Thursday, October 23, 2014

Weekend of Potential Misery

From the comment section of yesterday's post, it seems to be normal to decorate for Halloween in early October, not just the week before. I'm taking that as permission to order this beauty for my porch.

Can you believe it's only $39.99?? What a steal!

If you're wondering why I'm shopping for fake jumping spiders on the internet, it's because I'm trying to distract myself from my upcoming weekend of potential misery. I'm being optimistic by saying the misery isn't guaranteed, but I don't expect anyone to be inspired to recreate my experiences.

Day 1 (Friday): Take the kids to go see Frozen on Ice.

Four months ago, this seemed like such a fun idea for a birthday present for Cordelia (she turns 2 next week). Now that it's almost here, I'm less excited about it and more like "I wonder if I can buy an empty sno-cone cup for the toddler and pretend that's her treat? Why does everything have HFCS in it??"

First of all, my van is still in the shop. It was a whole thing with the insurance company accidentally towing it to the wrong shop at first and then having to correct the mistake and the new shop moves at glacial speeds, but the main takeaway here is that I've been driving the kids around in my husband's pickup truck. Do you know what's really uncomfortable? Driving little kids around in a cramped truck. On the bright side, my husband really likes his tiny rental car so he is considering trading in his gas guzzling truck for something small and fuel efficient.

Day 1 continued: Fall Festival at Faith's school. Since it's always a good idea to show up to social events with overtired and sugared up kids, we are going right from Frozen on Ice to the Fall Festival. I am looking forward to getting to know some of the other parents a little better and I'm only partially considering hanging a sign on Cordelia saying "Please don't feed me. I'm on a special diet" because I know she'll be cruising the party for forbidden food.

Day 2: Take the cat to the vet for the first time. We've had the cat for a few months but she had just gotten the full workup from the vet through the rescue so we didn't need to take her in when we adopted her. Now she has some sort of oozy hot spot on her leg that she won't stop licking, so I guess it's time to see if she likes the vet and how much of my blood will be required as a ritual sacrifice for the twice daily application of ointment on that wound.

I should have named the cat Illyria

Day 2 continued: Drive to D.C. and go to the Marine Corps Marathon expo. Yeah, yeah no one made me sign up for this but dammit I'm holding onto my right to bitch about the expo. I freaking hate race expos, especially big ones. Why don't they have an option to get your bib mailed to yourself? I'd pay extra for that. Anything to avoid standing in those long lines or being forced to wander through all the stands of useless running gear or cutesy shirts with sayings like "Does this running skirt made my butt look fast?"

Day 3: Walk the Marine Corps Marathon. At this point, the actual event has to be more fun that what I'm mentally envisioning. I was dreading the Endless Summer 6 Hour Race as well and ended up having a lot of fun doing it, so chances are that I'll enjoy myself on Sunday as well. What could possibly ruin my fun?

I'm bib #14281 if you'd like to stalk my status and/or scrutinize my splits. Is there anything more exciting than following along as someone walks a marathon?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Stuff and Things

Since I'm always way behind the curve on current movies, I saw "Lone Survivor" last weekend because it was on TV. I read the book and had mixed feelings about that, but I was interested in watching the movie. We jumped in about 30 minutes into the movie, but having read the book meant that I was able to figure out what was going on. The thing I wasn't able to figure out was which of the four guys was the main character. Mostly it was because I didn't want to believe it was Mark Wahlberg.

Was this really the best they could do? Mr. I Could Have Stopped 9/11 himself? I'm surprised the movie didn't end with him killing bin Laden and riding bald eagles back to America while ushering in world peace.

This was not the kind of movie that should make you laugh, but it's really hard to take Marky Mark seriously.

Say hi to your mother for me

On the topic of things I can't take seriously, I've been taking boot camp style classes at the gym because they are helping to strengthen my core (which will hopefully help my back) and the instructor is good at what he does, except for his hilarious verbal diarrhea. Keep in mind that I've only done like four of his classes so this isn't even draw from a big sample. Things he has said, through a microphone, to a large group of women:

While doing a chest press: I want you to bring the bar down so it brushes your areolas! It should just be lightly brushing your areolas!

While doing ab work: Concentrate on clenching your umbilical cord!

While doing squats: Rotate your femur without moving your knee! See, just like this! (He rotates his leg by moving his knee)

While working with resistance bands: You should be clenching every muscle in your body. You should be doing kegels right now!

Obviously I'm not offended by these things (but I will swear under oath that I do not have an umbilical cord to clench), but I do really wish he was forced to listen to a recording of himself talking. I'm really happy for him that he's memorized all of his anatomical terms, but he really could vague it up a little bit and we'd still follow along.

Since this whole post is about how things I can't take seriously, let's end with an issue that I take seriously but my husband doesn't: Halloween decorations. He says that it's weird to put them out two weeks before Halloween but I say that he just hates fun. Is there actually etiquette about this?

Do you decorate for Halloween? I really want to be one of those houses that goes all out with the faux graveyard and the Buffy theme song softly playing in the garage.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Peaceful Family Dinners

I figured out the secret to making my kids get along: give them a common enemy. I know I should probably save this precious advice for a parenting book deal, but I'm a giver. I mentioned earlier about how Faith was rebelling against meal times, so her mini-me has decided to play along too. This means that I spend 1-2 hours preparing a FODMAP diet approved dinner and they spend 20 minutes just freaking playing with their food and acting up in general.

I've tried negotiations, I've tried threats, and I've tried ignoring them. So far the one that works the best for me is ignoring their behavior because it's a slippery slope from saying "Stop using your napkin as a pirate hat and eat your dinner" to "YOU WILL NEVER KNOW THE TASTE OF DESSERT AGAIN IN YOUR LIFETIME!"

Since I control all the food sources in the house, I have a small advantage. I can limit their snacking and starve them into eating meals. You'd think that would be simple, but it's really not. It's hard because I'm a pushover, especially when they bring a jar of peanut butter and two spoons to me and bat their eyes while saying "Please? Please? Please?"

This applies more to my older child than the younger, but apparently it's a hot button issue for me when someone asks for a specific food item and then I prepare said food item and then they refuse to eat it because they changed their mind or it's "not the right color". Can you imagine if an adult acted this way? They wouldn't have people lining up to make them food, that's for sure.

I'm pretty sure that every kid goes through eating rebellion phases, the only thing that makes my particular case more difficult is that I can't fall back on their favorite foods like macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets. Although sometimes, especially for lunches, I will just let them eat whatever they want, nutrition be damned. Like yesterday, Faith had 5 rice cakes and chocolate milk and Cordelia just ate 4oz of smoked salmon. That's all they wanted and they seemed full and happy so I went with it. I try harder for dinners, mostly because I've cooked specifically for them, but I should probably just have a lunch time attitude about that too. Meal times shouldn't be something you suffer through, right?

Do you have any kid eating tips to share? The key here is to get Faith to eat because Cordelia does whatever she does.

Is meal time behavior a hot button issue for you too, or do I have issues?

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.