend to avoid at all costs, and was cane-ing my way through the deli area when I saw this blue tinged package of Laughing Cow out of the corner of my eye.  Serendipity!  I had found it!  It was much more expensive there than buying the LC cheese at Kroger or Walmart, but I couldn't resist trying it out.

So tonight, I finally had the chance to try it out.  The FlatOut flatbread, the LC blue cheese wedge, probably 4 tablespoons of Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce (5 cals per tablespoon), the fat free mozz, and topped with 3 oz of the Tyson Southwest chicken strips. 

If you like hot and spicy things, which I do, I HIGHLY recommend you try this!!  I should mention, though.... it was MUCH spicier than I expected it to be.  I drank an entire bottle of water and can of diet coke with my dinner.  LOL.  Maybe a little less buffalo sauce next time... but honestly, I like the spice so... probably not.

It was just delicious.  I am probably going to be having this at least once a week for awhile.  I tend to do much better eating healthy when I eat the same things over and over again, and I really don't get bored with things very often like I know a lot of people say they do when they use that same approach.  But anyway, I digress. 

If you want to try either recipe, please let me know what you think!  :) 

Pepperoni pizza
FlatOut flatbread, pita, or tortilla
Laughing Cow cheese wedge (I use garlic and herb but whatever flavor you prefer)
Pizza sauce
Fat Free mozzarella cheese
Bridgford turkey pepperoni (you can use any brand but I swear I feel like this brand makes the pizza!
Add any veggies you like

Cook for 11(ish) minutes at 425

Buffalo chicken pizza
FlatOut flatbread, pita, or tortilla
Laughing Cow blue cheese wedge
Franks Red Hot buffalo sauce (or store brand or any brand you prefer)
Fat Free mozzarella cheese
Tyson fully cooked chicken strips (I use the Southwest flavored, but whatever you prefer works too!)
Add any veggies you like

Cook for 11(ish) minutes at 425

"Linky" Attempt... I'll Give Myself a C.

Part of my attempts to learn more about blogging has led me to be reading up on "linkys" and "mrlinky" and the like.  I have to say... it seems to be way over my head.  LOL.  But I'm going to try it out and hope to do this right...

I'm participating in a Friday Blog Hop called Fun Follow Friday hosted by Simply Stacie and My Wee View, both pretty cool blogs if I do say so myself.

I have attempted to add this "linky" (is that right? LOL) to this post a few times before I realized there's a little button up there that says "edit html" and... after a quick preview.... I did it!  So I'm still pretty confused about the linky business but I've taken a small step I think!  :)  AND I'm looking forward to meeting new lovely bloggers on this hop!

OK I did just realize after a not quite final preview that I am only showing the blogs listed on the hop but not the intro.  I'm not sure if that's right or not... I feel like I should be including the intro... And the button!  Where is the button?  Ugh... I promise I'm not quite as computer illiterate as I may seem... but html speak is definitely beyond my scope.  So I'm going to copy what I can and paste it here for now and hope that someone will be nice enough to take pity on me and explain what the heck I'm doing wrong!  :)

Welcome to Fun Follow Friday hosted by Simply Stacie and My Wee View. The goal of this hop is to get new Google Friend Connect Followers for your blog and be introduced to new blogs to follow! We wanted to keep it fun and easy so all you have to do is add your blog link and start blog hopping and following away! You aren’t required to write a post for your blog for Fun Follow Friday unless you want to (but we really appreciate it if you do to help get the word out).

When you visit a blog that you like and want to follow, leave them a comment with your link telling them you are following from the Fun Follow Friday. Of course, we would love for you to follow both hostesses blogs, Simply Stacie and My Wee View, but it isn’t mandatory. If you do follow us, just leave us a comment and we will follow you back.

The main goal is to have fun and follow the blogs that interest you!

There are a few fun things that Fun Follow Fridays does each week:

1.  Each week 1 winner will be randomly drawn for the #3 Spot, this week it’s WAHM Resource Site.

Happy hopping along!

Exes, PT, And Housekeeping

OK no worries ladies I got yet another call from the ex today asking if he can claim the girls and I explained as nicely as I could but in no uncertain terms that it wasn't going to happen and that while I hoped it didn't make him start getting nasty about things again that he needed to quit asking about it.  I really didn't feel like I needed to explain my reasons for saying no but I did anyway.  Sooo I can check that off of my to do list for the week... LOL.  In order to Live My Best Life I need to be able to provide for my girls all year long and not feel bad about it.  He needs to figure out how to live his best life on his own. 

I want to thank so many of you for the sweet and heartfelt comments!  I would love to reply to many of them but.. I can't.  Apparently I don't have something set up correctly so I can't reply individually to you I can only leave additional comments.  Another great blogger was sweet enough to point that out to me and offer to help!  Thank you!!  :)  I had tried to reply to a couple and wondered why... LOL.  I keep telling you how green I am at all of this and I'm sure this is something ridiculously simple so don't make too much fun.  :) 

Sooo I start physical therapy tomorrow.  I'm a little nervous, even though I know how important it is for me to get the motion and strength back in my foot, leg, and ankle.  When I was 20 I fell down the stairs and broke my right ankle.  I remember the first couple of days of physical therapy being just about as painful as the break itself.  And that was 13 years ago!  My dad was nice enough to point out that I don't handle pain very well and that I should psyche myself up to work through the pain.  LOL. 

In other physical therapy news... Olivia also has a PT evaluation at our Children's Hospital next week.  Here's the thing about Liv.  She's scared to death of getting hurt.  She fights with everything she has against doing anything that will possibly allow her to fall and hurt herself.  She refuses to learn to ride her bike without training wheels, and she's halfway through first grade.  She doesn't want to learn to jump rope.  She just finally learned to do the monkey bars on the playground and I think it was through sheer peer pressure that she did it because every time I or anyone tried to get her to do them her entire body was clearly gripped with fear.  I could go on.  But I won't.  LOL

At the end of the 1st quarter of school her P.E. teacher mentioned that she had some worries about her gross motor skills as she seemed to fight against things like skipping, hopping, galloping, etc.  At the end of the 2nd quarter she mentioned that she continued to see problems in this area and they were going to evaluate her further.  Both times both her P.E. and her classroom teacher mentioned they weren't sure if it was completely a gross motor issue or if it was somehow related to her ADHD because her fear of failure is very symptomatic of that.  But now they feel like it's possibly more than that.  And her pediatrician thinks we should have her evaluated and possibly have her work with a physical therapist a little.

I think it's a great idea.  Olivia does a pretty good job at gymnastics but her fear clearly holds her back.  There are a lof of things she refuses to do and keeps her from learning certain skills.  And she loves gymnastics so I think that if she could learn to control herself better and let go of some of this fear it will really help her self esteem.  Also she's going to be in 2nd grade next year, the poor girl needs to be able to ride a bike.  LOL.  There are many reasons I think she can benefit from this PT so as concerned I am for her to see what kind of limitations she might have, I'm just as excited to see how she can progress.

I actually used this as an example of out of pocket medical costs when talking with my ex tonight.  A pretty decent portion of the therapy may not be covered.  He didn't think that the fact that she can't skip is something we should worry about and thought I shouldn't worry about paying for PT for her.  I said, I don't care if she knows how to skip or not.  But kids learn to skip and hop and jump to gain gross motor skills and control that will help them with other things in life.  He didn't really see the importance of it, but he doesn't have an education degree to know more of how child development is gaged and why certain things are more important than others and more importantly, he doesn't spend 98% of his year with Olivia and see how things like that do have a bigger effect on her than just not being able to skip.

Anyway... Olivia got an A- on her math test today that we studied very hard last night and this morning for so I was a very happy mommy!  Also I got an email from her teacher today telling me what a great job she did paying attention and staying on task in class today which really made my whole week.  Love that girl!  She struggles a lot with a lot of things but man she can really surprise you!  :)  She has her weekly spelling test tomorrow... she's gotten 100% on all but a couple of those this year (spelling is our saving grace! LOL) but this week they've added writing sentences using the spelling words in the sentences and all the words will be checked for spelling... we did some practice sentences but I hope she stays focused tomorrow morning for the test so she can do well on that part of it too! 

She told me today that they're not learning about the planets in science anymore.  They might be learning about the weather but she can't remember.  She knows for sure they are learning about dinosaurs.  Oh yeah and did I know that dinosaurs are extinct and they never lived at the same time people lived or they'd have eaten them?  LOL.  :)  I really love when she spits out random facts she's learned to me! 

OK so ex dealing, test studying, and doctor conferencing were pretty much all that was accomplished today.  OH and I did get the entire downstairs of my house cleaned!  Toilets and all! 

A pretty happy kiddo.  :)

Legos... one of her fave things...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Woman Freebies!

OH!!  Check out this great site I just found!

Lots of free samples, contests to enter for cash and prizes, and great coupons!

My Son... Well Rounded Individual Already At Age 1

Today I'm going to try and devote some time to figuring out this whole blog thing.  Obviously I can't stop writing on my blog (I know my posts are like 89 pages long!  Just like when I start talking... when I start writing... I can't seem to stop!!! LOL) but I really want to try and learn some things about how to set it up to look more like I want it to and to figure out how to get on with some companies to do reviews and giveaways. 

I have gotten so many great tips and suggestions from all you bloggers out there personally as well as just really seeing things I love on all the sites I keep happening upon.  I know I've said it before and I'll say it again... I've quickly become addicted to reading all the wonderful blogs!  It was another 4 am night (morning) up reading blogs when I promised myself I would go to bed by midnight! 

Maybe (hopefully) by the end of the weekend you'll see some changes in at least the look of my blog.  Maybe not... if I can't figure out how to make the changes I actually want but... here's hoping.  :)  I am really starting to love the blog thing and I know it's something that is helping me to Live My Best Life... getting all my ramblings out there is proving to be something I really look forward to each day.

So this morning my dad (who has been coming over in the mornings to help me get the kids ready since I've had the leg injury) made a joke to Brody about his drinking out of the pink princess sippy cup.  Do any of you moms do this?  I promise, when we leave the house, I make sure he has a Toy Story or Cars or some other "boy" type sippy cup but at home I just give him the first cup I pull out of the cabinet.  He doesn't care!  And since he has 2 older sisters, my Princess sippy cup collection was already quite vast by the time he came around sooo...

It's so funny though because we've always kind of joked and laughed at how cute he is with the girls' toys.  Remember, by the time he graced (surprised!) me with his presence I had an almost 4 year old and a 5 year old girl and I quite literally had an entire playroom full of very girlie type toys.  Brody is slowly building up his collection of cars and trucks and balls and things, but he likes to go into the girls playroom and play with them and therefore, their toys.  He's just so cute I just crack up at the fact that he often loves to carry around one of the girls' purses, and for a long time he woudln't dare be without a baby in his arms.  One of his favorite things to do is have the pink stethoscope around his neck and also, strangely, put underwear on his head!  When he first did this I thought, this Animal House behavior starts young!  LOL 

He's quite the boy's boy too, don't get me wrong.  His two favorite things in the world are balls and dogs and he loves to kick the ball around and he is built like and already nearly as strong as a left tackle.  He loves to climb and get dirty and throw things.  Of course his favorite toy is probably his toy vacuum and he is showing a penchant for gymnastics too.  :)  He is his own child in so many ways and he learns from his sisters in so many ways as well.  I think this is going to make him a very well rounded boy and man.  Because we are a family of football coaches and players, I hope this turns out to be what he decides to do.  But if he decides to play in the band or be an artist or sing in the choir or play baseball or do gymnastics or run track I'll be just as happy and proud.  Heck maybe he'll do all of them!  :)

Anyway... I just wanted to post a few pictures of him showing his wide interest in all different kinds of things.  :)  The boy seriously cracks me up all the live long day... 

UGH most of the pics aren't loading.  I'll try to post the rest later.  I got one on here of him climbing on top of his sisters' desk the other day (I've since removed the chair from the playroom!).  A friend of mine said, "are you more disconcerted by the fact that he climbed on top of the desk or his penchant for playing with Barbies?"  LOL DEFINITELY the climbing!  The boy scares me to death!!!

Mostly Venting...

OK today I just have to vent a little bit.  I've mentioned already that my ex-husband and I have a pretty tumultuous relationship.  He is very Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and you truly never know which one you're going to get on any given day.  But he's been fairly easy to deal with for the past several months and I attribute a lot of that to the girlfriend he has had.  He's worked me on changing his days for visitation when needed without putting up a fight and hasn't started any arguments in a few months and has been fairly friendly during pickups and drop offs.  I haven't even gotten any vicious texts of voice mails in awhile.

I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop, and this week, a big steel toed hiking boot crashed to the floor.  First of all, apparently, the girlfriend broke up with him.  I don't know why yet... but I'm on a mission to find out.  I guess it's been going on for several weeks.  He's been making a lot of excuses as to why she hasn't been sleeping at their apartment, but she's still been around quite a bit to pick up or drop off the kids and whatnot, so although I was starting to get suspicious, I believed it.  It's amazing that after 10 years of being lied to by him that he is still able to convincingly lie to me from time to time.

Last Friday before he came to pick up the girls for their overnight visit, he called me to ask if he could claim both or at least one of the girls on his taxes this year.  Apparently his car has completely died and he has no funds to try and replace it or pay a car payment so he thought if he could get that tax credit he could pay cash for some sort of clunker with his return. 

Let me just mention a couple of things here... When we first split up we owned a house that he agreed to pay half of the payment for until it sold, and 10 months later when our divorce finally went through that was something that went into our divorce agreement.  Which would have been fine except he had stopped paying his half consistently a few months before.  It was kind of hit or miss or he would pay part of it but he certainly wasn't keeping up his end of the bargain.  And a couple of months after the divorce was final he was let go from his job (again) and stopped paying anything at all.  Oh yeah... obviously the child support stopped at that point too.  I didn't sell the house for another 6 months after he stopped making payments and I went almost 4 months with little to no child support.  Needless to say my credit card bills started piling up and I finally agreed to sell the house on a short sale adding to the credit problems that were already starting to stack because of all of this.

Also in my divorce agreement he was to cover the girls under his insurance and pay half of their medical bills.  He has never done either of these.  Except for the following summer when he finally got another job but it paid significantly less so he filed to have his child support payments lowered.  This was granted.  At the hearing, he said he wanted to insure the girls because he was under a court order to do so, oh and wouldn't that give him an even bigger cut on his support payments?  OK and yes, was their response.  Oh, and then wasn't he legally allowed to claim the girls on his taxes he wondered?  Um, no.  My lawyer actually almost spit a drink out at this point laughing as he realized what this was all about.  Anyway... child support successfully cut... a LOT... and he took over insuring the girls.  Except 3 months later he got fired from that job too.  No more insurance.  That was nearly 3 years ago.  In the 4 years since we've been divorced those 3 months were the only time he's ever insured them.  He still gets the credit for insuring them, by the way.  He's also not paid one dime of any of their medical bills, even the 2 surgeries our younger daughter needed for tonsils and adenoids.  I have a high deductible plan so our (my) cost of those was pretty high both times.  He stated that since I was the custodial parent and he didn't have custodial rights how was he to know if our daughter really needed the surgeries or not or if her doctor and I just cooked up that scheme?  Seriously.  This is what he said. 

He was without a job that time for about 3 months and then a year later lost another job and was without that one for 4 months.  No child support for me during any of that time.  He has actually had a job now for about 2 years and with his tax return last year he finally caught up on his arrears so he is only paying the small amount he got them to negotiate down during that hearing 3 years ago.  And not a penny more.  He says he pays child support and that covers everything they could possibly need.  So nothing extra ever for school clothes (or new clothes at all for our older daughter who needs an entire new wardrobe 4 times a year... thank God the younger one can wear some hand me downs!), school supplies, school fees, school lunches, school pictures, activities, sports, or anything else... including... again... his half of their medical and doctor's bills.

So I struggle.  Constantly.  I want to provide my kiddos with fun toys and nice looking clothes and shoes and the opportunity to be in gymnastics and take baton or whatever, and get school pictures for the family, and, well... make sure they're healthy.  So pretty much all of my extra (and often not exactly extra... LOL) money goes to this end.  And we are very lucky that my dad pitches in a lot to make sure that even if I can't swing gymnastics that month, that they still get to go, or that they get new winter coats and boots even when I am having trouble making those purchases.  So thank God for Papa.  And for Grammy who provides free babysitting almost every time we need it and often takes us all to dinner or to movies or other ways to have fun and get out of the house. 

Anyway...  back to my ex.  I have asked him many many many times over the years to contribute to any of these extras and have always been met with, nope, that's what child support is for.  I won't give the amount he pays, but... it's certainly nowhere near "half" of what the normal everyday costs of raising 2 kids are without any of the extras.  So he doesn't contribute and I've just gotten used to not expecting that he ever will.  But... now he wants me to let him claim the girls on his taxes this year.  I truly feel bad that he's going through such financial dire straits right now but... I really can't even believe he'd ask.  I said, I'm sorry, I really am, but I can't do it.  I use my tax return basically as income... I divvy it up over the 12 months and it's what enables me to make ends meet, for the most part, and that includes paying for extras for the girls and their medical bills.  I knew as soon as I said it, that things were about to change.

When he picked the girls up that afternoon he was short with me, rushed the girls out of the house, and wouldn't talk at all.  Then I got a few short texts later that evening and the next morning regarding how the girls were doing (they were still sick that day... the one thing he did actually say to me when he picked the girls up was to ask if I would give him my children's Motrin so he could give that to them that night without having to buy any....).

So anyway back to the girlfriend.  Here's how I found out they broke up.  After the girls got home Saturday afternoon I asked them what they did at daddys.  At this point Olivia burst into tears because daddy told her that girlfriend had gone into the woods and a wolf asked her to go with him and she decided that she would go with him so now she was with a wolf and what if he was eating her?  Um, I'm sorry, what?  She was inconsolable worried about girlfriend.  I convinced her that she wasn't with a wolf and that she was fine but all I could think was, what in the H did he tell these girls?? 

I called him to ask when the girls were in the kitchen having a snack.  He explained that he didn't mean to scare them... they had just been asking questions for the past few weeks and he realized that it was over for good and he was going to have to tell them something.  So he tried to put it into Disney terms.  Seriously.  That's what he said.  I said, um... whatever.  Liv is really scared for girlfriend, I'll explain to them that she won't be around anymore, and that she is not, in fact, being eaten by a wolf.  Thanks, he said.

Fast forward to today.  He called again to ask if he could at least claim one of the girls on his taxes because he really needed to buy a car and he wasn't sure how else he could do it.  I couldn't talk when he called, we were in the middle of homework and the baby was crying about something.  He got pretty upset then that I couldn't talk about it and hung up.  And I was left there thinking, am I wrong?  Should I be helping him out and letting him do this?  I swear if I were in the position to do so I would help him, even though he's a big part of the reason that I have been dealing with credit card and credit issues for the past 4 years.  I would do it.  But I just can't.  I mean, my van is 9 years old with 150K miles on it.  I need a new one badly but there's no room in the budge for a car payment right now.  Last year it needed over $1500 in repairs, over half of which my parents lent me so I could keep it in good running condition... but let's be honest... it could die any minute and then I'm without a vehicle and I'm the full time caregiver for 3 young children.  Plus... I mean, seriously!? 

In any case... now he's angry, and I'm reluctant to have things go back to the way things were.  But I'm sure I will have lots more to tell on this issue in the coming weeks... stay tuned... LOL

By way of Living My Best Life today... I basically spent all of my free time today researching ADHD and side effects of both the disease and the medications used to treat it, and education options for my daughter as I try to figure out what will be the best way to ensure she gets the best help she can get while she deals with what is clearly a pretty severe case of the awful thing.  Part of Living My Best Life for this year entails making her life better and helping to give her the tools she needs to succeed and handle this disease.  There is a lot going on with that right now... I may blog about that more later once I decide on any possible new course of action. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Best Made Plans... Well, You Know The Rest.

This past winter I had the brilliant idea to get some pics taken of all of the grandkids to give to our parents for Christmas.  I know that none of us are as good as we should be at getting pictures taken, printed, handed out, etc., and my parents often complain that they don't have anything to frame or show off.  I knew this would be a great hit for them.

I started trying to plan this in September.  My 2 sisters and I all live in the same town but my brother lives about 3 hours away so we would have to find a time that we could all be in the same place without our parents (who live in the same area as my sisters and I) knowing something was up with my brother's family being around.  My brother coaches football so his first answer was: anytime after football season.  So that took us to November.  Also, his 3 kids and my older sisters 2 kids are involved in a crazy amount of sports and activities, and my 2 little girls are just starting to get into that kind of thing as well so planning around all of their weekend sports and activities proved to be a HUGE challenge.  We wanted to do an outdoor shoot but not have it be "Christmas-y" so the pictures would be more timeless to display all year round.  Planning for an outside photo shoot in Ohio in the fall or winter, or any time of year, really, is a crapshoot.  This whole thing was proving near impossible. 

The funny thing is, my mom is my biggest confidant and I see her almost every day.  She would often catch me in a state of total frazzled-ness from dealing with one of my siblings or from trying to find just the right outfits for my kids or whatever and would ask why I was so stressed and I kept making up excuses as to why.  LOL

Finally we had a date worked out, the first Sunday in December, but a few days before our scheduled visit with the photog my nephew had a hockey game rescheduled and we were really under the gun to get our session rescheduled.  We somehow managed to work it out for the following Sunday, giving the photographer less than a week to get everything together and get back to us with at least a CD of the pics that we could print from before our family Christmas that next Saturday.

Everything was set.  I worked hard planning this right down to the color scheme, and with my own kids that included everything right down to their hair bows.  I was very excited not only to do this for my parents but also to have some great professional pics of my kids, something I've never done before.

Then that Saturday before our pics it started raining.  Like all day raining.  And snow was predicted for the night and next day.  We had actually had a very nice fall and any weekend for about the previous 6 weeks would have worked out pretty well.  It hadn't really snowed yet and the rain we did get was hit or miss  and the weather had been fairly mild.  Not this time though.  It rained nonstop for about 24 hours.  The temperature dropped about 40 degrees over that Saturday night.  Then, just as we were leaving early Sunday morning it started snowing.  Like, really snowing.  By the time we got to the shoot location (which the photographer maintained we shouldn't change because she was sure we could work around it) the ground had about 3" of snow on it and the snow was still coming down. 

My girls, who my younger sister and I had painstakingly made sure had perfect hair that morning, were quickly looking as if they had spent the morning, well, in a snowstorm.  They were in dresses and it was cold and they were really getting unhappy.  Both of my girls tend to be hams and love to have their pictures taken but that morning it was obvious that in addition to everything else Olivia wasn't feeling well, and with the snow and the cold and her being tired from getting up so early, she wasn't having it.  And then Brody.  Ugh.  My sweet, adorable, handsome Brody who is always smiley and happy started screaming unless I was holding him.  And I wasn't going to be in most of the pics so that was a problem.  And soon, he was even crying if I was holding him if it looked like the photographer was getting anywhere near us.

My kids totally fell apart.  I fell apart.  I actually started crying I was so stressed and overwhelmed and upset about the whole thing.  My sisters were telling me that it would be fine and the pics would turn out great and our parents would love them no matter what.  True.  But all of the other kids were going to look amazing.  My kids were going to look cold, sick, tired, mad, and quite literally.. snotty.

I finally gave in to the failure and just went with it.  I wasn't thrilled but I figured there wasn't much I could do at that point.  As the shoot went on (admittedly it went much faster than planned because the poor photog was trying to work as quickly as possible so we could all get warm again) my kids looked worse and worse.  Well, Olivia and Brody did, Ava actually held up pretty well. 

The pictures came back and... I was disappointed I have to admit.  My nieces and nephews had some amazing, beautiful shots and I was envious of that.  My kids pictures were a little, well... less beautiful.  LOL.  They were still amazingly cute and adorable because they are beautiful kids and that's hard to miss even when they looked so upset and sick but they weren't exactly what I was hoping for. 

But I quickly got used to them and realized that even though they were slightly less than perfect, they were still pretty amazing.  My kids are little and the day was pretty hard for them but they were troopers and did the very best they could.  We're going to have a reshoot this spring because the photographer, such a sweetie, felt so bad about our snowstorm shoot.  :)  Hopefully my kids will fare better then!! 

I haven't yet put any pics on my blog so hopefully I can make this work.... LOL.  Here are a few of the pics from the day.  Mine are the littlest 3 and the rest are my nieces and nephews.  I'm including also a pic of Ava and my her wonderful Aunt Lindsey because Ava was the only one who would pose for anything at all and this cute little shot turned out to be one of my faves from the day.  :)

Fellow Bloggers I Need Your Help!

OK seasoned bloggers with extra time on your hands... I'm reaching out to you to try and learn some things.

I just started blogging a few weeks ago, and in the process of "learning to blog" I've learned that... there's a LOT I don't know about blogs!  I've also learned that every time I try to take the time to look around online for tips on how to get my blog site set up the way I want to, I end up getting sucked in to reading all the other blogs I stumble upon, because they're all so great!

SOO.... I'm asking for your help... There is so much I'd like to do with my blog but I am feeling a little overwhelmed in trying to figure it all out so I'm going to put some questions out there to see if I can learn a few things from some of you.  If you feel like answering one or more of my questions I would really love it!

1. I've seen a lot of great blog sites where there are tabs to get to different areas of the blog.  How do I do this?  I've messed around with the design aspect of blogger and apparently I keep doing it wrong because I'm not reaching the end result I'm looking for.

2. Something else I'm loving on other blogs is the way you amazing bloggers out there are grouping your blogs together.  By this I mean... you have a list of headings that group together so many posts about that particular heading, usually followed with the number of blogs that can be found there.  Again, I've tried to see what I can find on how to do this on blogger but so far all I can find is how to change the separation by date, but not more specific headings.  Am I making sense?  How do I do that? 

3. I want to create a button for myself.  I've found some great sites that outline how to set up a button, but this is something that definitely overwhelms me.  I have an idea of what I want, I'm just not sure how to put it together.  An amazing and very sweet blogger offered to make my button for me (thanks amazing and very sweet blogger...!!! I don't want to list your name in case you don't want people bugging you with requests to make their button but I totally will give you more "proper props" if you would like that to be out there! LOL) but I hate to burden her with making the whole thing for me, so if I can figure out how to do it I'd love it.  :)

4. How do all of you wonderful bloggers get so many products to review and giveaway?  I LOVE reading your reviews and I LOVE giving my opinion on products, especially mommy and family related products, so I would LOVE to figure out how to get started with things like that! 

5. I swear I had like 30 questions when I started this post but it's now 3:30 a.m. and I guess I've forgotten 26 of them.  So I guess this is a good start anyway.  But if you can think of any other suggestions I'm totally open to them!!  :) 

Thank you SOOO much for your help, bloggers!  If you'd rather inbox me instead of leaving a comment, please do so at

Thanks!!!  I hope that soon my blog starts to look a little more streamlined and exciting than it does now.  :)

A New Challenge-- 52 Weeks of ME!

So I was checking out a great blog today that I found recently.  It was called Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas (, a name that I love!  I somehow linked to her site from one of the million blogsites I've been scouring lately (because I've become completely blog addicted... I read a post on one blog, I link to 20 different blogs that one mentions, and suddenly I'm up until 3 am reading blogs!  Am I alone here?? LOL).  I immediately thought, hey, I have 2 posh lil divas, too, I need to check this lady out!

Anyway... I read through several of her posts and she has a lot of great things to say, but here's something that really caught my eye: a link in her list of blog labels (something I'm trying to figure out how to set up on my blog to begin with...) titled "52 Weeks of ME."  I was immediately intrigued because I thought, that sounds kind of similar to what I'm trying to do... I'm going to check it out.

What I found was that it was something similar to my self-imposed challenge but in a slightly different fashion.  First I should mention that Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas (MT2PLD) found this challenge on another blog, Life Not Finished (, another blog I of course linked to and loved.  Anyway... the Dolli-Mama has of course noticed that, like every single mom I know, not much of her time and her life is very much about her anymore... the kids have taken over! 

So she decided to do ONE thing for herself each week that "makes me feel more like me and less like mom."  I LOVE IT.  And I'm all over that challenge.  I told MT2PLD that I really felt like this tied into the challenge that I have already set for myself.  I have already blogged once or twice about trying to take some me time and how much that means to me because it is so hard to come by.  I know that it's important for us moms to know that taking a little mommy time out doesn't make us worse moms, it makes us better moms, and if I'm a better, happier mom, I'm one step closer to Living My Best Life. 

Like the 2 moms I've mentioned here I can picture myself not that long ago... thinner (never "thin!" LOL), no grey hair, makeup always done, legs always shaved, tan, moisturized, eyebrows freshly waxed, dressed nice complete with matching earrings and necklaces, and so on and so on.  These days it's a good week if I get 4 showers.  It's a great week if I get makeup on my face once.  It's an amazing week if I shave my legs once.  The greys are poking through, my tanning salon has likely forgotten I exist, my eyebrows haven't been waxed in 3 months, I re-wear the same few things every week that are fitting ok right now and that I don't get too upset that end up covered in Brody's constant stream of snot by the end of the day, and if I even dared to wear necklaces around Brody he'd be eating beads within moments and if I dared to wear earrings around Brody I'd be dealing with ripped earlobes before you could say boo.  So things are a bit different.

I just don't have the time or the energy anymore!  My days are now spent feeding, dressing, diapering, teaching, crafting, teeth and hair brushing, snack fixing, reading, refereeing, chasing, fixing, Disney movie watching, homework assisting, working, and now... blogging.  (LOL)  And because I've been kind of (read: extremely) unhappy with and unsure of my current situation with boyfriend, I know I've let things go even more than I probably would otherwise. 

So I'm adding a challenge for myself to the challenge I have already challenged myself with.  :)  In my quest to Live My Best Life I'm going to take some time to do at least one thing just for ME every single week for 52 weeks.  I'm excited to add this to my weekly challenges because there are so many different things I could do for myself I just have to take the time and put forth the effort to do it.  Here's to 52 weeks of ME ladies! 

If you'd like to join me in this challenge, I'm going to attempt to link to Dolli-Mamas challenge.  Check it out and take some time for YOU too!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Physical Therapy, Here I Come!

I made it to my ortho appointment today... good new!  No surgery!  Yay.  I was thinking this was the way it was going to go but I was still nervous and anxious to make sure.  That's the good news.  The bad news?  For the next EIGHT weeks I have to go to physical therapy 3 times a week!  When they gave me the prescription I actually said "jeez-o-pete."  I couldn't believe that I would need that much!  Not that I'm the expert on how much physical therapy an injury takes but still... blech.

I'm glad to be progressing with the healing of my foot.  Although not long after my ortho appointment I was hobbling through a Kroger parking lot with my cane over snow and ice and... wouldn't you know it... I slipped!  I caught myself, I didn't go all the way down, but it was enough to hurt pretty bad.  Luckily I was getting in my car and heading home at that time but ohmygosh it hurt.  Not to mention the fact that I slipped on the carpet in my living room last night.  I'm scared to death that my clumsiness is going to set me back in the recovery process!  I want my arms and legs back.  Like, now. 

I did do a great grocery trip after the doc's appointment though.  Lots of fruits and veggies.  Lots of healthy snacks.  Lots of good food for my kick back to healthy eating.  I ate good today.  Fiber One bar.  Apple.  Jerk Chicken with corn salsa and brown rice.  5 Triscuits.  LOL.  That is a serving of Triscuits! 5!  I'll bet you think, like I once did, oohh Triscuits, those are good for you.  Hah.  Ya as long as you only have 5 of them at a time!  I could eat a whole box of the Fire Roasted Tomato ones on any given day.  But I just ate 5.  :)

I am starting back to work next Monday.  It has been nice to have some time off, even though I spent half of it in serious pain and the other half either snowed in or dealing with sick kids or snowed in with sick kids... It hasn't really been a great time.  Not that you should have too much fun while being off work with an injury but this has been pretty tough.  I've hardly left the house in 5 weeks and it has been kind of lonely and I am definitely getting cabin fever but hopefully as my foot gets stronger I can start to venture out a little more.  Today I did the Kroger trip on the boot with the cane and even if I hadn't slipped and hurt myself I was in major pain just from all the walking on it. 

In other news, mom gets back from Florida Saturday!  Yaaay!  I can't wait.  Although it will be interesting to see how she reacts to Brody's new found strength and all-around rambunctiousness.  I know she's going to tell me she wants to give up her Mondays with him because he will wear her out too much.  I can totally understand that!  He is hard to keep up with!  Hopefully she can hang a little while longer; I love that he gets to spend one day a week with his awesome grammy. 

Oh, Brody can do flips.  He's 15 months old.  This seems a little crazy, no?  :)

Alrighty well that's all for today.  PT scrips and healthy food.  Not a bad all around day, I guess.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Diet Starts Today (Again!)

Last Sept 6 I started a weight loss mission that for the most part was going pretty well for me.  I'm both proud and embarrassed to say that by Dec 17 I had lost 40 lbs.  Proud because, come on, I lost 40 lbs in less than 3 1/2 months and I had worked hard to do it.  Embarrassed because, it was barely the start of my journey.

I have always struggled with weight, to a point, but up until I had Olivia I was pretty comfortable in my skin.  I liked my curves (most of them! LOL), I was able to wear a lot of cute things that were basically in the "normal" size range (if not close to and sometimes just tipping over into "plus sizes"), and I'd never really had a problem meeting men (although clearly I did have a problem meeting good men!), so while it was always an area I wanted to work on I never felt too much of a huge need to commit too much to the change. 

That changed after Olivia.  I had 50 lbs to lose after I had her and it did not come off easy.  Well I did probably lose 25 of it in the first month or two, but probably by month 4 those 25 lbs had creeped back on and there was no longer a baby on board.  It took 8 more months to lose that 50 lbs.  And precisely at that point I found out I was pregnant with Ava.  Another 50 lbs later I had another beautiful baby girl.

Even while I was pregnant with Ava it was clear that my marriage was falling apart.  Shortly after she was born it was beyond obvious there wasn't much hope.  We officially spit up when she was about 8 months old.  I hadn't lost one of those 50 lbs by then.  But after we finally decided to split up, it was like a weight was lifted, and I could focus on me for a change (me and the girls, that is!).  Within 6 months I had lost that weight, and I felt better about myself than I had in a long time.  I still could've lost 30 or so more lbs, but that was the extra weight I had always carried and I was happy to be fitting in to all of my cute clothes again and buying some more and really enjoying dating for the first time in about 8 years. 

Then I met the boyfriend.  And things were great.  Really really great.  He was great and fun and we went out all the time and had great times together.  And we ate a lot.  So I started to put a little weight back on, but not too much.  Everyone says that when you're happy you put on weight.  I guess that's true for me.  But then again you know how so many people say things like, "I was so upset I couldn't eat," or "I was so stressed I didn't eat for days," and lovely things like that?  Ya... that wasn't me.  If I put on a little weight by being happy, being sad and stressed and upset was my biggest downfall. 

And soon that's when that began.  Every time I got sad or upset or stressed about the boyfriend, I would eat.  And the weight really began to creep back on.  It got to the point I was so sad and upset all the time and suddenly I weighed as much as the day I had Olivia.  And I was having these daily struggles with myself... I should break up with him... no, things can go back to the way they were in the beginning I'm sure of it... no, he's never going to change, obviously he just spent the first 6 months of our relationship putting on a show--just long enough to make me fall hard in love with him... no, the girls are really starting to love him, I need to figure out how to make this work.  All of this went on for awhile and honestly, I think it's safe to say we would've broken up given another week or 2 but... then suddenly I was pregnant.  Woops!

So here I was, heavier than I'd ever been in my life while not pregnant, and I was pregnant again.  This was not good.  I was just getting huge.  I was really going to try not to gain another 50 lbs because I just couldn't afford it!  I gained about 25 lbs in the first 7 months... not too bad.  But then I was hospitalized with pre-eclampsia for a week and put on bedrest for 6 weeks after that.  In those last 2 months I gained another 15 lbs.  Still not a 50 lb gain, but a 40 lb gain at my starting weight was not pretty either.

The hospital and the bedrest were really hard on me emotionally.  The boyfriend and I still hadn't moved in together and he could barely force himself to stay at the hospital with me for long.  He didn't think it was weird... he just didn't really think he needed to be there that much I guess.  And then while I was on bedrest he still messed around half the time making up every excuse possible not to be at my place helping out with anything and my mom and dad were of course pulling double duty filling in for what we were all finding out was his very lazy and selfish self.  It was so hard on me and so embarrassing it was always like, is boyfriend going to be there after work?  Oh, um, no, he has to um, help a friend do something tonight.  Or some other lame excuse all the time.  I spent half of my bedrest making excuses for him and trying to keep the peace between him and my parents and the other half eating. 

After Brody was born I lost about 10 or 15 lbs but after that I couldn't lose anything.  Not one pound.  I hadn't started exercising (never really my strong suit) but no matter how good I ate and watched my portions and calories and everything else I couldn't nudge even one pound off my body.  It was as if it was saying to me, you know what? I'm happy at this size, get used to it.

I didn't really get used to it but I did start to think it was useless to fight it.  Plus there was the matter that I had gotten so depressed with the boyfriend that I was eating ice cream by the half gallon and cheese by the block and crackers by the box.  I've never actually felt depressed before.  Sure I'd been sad about things and unhappy from time to time and stressed out more often than I'd like but full on depressed was not something I was ready for, but I think it's something I've been dealing with since Brody has been born.  Not because of Brody, but because I realized I should've let this go long ago.  I was scared at the time but I could've done it on my own.  I have a great support system in my parents and as hard as it would've been we would've made it work.  As it stands I stayed with him and my parents have basically had to fill in to be the second parent around the house more often than not anyway, but now the girls are really attached to him and we've completely joined our lives together.

So of course, I kept on eating.  Of course I had soon gained back the little I had lost of the baby weight to begin with.  I realized that no matter how upset I was and stressed and depressed about whatever turn my life was going to take at this point and no matter how many problem I had with the boyfriend that things had really gotten out of control and I had to take control again not only for myself but also for my kids.  They deserve a healthy mom and I needed to be that healthy mom for them.

So on September 6 I started my journey.  I didn't start working out I just started kind of following the weight watchers plan and walking the parking lot during my breaks at work.  I didn't join weight watchers, but my sister set up a spreadsheet on how to figure out points, how many points I got, how many points certain foods were, etc., and I tried to follow it.  I lost almost 25 lbs in the first month.  After that it started coming off MUCH more slowly and a few weeks later with only another few lbs lost I realized I had to add working out to the mix.  So I finally started using my exercise bike and started doing Zumba for Wii at night and anything else I could figure out how to work into my schedule.  And by December 17, I had lost 40 lbs, which was my first goal.  I was finally to my pre-Brody weight.  My next goal would be halfway to my pre-Olivia weight, then all the way to pre-Olivia weight, and this time, I decided, for good measure, another 20 lbs after that.  I didn't just want to lose the weight this time.  I wanted to lose the weight and actually get my body healthy and in shape and I knew that was going to make all the difference in both keeping the weight off but also in staying healthy for my kids and promoting being healthy in my kids.

Then on December 19, I slipped on the ice and ended up in a cast with crutches.  No more workouts.  And I couldn't carry things and it was too difficult for me to get all of the ingredients out of my fridge or cabinet to make the things I had started to enjoy and get used to making over the last few months.  And not surprisingly, the boyfriend was no help.  He literally couldn't be bothered to realize that I even needed help.  I would be sitting in my recliner with my leg elevated and he would make himself a meal and come in and sit down in the chair across from me... and never even ask if I wanted or needed anything.  So I would start taking trips to the kitchen myself and grabbing a bag of chips that I could carry with my crutches or I would sit in the kitchen and grab cheese and crackers and make my meals. 

My mom or sometimes boyfriend would make sure the kids had dinner, I was another story.  My mom was usually so exhausted from spending most of her days at my house, from getting there early to get the kids up and ready for school to staying and helping to clean and get the baby upstairs and back down from his nap and then picking up the kids, by the time boyfriend got there she usually bolted to try and rest and relax, assuming that surely this would be the time he would finally step up.  Not so much though.  He even had really gotten bad at even trying to make something good for the kids.  For awhile there he had gotten into kind of the hang of helping by making dinners and had started to get better at making more family type meals.  But suddenly it was pizza rolls and soup and macaroni for the kids and nothing for me.  Not only was this hard for me because obviously, I could've used the help, but also because I didn't really want this to be what the kids dinners became. 

After my mom left for Florida there have been a lot of nights when my dad and stepmom have helped out with getting dinners for the kids so that's been good, but I still hadn't gotten back on my healthy eating track for myself.  I haven't been on a scale since December 17 and I'm afraid to because I know I've gained some of the weight back.  I've been putting off even thinking about it for the past month.  Every week I keep saying the same old same old dieters mantra... I'm going to start back on my diet Monday.  But I haven't done it.  I did started to work out again with my arms just a little bit a couple of days ago but I haven't gotten back on the healthy eating horse just yet.

That changed today.  I decided this has gone on for too long.  It's upsetting that I worked so hard for 3 1/2 months and I've let my success really be derailed by this injury over the past month.  So that stops today.  Fiber One bar for breakfast (these things are one of my favorite things on the planet I swear).  Green Giant broccoli and cheese steamer for lunch (these steamers have gotten me to eat broccoli for the first time in my life... and even with the cheese the entire bag is only 135 calories and 4.5 grams of fat.  Not bad for a pretty filling lunch!).  Lean pork chops and brown rice with 2 spoonfuls of corn (yes I know, no nutritional value in it, but I love love love it) for dinner.  Jello bites and popcorn for snacks.  (I need to go to the grocery; we're completely out of fruit!)

I'm going to guess-timate that I've gained 10 of the lbs I've lost back.  That might be high or low but I'm not going to check, I'm just going to start getting back on track and maybe check the scale again in a couple of weeks.  I don't want to get myself discouraged by the setback so I'm not going to verify the numbers just yet.  I'm excited to get back on track and hopeful that I'll be reaching my next goal soon.  No turning back! 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Kids Are Happy, So I'm Happy

Several weeks ago my dad called and asked if I had heard about the Princesses on Ice show that was going to be in town.  I had heard about it.  He thought I should go and take the girls.  I didn't really say much about it at the time because I didn't necessarily agree.  I had actually thought about it but I couldn't think of anyone I could go with, and I didn't really want to go without another adult.  Plus I couldn't really justify spending the money on it right now. 

My dad didn't necessarily agree with me.  He called me back the next day and said, he had been looking online and he was going to buy tickets for me and the girls to go to the show.  Well there goes that excuse.  And although I would prefer to have another adult with me, I started thinking about it and realized it would be a pretty neat thing for me to take them to, just us girls.  I knew they would be excited about that.  I was onboard.

The girls have been counting down the days until the show and have been so excited all week.  We've also been pretty worried because as you know they've been fighting some kind of crazy flu this week and I was worried they wouldn't be able to go.  Today they were still feeling pretty yucky when they got home from their dad's place, but I told them they needed to spend the rest of the afternoon resting if they wanted to try and make it and they listened.  A few hours rest and a shot of children's motrin later we were off. 

Of course I'm still dealing with the foot injury and I had progressed to the cane but it's pretty hard walking with it and I was very nervous about getting from the parking garage to the building, handling the steps, etc., with just me and the girls.  Dad saved the day again, though, when he and my step-mom decided to pick us up for the show and drive us there, and help us get into the building.  We'd have to get to our seats by ourselves, but they were going to get us in and come back to help us out, at least, which was a huge weight off my shoulders.  There's a movie theater right across the street from the Arena and we couldn't have gotten more lucky in that the movie they wanted to see tonight started literally 10 minutes after our show started and got out at the same time our show finished.  So that all worked out very well.

The show was very cute.  We'd actually seen it before, 3 years ago, but neither of the girls really remembered.  Tonight though, at nearly 5 and 6 1/2 and extremely into the princesses, the girls were full on ready.  They were SO cute.  From the minute we sat down and they saw the castle on the ice they were on the edge of their seats.  Every time a new character came out or a new song started they giggled and squealed with delight and grabbed my arms and just looked at me with their huge beautiful smiles and sparking eyes.  It just made my whole week.

My girls are lovers, that's for sure, so it really wasn't anything new when they both wanted to snuggle in on either side of me or hold my hand or tell me how much they loved me or that I'm the best mommy ever, but this experience just really made those little cute things they do that much more meaningful to me.  Whenever someone else would skate onto the ice they would grab me and shriek, "SLEEEEPING BEAUUUUTY!" or whichever character it was at the time.  And I was beaming. 

The girls were so well-behaved.  This can really be a crap shoot with them, so I was so happy to see that be the case.  They were just very into the show and very excited to be there.  I had wondered about their ability to sit through and be good for such a long stretch but they really pulled it off.  In fact, I'd been thinking about getting tickets to Mary Poppins on broadway this spring but had kind of been holding back but after tonight I decided we were definitely going to do it.

It's very hard to do sometimes, because I generally have Brody with me as well, and because often Olivia is difficult to take into public, and because I am usually just one person, but I realize how important it is for the girls and for me to have time like that.  Just us girls.  Just like it was before Brody came along and before boyfriend moved in with us.  Boyfriend has pretty much been in our lives for the past 4 years but the girls and I lived on our own for almost 3 years before he moved in with us and Brody followed shortly after that.  So for me, being out doing something special just me and them really made me feel good.  This was definitely something that was missing in our lives and something I needed to figure out how to add more of into our lives.  It would be great for them and for me and I really do think it would go far to help me Live My Best Life because nothing makes me feel better than my kids being happy.

So you can imagine how great my day got when shortly after we returned to our seats from intermission Olivia stood up and looked at me and had some tears in her eyes and got a little choked up and said, "Thank you so much mommy, this is the best day ever." and she started to cry a little bit.  Then of course I started to cry a little bit, too,  because I was so happy that it made her so happy. 

Today on the quest to Live My Best Life I took a little break from trying to find something to do that would be specifically for me and having to do with me and My Best Life, and I did something that made My Kids Best Lives a little better, which is really one of the keys to My Best Life anyway, so... score!  :) 

A Date With My Daddy

This post is from Friday, January 22.  This and Thursday's post were both posted tonight because, well, Blogger has been hating me the past 2 days.  Now off to write today's post!

This week was restaurant week in town and I would love to have been able to try out a few of them but unfortunately that wasn't really possible.  But my dad did invite my sisters and I to go try one of them tonight without any kids or any of them men in our lives and I was pretty excited about it.  The girls were out with their dad and the boyfriend was going to stay home with Brody and my sisters were both onboard.  Fun!

Today was a very stressful day.  I was up working until about 4 am and then up at 8 with the kids.  The girls are both still fighting whatever sickness this is that seems to have taken over my house and Brody is, well, insane.  LOL.  I had a few fun activities planned for the girls but I was so tired and they were feeling so yucky that the 3 of us spent most of the morning laying on the couch watching cartoons while Brody tore through everything in sight.

Brody never went down for a nap so that just added to the stress of the day.  I expected the boyfriend home from work by around 4 but I should know by now never to expect anything from the boyfriend and it was more like 530 when he got home.  At 430 I gave up and somehow got a shower in all the while listening to things crash, Brody attacking the girls and the girls screaming and the girls fighting with each other... all the normal chaos that goes on if I dare to take a shower while I'm home alone with the kids. 

My dad was going to pick me up around 615 and the girls' dad picked them up for their overnight visit about 515.  The boyfriend finally got home a little after that and although I kept trying to get him to take the baby and spend some time with him so I could get ready, the baby kept making his way back to me because the boyfriend basically would just pick him up and move him to another location and put him down.  I'm pretty sure there was smoke coming out of my ears by this point. 

I finally convinced boyfriend to "high chair" the baby (both the term and the solution I use to keep Brody safely contained when I need to get something done... put him in the high chair with some raisins or blueberries or a banana and suddenly I have some free minutes!) and I was able to start putting on some makeup.

That's when a big smile creeped across my face.  I hadn't been out on a date in quite awhile, and even longer since I was out on one I was actually looking forward to.  But here I was, getting a little dressed up, doing my hair and makeup, and getting ready for a date.  With my daddy.  And I was so excited and happy about it I even sang about it a little bit (Going on a date with my daddddyy...lalala.  LOL). 

Not just me and my dad, but my sisters too.  It's just not something that I get the chance to do very often.  My dad is so great and awesome and amazing and the best dad and the absolute best papa, and he actually takes me to dinner fairly often, but there are always kids there.  And not always, but it's often for a reason... someone's birthday, a holiday, or celebrating something or other.  But tonight it was just us and my dad and I suddenly couldn't wait. 

We went to a great restaurant and had a great time and I'm so glad we went.  It's nice to remember that while I'm off trying to figure out how to Live My Best Life that I'm super lucky to have my dad as one of the Best parts of my already Pretty Great Life.

I May Look Silly... But I'm One Step Closer To Walking!

This post is from Thursday night 1/21/11.  Blogger has been hating me and hasn't let me post anything for 2 days.  :(

So it just occurred to me that in 2 days I'm taking the girls to see the Disney Princesses on Ice show and I'm still on crutches.  I'm not sure how I'm going to pull this off.  The girls, especially Olivia, tends to be a runner.  If she sees something that's exciting to her, she's off.  And Ava tends to follow.  So I make it a pretty strict rule that they HAVE to hold my hand if we're in a parking lot or in a crowded area.  But that's not going to be possible with crutches.

Which is one of the reasons I decided to get a cane today.  I've been thinking about trying to make the switch to a cane for a few days and I figured now I really need to do it because I'm going to need to have at least one free hand for child wrangling on Saturday. 

Olivia had yet another early release due to snow today (how many days until summer???) so after picking her up I ventured out to do a couple of errands pretty much for the first time on my own since the fall.  Not just on my own actually, on my own with one of the kids.  First stop: CVS.  I am now the proud owner of a very fancy blue cane with red and purple flowers on it (Olivia's choice... she begged me!  LOL). 

Next stop: Target.  Walking.  Without crutches.  With the boot.  And the cane.  Shortly after we started through the store I put the cane in the cart and used the cart as support because I couldn't maneuver both.  I only needed to get a few things, but we had to take it so slowly I ended up spending over $100 because I had so much time to notice every single thing we walked by!  Also, it took like an hour to get out and I was pretty much in excruciating pain by the time we got to the exit doors.  But, I made it!

Today the best thing I did for myself, working on My Best Life, was to work a little on the rehab of my foot.  It's nearly impossible to be a mom on crutches and it's really getting frustrating not to be able to just run to the grocery store when I need to or even go upstairs and soothe the baby.  So pain or no pain it's got to be done!  So I went home, took some pain meds, and am gearing up for more cane walking tomorrow!