Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Fun and Public Workouts

Like most weekends, this one seemed to slip away too quickly and I'm slightly confused about what we actually accomplished beyond making messes. That cranky sentence is brought to you by my stupid decision to stop taking pain medications for my back. I'm crying uncle on this and going back to the doctor to get a refill. I thought I could just gut through this and be fine, but that's not working out so well for me.

Enough back injury talk, let's look at pictures of my adorable children enjoying fall activities.

First up: We went to the pumpkin patch again. Yes, that's two pumpkin patches in one week, but the second one wasn't Amish and had fun stuff like train rides for the kids.

Is this safe? I don't feel safe.

I'm very concerned about not wearing a seat belt here.


The kids rode that train ride several times and we also did the big hayride around the corn maze. I complain about living in the middle of nowhere, but it is nice to live so close to all of these farms when it's pumpkin patch season. Also, we're getting a DSW next week, so basically I can't really complain anymore.

At the farm, the kids also really enjoyed the corn pit. Clearly we need a giant box of dried corn for our yard.

Hours of fun

Little sister copycat

I'm never leaving here!

Yes, my almost two year old does have the longest legs. I know this because I have at least one Groundhog Day-esque conversation with a stranger every week that starts with "Wow, your kids are tall. Are they tall for their age?"

My favorite part of these conversations is how it always ends with the same question. "Is your husband tall?"

You know he is

Back on topic of cute children, yesterday morning we went to the playground and it was actually cold and windy. We haven't had cold weather yet, so I had to give Cordelia one of her birthday presents early.

Do you think she likes the hat?

Faith is a ton of fun to take to the playground now because she's gaining so much confidence from her new school and she's even learning games from the other kids. She was actually going up to other kids and asking them to play tag. That's huge for her!

Plus she can rock Crocs and socks

Most of the time when Cordelia goes to the playground, it's when we are waiting to pick up Faith from school or speech therapy, so when we do go with both of them, she's Faith's shadow. A little whiny, copy-cat shadow, but Faith doesn't seem to mind much.

I wanna do what YOU DO!

Oh, yeah and I worked out this weekend. One of the workouts was a Body Jam launch party, which was a new experience for me, and took place outside of the gym in a crowded shopping center. If I had known that ahead of time, I probably wouldn't have gone, but I'm sure my dance moves brought joy to someone's day. I'm all about sharing the joy.

Would you do a dance workout out in public?

Do you like to do the stereotypical fall activities? I didn't do them before kids and I'm not going to be arguing with them to go when they'd rather not.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Updates and Selfies

Our first week on the low FODMAPs diet for the baby was pretty successful. In many ways, the FODMAP diet is actually less restrictive than her previous elimination diet so she can eat a greater variety of food. She can eat eggs again! Even 100% spelt bread!

Almost like real bread

Baby tested, baby approved

The hardest part of the low FODMAP diet so far is not being able to use almost anything processed due to garlic or onion. They put that in everything, even the organic gluten free lunch meat! The sugar restrictions aren't that bad, mostly because no one has made me give up my Coke. Hopefully this diet will help Cordelia be more comfortable and sleep more soundly at night (inshallah). She sure does a good impression of a happy kid during the day.

Her hair give me such amusement 

Faith was really understanding about the dietary changes at first, which was a pleasant surprise but now she's on some sort of gluten-deprivation fueled hunger strike at meals. It could be just a phase but I'm realizing that these "I don't want to eat what you're offering" phases are much more tiring when they are old enough to articulate their displeasure.

In our house, replace "spam" with "rice products"

For those keeping track at home, I'm still fully on the wagon for my plan to stop taking all pain medications for my back. It's been a fun week. I've resisted the urge to medicate in other ways, however tempting it may seem.

Earlier this week, I got a new hair cut. I really like my stylist (especially her 8pm appointments) and it's always fun to get my hair done.

The only not fun part is how I can't get it to look anything close to what it looked like after the stylist was done with it. I thought I was watching her the whole time, but clearly it's not an intuitive skill. Thank goodness I took a selfie so we could all remember that one time my hair looked good.

In case you were wonder, yes I do feel like a weirdo asshole every time I take a selfie. Yet, I still did it, so you really can overcome anything.

What is your stance on selfies? Love 'em or hate 'em?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Day in Amish Paradise

Yesterday, Faith's school had their field trip to a local Amish farm and since my track record with driving hasn't been great lately, I let someone else drive.

See ya later suckers!

Even though we lived in close proximity to the Amish for years now, I've never been on one of their farms before. I had the option to not attend the field trip, but I knew Cordelia would love to be included so we tagged along. It was pretty much Cordelia's dream day since for once she got to go to "school" with Faith. Now she's going to think this is what Faith does at school everyday while she has to do lame things like errands with me.

There are little dogs here and GIANT DOGS!

Check out all of these orange apples!

We got to go on a horse-drawn hay ride, which was actually way  more fun than a traditional tractor hay ride. The Amish farmer even took us off road so it was really bumpy and the kids loved it. The hay ride stopped in one of the fields so the kids could all pick their own pumpkins. Faith was thrilled, and Cordelia was just really confused by the whole thing.

What am I holding?

Is this real life?

The kids got to feed the chickens (man, those birds get excited to eat) and baby cows. After that, Faith and her classmates were running around playing while Cordelia decided to embrace the slower paced Amish lifestyle and just sat with a new friend.

It's just you and me now doggie

Is this safe? This doesn't feel safe.

There you go, my pumpkin patch experience is way more hipster than your traditional "modern farm" commercial venture.

That's probably the last Walking Dead gif I'll use this week. No promises though.

Have you ever been on an Amish farm? Are you as fascinated by them as I am? I can't imagine living like that, especially when you can see people all the time who have fancy technology and machinery.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How to not train to not run a marathon

I know, that's the best blog post title you've ever seen. I'm a little impressed with myself too.

One person asked, so clearly everyone is dying to know: how did I train to not run the Marine Corps Marathon in less than two weeks?

Here's the short answer: I didn't train. At no point in the last 16 weeks have I gone out for the express purpose of walking a set mileage as a way to get ready to walk 26.2 miles. I'm just going to line up at the start line and just fucking wing it and try to walk quickly the entire time. That's my whole plan.

I'm not saying that I've been doing nothing but sitting on my half broken ass, because that would be a lie. I work out, about six days of every week, and at a fairly moderate intensity. I don't recap those workouts because I'm bored enough doing them, I don't need them forever recorded online. Does anyone actually care how many minutes of Stair Master I did yesterday? Does anyone actually read other people's weekly work out recap posts?

For posterity's sake, here is an example of a typical week (meaning, this is what I did last week and I pretty much do the same shit over and over again).

Monday: 60 minutes of Stair Master (6.5 miles), free weights for upper body

Tuesday: 30 minutes of something called "Sculpt and Burn" and then 40 minutes on the Stair Master (4.25 miles)

Wednesday: 15 minute warm up on the Arc Trainer (like an elliptical on crack) and 60 minutes of Zumba, 10 minute cool down on the machine that looks like the love child of a Stair Master and elliptical.

Thursday: 15 minute warm up on a standard elliptical, then 60 minutes of "Body Combat". Then 15 more minutes on the Arc Trainer.

Friday: 65 minutes of Stair Master (7.5 miles) and planking exercises.

Saturday: 10 minute elliptical warm-up and then 60 minutes of "Body Jam"

Sunday: Jack shit

I also go for near daily walks with the kids and the dog, but they aren't that long (less than two miles) and full of stops so I don't really count those as "training".

As you can see, I do all low-impact exercise and I even lift weights and shit now.

A really key part of my relaxed approach to training for MCM is that I keep forgetting that I signed up to do it. A part of me feels guilty (jealous?) when I see other people posting about their MCM-targeted workouts and I'm over here like "Oh, I have new neon purple pants to wear to Zumba today, how fun!"

To be clear, no one should follow my non-training plan to not run a marathon. Unless you want to come walk with me, that'd be cool. I hope you like fast walking and conversations about the zombie apocalypse and the attire choices of people within eye shot.

My bib number is #14281 if you want to track my snail like progress on marathon day (10/26) and I'm anticipating a finish time between 6:00 and 6:15. Well, it will have to be faster than 6:30 because that's the cut off time. If I don't make that cut off time, then I guess I just get a gold star for trying.

Would you ever consider walking a marathon distance?

Have you ever done a race without training? I didn't train for the 6 Hour Race in July, so this isn't my first time. I'm really good at learning from past pain.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

TV is my new drug now

This weekend was a long weekend, which was great since we were so busy. Mostly we were busy with fun stuff like seeing friends and family, but on Friday I went to a specialized spine pain management clinic. I went into this with measured expectations because I knew my husband had no luck with pain management people in the past. Still, I'm currently on medications for my back and leg pain and I thought a specialized place would be better at handling it and maybe reducing my daily pain so I drove an hour to the clinic.

After explaining my history in detail and letting the nurse practitioner see all of my pre-op and post-op MRI images, I had to do a painful "Does this hurt? How about now?" type exam.

The nurse said things that pretty directly contradicted with what my surgeon had said (especially about how many epidural injections are safe to get in a year and she was insistent that my L5/S1 disc was an issue given my pain locations...but I don't have a disc there). After all of that, her grand plan for me was to continue taking the same exact medicines and dosages that I'm already doing and for me to get more spinal injections right now.

If I was happy about how I felt on the medicines I'm on now, I wouldn't have gone there and if someone is putting a needle in my spine, it's going to be my surgeon's guy and it's going to be on his timetable. Also, in order to get medicine through this clinic, I would have to go for an appointment monthly to get random drug screenings. I'm not driving two hours round trip every four weeks to pee in a cup to get more medicine that's not even really helping me because I have such a tolerance for it at this point.

The grand plan I've enacted is to just wean myself off all drugs completely and live a clean life for the first time in more than 10 months. I'll still take Motrin and over the counter stuff, but no more Valium or prescription pain pills. It needs to happen and I was hoping the pain management place would help me get off of the stuff or switch me to something weaker to do a gradual weaning, but in their words "why fix it if it's not broken?" Whatever, I'm not going to dwell on it and I'm going to try to not talk about how much it sucks.

That doctor office visit may have been disappointing, but at least the season 5 premiere of The Walking Dead wasn't a let-down. It was my favorite season opener since the pilot and I can't wait to see the rest of the season. I may have already re-watched the first episode just to get more enjoyment from it and one part really cracks me up. These aren't really spoilers, but really if you haven't watched the season premiere by this point you aren't enough of a true fan to bitch about spoilers.

First up: "Oh no, this flaming walker is moving at a glacial pace! I better just flail around on the ground helplessly!"

I'm pretty sure this Walker just vomited blood on this guy. Blood and fire, take note Daenerys.

This last one is my favorite because it's exactly how I'd react in a zombie attack.

Ew, ew, ew don't let it touch me!

The other exciting part of my holiday weekend was making the mistake of going to some class called "C.S.I" at the gym and not even questioning the name. I still have no idea what that stands for, but I assume it's in reference to the murder of my abdominal muscles and my ability to laugh without pain. It was an awesome idea to do on the weekend of weaning off my pain meds and I'm sure my kids will have Happy Mommy today.

To finish, for no reason at all other than it made me really laugh, let's end with this.

Any other Walking Dead fans out there? What did you think of the season premiere? 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

How I'm an idiot: Part 34

First of all, thank you to everyone who pointed me the right direction of great FODMAP diet resources yesterday. The whole thing seemed so overwhelming yesterday because it's not just "forbidden or allowed" foods as a lot of the food stuff has a star that then specifies what quantity is allowed. That complicates finding recipes that are intended for adults following the FODMAP diet because their allowed quantities are different than a toddler.  I'm sure we'll figure it out after a few weeks. Right now the biggest heartache is the loss of ketchup. Cordelia loves her ketchup and it's the only way she'll eat her gluten free chicken nuggets. It's not just the HFCS, it's actually the tomato that she can't have so I can't even make it at home so she can still enjoy it. Ketchup is stupid anyway.

Just in case anyone is wondering if Johns Hopkins Hospital lives up the hype, the answer is yes, yes it does. That whole experience was great (but exhausting). The doctor is also a professor so he was fantastic at explaining the differences between the kind of allergies that cause skin/swelling reactions and the kind of allergies that cause GI reactions and for the first time I feel like I have a good grasp on it. We also had a meeting with a Hopkins nutritionist and she was great at helping me figure out how to feed a toddler a FODMAPs diet. The whole visit took over 2 hours and I spent less than 10 minutes waiting between the nurses/doctor/nutritionist so that's a good way to explain just how much time they spent thoroughly going over her case and talking to me. The best part was how great the doctor was with Cordelia. He had Frozen pre-loaded on his smart phone and just sat her down on a chair and let her hold his phone so she sat quietly while he talked to me. Clearly, Hopkins only employs geniuses.

Cordelia and I were both drained after the appointments but we couldn't be in Baltimore without going to visit Alyssa's new baby, so I drove there while Cordelia napped. It's probably a good thing she was sleeping through that part because my GPS has a sense of humor and took me through some of the more "scenic" parts of downtown Baltimore.

Baby Dalton was so, so tiny, but so expressive and alert! At two weeks, he's now the size of Cordelia when she was born (and she was my small baby) so I felt like I was holding a baby doll.

Blogger babies love each other

I was really surprised that Cordelia wasn't jealous about me holding the baby at all, but she was actually demanding her turn to hold him. Considering that she normally carries her baby dolls by their heads, I decided that standing next to him was good enough. She was surprisingly gentle and obviously loves him already.

After saying goodbye, Cordelia and I hit the road for the long trip home. At this point, she was cranky and had only had a 20 minute nap for the day so I knew it was going to be a long drive. I had snacks with me, but they weren't FODMAP-approved. After the first hour of whining, I decided that we would just start FODMAPs after we got home and gave her a gluten free chocolate chip granola bar. That keep her happy for a while and then she was fussing for her water. I couldn't reach it, but I felt bad about her crying. I thought about pulling over but there wasn't a shoulder and I knew there were some lights ahead. I came to a traffic circle and everyone was slowing down so I figured, "Hey, this would be a great time to hand that water to her!" and like one of those slow motion bad dreams, I ended up crashing my van up on the median, completely running over the sign that was helpfully telling me to drive around the median.

Since I was already going slowly, we weren't hurt at all but the van was stuck straddling the brick median. Human decency is alive and well and out of nowhere, this big guy in camis pulled his car over and got out to come help me. I was just sitting there like "Well, shit. What do I do now?" and he came over and was said "Can I help you ma'am?"

So I had this random dude in an Air Force uniform get my van off the median and pulled over to a safe spot. He even moved the signs that I murdered off the road. Once he was done that, a cop was there to write up a report on my idiocy so he just shook my hand and told me to have a nice day, got into his red Mercedes and drove away.

I didn't get his name, but I hope he knows that he's awesome. I wish I had focused enough to look at his uniform to get his name so I could send him a thank you card or something, but my brain was not functioning at peak levels (obviously).

At first I thought my van was drive-able because there was only a small dent in the front bumper, but once I tried to drive away, all I could hear was plastic rubbing on the asphalt so I had to pull over again. Then I thought I could maybe just pull off the plastic parts (it's just the molded plastic that covers the bottom of the van) but I guess I need to pick up my game at the gym because that didn't happen. Finally I called for a tow truck and called my husband to come and get me and then Cordelia and I just hung out in the van with our hazards on for the hour+ it took my husband to drive all that way.

The tow truck driver got so, so lost trying to find me, mostly because he couldn't understand the difference between north and south. I thought maybe my husband would have better luck explaining our location to him, but he didn't. I really think I could have called Peanut and had a better chance at explaining to her how to drive to find us.

At this point, it was pouring rain, so all four of us were sardined into my husband's pick up truck, just waiting on the side of the road. Neither kid had eaten dinner and it was past their normal bedtime. Finally, the tow truck arrived and loaded up my van and we could take the kids to get some dinner and then home to bed. Thank goodness we got potato back in Cordelia's diet yesterday so she could have her nutritious dinner of french fries and water.

As you can imagine, we all felt awesome in the morning.

Now my van is at the body shop and the damage really isn't that bad so it could have been worse. Actually the guy at the body shop said "Hey, there could have been a cyclist on that median!" and then laughed longer than felt comfortable so there is that.

There you have it, the full story of how I'm an idiot who gets into a one car accident with a merge sign and loses.

When was the last time a random stranger helped you or you helped someone? Everyone was so helpful yesterday, even though I'm pretty sure the cop was suppressing laughter as I explained how it happened and Cordelia was helpfully yelling "Water!" and laughing as I was talking.

The winner of the free dress up outfit from The Little Dress Up Shop is comment #18, Lisa! Please email me at kara975 at so we can get it sent to you!

Elsa, for sure. Right now my daughter tells me that either she IS Elsa or Elsa is her sister. Hooray for imaginary friends!