Friday, January 31, 2014

Super Foods Update

It's been over two weeks since introducing my self imposed Super Foods challenge.  I've been able to consume at least ten different items on the list each day.  It has been easier than I expected, but has certainly required more intentional planning.  Grocery shopping and meal planning takes a bit more effort and expense.  We are no longer buying ice cream, cookies, chips, and other junk food items.  I've enjoyed experimenting with new foods and trying different recipes.

Here are some of our new favorite meals:

Pan-seared salmon, brown rice & black beans, and steamed broccoli

Roast beef, mashed cauliflower, steamed carrots, and green beans

Pork tenderloin, baked sweet potato, and roasted squash & zucchini

I try to fill half of my plate with vegetables, then a lean meat/protein, and healthier carb.  Lentils, quinoa, and brown rice have replaced macaroni and cheese, Texas toast, and mashed potatoes.  I try to cook a large, healthy dinner so that both Jesse and I can take the leftovers for lunch.  Jackson has eaten most everything Jesse and I eat, which is great. 

I use our newly purchased food processor (thanks, Aunt Marlette) at least once a day.  Its intended use was for making baby food, but I use it to make smoothies, mash sweet potatoes or cauliflower, and shred/slice veggies for salad.  Instead of ice cream I've been mixing a cup on nonfat, plain Greek yogurt with a cup of frozen berries and a tablespoon of flaxseed.  It's quite tasty!  I haven't been counting calories, but I did add up the nutrition facts for my berry smoothie.

280 calories, 28 g protein, 5 g fat, 10 g fiber

While I am proud of my progress, everything is not picture perfect.  My main meals are well balanced.  We no longer keep junk food in the house.  BUT, I can not kick this sweet tooth.  If I have the opportunity to eat sweets, I lose all self control.  I'm literally typing this while watching a cooking show where this Frenchman is baking a chocolate butter cake with rum cream sauce.  All I can think about is how I could adapt the recipe using current items in my pantry and bake it right this very moment.  My mouth is salivating.  Of course, it's more than just a desire.  Over the last two weeks I've managed to indulge in whoopie pies, chocolate molten cake, and free cookies from McDonalds.

There are times in the day where I am just plain hungry and feel desperate to eat anything.  My milk supply has decreased by 10-12 oz a day.  These factors make it difficult for me to decide if I should challenge my diet/exercise further and accept formula, or revert back to increased calories and resume my role as a cow.  For now, I don't plan on changing anything in regards to diet or exercise.  I will definitely need to get these sugar cravings and poor snack choices in check in the near future.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

More Firsts: Sunshine and Snow

With sunny skies and a temperature of 64° on Monday, we headed to the park.  I was determined to have a more successful experience with the quad stroller.  I'm happy to report we didn't have any major trouble this time around.

Maddie fell asleep again, but I put James and Amelia in the swing for the first time.  I wish I had taken video of Jackson.  He was absolutely precious pushing the swing back and forth and playing with them.  He would let Amelia kick him when she swung in his direction, then fall down laughing.  He had both of them giggling. 

I hesitate to mention that I had Jackson pee behind a tree not once, but twice.  We were out for a long time and this particular park has a half mile walking loop.  When nature calls...

We continued our spring-like day with a trip to SweetFrog for some frozen yogurt.  It took three people to push and pull the stroller through the narrow doorway.  It's hard enough not to cause a scene when you're toting around four small children, never mind getting a massive stroller stuck through a doorway.  I just wanted to leave, but the stroller was wedged halfway through the entry and the employees ran up and pulled it entirely inside.  While Jack and I enjoyed the yogurt, I felt a bit foolish (again) knowing I was going to have to repeat the process just to get back to the parking lot.

The crazy weather pendulum swung the opposite way the following day with a high of 31° and a forecast of snow.  All the schools in the area closed early on Tuesday and were cancelled on Wednesday and Thursday.  Our snowfall was minimal.  Of course, I wanted to get a picture of the babies in their first snow, but I waited too long.  Over half of the snow had already melted after their morning nap.

Jackson was pretty apathetic about the snow.  He was more interested in feeding the babies Gerber puffs and trying to find his Batman gloves.

We have yet another "snowday" tomorrow which means no preschool for Jack or work for Jesse.  Who knows what adventures we'll find ourselves in... 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pantry Makeover

Our pantry has always been an eyesore.  It's too small and too cluttered.  As many times as I have organized it, I've never found a permanent solution to keep things tidy.  It's hard to locate items because Jackson is constantly climbing the shelves and rearranging items so he can get his own snacks.  (Childproof locks do not work with our determined child!)  I spent several minutes looking for the vanilla extract, only to find it in the bin of cookie cutters.  This happens regularly.

My major goals were to:
  • place any snacks in an easy to reach location for Jackson. 
  • eliminate as many boxes as possible.
  • relocate items that are seldom used.
  • throw away all expired food.
  • group items in a logical way that we can sustain.
Danger Zone

I browsed Pinterest for ideas and tried to come up with a better organization system.  I wanted shelves that would hang over the door to better utilize the small space.  I couldn't find any at local stores.  I did, however, find an over the door shoe holder.  It took me three stores to find a shoe holder with clear pockets.  I also picked up some clear Rubbermaid rectangular containers for flour and sugar.

Jesse emptied out the pantry for me.  Here were all the food items:

Our bottom shelves were crammed with odd appliances, bags, and cookie cutters.  Jesse hung all the cloth bags on a hook in the laundry room and relocated our rarely used juicer to the garage.  I organized my large collection of 100+ cookie cutters.  We put all the aprons except one in a pile to donate to Goodwill.

I was able to place pasta, flour, sugar, etc in clear canisters.  All of the loose items such as tea bags, oatmeal packets, and fruit snacks found a new home in the shoe organizer. 

So much recycling!

I was surprised to discover how many spices we had, especially considering I only use about 4-5 in regular cooking.  Half of them were wedding gifts that had expired. Others were just bizarre spices that we never use such as English Prime Rib or Garden Salad Seasoning.

I'm in love with our new pantry.  I just keep staring at it with pride.  Here's the final breakdown:
-The top shelf has baking items.  As a general rule, the higher up, the less access I want Jackson to have.
-Next is produce, breads, and cereals. 
-The middle shelf has canned goods purposefully staggered so we can glance at what all we have on hand. 
-Next shelf includes spices and items that would be part of a recipe/require cooking such as wheat germ, milled flax, and panko. 
-Jesse insisted the griddle stay on a shelf and I didn't protest since he cooks us pancakes and bacon every Sunday morning.  Beside the griddle is a bin full of individual snacks that were too large to fit in the shoe holder.  That way they're still neatly concealed but Jackson can reach them if needed. 
-I have a clean bin with cookie cutters on the floor, along with our craft tablecloth.  We use cookie cutters several times a month for baking, play dough, tracing, and painting.
-Every other item is organized and easily accessible in the clear pockets over the door.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Day to Recharge

Saturday combined everything I needed and love.  The day began with the whole family sleeping in until 8:30.  Jesse cooked breakfast burritos while I fed the babies. 

While the babies napped, I got my haircut and eyebrows waxed.  I'd been growing my hair out for several months now (mostly out of neglect).  I couldn't take it anymore.  Amelia is always pulling it.  It didn't look good at all and it would get tangled.  The hairdresser cut off a good four inches and I feel amazing.  I even paid the extra $4 for a shampoo, which included a scalp massage.

Jesse asked me if I turned into a 15 year old girl when he walked in on me taking this selfie.
I came home to a clean house, which meant I didn't have to do anything to get ready for the play date we were hosting.  A few friends and their babies came over to "play".  I was able to enjoy chicken quesadillas, adult conversation, and cute babies.

After the play date I met up with a local mother who is expecting twin girls next month.  I had been looking for a mom with twin girls so I could donate our numerous matching and coordinating newborn outfits.  She was very kind and appreciative.  While out, I snuck in a quick shopping trip to purchase some cheap finds for a fellow triplet mom.

Jesse had arranged for his family to come watch the kids while we had a date night.  His mom was already on the way when I got home.  We enjoyed our third date since the arrival of the trio.  We indulged in Mexican food and my favorite molten chocolate cake at Chili's. 

chocolate bliss

After dinner we went to see 12 Years a Slave.  While this movie was not pleasant to watch, it was very powerful.  I certainly did not think of the babies at any point during the movie.
It truly was a perfect day as I was able to have blocks of time with friends, my kids, my husband, and myself.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Quad Stroller vs. Mom

My days of relying on the Ergo and double snap-n-go are numbered.  I want all of the babies to be able to look around and interact with things.  I worry that I'm hindering Maddie by keeping her in the Ergo so frequently.

Last Friday I decided to take the bull by the horns and finally use the quad stroller in public.  We headed to the local recreation center for some warm, indoor play.  It was every bit as difficult as I expected it to be.  

Before leaving, I had practiced opening, pushing, folding, and lifting our Foundations Quad LX stroller into the van.  I repeated the process three times to make sure I was comfortable.  The stroller alone weighs 84 pounds, and is quite awkward to put in the van. 

I debated whether or not to mention this little tidbit, but I could have seriously harmed all four children.  The whole time I was practicing with the stroller, I had (unknowingly) never opened it fully.  I had pushed the seats back as far as I thought it could go and assumed it was open all the way.  It strolled fine in the driveway. 

Once we arrived at our destination, I lifted the stroller out and unfolded it just as I had practiced.  I buckled the babies in their seats.  But as soon as Jackson sat down the whole damn thing collapsed and folded up...with all four kids inside!  I know, I know...mother of the year right here.  Praise God, I immediately unfolded the stroller and was relieved to find everyone unscathed.  Not even the slightest fuss was heard.  Whew!

We quickly went about our business pretending like I hadn't just tried to crush my children.  I was able to steer the stroller with one hand while opening doors with the other hand.  I pushed it through doorways with ease.

We're fortunate to have a recreation center just a few minutes from our house.  Their playroom is free to the public.  (Think of a McDonalds Playplace on steroids.)  The babies and I talked and hung out while Jackson played.  Jack was initially reluctant to navigate the maze of tunnels.  It didn't take long before he was running around like he owned the place.  We had the place all to ourselves for fifteen minutes or more before other children and parents came to play.

By the time we left, I was back to my confident, calm self.  Those feelings didn't last long. My greatest challenge by far was folding the stroller back up and putting it in the van.  Again, during my practice runs, I had apparently not opened it until it clicked.  Therefore, I had easily been able to fold it back up. 

I loaded the kids in their carseats.  They were warm and safe in the van while I proceeded to close the stroller.  It took EVERY OUNCE of strength for me to collapse it.  Words cannot express how hard it was to push the tiny red button to release the lock.  It involved excessive sweating, cursing, and numerous failed attempts on my behalf.  I debated on asking one of the many bulky men that passed by to help me.  But I couldn't bring my stubborn self to admit I didn't know what I was doing.  I even thought about going back inside to play for another hour until Jesse came home and could get us.  At last, I was able to release the lock and collapse it. 

I know everything about this post sounds ridiculous and I feel completely foolish, but I swear it was the most challenging thing I've done in a while.  I made Jesse close it and it took him a long time too.  I watched him struggle just as I had.  I guess I'll just keep practicing and hope that it gets easier. 

So help me, in this stroller war, I. Will. Win. 

Gaining Independence

We've all grown up a bit in the last week, reaching new milestones and overcoming fears. In birth order:

Jackson is reaching major big boy status!  His preschool teacher confirmed that he is "100% potty trained".  He hasn't had any accidents in several weeks.  He even woke up at 3 a.m. the other night to use the bathroom.

Equally exciting, Jackson is back in his own bed the entire night.  This is a huge accomplishment as his sleep patterns have been interrupted ever since we brought the trio home.  Jesse and I exhaustedly gave in and would let him climb into bed with us, which evolved into him starting the night out in our bed.  Those days are gone, with minimal crying.

James and Amelia are loving the exersaucers and johnny jump ups.  The bumbo is only a quick fix nowadays as they both arch their backs and reach near standing positions.

These two are also wearing 6-9 month clothes.  Jesse spent the whole afternoon going through the closet and updating the babies bins with current sizes. 

I'm afraid sweet Maddie will always stay a few steps behind.  She has done a complete 180 with tummy time and rolling over, which is huge progress for her. 

The big news for all three is that all babies are sleeping swaddle free.  The first few nights
without swaddles resulted in frequent wakings, but they've all returned to their normal sleep patterns. 

I've also challenged myself with two things I've never done before that I was always nervous to do.  The first is bathing all three babies at the same time.  Another triplet mom gave the tip to lay towels down on the bathroom floor, undress the babies, fill the tub with 1-2 inches of warm water, and bathe all three.  It is SO much faster!  I didn't feel like I was able to clean them as effectively without submerging them in water, though.

The other challenge I overcame was getting out of the house using the mammoth quad stroller.  It ended up being quite the saga, which deserves a post unto itself. 

I am so proud of our little family and each of the steps the children are taking in becoming more independent.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Why Pictures Matter

Pictures matter to me.  A lot.  I take a dozen pictures a day.  I'm not trying to take professional quality pictures, but I become adamant about capturing a certain image in my mind.  I want evidence of the everyday details of our life.  That's why I started blogging.  If I'm not doing something each day that is worthy of taking a picture, I'm not content. 

Jesse hates this fact about me.  It is a frequent cause of arguments between the two of us.  Nothing seems to annoy him more than me snapping a photo multiple times until I get the image I want.  Throughout my pregnancy, each weekly belly photo was the highlight of my week and the low of his.  Nothing annoys me more than his unwillingness to take a simple picture.  Or his frustration when my siblings and I require the same picture on each of our cameras. 

So, why do I care?  I've come to the saddening realization that pictures are all I have left.  It makes me feel sick to my stomach admitting this, but I don't have many memories left of my father.  Memories with mom are fading, too.  Thankfully, I have photo albums and boxes full of pictures from my childhood.  Pictures that my mother took and likely annoyed the rest of us while taking them.  Pictures that trigger otherwise forgotten memories.

One day, the only thing that will be left of my story is pictures.  So maybe I don't need five different pictures of the babies in their pajamas.  But I appreciate every last one of them.  And when I'm gone, my family will appreciate them, too. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Discovery Place: Water Edition

It's been two weeks since we last visited our favorite museum.  Jackson was in extra whiny form last Wednesday, and the museum was experiencing power outages yesterday.  I promised Jackson would we go, so we left directly from his preschool this afternoon.  This in itself was an undertaking because it required me to pump, prepare bottles, and change diapers earlier than usual.

While I am really proud of Jackson for being completely potty trained, I'd be lying if I said I don't miss the convenience of diapers.  We spent a fair amount of time in the bathroom.  Jackson is always hesitant to poop in public and I forgot the travel potty seat.  I knew he had to go but he just kept going in and sitting down, then saying "I not need to go."  I love opening doors and navigating restroom stalls with a double stroller. 

Jackson cracked me up in the bathroom because he closed the door and said "I do it all by myself.  Ms. Isabelle (his preschool teacher) said this is my private time."  Of course, in my head I kept thinking, "When the hell do I get private time?" 

The babies fed themselves with the help of Clifford and Ducky,

while Maddie and I took selfies in the bathroom.

The water area is directly outside the bathroom, so we spent most of our afternoon there.  The last time Jackson played in this section I was embarrassed by him drinking water from a play cup.  Thankfully, he played well and nothing ended up in his mouth that I saw, anyway

Jackson's favorite TV show is Umizoomi.  He's so funny because he'll randomly say, "Count with me, Mommy.  One, two, three...." We counted the buckets of water as he dumped them out onto the funnel.  He also gets excited when he notices patterns, just like Milli does.  (If you don't know who Milli is, you're missing out on some advanced Pattern Powers.)

The highlight of our outing was allowing the babies to play at the infant water table.  I've always kept the babies in the stroller while letting Jackson lead the way.  Today I decided they should be able to play as well, now that they're big six month olds. 

I use the term "play" loosely.  Mostly they just stared and followed objects as they floated by.  Still, I know it's good for them to feel different textures and temperatures and to see new things.  They reacted with different sounds and expressions as they played.

Maddie was sleeping hard in the Ergo.  I debated whether or not to take her out, but decided to let her sleep.  She's been having a tough time with naps the past few days and has been crying and clingy much more than usual.  I know she'll have plenty more opportunities to play at the museum since it's one of our favorite places to frequent.

Homemade Oatmeal Squares

Now that I'm making very conscious efforts to eat better, I've been trying to come up with an alternative to my favorite lactation cookies.  I've been eating a bowl of oatmeal every day for six months.  While I enjoy oatmeal, the texture does get old.  I played around with several different recipes and came up with a tasty recipe for oatmeal squares rounds.  They taste like a soft granola bar and can be adapted to include various mix-ins.

3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup milled flaxseed (optional*)
1 tbsp. cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
3/4 cup applesauce
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup of dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, etc (optional)

*I included flaxseed because it's supposed to help increase milk production.  If you include flax   AND dried fruit or nuts you'll probably need to increase the applesauce so it will still be moist.

Combine all ingredients. 
Scoop in muffin tins. 
Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
Makes a dozen.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Crunching Numbers

I'm pretty dead set on staying home one more year.  I've been spending a lot of time this week exploring ways to make that work.  Jesse and I have one joint bank account in addition to our own individual bank accounts.  The mortgage comes out of my account each month through automatic billpay.  Jesse covers all other expenses.  In order for me to stay home, I need to somehow be able to pay the mortgage for another year.  This means I need to save/earn roughly $13,000.  Is this possible?  I'm leaning towards yes.

-I assume we can expect a sizable tax return in a few months, in addition to another tax return in 2015. 
-As far as jobs go, I think my best bet would be tutoring.  I sent out an e-mail to all 5th grade teachers that teach at schools within a 15 minute radius to pass my contact information and credentials along to parents. 
-A local mom suggested I apply to Sylvan or another tutoring program.  She was a stay at home mom/former teacher and worked from 5-7 two days a week on 9-1 on Saturdays.  That is definitely doable.
-I've been checking local listings through mother's groups and applied for a position for sitter/cleaner from 5-6:30 two days a week.  I haven't heard back and suspect that I won't, but I'll keep looking.
-Another mom suggested I take in another child during the day to watch, but I think that would be an awfully tough sell.  I would never have sent Jackson to stay with a mother I didn't know who already had four young children of her own.

I have to believe that something will work out and I'll be able to care for my children while contributing financially.  If anyone local has any leads, I'm all ears!

Sunday, January 19, 2014


FYI, these so called "Safety" nail clippers are nothing of the sort. 

Or perhaps I just don't know how to safely cut the tiniest of fingernails attached to one very wiggly Madeline.  I may or may not have clipped the tip of Maddie's fingertip while trying to cut her nails. 

My stress levels skyrocketed with each new blood soaked tissue.  It finally stopped bleeding after 20 minutes and you can barely notice it a day later.  Someone, please teach me how to cut tiny fingernails!

And just because I don't want to end on a bad note, look how much my sweet Maddie has grown.  She may be the runt, but she's certainly getting bigger.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Semi-Homemade Whoopie Pies

Before I begin, yes, I fully realize this is NOT a super food and it goes against everything I stated in my previous post.  I'd also like to point out that just because I bake something does not mean I binge eat it.  However, I may or may not have consumed four of them throughout the course of the day.  They were indeed that good but they are gone now.  No more temptation.  Okay, confession over.

I discovered by accident that you can make the cookie part of a whoopie pie using any box cake mix.  All you do is mix the cake mix with two eggs and 1/2 cup of oil.  The batter will have the consistency of cookie dough.  Pinch off a small ball.  Roll and flatten it into evenly sized circles.  Repeat 23 more times. Place on cookie sheet 1 inch apart.  Bake for 7-9 minutes on 375 degrees.

While the cookies are cooling, whip up a batch of icing.  This is the fun part because you can play around with different flavors, extracts, and ingredients.  You can use buttercream frosting, marshmallow fluff, or any other creamy creation.

Pipe icing/cream onto flat side of a cookie and place second cookie on top to create sandwich.  Sidenote: I was really disappointed with my new decorating set.  It seemed like an ingenious idea, but the air kept getting trapped and the icing didn't come out smoothly unless the bottle was completely full. 

 Decorate however you wish.  Since these treats were for a birthday party for my newphew, Ethan, I piped a big E on each one.

Eat.  In addition to regular chocolate cakes with vanilla cream, I also made dark chocolate cherry whoopie pies.  Yum!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Super Foods

For over a year, I have not only been allowed, but encouraged to eat as much as I want.  When you're pregnant with triplets, there's no such thing as gaining too much weight. I had to force myself to drink protein shakes in attempts to get the babies to pack on the weight.  Seventy pounds later, I delivered over 18 pounds worth of healthy, full term babies. After the babies were born, I found myself having to eat even more to be able to breastfeed all three.  I began eating every 2-3 hours, even in the middle of the night.

The problem is that I made the wrong food choices.  Instead of eating lots of lean meats, whole grains, and fruits and veggies, I ate lots of ice cream, grilled cheese, pasta, and chicken nuggets.  Current daily staples of my diet include multiple lactation cookies, boxed mac-n-cheese, ice cream, chips/Ritz crackers, and chicken nuggets.  I've lost every sense of portion control because everything has been in excess. 

I decided around 4 months post partum that I would begin to diet and exercise when the babies turned 6 months old.  I wanted to wait until I reached my long term pumping goal because diet and exercise completely sabotaged my milk supply when Jackson was an infant.  I reached my goal yesterday, and also began a plan for healthier eating.

Prior to the six month mark, I had researched a lot of different diets.  None of them seemed to fit my needs or lifestyle.  I quickly dismissed any idea that would require money or time for meetings.  I have neither time nor money to spare!  I strongly considered following the Paleo Diet (aka "Caveman Diet") for 30 days.  I was even willing to give up grains, but not dairy or beans.  I'm still really intrigued by the concept and I've read A LOT about it.  It makes sense to me.  I just don't think I'd be a very happy person going from my current diet to Paleo.

I debated going on another 5 day juice fast, but decided that would completely jeopardize my milk supply.  I even read that the toxins released in your body during a fast would enter your milk which could have a negative impact on the babies. 

I contemplated joining SparkPeople again.  This was the website I used while training for the half-marathon.  It really helped me keep a good balance of fats, proteins, and carbs.  I really don't want to have to track, measure, calculate, enter foods, etc right now. 

I've lost weight on and off for many, many years.  I've paid thousands of dollars in Weight Watchers, LA Weight Loss, Nutrisystem, gym memberships, and personal trainers.  They all worked temporarily, until life got in the way.  Loved ones died, spiraling me into binge eating.  Of course the biggest reason for weight gain has been pregnancy and breastfeeding.  Now that my childbearing years are behind me, it's time to focus on a lifestyle I can sustain.

Here's what I know:
  • My father died from a massive heart attack when he was 50
  • My mother suffered with diabetes and kidney failure until she died at the age of 58.
  • Jackson constantly begs for candy, fruit snacks, marshmallows, and ice cream.
  • I will always enjoy baking and I will always have a sweet tooth. 
  • Our pantry and freezer are full of JUNK!
  • Breastfeeding/pumping burns 20 calories per ounce.  I currently pump around 85 ounces a day, which means I burn 1700 calories a day simply by pumping. 

Here's what I want:
  • I want to live into my 60's or 70's or maybe even 80's.  If I die when I'm 50, I'll be leaving behind a 25 year old son and three 23 year olds. 
  • I want to set a positive example for my children.  I want them to request healthy snacks and meals, because that's all they know.
  • I want to create memories in the kitchen with my family while cooking and baking.  BUT I want to be able to do so without "sampling" half of the batter or icing.
  • I want to limit the junk and fill the pantry with healthy, satisfying options.
  • I want to retrain my taste buds, stomach, and mind to crave different foods. (I remember after the juice fast thinking that a strawberry was the sweetest thing I had ever eaten.)
  • I want to continue providing breastmilk as long as possible for James, Amelia, and Madeline.

Here's what I plan to do:
I stumbled upon this article on 100 Super Foods and read through the list.  I sadly realized I rarely eat more than 3-4 of the items on the list per day.  I wanted to come up with a way to incorporate more of the foods on the list.  I copied the list into a word document, made some minor revisions, printed it on cardstock, laminated it with clear packing tape, and hung it on our pantry door.  My current goal is to eat a serving of at least 10 different foods each day.  I use a dry-erase marker to check off each food as I eat it.  The next day I erase the marks and start over. 

I like this idea because it gives me lots of flexibility and choice.  There are plenty of delicious foods to choose from, and some that I've never even heard of.  I also like having a constant visual reminder.  I can't open the pantry door (aka "gateway to processed foods") without looking at the list.  It forces me to be conscious of my food choices.  I can eat pizza or ice cream if I want to, but I still have to consume ten super foods per day.  I plan what foods I will eat the night before so that I'm not stuck trying to eat a stalk of broccoli and an orange at 8 pm. The best news is that because many of the listed foods are rather filling, I'm finding that even though I want cookies and ice cream, I'm not hungry.  And surprisingly, a strawberry smoothie made with plain Greek yogurt and flaxseed tastes just as good, if not better, than ice cream.

I intend on increasing my daily number of foods goal until my diet consists of mostly (or only) these items. Of course, this list is not the end-all, be-all.  I've already been disappointed to discover that pomegranate and zucchini are not on the list.  (I'll probably add them anyway.)  I don't want to restrict myself or ever feel like I'm not allowed to eat something that I want.  It's completely irrational and unfeasible to expect myself to never eat desserts again.  Though I should probably discontinue purchasing a gallon of neapolitan a week, eh?

At this time, I do not have any exercise goals set.  We basically have a home gym upstairs with a spin bike, gazelle, and weights.  Once I feel like healthy eating is becoming a habit, I'll introduce regular exercise into my daily routine.  Until then, I need to focus on what will give me the most energy and feel my best.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Yeah...THAT really happened.

Over this past week there have been several incidents where I've done a double take or thought to myself, "Is this really happening?"  Some were good moments; others were bad.  Either way, there's never a dull moment with these kids.

The week began with a few days of sunny, 60° weather, which meant we had to spend as much time outside as possible.  We went to the park and attempted a walk around the neighborhood.  Neither outing went according to plan. 

On Monday I planned a picnic lunch at the park where we could also feed the birds.  Winter is clearly the best time to go as there were hundreds of ducks, swans, geese, and other birds swarming us.

We fed the birds, but our outdoor lunch was postponed as soon as Jackson declared, "I need to poop!"  Ah, the joys of potty training.  Jackson hasn't had any accidents in over a week, but when he feels the urge to go, we've got just a few minutes to find a potty.  Luckily, I had thought ahead and brought the little potty with us since I knew there weren't easily accessible restrooms at this particular park.  We spent over ten minutes sitting in the van while Jackson used the bathroom.  By the time he was finished I had buckled all the babies in their car seats so we just ended up eating in the smelly van.

Tuesday was another day of warmer weather.  Jackson wanted to go for a walk after we picked him up from preschool.  I loaded up in the wagon and strolled away, just like I've done dozens of times before.  Two blocks from our house, I heard a funny sound and saw Amelia suddenly flop down in the wagon.  Somehow the wheel completely fell off.  I knew how to fix it, but it required me to turn the wagon over on its side.  I couldn't very well lay the babies on the sidewalk, so I trudged forward.  Only, the rod came out and the other wheel was no longer in the correct spot.  I tried to lift the wagon like a wheelbarrow to push it back home, but the babies kept sliding with the slightest angle.  The only way to safely get home was to either crawl on my knees while holding the corner of the wagon upright or to hold up the corner with my back bent completely and shuffle.  I alternated between the two.  I don't know how many times I stopped or how long it took, but we got home eventually.  All five of us were crying by the time we entered the garage.

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On a lighter note (pun intended), I've been making conscious efforts to eat better.  For dinner last night we had brown rice pasta with a homemade lentil tomato sauce and a spinach cucumber salad.  Even while cooking it, I questioned if I really wanted to eat it.  Turns out, it was fairly tasty.

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Since the babies have been wearing footy pajamas, I hadn't really noticed how severe Maddie's eczema had gotten until bath night.  We've been slathering her up in steroid cream and lotion.  My poor girl!

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Another double take was seeing both of my sweet girls rocking it during tummy time.  Of course, Amelia has been doing this for many weeks.  Maddie, on the other hand, has struggled to lift her head. 

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The final "What am I doing?" moment was when I decided to carry the 84 pound box up the stairs and assemble our new exercise spin bike.  There were some foul words said and I may or may not have taken my skirt off in the process, but we have a newly assembled bicycle upstairs thanks to Jackson and myself. Jackson was quite the cheerleader, shouting, "You've got it, Mommy.  Good job!"  He also got his toolbox and helped me.