Saturday, February 27, 2010

99 things I ought to have done (aka learn more about me)

I saw this on a blog recently and thought it was a fun way to share more random facts about myself.  Feel free to steal it from me!  Comment on this blog when you do, so I can read about you!


Copy the list, bold the ones you've done (with explanations if needed), share with friends.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the Mexico, which was especially awesome because there are hardly any lights to wash out the stars and the sky.
3. Played in a band (if singing counts)
4. Visited Hawaii (twice...once with 2 college friends, once with my new husband)
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a thunder and lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon (does running 3 half marathons count?)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venic
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle (does it count if it was just a ride around the parking lot?
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous (I babysat a few times for Jerry Lewis!)
92. Joined a book club
93. Got a tattoo
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee 

Not that any of my answers are especially riveting, but if you want to know the background behind any of my answers, do ask and I'll tell!

Friday, February 26, 2010

March Madness

That time of year is coming again, when college basketball teams duke it out for  a spot in the sweet sixteen, the final four and finally the NCAA championship.  Can you tell I'm married to a sports fanatic?  Last year I learned there are names for the 64  & the 32, but I can't remember them right now.  THIS is March Madness.  A term I think I only learned or at least was able to define after marriage.

For no other reason than it's March, and I'm going to make some maddening alterations to my life--I've decided to do my own version of March Madness here at Our Three Bean Circus.  Do you think it's catchy?  Well, I kind of do.  And it's my blog so that's all that matters!

What is my version of March Madness?  Here's the skinny.

1.  Cut back majorly on processed foods and sugar.  Especially sugar.  No treats, desserts or snacks of the processed sugary variety.

2.  Exercise more regularly

3.  Blog daily (or at least schedule blogs!)

4.  Focus on enjoying the moment, finding joy and rejoicing in each day.

Here's the full scoop.

I've been talking about my food issues recently.  Sugar plays a huge role in that.  I'm very sensitive to what I eat.  Unfortunately it's a genetic thing.  I feel so much better when I eat well.  And I don't really know how to practice moderation.

Which is exactly why I've said majorly.  I don't want to set myself up for failure, so 100% is not my goal.  And while I do want to make this more of a lifestyle change, I want to find balance and moderation. 

Exercise...that goes along with feeling good.  Although I do get a couple exercise sessions in each week, I could do more.  I often make excuses about being tired or just done with the day.  Which is often true, but in reality I could eek out a few miles or do a short video.  I know Shredding at 7:30pm, once the kids are in bed, can make a big different in how I feel.  I'm trying to add some free weights, ab work and maybe some leg work to my evenings when the TV is on.

Blog daily.  I want the accountability.  I want to chronicle daily life more closely for a month.  I want to write more of what I think.  Sometimes I wish posts would write themselves!

Enjoy the moment.  I think if I was present in more moments in my life, life wouldn't catch up with me so quickly.  Sometimes I look too much at the big picture.  I focus on what I'm missing by not being home with the girls each day.  I focus on the clutter, the unfinished decorating, the "projects."  If I were present I would laugh with my girls, I would get on the floor and play more, I would see more of what God is doing.

This, is my own March Madness. 

If you'd like, you're welcome to steal the idea.  What do you need to get maddening about?
*I do realize I'm not using that term in quite the right way, but it's artistic license, okay?

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Today...I am tired.  I feel like I could stay in bed and sleep the entire day.  But I was up early and out of the house with the kids at 7:30am because the bigger girls had dentist appointments.  They've been "watching " one of Miss Rose's back molars, and today he said it's crossed over to the dark side and it's time for a filling.  Unfortunately she has soft teeth with deep grooves.  I'm hoping her permanent teeth are stronger.  I'm NOT looking forward to the cavity appointment.  I am quite confident we'll be paying the fee for nitrous oxide.  Remember this experience when she had shots at the doctor's office?  That was over a year ago, she's quite taller and weighs 10 more pounds.  I'm not thinking she'll take well to the shots in her mouth.

Today...I have a sore throat and headache.  Along with being tired.  A few families at church have had strep throat recently, as did Miss Rose a month ago or so.  Not that I think I got it from any of them (if I have it) but apparently, it's going around.  I'm hoping I don't have strep.

Today...I'm going to spend as much time on the couch as possible.  Thankfully, Gracie is in love with Ice Age-the Dinosaurs.  I'm not sure the exact title, but that's what she calls it.  She's perfectly happy to lay on the couch with me watching it.  Miss Rose rarely watches more than abou 45min of TV or a movie before she's bored and wanting to move on to the next thing, so I'm glad she's at school!

Today...I have many things that could or should be done.  That's what happens when you work a few days a week and are home a few days.  Everything piles up.  Errands, chores, cleaning, organizing.  I don't know that any of them will get done today.

Today...I'm just working on making it through today.  I seem to cycle through weeks of positive thinking and outlook on my crazy, busy life.  But then weeks like this one come along, and without any real rhyme or reason I feel overwhelmed and discontent with the balancing act.  I know I'm not the only one.  All working mothers experience it.  No matter how much you love your job or are fulfilled by it, being a mom is stil number one, and it's hard when you aren't living up to your own expectations.  Even when you've lowered those expectations quite significantly. the day the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.  A few mornings ago, this verse came to mind as I was driving Miss Rose to school.  Gracie and Lily were in the car too, and our next stop was Grammie's, where they would be for the day while I went to work.  I was already missing them.  Feeling sad that I had two more days of work before I could be more hands on with them.  And I thought to myself, if THIS is the day the Lord made, then no matter what the day holds, whether I like it's contents or not, I need to rejoice and be glad.  Not an easy pill to swallow when I'd rather just wallow in self-pity.  Because THIS is the day the Lord made.  He made my day.  He knows the contents of my day.  He knows what I have to do and where I have to be.  So I need to trust him, and rejoice and be glad.

The trusting part I'm doing okay with.  Rejoicing and being glad...I'm working on it.  But I am resting in the knowledge that he made today.  THIS day.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Often, one of the highlights of our night is checking the kids before they go to sleep, and what we find.  We have many photos of their creativity.  One of my all-time favorites (which isn't on this computer, otherwise I would share it) was when Miss Rose was sick and we'd let her take a Kleenex box to bed and she fell asleep with her arm in the box.  Miss Rose was also infamous for getting out of bed and loading her bed with toys before falling asleep.

While Gracie doesn't get out of bed too often, she has a group of stuffed toys that have taken up residence in her bed.  Most of them stay there the entire day.  She usually has one or two favorite "toys of the hour" that she brings out to the living room.

When I found her like this the other night, I had to take a photo.  If I was nifty and had a photo program to use, I'd label this photo with arrows and captions.  I'd tell you about the doll she's adopted that was a birthday gift for Lily, the ones that were originally given to Miss Rose, the Mickey and Minnie Mouse which I almost didn't buy for Christmas, but she absolutely loves, the Nemo her Sunday School teacher gifted her with after a Noah's Ark series in which she brought in a lot of stuffed animals from home, the "Purple Baby" which is a Madame Alexander doll I bought her for her first birthday, and she has recently taken a great liking too, and the list goes on. 

The best part, she calls them all her "friends."

"I need to find my friends, mommy."

"Can you put my friends by me?"

"THERE'S my friends!"

It's pretty cute.

Usually at some point in the morning, Gracie will go into her room and put a few of her friends to sleep.  She'll lay them on the pillows (using Miss Rose's bed too of course) and cover them with blankets.  If I get too loud (in her opinion) she'll tell me to "shhh, my friends are sleeping."

Oh, to be a toddler again.  When life and friendship are so easy.

When I was uploading that photo, I saw these as well and just had to share.  

Gracie also likes to sleep in odd positions and sometimes underneath her pillow.  Which is why you see couch pillows between her bed and the wall.  On more than one occasion, she's crying in her sleep because her body is wedged between the mattress and the wall.  We've also had to start putting a pillow between the two rails of the side guard as she kept getting a leg caught in there too.

This is what we found a few months ago.  It was kind of hard to figure out what position her body was in.

Upon removing the pillow...

She was dead asleep.  There's a lot going on here!  Hot and sweaty from having the pillow on top of her.  One arm resting outside the bed on the Princess Dress Up chest.  Feet up on the head of the bed with a pillow nestled between.


Kids are so great!

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Monday, February 22, 2010

clean up, clean up

Do all six-year-olds protest cleaning, or is it just mine?

Because you'd think we were asking her to remodel the house.

She whines and moans and complains.  She "can't" see things that are right in front of her.  She tirades about the unfairness of it all.

Quite frankly, it's exhausting just supervising.  Which is maybe how we go to this point in the first place.  It's much easier to do it ourselves, or just leave it.

This night though, I was going to win the battle.  So I followed her around, instructing her on what needed to be done.  I made her throw away the tiny pieces of paper she had cut, much to her dismay.  She had to pick things up and put them in their rightful place.  I wasn't going to let the 5 markers on the TV cabinet stay there, like I usually do.  We were cleaning up every little thing.

And, she did.  It was a battle though.  Lots of tears and protests.  I had to tell her every little thing to do. 

What kills me, is she is one of the most responsible kids in her classroom.  Always volunteering and helping.  Never giving her teacher trouble.

So I know she has it in her, the potential is there.

Now if I can just muster the energy to go through this tomorrow night. 

Consistency is key, right?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

still figuring it out

I'm not sure I'll ever understand myself.  I guess if I did, life would be boring and predictable.  But I wouldn't mind a little better grasp of the things that make me tick.

Those of you who are regular readers, may think that I'm a health and exercise nut.  In some ways, I am.  I have great intentions and have had great results at times.

And yes, my little rants about food and exercise are probably becoming a bit tiresom to ya'll.  But it's where I'm at these days.

Through Weight Watchers and running I've lost a lot of weight after each pregnancy.  I've completed three half-marathons and a few 10k's.  I did the 30-Day Shred for 28 or 29 of 30 days almost a year ago.

But, as I've been sharing here, I still have food issues, and I'm finding it hard to stay consistent with exercise for various reasons.  Of course I'm great at sharing my successes, which easily lead one to believe I'm always successful.  But I'm not.

Why is it that I can be so motivated and so sucessful at certain points in my life, and fail miserably at others.  I'm doing a little better with getting out to run, but failing miserably at the eating.  I know what I should be eating.  I know I'm snacking too much, eating too many desserts and just generally indulging.

The waistbands of my pants are a little tighter than I would like them to be, and my muffin top and jelly roll are in full effect.  I feel SO much better about life when I feel good about myself.  Perhaps it shouldn't effect me in the way that it does, but it does.  I saw some photos of myself from last weekend that I was not thrilled with.  Not only do I need to find a miraculous eye cream and new easy ways to do my hair (instead of the basic ponytail), I was a little more round in all the wrong places.

I could go on a strict diet, and cut out all the junk.  Of course, that works.  But for me, that's not a long-term way of life.  I want to eat well the majority of the time, but I want to be able to enjoy the occassional treat or indulgent meal out.  I need to find that balance. 

Let's not talk about the guilt I feel for the lack of veggies in my children's diets.  On a good day, Miss Rose has 2-3 servings of fruit/veggies and Gracie has 1.  Gracie is still in that picky phase with food and if she doesn't want to eat it, you can't make her eat it.  We were relying on fruit leathers, which have no added sugar, for her fruit, but it was becoming a crutch.  So we've stopped buying them until she increases her fresh food intake.

I know, I just need to crack down and do it.  I need to create a plan and stick to it.  I need to find the exercise DVD's I can do early in the morning that won't wake my family.  I need to make an eating plan for the week and do it.  I have 23583497 calorie/food tracking app's on my iPhone.  I've been a part of several different online message boards for accountability in this area over the years.  I have the tools.

In my head, I'm working towards March.  I want to do my own version of March Madness...and cut out most processed sugar in my diet.  I think that would make a huge difference. 

In January our church did a 7-day Daniel Fast.  It was a great experience, both spiritually and physically.  I honestly wasn't hungry during the week.  Sure, I wanted junk foods at times, but by the end of the week, not having them wasn't a huge deal.  The Daniel Fast focuses on fresh, unprocessed foods and no meat or dairy.  I ate plenty of nuts, oatmeal, veggie chili and soup, fruit and vegetables, popcorn and herbal tea.  In my opinion, with the addition of some lean protein and low-fat dairy, it's a great way to eat all of the time.  Or most of the time. 

So I know, from that recent experience, if I cut this stuff from my diet, I will stop wanting it and looking for it.

I just need to find that stinking motivation and willpower.  Add that to some discipline and consistency and I'll be feeling much better about myself and my life.

Friday, February 19, 2010

the lashes, the eyes, the red

Here's a little preview, of what my smallest sweetheart looks like in her briar.claire hat.
Adorable if you ask me. Even though she's dressed in just a onsie.
I'm anxious to take more, but she's currently sporting a bright purple mouth
(which Gracie says looks "so pretty" like makeup) because I found a few more suspicious spots in her mouth--thrush reoccurance.
So Genetian Violet is our friend.

Look at these eyelashes. I don't recall my other babies having such long eyelashes. I'm quite envious of them.

And the eyes. Of course I love the red hat, because it's red for my sweet Valentine, but it really makes her blue eyes pop.
If I tried to adjust some colors in the photo, using one of my free photo programs, they would probably pop more.
When I was pregnant with Miss Rose, I was hoping she'd have blue eyes like me (Bean's mom has blue eyes) but hers are the most beautiful chocolate brown.
Gracie seemed to have blue eyes during her first year, but now they are a unique green/hazel color.
Very beautiful. I'm trying to learn which colors accent her eyes as well.
The blue eyes came with this last baby of mine. They certainly seem like they are staying blue. Although stranger things have happened.

Not to be left other two beauties.
This was a most precious sight last weekend. Miss Rose was playing computer games, and Gracie wedged herself in so she could watch. They sat like this for at least twenty minutes.
Warmed this mama's heart.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010


I am fairly certain that the last 24 hours of my life could easily have been made into a season long series chronicling one hour each episode.

Oh wait, there's already a show like that.

Well, I think mine would have a great "mom" audience.

Hmmm...that would make a great TLC type of show, don't ya think?

I am so tired tonight it's amazing.  I should be in bed.  I would be, except it's Bean's birthday today and he's at worship practice.  I'm trying to stay up until he gets home.  Or until I can't keep my eyes open any longer.  Nights like this I wish we had a TV in our room, so I could be cozy in bed.  But then the chances of my falling asleep would be even greater.

Back to 24.

Seriously, the last 24 hours = insanity!  The regular ins and outs of life, as well as me always trying to do too much.

You want to know what I have been so busy with?  Oh, sure.  I'd love to share.  I might just go back a few more than 24hrs.

 4pm: Leave work after a very full day catching up from having Monday off.  Pick up kids from mother-in-law

4:30pm: Arrive home with little girls, begin to prepare dinner

5:00pm: Bean arrives home with Miss Rose from her first T-ball practice.  Miss Rose gets in the shower while I finish up dinner.

5:30pm: Family sits down to eat.  Gracie only eats 1 baby carrot and 2 forced bites of pizza muffin.

5:45pm: Scramble to get out of the door to church

6:00-6:30pm: Leave for church, arrive at church, check kids in, take 5-month old niece for sister-in-law who is speaking to the youth group

6:30-8:00pm: Lead small group; niece is antsy so being the great uncle he is, Bean takes her out and walks around for the majority of the time

8:00pm: Bean and I are in possession of 6 children.  I'm carrying two babies, two 6-yr olds & a 3 yr old are running around like crazy, 2yr old is crying because we aren't his mom.  Bring 3 kids to their mom, take our 3 kids home.

8:30-9:00pm: Get home, finally get our kids in bed.  Now I have to go to the store because I'm starting cinnamon rolls tonight for a playgroup baby shower tomorrow.

9:30pm-11:15pm: I go through the first few steps and waiting periods of making cinnamon rolls while watching TV with Bean.  Finally go to sleep.

5:45am: Wake up to make a small pan of cinnamon rolls for Bean before he leaves for work.  He always spoils me rotten and deserves some of the same for his birthday

6:30am: Cinnamon rolls are cooking, girls wake up, begin morning routines, Bean and the girls enjoy cinnamon rolls together before he leaves.  Worth the price of admission.  Or the price of waking up so early

7:30am: Take Miss Rose to school, stop by the store to pick up a few things I need to finish cinnamon rolls (having enough cinnamon is crucial)

8:15am-9:30am: Feed little girls more breakfast, get cinnamon rolls in the pans and rising, bathe little girls, shower myself, get everything in the car, drive to playgroup and get rolls in the oven.

11:45am: Arrive home from playgroup (always a fun, chaotic time) where friend was showered with diapers and we all ate the yet unborn baby's weight in cinnamon rolls.

Feed little girls lunch, do first set of dishes (we have no dishwasher), clean the hardened melted butter, cinnamon, sugar & flour (I really just spelled it "flower" and had to go back and correct; TIRED) off the dining table

1pm: Finally get little girls down for naps; my mom comes over so I can go get birthday gifts for Bean

3pm: After successful shopping, pick Miss Rose up from her after school aerobics class

Deal with a tired 6yr old, little girls finally wake up from nap, clean up the house a bit, do a few more dishes, start getting dinner ready, put laundry in (I'm SO behind right now)

Work with Miss Rose on her sight words for a test tomorrow, and monitor her homework. 

4:15pm: Bean the Birthday Boy arrives home; gotta keep dinner going, potatoes not baking fast enough in the oven, baby is fussy and hungry, crackers not cutting it

5:15pm: With Bean's help, dinner is finally ready and we sit down to eat

5:30pm: Dinner's done, time to load up to head to Frozen Yogurt as our birthday treat

6:00pm: We've driven separately to Fro Yo.  Bean now heads to church, I head home with the girls

So thankful that the girls are clean enough to skip bathing tonight.  Not happening! 

It's a calm evening for the most part. 

7:15pm: Girls are in bed, nurse baby and put her down. 

More laundry.

Toys are strewn about the living room.  Dinner stuff is still on the table.  I never did get the cinnamon roll dishes finished, and now dinner prep dishes are there also. 

I am, stuck on the couch.  I simply have nothing left.  It can wait.  Tomorrow is a new day.  Thankfully, it's a day with no plans, no major to-do list, no appointments.  It's also the neighbor's day to drive to school.  Which means I just have to get Miss Rose out of the house, not all 4 of us.  And I'll be in my jammies for a long time.

I loved treating Bean this morning to a special birthday breakfast on a workday.  I loved making cinnamon rolls for our playgroup.  I loved eating them. 

I hope I don't sound like I'm complaining.  Because I'm not.  Just telling it like it is!  And sometimes, it's tiring, while also being rewarding.

I AM going to have to put away some clean laundry before I can go to bed.  It's folded on my bed currently.  See, a mom's work is never done.  Even when she tries to be done.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

life & love

If only I could actually write all the blog post ideas that I have and write in my head.  Recently I read another bloggers idea about an app or program that would write the blog you compose in your head.  If I could remember what blogger it was, I would totally give her credit.

We've been living life.  And we've been loving one another.  It was Valentine's weekend you know.  And oh the cute posts I thought about writing about why I love each of my children and my husband.  But I was too busy loving and living to actually write about it.  Which isn't a bad thing.

We had a nice long weekend.  Miss Rose was off of school Friday and Monday.  Friday, we finally got to make the trip to see my friend's new house and let our girls run around and play together.  Six girls is a lot!  It was a wonderful visit though.  We spent a lot of time with friends and family this weekend. 

Valentine's Day was busy, but we were together.  Being Sunday, it's a workday for me.  Miss Lily had thrush, so Daddy kept her home from church.  He did bring me my favorite Starbucks drink at 6:30am as I was getting ready for church.  Awww, whattaguy!  I returned the thought, and brought him home a McDonald's Diet Coke (our favorite fountain Diet Coke...and at $1 for an extra large, you can't beat it).  That was the extent of our V-Day exchange, which was perfectly fine with me.  When we get a chance, we'll have a date night too.

I was very excited about getting the girls flowered hats from Briar.Claire.  In true form, they weren't all that excited though.  Things usually have to lose their newness before they decide they like them.  I'm hoping they'll wear them here and there.  I will not be beyond bribing them for a photo session sometime in the near future.  I got a few cute photos of Lily in her red (of course) hat.  It makes her blue eyes stand out!

Miss Rose starts T-ball this week.  Practices for a few weeks and then games begin in March.  We're excited to see how she does and she is excited to play.  She definately has some natural sports ability.  She loved her first year of soccer, but the second year didn't seem to be as thrilling for her.  So we'll see how this sport goes.

Life goes on.  Life is full.  Thankfully, there's a lot of love to go around as well.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Overheard in my bed this morning, as all three girls were having some mommy time.

For no known reason, this exchange occurs:

Miss Rose: Gracie, can you say"rectangular prism?"

Gracie: Can you smell my foot? (while sticking said foot in her sister's face)

It still makes me laugh out loud!  I love being a mom and I live for these moments.

Sometimes the funny exchanges have some sort of reasoning behind the content.  Not this one though.  Just pure kid exchange!

A little update on my current journey...

I've been enjoying me some yummy food.  For the most part I haven't over-indulged, but definately not refusing either.  My aim is for balance, not going without or going with too much.  For me, this is about a lifetime, not just a diet that will end.  I'm sure after Valentine's Day passes, I'll get back on track a bit more.  Or maybe not, as Bean's birthday is coming up as well.  Well, I'll have a few days with no excuses!

I have been able to get in some runs and workouts this week.  I could have used one or two more, but the few I got are better than none!  I've been trying to do some ab work and arm work on a daily basis.  I feel a bit sore in those areas, so I guess it's doing something.

I had one of my best runs in a long time today.  I have really been focusing on making myself run faster.  Running with the Nike+, on my known route is a big help.  I know generally where my mile markers are and the Nike+ will tell me at any time what pace I'm running.  For a few months now, I've been running sub-10 minute miles on my shorter runs. 

Today, my goal was a 45min run of all sub-10 minute miles.  It took me almost 2 miles to find my groove, which is longer than normal.  But I finally found it and just kept pushing myself.  The more I push myself, I find that my "set speed" is getting faster.  When I push, I can run at an 8:30min mile pace.

The verdict?  4.8 miles in 45 minutes.  Blew 10 minutes out of the water!!  If I remember correctly, that put my average pace around 9:25 per minute.  I'm really having to push, and a lot of the time I feel like a lumbering elephant, completely ungraceful. 

My new goal?  5 miles in 45 minutes.  That would be a flat 9 minute mile.  I think I can do it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

How to know when to take your child to the doctor

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional.  Beyond some biology classes and an Emergency Medical Technition course, I have NO medical training.  I'm just a medical sponge and have a great pediatrician.

Growing up and even into college, I wanted to be a doctor or a nurse.  I've always been fascinated by medicine and I love researching and learning medical things.  As a mom, I've found it beneficial to learn and understand more about viruses, infections and antibiotics.

I don't like wasting money, and I really don't have any to waste.  Paying $15 per doctor appointment (and $50 for Urgent Care), I don't like to take my children in for every sniffle, cough or even vomiting episode.  At the same time, I don't want to be a negligent parent and allow an infection to worsen because I was hesitant to pay a co-pay.  I also don't like to over-medicate my children, and while antibiotics are necessary at times, there are negative attributes as well.

I have a great pediatrician who loves to explain things and even test me in my knowledge and understanding of my kids illnesses.  I'm not sure if he's like that with everyone, or if he senses that I'm a medical sponge.

Last month I was 2 for 2 in one week, taking my children in and leaving with a prescription for antibiotics, I've been patting myself on the back for making good use of my doctor and co-pay.  While mommy instinct does play a part, I think it's more due to the mental checklist I've created over the past few years.

Here's Beana's guide to diagnosing your children...It's pretty basic.

Fevers are good and normal; they fight infection.  They are common at the beginning of a virus, and usually don't require medical intervention.  Liquids, cool baths, wet cloths all help with fever.  For high fevers, I usually give Tylenol or Ibprofren.  As amazing as it sounds, fevers as high as 104 are within the "normal" range for kids.  If my kids have a low fever (below 101) I usually let it ride and do it's job without medicating.

Usually fevers lasting more than 3 days can indicate some sort of infection that may need treatment.  A lot of it depends on the other symptoms.  Recently, with the swine flu and other flues that went around, fevers lasting a week were part of the usual run of the illness.  Two of my kids went through this.

From my experience, a fever is a real issue is when a child has been sick with a cold or respiratory flu for a few days or a week, and gets a fever all of the sudden.  According to my pediatrician, this almost always indicates a secondary infection.  Which is exactly what happened recently with Lily.  She had a cold for a week or more--runny nose, coughing.  But no fever.  When she suddenly became feverish, and it climbed to 102, I knew there was something more going on.  And sure enough--ear infection.

I've also learned, a fever combined with a sore throat and no other symptoms can be strep throat.  This is what recently occurred with Miss Rose.  She actually didn't complain as much as I would have expected for how bad her throat looked.

Runny Noses
The bane of all mother's existance.  We should seriously buy stock in Kleenex.  Runny noses run so rampant in the winter.  And they can last a few weeks.  We've found (and this is my ped's rule of thumb) when a runny nose lasts more than two weeks, it's often turned into an infection.  This is especially true when the mucous is thick and it's acompanied by a cough caused by post-nasal drip.  My pediatrician doesn't go as much by color of mucous as he does duration.

I've heard it estimated that in their first few winters, children pick up a few viruses a month.  This is how the body builds immunity.  Runny noses, which come with colds, can be the cause of infections that do need treatment.  But on it's own, a runny nose is just a runny nose.

Ear Infections
These aren't too hard to pinpoint.  In my children, the primary indicator is usually when they've had a cold and suddenly get a fever.  We seem to catch them before they get too painful.  So far, it's usually the fever that tips me off, not the child complaining of pain.  My chiropractor told me once that he never used antibiotics when his children had ear infections.  He liked letting the infection run it's course and only once did it result in a ruptured ear drum.  I did let an ear infection run it's course in Lily when she was a newborn.  I just wasn't ready to put antibiotics in her system.  And she recovered just fine.

For the first two years of her life, every time Gracie got a fever, regardless the cause, she would vomit.  Usually multiple times.  Her little system was just very sensitive and that was it's response.  Quite the opposite of Miss Rose who has vomited less than a handful of times in her six years.

Dehydration is the biggest concern with vomiting.  After many conversations with triage nurses late at night, I've learned some tricks.  For small toddlers and children, they usually recommend trying 1 teaspoon of Gatorade every 20-30 minutes if there is concern for dehydration.  Have you ever actually tasted pedialyte?  It's awful.  Definitely go with Gatorade!  I think the last time Gracie went through a vomiting stint, they wanted her to urinate at least once in several hours.  She got very close to going beyond the threshold, but finally urinated.

Another trick I learned (from a friend, and also recommended by the on-call nurse) is making rice water to soothe a tummy.  You boil rice in water--just like you were making some to eat--but before all the water cooks in, pour the water off the rice.  It should look slightly milky and be a little thickened.  It's full of soothing starch.  You can feed it directly to the child or mix it with another liquid or food.  This helps tremendously with settling their tummy and even stopping up loose stool.

Bland foods are obviously the foods of choice when recovering from a sick tummy. 

So...bottom rules for doctor visits:

--fever+pain (sore throat, ears etc)
--fever that comes several days after the initial illness set in
--runny, thick congested nose lasting more than two weeks
--fever lasting more than three days

There are plenty of times I take my children in to the doctor and they don't need antibiotics or other treatment.  Sometimes as a mom, you just need that peace of mind.  And as Bean always says "that's why we have insurance."

What do you look for before you take your child to the doctor?   What was your "shining mom moment" when you hit the nail on the head with your child's sickness?  (just like I did last month--2x in one week!)

This has been a very sickly season for us and many of our friends and family.  I'm looking forward to warmer weather and less germs!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

on my mind

I am so thrilled to NOT have to take Miss Rose to school in the morning.  Yay for Friday holidays.  I'm looking forward to a great long weekend full of friends and family time.

Am I the only woman who experiences "phantom pregnancies" on a regular basis?  There are absolutely no biological signs to indicate I am pregnant.  In fact, much the opposite.  But, after getting pregnant unexpectedly AND having one cycle at the beginning of said pregnancy (before I knew I was pregnant), my brain is always on overdrive.   Nausea, fatigue, bloating, frequent urination.  All freak me out.  I really hope the further away I get from having been pregnant, these phantom pregnancies will go away.   Because like clockwork, I have proof I'm not.  But there was that one time I was like clockwork...and I was pregnant...  That is what messes me up.

I'm thinking about declaring March a no-sugar month.  That may be the next step in my journey.  To avoid processed sugar.  There are no major holidays in March, and only one family birthday.  I think I might be able to handle it.  After trying some clothes on in Target tonight, I'm more motivated to get rid of this "baby belly" I have.

I want to find a half marathon to register for in May or June.  I need that challenge and motivation to keep running regularly.

Why have I not been successful in teaching my almost 3yr old to go to the bathroom on her own and wipe herself.  Every time I have to take her. Often she refuses to pull her own underpants down.  Since she wears a dress every day I have to tuck in her collar so it doesn't go into the toilet.  I don't remember a big ordeal teaching Miss Rose to use the bathroom independantly.  She's almost three, isn't it time?

After looking at some images online, I'm pretty sure Lily has a slight case of oral thrush.  My babies have never had that before.  Now I'm going to have to look up what to do about it.  I wonder what caused it.

When I am going to stop wanting another baby?  Is that just part of being a woman?  Within a few months, our baby-making days will be over, unless God drastically intervenes.  Which he can do.  Which is why I'm okay with this decision.  I know three children is good for us, our home, our life.  It makes sense to stop now.  I also know, that if for some reason God does desire us to have another child, he'll bring it about one way or another.  Many are the plans in a man's heart, but the Lord's purposes prevail.  I just want that desire to go away!  I'm happy and content and fulfilled with my family.  Yet I get newborn envy, and belly envy.

I still haven't started recording anything in Lily's baby book.  I really need to get on that.

It's past 11pm.  Why am I not tired?  Maybe it's the 3+ cups of coffee I had today.  Although the last one was 10 hours ago.

I need to try to go to sleep.

**an update**
I'm still not sleeping.  And forgot one other thing on my mind.

I really hope Lily decides to crawl or at least scoot in the next 2 weeks.  Her "1 yr" appointment is March 1.  But she'll really be 13 months.  As of now, she still doesn't crawl.  I honestly don't observe any reason for concern.  Her movement development is on track, just several months behind.  She scoots around a bit on her rear end now.  She tries to get moving with one leg behind her and almost rocking up onto the front leg.  Part of the problem is she still hates her belly.  I try to put her on it, but she just screams, until I pick her up or her highness decides to roll over.  The only cause for concern is that she isn't crawling.  Everything else about her seems normal.  I hope my gut instinct is correct.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

on activity, exercise & fitness, part 2

When Miss Rose was around a year old, my sister started jogging at a nearby lake (not a true  The paved path does not circle the entire lake, but you can do a total of 6+ miles if you go to the end and back.  My sister talked me into coming with her one afternoon.

At that point I had a great dislike of running.  I used to always say it was my least favorite form of exercise.  Rollerblading and the elliptical were my workouts of choice.  Running just wasn't smooth.  I had very curly hair in junior high and high school and guys used to love to tease me for how it bounced when I ran.

But I decided to give it a try, for my sister's sake.  I remember that first run well.  I told her I didn't know how far I'd make it before I had to start walking.  I would guess that we were jogging at a 11-12 minute pace, which is on the slower side.  I completely shocked myself, and was able to run an entire mile before I needed to walk.

It was exhilarating.  Much further and longer than I anticipated.  And it felt good.  It was challenging, and I like a challenge.  If I could do one mile, surely it wouldn't be hard to work up to two or three.  So I started running more, and so did Bean.  Often my mom would come with us and walk with Miss Rose in the stroller while we ran.  Then I got a jogging stroller.

And like that, an addict was born.  Running is now my happy place.  It's something I do just for me.  There is nothing like the achievement of running x miles in a day or a week or a month.  I am the only one who can run for me.  I also loved that it was an exercise I could do with my children. I didn't have to find childcare or pay for a gym membership.  In my city, we have running weather about 80% of the year.  A good double jogger was my most important purchase after the birth of Gracie.  (craigslist of course!)

Running helped me drop several more pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight with Miss Rose.  I ran my first half marathon.   I ran up until 32 weeks of pregnancy with Gracie.  Even with a c-section, I was back to walking at 4 weeks post-partum and starting jogging and walking by 6 wks post-partum.  Again, running helped me lose more weight than I gained.  I ran my second half marathon when Gracie was 6 months old.

I ran until 35 weeks with Lily (and delivered her at 37 weeks).  Starting up again, not so easy with three kids.  I had great intentions.  Miss Rose was in school 5 mornings a week.  We now lived in a neighborhood I could run in.  But finding the time, energy and motivation to run while raising three small children and working has been challenging. 

In the last year I've probably averaged 2 runs a week.  Which isn't terrible, but isn't great either.  I've found myself in cyles where I'm frustrated, and even slightly depressed at my lack of exercise, which instead of spurring me to make time to exercise, only makes me more lethargic.  It's a place I never imagined myself after 3 years of running through pregnancies and life.  (I did run another half marathon when Lily was 8 months old).

Bean understands my need to run and is very supportive.  He encourages me to get out and run.  I deal with guilt on workdays.  I want to be with the kids instead of run.  But there is no doubt that even 30 minutes of running benefits me which in turn benefits the kids, far more than a endorphin-deprived mom who spends 30 more minutes with them that day.

I also crave long runs (right now, long for me is more than 4 miles).  So if I only have 30 minutes to run, I'll skip it, because it doesn't meet my desire.  Now after a year of this up and down relationship with running, I'm starting to get back into a groove.  It's helped that Bean has been making running more of a priority himself.  So we encourage and support one another.  We figure out how to make sure each other gets runs in.

I've been pushing myself more, especially during those 30 minute runs.  I've been at a 10-10:30min pace for a few years now.  The last two months I've been pushing harder and I've finally broken that magical (for me) 10minute pace.  I can run 3 miles in less than 30min now.  In fact, on Sunday before the Super Bowl I ran 3 miles in 26:20 and continued on for a total of 3.45miles in 30min.  A new personal best for me.

It's been a journey, but a love of fitness has grown in me.  I feel better physically, I'm more self-confident when I'm running.  I sleep better and don't have as much stress and anxiety.  I still need to continue to make it a priority.

In some ways, exercise is the easy part.  That's probably why I don't gain weight, even with some of my poor eating habits.  For me though, that's not enough.  I want to be a fit person.  I want to have healthy eating habits.  I need the best of both worlds.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

on activity, exercise & fitness, part 1

One of the reasons I wish I lived in the farm days (a la Little House on the Prairie or all the Amish novels I love to read) because their everyday lives required so much activity that they ate great food--lots of baked goods, fried food, multiple course meals.  I'm sure there were still weight issues, but for the most part I'd guess farming all day and keeping up with the house in the way they had to, they burned plenty o calories.

Unfortuately, my job is a desk job.  When I'm at home, the lure of the couch is great with the laptop in hand, TV in front of me.  I have a car to drive places, instead of walking.  I have machines and gadgets to complete household chores and tasks (although we DON'T have a dishwasher, unless you count the cute mexican man often found in my kitchen) that used to be done by hand.

Unless we eat like birds, or have speedy metabolism, getting daily activity is necessary to maintain weight and any level of fitness.  Daily life is not the same as it was on the farm.

As a kid, I was very active.  I spent a lot of time playing outside with my brother who was just 18 months younger than me.  I would make a deal with him that if we played dolls for a little bit, then I'd play outside with him.  Usually, he agreed.  We didn't have a TV until I was about 10.  The outdoors was our favorite place.

When I hit junior high and puberty hit me, things started to change a bit.  I still remember being pretty active, but in 8th grade my school schedule really jacked me up.  My "lunch" was before 11am.  So by the time I got home around 2 or 3, I was pretty famished and often ate a second lunch or large snack.  That is when I remember starting to look "fluffy" instead of slim.  That stuck with me for many years.  As I entered high school, my activity level did decrease.  I was interested in sports, but we didn't have the money for organized sports and I changed schools every few years so it was something I didn't really pursue. 

My junior year of college I took a P.E. course that started to change my body.  We met a few times a week and were required to exercise a few times in addition to our classes.  There was something about the instructor, the fact that it was all girls, and there were just a few of us, that I found myself enjoying exercise and pushing myself more than I had in the past.  That began my ongoing relationship with regular exercise.  I got healthier, and over the course of a few years, I think I dropped a size or two.  I didn't track my weight very regularly but I can look back at photos and see the change.

It also helped during my senior year of college when I lived in an apartment with a kitchen and no longer had to eat in the school cafeteria!  Unlimited ice cream, cereal and bagels are not good for the waistline. 

Exercise became a more regular part of my life.  I wasn't always consistent with it, based on my schedule and motivation level, but I knew the importance of it.  In my opinion, I have a body that responds very well to exercise.  In fact, unless I have large amounts of weight to lose (like after pregnancy) I almost need to exercise in addition to eating right to see change in my body. current relationship with exercise.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

on food, food and more food

So, I have issues with food.  Huge issues, perhaps not.  But issues nonetheless.  I love food.  I don't usually binge eat.  I just eat too many small amounts of food.  Yes, I'm one who goes back to the cupboard for another cookie, then another and a while later, another.  After I already ate two servings in the first place.

Food issues certainly seem to run in families.  At least they do in mine.  My mom struggled with her weight a lot of her life.  However, the older she got, the slimmer she got.  Now at almost 60, she's pretty slim.  We've thought that maybe hormones play a part in it.  My dad also struggled with weight from his 30's.  In fact, his struggle was a huge contributer to having a stroke at 47 and now being a hemi-plegic. 

Emotional eating is huge in my family.  So is late night eating.  I think late night was when my dad consumed most of his calories.  Eating for comfort, oh yes.  A rough day?  Kids misbehaving?  I just want sugar.  And carbs.  And Diet Coke.  No calories there, but not good for me nonetheless.

From puberty on, I wasn't fat, but I wasn't slim either.  I changed schools a lot, so I never got involved in sports.  I was plump I suppose.  I wasn't too self-conscious about it.  A few times I remember "dieting" and losing a few pounds, but nothing significant.  When I look back at photos of my high school and college years, I don't remember feeling as chubby as I looked. 

Over the past 10 years or so, I've learned a lot about my body and about eating.  It actually took having my first baby to lose a significant amount of weight (much of which I gained while pregnant!) and go below (*gasp, I'm going to say it) 150 and stay there.  Love Weight Watchers, the way.  I was not the norm, and I was at a personal low at the start of my next two pregnancies, gained less and less with each and lost it all plus a few. 

I'm very happy with what I've learned.  I'm proud of myself, because it's a lot of work.  I appreciate the encouragement when people comment that I don't look like I've had three children (um, if they saw my stomach--they'd know!).  I am confident I have the right tools to continue on this path and lead a healthy life.

But...I still have food issues.  I eat for comfort.  I like eating in the evening after dinner.  I go back again and again.  I am addicted to sugar.  And because of my family history, because I am raising three daughters, I need to continue my journey.  I am not pleased that I constantly go up and down 5 pounds.  And it's completely tied to my eating.  Because it usually happens within a few weeks, when I've been eating poorly and too much.

I've been at my pre-pregnancy weight with Lily, but I keep going back up a few.  And in fact, my goal has been to hit a bit lower than that weight.  Because I got pregnant when Gracie was just a year old, losing the additional weight was postponed.  I certainly don't want to be a twig, but I do want to be slim and toned.

I'm tired of fighting with food.  I'm tired of fighting with myself.  I want to win this battle once and for all.  I want to enjoy food for the nourishment it brings, and yes for the flavors and even the sugar rush.  But in a balanced manner.  It's so crucial to me to set a good example for my daughters.  Miss Rose loves sugar just like I do, and although proportional, she's always been big for her age.  I want to set her up well to have a healthy relationship with food.

When it comes to our outward appearance, one of the few things we have control of is our body.  (I do realize there are medical issues that sometimes take away this control.)  Every girl wants good self-esteem.  Yes, the inward is much more important than the outward.  But often the two are related.  That is a whole other subject though. 

I want to like myself.  To feel confident.  There are some things I can't control, like the size of my nose, the texture of my hair, the ways motherhood has affected those pregnancy and mothering parts of my body.  But I can control the shape of my muscles, my weight, and the tone of my body.  No, it's not about a number or a size.  But those are helpful measurements.

Do you get the feeling I'm working up to something?  You're right, I am.  I'm going to challenge myself to make some changes.  Do you need to do the same thing?  Perhaps we can do it together.  Or, I'm perfectly happy with you reading along as I journey. 

Tomorrow, my relationship with physical activity. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

almost home

I'm sitting in the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport, waiting to come home.  I've been at Tommy Barnett's Pastor's School.  Our group took a coach bus--but Bean agreed to letting me fly home as it will get me home 5-6 hours earlier than if I traveled on the bus. This pastor is committed to her call and her job (thus traveling without my family) but this mom is anxious to get home.  So anxious in fact, I failed to take into consideration the location of our hotel in respect to the airport, and the taxi ride cost just about as much as my ticket.  Live and learn. Hopefully Bean feels the same way after hearing the cost.

Pastor's School was a wonderful experience.  It's inspiring and challenging.  Probably one of the things I enjoyed the most was getting to be in a service, worship whole-heartedly, listen to an entire message, without needing to attend to a matter, check on something or be interrupted by a need.  Pastors rarely get to sit through entire church service!  God used Pastor's School to confirm things he's already been doing in me personally, as well as direction for my duties at church. 

This was a huge step for me.  Leaving my family.  Leaving my husband with three children to care for.  Leaving my BABY.  Figuring out bottles and breastmilk and pumping.  I never left Miss Rose or Gracie overnight until they were 18+ months.  But I did it.  I knew it was the right thing.  I knew we would make it.  And we did!!  My family did well without me, and I had a great experience.

I will say, being a working, traveling, still nursing mother brings new meaning to the word dedication!  It's not for the weak.  We spent 12+ hours at the conference site each day.  That was me, carrying around a purse and an extra bag holding my breastpump.  Since we were at a church, thankfully I found a nursing mothers room late the first day.  Keeping pumped milk cold, making sure I kept my supply up so I won't have trouble returning to nursing.  Although Lily has taken her bottles well, I'm hoping she'll be as happy to return to nursing as I will be.

That's not to mention the preparations before I left. 

While I was gone, Miss Rose participated in her first jogathon!  While running 19 laps, which Bean estimates to be close to 5 miles, she also lost her first tooth.  Lost it not only from her mouth, but in general.  She didn't notice at which point it came out.  How's that for a milestone! 

I'm almost home!