Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kohl's - They just keep getting better

This weekend, I hit up Kohl's for their early bird sale.

I may have mentioned a time or two about my love affair with the store.

But this time was even better than normal.

This time I had Kohl's cash in hand and an early bird special on the sale racks.  Not to mention, the stores opened an hour early this weekend.

Needless to say, at 7:30 Little Man and I were the only people in the place.

However, I learned something about Kohl's that could be interpreted as slightly unsavory.

Could even cast them in an ugly light.

As frightening as it is, even early on a Saturday morning after restocking their shelves for their big sale, my favorite store did not have the ONE THING I was looking for.

Terrifying, huh?

I was pretty upset.

I mean, I had driven the 1.1 miles from my house to their door only to discover that they didn't have exactly what I wanted to use my Kohl's cash on.

And then I remembered something.

(Or maybe I heard it over the loudspeaker during their occasional Kohl's announcements.  Whatev.)

And I beelined it across the store.

To this lovely device.


You see, if you can find it online, you can buy it.  And ship it.  For Free.

Oh, wanna know the best part?

Totally qualifies for the early bird special.

And I could use my Kohl's cash.

And have it shipped to my house for FREE!

Obviously, this wouldn't work in a pinch - like if I needed a dress to wear to a wedding tomorrow - but this wasn't a pinch.  This was me stocking up for Little Man's winter attire.

And I happened to score an amazing deal.

And still had enough money to bring home a candle for mommy.

I big pink puffy heart LOVE that place.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fuzzy Pumpkin

Ever heard of a "Fuzzy Pumpkin"?

Sounds like a cocktail to me.

I actually found one on my doorstep last night.


Apparently, this is what happens when you leave your pumpkin out through 2+ days of downpours followed by a 6 day heat wave.


And let me tell you.

Pulling it off the porch and putting it in a garbage bag is no savory feat.

However, I manned up and covered my hands in plastic bags, and yanked that thing off my porch.  Both parts.  Juicy pumpkin wine flowing everywhere.

Ugh.

Yuck.

The ugly task behind me, I realized something.

Here I am just a few days shy of Halloween, with no jolly/spooky pumpkin to greet my visitors.

So, I did what any normal, blog reading mommy would do.

I pulled out my craft paints, a can of spray paint, 2 jars, some construction paper, my modpodge and within an hour, I had these babies up and ready for Spookfest 2010.



Now, I totally stole the idea right from this post only instead of using tissue paper inside, I went with spray paint/craft paint. 

Don't be worried.  Frankenjar will be joining the little guys on my door step starting tonight.

And speaking of the Frank guy...

Have you seen this version?

It's FRANKENBABY! 

Definitely the cutest one around...

If you ask me.

P.s. I am linking this post to Serenity Now's Weekend Bloggy Reading Party Weekend Bloggy Readingbecause even though I consider this post to be my best one (most humorous) from the week, this post has a craft AND Little Man, which, let's face it, draws the crowds far better than My Honest Opinion ever could!

Weight Update # 6

The saga continues.

Official weigh in.

Another 2 weeks behind me. 

A 2.5 mile run last Saturday.

Lots and lots of hours on the elliptical.

At least one 30 Day Shred session this week.

At least one 10 minute ab workout.

And despite what I may have led you to believe in Wednesday's post, I actually lost more than 1 lb. in the last 2 weeks.



That's right.

Be jealous.

Those amazing halloween socks can be seen at some point this weekend over my amazing Vera Wang leggings.  I promise to take pics.

Sorry.  Back on topic.

The scale says that I lost 1.8 lb. over the last 2 weeks.

Which is exactly 19.2 lbs. away from my goal weight, and 17.8 lbs away from my pre-prego weight.

I think the next 19.2 lbs. could be the most difficult lbs. yet.

Amazing, right?  As if the first 25.2 lbs. haven't been difficult enough.

But I think this is the point where alot of people tend to think, oh, I am less than 20 lbs. away from my goal.

I say the last 19.2 lbs will be the most difficult because it would be easier to give up than push through.

Which is where you come in.

Don't let me give up.

I am so close.

I have lost more than I have left.

Push me through and keep me accountable.

Have I ever mentioned how thankful I am for the handful of you who are doing that?

Well, I am very THANKFUL for you.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What?! Free food for a year!?

Who wants in!? 

I know I do!

Now I want pasta!

All Hallow's Eve

When I was a kid our house was THAT house.

I think you know the one.

THAT ONE.

My parents were amazingly festive.

Apparently, as teenagers they (with the help of their youth group*) ran a Spook Trail in the woods complete with a Headless Horseman who rode up to the hay wagon and jerked one of the passengers off the ride.(She was in on it, of course)

Needless to say, when the fall rolled around, the only thing to rival Hokie football mania at our house was Halloween.

As kids, we used to drive around with the Halloween theme music playing as we trick or treated Dad trying to play the Halloween theme music while I screamed for him to turn it off.  Oddly enough, I do not cope well with the frightful froo-froo.

As I got older, it did get better.

Probably because at some point, Dad stopped paying attention to me and my nervousness. 

Like it or not, on October 1st, the Halloween decorations came out.

And little by little, Daddy would add to them.  Until just in time for the big night, it was complete.

It became fun. 

Exciting, even.

Once we were teenagers, and old enough to drive ourselves around, my parents got to do the one thing they had been waiting YEARS for.

My dad, who had a flair for the dramatic, would go all out.

And my mom would buy the biggest candy bars she could get her hands on.

Our house became the house that everyone wanted to go to. 

The favorite.

(I'm sure it had nothing to do with mom's candy, and everything to do with Daddy's Fright Fest)



Credit (This is eerily similar to some of our decorations, only picture my dad as the dude)

And the kids loved it.

My last Halloween at home was by far the best.

By far.

Imagine, if you can.

Somewhat similar to the scene above, our front yard was transformed into a graveyard.  A large coffin sat off to one side, partially opened. with a spotlight and a fog machine inside.  In the shadows perched a darkly shrouded witch (me-hehe!).

At the front door was the Butler.  i.e., my father.  White face with big black smudges under the eyes and a dead pan face.

As the kids approached, the Halloween theme music played and just as they walked past the eerie coffin, I would screech at the top of my vocal range.

Kids screamed and jumped about 2 feet and then ran inside past the scary butler to my sweet mother with her giant candy bars.

Yes, we may have had 1 or 2 criers. 

But with the giant candy bars waiting inside, it didn't take long to dry the tears.

And the other 98 visitors LOVED it.

We actually had one group who came back 3 times with the other people they had run into on the way.

Now, don't expect me to go to that length these days! 

That was 5 years and 1 baby ago.

However, I may be counting the days until I can send my Little Man out with his siblings/friends so that my house can become the most popular house on the block!


*You know, back in the days when Halloween was just alot of fun.  A year or 2 before it became a sin in Baptist churches.

My Honest Opinion - Sally Hansen Brazilian Wax Kit

Let's talk about something.

What, you say?

Um, well it's warm, wet, and sticky. 

And it's not chewing gum.

Or one of those things that you get in the quarter machines at the grocery store that if thrown up against your wall, slowly creeps down and leaves a slimy mark that only rivals a slug.

Speaking of which.  It isn't.

But I'm guessing you probably picked up on that from the title of the post.

It's wax.

And not the good smelling Yankee Candle stuff. 

Although some of it does smell good.

I am talking about rip-my-hair-from-the-roots wax. 

As in, alternative-to-shaving wax.

I think most of us do it these days.

And if you don't, you probably should. 

Because, let's face it, it's the friendly thing to do.  IF you ever want to be seen in a bathing suit again.

Or if you don't want your husband to start calling you his jungle lover.

Not that that would ever happen at my house.

Oh dear, have I said too much?

If so, feel free to click away.  It's my own fault....

For those of you still able to hold it together enough to still be reading such a ludicrous review....

I have been self-waxing since I was in college.  (I went to school in FL, remember?  Bathing suits every weekend....)

And for years, I have used the same wax kit.


Sally Hansen's No Heat Solution.  (It used to come in a tube, which got all messy and sticky after the first 3 or so uses, but seriosly for $10, who cares!)

It was my fave.

People laughed at me when I told them I waxed myself, but it worked for me.  And I never once burned myself.

I also tried Nair's pre-waxed strips.  ONCE.


Which didn't used to be just for face, but whatever.

I wound up almost exactly like the woman in that Wax on, Wax off email.  Only I didn't know anything about her or the dangers of wax strips at the time.

NEVER.AGAIN.

But this last time, I headed over to my local Wally World to pick up my usual. 

Only to discover they didn't have any of my usual.  NOT.ONE.BOX.

So, the resourcefulness inside of me took over. 

By golly, I was there to get something to peel hair off with, and I wasn't leaving until I found SOMETHING to do just that even if I had to grab a pack of gum and silly putty to get the job done. 

So I scoured the shelves for the next best thing.

Lucky me, I didn't have to resort to the silly putty/gum option.

'Cause I found this one instead.

You can't see it on from here, but it touts itself as providing (mostly)rashless, smooth skin and less occurrence of missed hairs.

But you do have to warm it.

I figured.  Eh, whatever.  I could warm it. 

And off I went.

And then it was time to use it.

So I followed the instructions and heated it in my microwave for the 30 seconds it recommends.  However, since my microwave is in my kitchen, and I am not in the habit of dropping my drawers in the kitchen, I did not test it at that moment as the package recommended.  (Yes, yes, here's the point where you remind me that I could have tested it on my arm and I roll my eyes and hit my forehead with the palm of my hand, saying "Duh!") So I stirred.  It seemed to be the same consistency as the cold wax.  I was satisfied. 

I ran to my bathroom and slapped some on as quickly as possible before it cooled.

1.  Sticky.
When I say sticky, I mean Gorilla Glue would have spread easier than that stuff.  Perhaps it was because I needed to heat it more but then the evils of scalding myself....  However, I think it was still pretty warm.

Since it wouldn't spread, I just added more. 

Until I had a strip sized area covered with wax.

Then I added the strip and pulled.

Would it surprise you if I said I had to pull twice?

It surprised me.  Never had that happen with my cold wax.

But just as it promised, not a hair was left behind.

However, there was an angry purple streak left in the wake.

Like Barney dinosaur purple.

Which, in case you aren't aware, is not the color my skin usually is.
2. Hair removal.

Yep.  Every single one. 

Maybe even some I didn't intend for it to get.

3.  Smooth.

Not a bump.

Unless you count that giant, swollen purple patch of skin.

4.  Will I use it again? 

Not if I can help it.


My saving grace was the ointment.  Thanks to the ointment, by morning, I was able to walk again, and the swelling had finally gone down.  And I smelled finer than a rose in full bloom.

My one comment...those Brazillian's must be some tough women!


*It should be noted that I may order the cold gel for my next hair removal party if I can't find it in any of my local stores.
**It should also be noted that my girlfriend highly recommends hard wax.  Which, if I have to special order my hair removal product, I may as well order something as highly touted as the hard wax she swears by.  I promise to keep you posted.
***Unless that freaks you out even more than this post....

Eh, whatever.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When the Scale Doesn't Change

Tell me something,

What do YOU do when you work hard and don't see the results you want?

Do you pout?

Do you complain?

Do you give up?

Or do you just keep plugging along? 

I can tell you, it has been a ridiculous struggle for me. 

I have pouted.

I have cried.

I have complained.

But I haven't given up.

At this point, you could probably tell the nearest stranger every detail of my struggle.

I would be sorry for constantly blubbering about it, but I'm not. 

I am keeping myself accountable here, people!

It's a struggle.  I am not alone in it.  And I want to share with others who may or may not be struggling.

And here's where I am at.  So far, since my last weigh in (almost 2 weeks ago), I have only lost 1 lb.  (I guess it could have had something to do with that Crab Pretzel....).

However, 2 weeks ago, I bought my first size 12. 

And now it's too big.

Like falling off of me too big. 

Like the crotch is sitting at my knees too big. 

Can't say I am not upset by the wasted money, but other than that, you won't hear me complain!

If you are on FB, you probably saw my status this morning announcing that today I am wearing my first size 10 post-baby.  No shimmying required.  They are buttoned, snapped, and zipped.  And still comfy.  Not cutting me in 2.

And to that I say:

I am not there yet...but I am getting closer. 

And I am only 1 size away from my pre-pregnancy jeans.

I may not (yes, I am conceding that I probably won't) reach pre-pregnancy weight within the 1 year time frame I gave myself. 

(I am also giving allowance for the fact that I didn't really start working out until Little Man was 2 months old.)


Doesn't mean I am quitting.

Doesn't mean I won't reach my goal.

Just means I am slow.

"By perseverance the snail reached the ark." - Charles Spurgeon
 
Here's to PERSEVERANCE!

Helpful How-To: Morning Sickness

It's been a while since I thought about this subject. 

To be honest, once it was over, I never wanted to think about it again.

But recently, a friend of mine announced her pregnancy.  And then announced that she was having no symptoms of morning sickness.  One week too soon.

And I was reminded.

Of just how wretched it really is.

For some, morning sickness is just that - MORNING sickness.

For me, it was more of Morning, Mid-Day, Afternoon, and All-Night Long Sickness.

And the only way to curb my morning sickness was to eat.

And eat.

And eat.

Mostly carbs.

And very bland foods.

Thanks to this post, you can consider yourself warned against any hormonal, gestational ladies in your life who could possibly pull a Pam and puke in your trashcan if you cross.that.line.

1.  If you live with a newly pregnant sicky, you should be aware that what you eat can and will be held against you.

If you can remotely smell it in another room, she will hate you.
If you can taste it, she will hate you.
If it was once alive, she will probably hate you.
And you may as well forget anything that was once raw in your fridge. 
If it was once alive, it will make her sick.
Therefore, you are safest to eat peanut butter and toast right along side of her for the next 6 weeks or so. 
Be prepared.

2.  Even air fresheners stink.
If you are going to do a #2 in the same household as the sicky (which I highly advise against...you may want to just rent yourself a port-a-potty for the next 6 weeks and use that) covering it up with air freshener WON'T HELP.  Close the door, turn on the fan, hang a sign, send a message.  Do WHATEVER IT TAKES to make sure she will not come in contact with your stank.
You can thank me later.

3.  Heat=sick.
You should know right now, that even if morning sickness begins in the dead of winter, you can count on the AC running. 
Because if she's hot, she's probably sick.
Get out your parka and ski-bibs, because for the next few weeks/months, unless you want to clean up her mess, you are going to have to enjoy the arctic temperatures right along side of her.

4.  Messes won't clean themselves.
Remember the days where the dishes cleaned themselves and the trash magically appeared in the can?  Yeah, those days are gone.  Cleaning grody dishes and picking up grody messes = grody thoughts = sick.
Yep.  Eating out is usually your best bet.  Unless you wanna hire a maid.  Or can tackle the mess alone.

5. Trash cans everywhere.
There was a time when I actually drove down the road with a plastic bag in my lap just.in.case.  It doesn't take long to learn that if you plan to escort your preggo-sicky anywhere, you will want to have something in case of emergency.  Especially in the early days of morning sickness.  It's disgusting, yes, but it's a necessary evil.  At the very least, be prepared to skid to a stop within a moment's notice. 
It just happens.

6. Sleeping Beauty.
You may think the whole sleeping all the time thing is funny, but let me tell you, watch it if there happens to be a day that she is unrested.  Lack o' snooze = sick.  Therefore, unless you want to be minding the mess, you will let her sleep. 
That sleeping is serious bizness.

7. She doesn't need to know that she's green.
Between the sickness, the exhaustion, the food deprivation, and her tight clothes, the last thing the new mommy wants to hear is, "Honey, are you ok?  You look a little green...."  Instead, you should complement her as much as possible.  Tell her that you like her new look.  Her newly tight pants turn you on.  And her coloring is amazing. 


And I think that about covers what I have to say about morning sickness.  Feel free to comment with any other suggestions.  I think you get the idea that the whole baby cooking process isn't as easy as it sounds.  However, if you can deal with bland food, puking, a whole lotta take out, and even more sleep, I think you are as prepared as anyone can be! 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

You were always on my mind...

I obsess.

ALOT.

About alot of things. 

Food.  Weight.  Family.  House-fixing-upping.  Crafting.

Techy also obsesses. 

ALOT.

Money.  Photography.  Technology.  Baby.  Money.  Vacation.  Money.

You get the idea. 

This weekend, during our adult alone time, what do you think we did with it?

I can tell you one thing. 

You would be surprised.

Our alone time consisted of talks about things that we obsess about enjoy.

Techy actually started a spreadsheet over dinner to discuss our life's savings and our goals for the next decade. 

BOR-ING!

All I wanted to talk about was running a 5k and losing weight. (Ironic, since I was eating my weight in that giant crab pretzel...)

SO.DULL.I.WANT.TO.CRY.

We have to be the most boring people ever. 

However, we are also the only couple I know who are brave enough to snuggle on the same side of a booth even when no one else is with us.

Which probably wins us back a few points.

And it was kinda nice this weekend, until the couple across from us saw us do it and decided it would be cool for them to do the same. 

Thus cuddling on the opposite side of their booth.  You know.  The side that was FACING US.

AWKWARD....

May as well have just asked them to join our conversation since everytime I looked up they were THERE.

I was very tempted to stare at them.

ALOT. 

I may have, a little.

Techy may have too.

Just saying.... 

They should have known what they were in for....

Betting they wished they had chosen to cuddle with their backs facing us instead of their faces...

But I digress. 

The real point of this post is that we (Techy and I - in case my references are a little fuzzy at this point) are strange people who enjoy thinking about strange things and focusing on them to the neglect of everything else around us, until we come up with a reasonable solution.

And somehow we managed to put our obsessing aside long enough to have a baby...

Who, also appears to already have his own obsessions...

Like buttons!

And things with wheels.

And anything that will roll.

And anything that he isn't supposed to touch.

So yeah...the obsession thing....

It's a vicious cycle!

Mismatched for a reason...

Ever seen one of those couples?

You know the ones.

The ones that just make you wonder…

How on earth did he/she get her/him?

Not to name any names but...


In my (pre-married) world it was always the gorgeous guy with the plain less than gorgeous girl. (Clearly, the opposite problem is going on in the pics above...)

And a little part of me died inside.

Like, why on earth was he with her?

A guy that hot should be with someone equally as hot. Or at the very least, ME.
But over the years, I have learned something.

Hot guys are usually not smart guys.

And smart lights me up way more than hot.

I went out with some “hot” guys in my time.

And usually about 2 seconds into the conversation I was bored.

I remember one specific “hot” guy who lacked originality to the extent that I almost forgot about him within a week.

Our conversations were about him. All.about.him.

Sadly, I don't even remember his name. . . Maybe Aaron?  Or Mike?  Or Jamie? 

Seriously forgettable.

But anyway, somewhere along the way, I grew up and realized something else.

Smart is way hotter than “hot”.

I could argue all the gorey details.

But really, how can you argue with this?


I love you, honey! 

Thank you so much for not being boring.

For being so wicked nerdy smart.

And for always making me laugh!


*It should be noted that I saw Katy Perry on Ellen and she said she just couldn't get enough of his sense of humor, which I clearly I understand, so yeah, I think I get her choice.  Even though it looks odd.

**It should also be noted that I in no way think of my hubby as anything less than steaming-up-the-windows/so-hot-in-here hot.  However, I would totally understand it if you didn't.  And let's keep it that way, cause I'm still a hands-off-my-man kinda girl.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Story of Chocolate, Zombies & a Comet Slush

This weekend, Techy and I hit the road sans Little Man and headed up to the land o' Chocolate - a.k.a. Hershey, PA for some R&R.  Also known as Restaurants and Recreation.  Because Rest and Relaxation were nowhere on our list! 

Highlights of our trip were as follows:

1 GIANT crab pretzel.

1 Sleepless night due to fluffy pillows.
1 2.5 mile treadmill run. (P.s. I hate running on treadmills!)
1 Free ride at Hershey's Chocolate World - very reminiscent of a Disney ride with the singing cows



2 Free Hershey Kisses - The only chocolate I actually had while there.
1 Lunch at "Parkside" also known as "The Best Food in Town"
1 Trip to the most interesting bathroom ever.
5 Roller Coasters ridden at Hershey Park.
5 REALLY LONG lines to ride said roller coasters (for the off-season).
1 All-day craving for a "Comet Slush" - aka a Slurpee.
1 Very confused Leah from the most confusing amusement park map EVER.

2 Amazing friends who put up with us the entire day. 
 1 Person (who will remain anonymous) amazingly terrified of those dressed as zombies.
2 Bazillion kids in costume.
1 Dinner at the most adorable diner in the world.  Serious cuteness.
1 Cranky Techy trying to navigate very windy roads in the dark. 
What does all that add up to?

A whole lotta laughs. 

Not to mentions a whole lotta tired.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Feel Good Moment #3652 - Some Husbands Never Change

My husband is amazing.

My husband is inspiring.

My husband is exciting.

My husband is enthusiastic.

But among my husband's finer qualities, there is no room for "remembering anything - ever".

It's just not what he does.

He loses his keys on a daily basis.

He loses his clothes.

He loses his shoes.

Last week, we couldn't find 1 single pair (out of no less than 15 pair) of his dress socks.

I on the other hand, forget very little.

I remember what I wore to church on Easter sunday last year.

I remember how to get home from a Phillies game, even though I have only been one time, IN THE DARK.

I still remember my voicemail code from college. 

And I have my credit card numbers memorized.

That, of course, is not to say that I am flawless.  Just to say that I have an excellent memory.

It works for us.  Most of the time.

Until a few months ago when something really started grating on my nerves.

You see, the light in the garage door opener on Techy's side of the garage burnt out several months ago.  (When I say several, I mean, like right after Little Man was born.  Yeah, like long enough that we could have almost fully cooked another baby...but that's beside the point.  Lazy us, I know, I know.)

And because it was burnt out, Techy left the door open so he could actually see his way to the steps.  (You know, the ones that are on their way to middle earth?  As seen here:


 Yeah, those!)

So in order to keep himself alive prevent maiming himself irreversibly while walking in our back door, he has taken to doing this.


Which would be perfectly fine except for this is how it stays.

And how it would stay.

Every day.

Forever.

If I didn't manically check every door and every window and every single opening in my house before I go to bed at night.

Don't laugh.

We already discussed how I watched way too many episodes of Rescue 911 as a child.

Besides.  I am married to Techy.  Nuff said.

With the cold weather coming on, this is going to start causing some real issues with how our house holds heat....

So...

I have nagged.

I have cried.

I have begged.

(I am seriously scarred by those episodes of Rescue 911.  SERIOUSLY)

All to no avail.

He just CANNOT remember to hit that little button when he comes in. 

(Last night, not only did he leave the garage door open, but he also left the trunk of his car open with his laptop sitting right there...thank God there was no manhunt going on!)

So how do I fix this problem?

I think I have an answer. 

And it's simpler than Gomer Pile.

Let's see if it takes you as long as it took me...

Happy Weekending!

The "F" Word

How many times a day do you find yourself saying the "F" word?

If I am not saying it, I am probably thinking it.

Shocked?

What?  Why? 

You should know me pretty well by now. 

Oh, wait!  I see where we are going here...

Shame on you!

I am offended that you would ever even consider it a possibility for a southern lady such as myself to slip THAT "F" word.

No, I mean the other "F" word! 

I mean the one that has totally ruined our society with images of perfection that cannot be attained.

The F-A-T "F" word.

To be honest, I wish that I had read this article earlier in the week.  We could have made a total no-F-A-T party out of it.  Maybe I will consider my no-F-A-T week to start today.

I think that would be appropriate.

Want to join me?

Starting today through next Friday (and maybe the week after that, and the week after that) I am going to focus on everything but my fat. 

Instead of focusing on my thigh dimples, I am going to thank God that I have thighs that are strong enough to get me out of bed every morning.  Thighs that get me everywhere I want to go.  And thighs that have become strong enough to run 2.5 miles without burning or aching or hurting so much that I can't walk for 3 days.

Instead of focusing on the jelly belly, I am going to focus on the beautiful Little Man who had plenty of room to grow in there. 

Instead of focusing on the double digit size of my pants, I am going to be thankful that I just squeezed into my first size 10 (albeit, very uncomfortably, shimmying-squatting-not breathing-fit, but fit!) of the year and enjoy the fact that a size 12 is now VERY comfortable, after being in a 14 for almost 6 months. 

And I am going to enjoy the fact that my husband told me that the reason he hit me square in the middle of the chest in the middle of the night was because "you are so skinny these days that you disappear under the covers and I was checking to see if you were over there".

I am also going to be thankful that I am stronger than I have ever been, healthier than I have ever felt, and enjoying a crazy life with a couple of amazing men (by men, I am referring to Techy + Little Man + Gizmo - Don't be concerned.  There ain't no polygamy goin on up in here!) by my side.

Let it be noted, though, I am sure I will slip at least once this week.  And if you are there to witness it, feel free to treat me like I said the other "F" word.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Jelly Belly

Since giving birth to the most adorable child ever created Little Man,

I have lost a total of 40.5 lbs. 

More than most of my friends even gained while pregnant.

But since I gained a little over 60 big ones, I (as you all know and are probably way sick of hearing about) have a ways to go. 

However, over the last few weeks I have seen a noticeable difference in my body.

My figure is starting to return.

With the exception of one area.

My belly.

So tell me, how does one go from this

Note:  This is not my belly.  My belly was/is much worse.  All credit for this photo goes here

To this



Without this happening?


Credit Still much better than my abs.

I am telling myself that if Cindy Crawford can't figure it out, then neither can I.

So why bother?

I think I will try to start a "Campaign for Real Bellies" and make stretch marks an "in" thing.

Who will join me?! 

I mean, really, if this is acceptable...



Then, this really should be!












My Honest Opinion: SwagBucks

It's that time again!  My Honest Opinion time.  The weekly post where I get to give advice without sounding like I am giving advice.  Thus fulfilling my calling in life and in turn answering all the questions you didn't know you had.

Be excited.

Or at least act excited.

Or at least read half of it before clicking away.  Because you might get some useful info about it.

And possibly even a corny joke or 2.

Preface aside, I am really excited about today's post. 

Have you tried Swagbucks?

Search & Win

I would imagine since most of you loyal, enjoyable readers are reading my blog at all, you are at least somewhat internet savvy.  And I would imagine that most of you internet savvy people have heard of something as OUT THERE as Swagbucks.

And I had too.

I actually signed up for a Swagbucks account and earned my free bonus points for signing up like FOREVAH ago.  (As in, around the same time that Glee took control of my Tuesdays and Housewives of New Jersey began ruling my DVR.  Maybe even before Khloe and Lamar got hitched.  Like, way back.)

But to be honest, I didn't use it. 

I didn't want to use it. 

I forgot to use it, etc....

And here's what happened:  Nothing.  (I know, shocking, right?  You expected me to say the Swagbucks police came knocking on my door to find out why my usage was so low, right?  Yeah, well, they don't have police yet.  So don't worry about that happening.)

But a few weeks ago I read something on Facebook about it.  Again.  (And when I say a few weeks ago, I mean, sometime in between Little Man's new all-day-everyday routine and the my baking mishap, so pretty recently...)

In case you don't know the point of Swagbucks...you use their search engine to search the web and earn points that you can redeem for free stuff. (I think we all know how I feel about free stuff...) And I don't just mean free junk. I mean, gift cards to Amazon.com or Starbucks or even Overstock. (However if free junk is your thing, I am sure you can find it there, too since their reward section is full of things like vampire teeth...)

Now, I know what you are thinking.  Because I totally thought the same thing.

Oh, they are just trying to take business away from Google.

Oh, that's so lame.

Oh, I will never remember to do that. 

But I decided to give it a try. 

That was 3 weeks ago.

And I now have enough points to redeem for a $5 Amazon.com gift card. 

And you wanna know a dirty little secret? 

I don't use it all the time. 

I don't even use it most of the time. 

I downloaded the toolbar so I earn points automatically for signing into the internet at all.

Then I search in the morning until I earn some 'bucks.

I search again midday until I earn 'bucks.

Then I search in the late afternoon until I earn 'bucks.

And in 3 weeks, I already could have a free used book. 

Which I am totally all about. 

So my opinion of Swagbucks is that for 5 minutes a day, its totally worth it! 

Now please excuse me while I go redeem my points and order the next Betsy book for my collection.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sock Season

It’s been a few weeks since I determined that since my toes were turning blue and starting to fall off getting a little chilly due to the cold weather, it was time to start donning the closed-toe shoe again.


But over the last week, something horrible has happened.

Something that only a person partial to a freely breathing toes can appreciate….

Due to the frigid, arctic, brisk temperatures, I have determined that closed toe isn’t enough.

And I have donned the wretched, dreaded tights.


For the record, they were not named tights because of how comfy they are.

And I am pretty sure that some man somewhere invented them in revenge for the necktie that some evil woman had created for him.

On the upside.

The ONLY upside.

With tights, socks, stockings, pantyhose, or whatever you like to call them (I like to call them “those blasted things I only wear to keep warm!”) you may forego shaving for as long as you like.

Or until your husband stages an intervention.

Like mine did last week, after I determined that my shaving was done for the year.

(In case you are interested, it went something like this:

Me – lying in bed: Honey, would you like to pray?

Techy: What is THAT?

Me: What?

Techy: Is there a cactus under the covers?

Me: Oh sorry, I stopped shaving for the year since it’s sock season.

Techy: (Praying) Dear Heavenly Father, please help my lovely wife to realize that she needs to shave her legs if she wants to sleep under the covers with me…”

Me: Stop it! Pray for real.

Techy: Lord, please forgive her for interrupting my prayer, and please either help her to shave or help her leg to no longer grow hair! PLEASE? Amen.

Am I the only one who thinks it's a little unfair that he brought God in on the intervention?  Like I stood a fair chance! 

But I HAVE shaved every day since.)

On the downside to Sock Season,

MY FEET CANNOT BREATHE!

On the upside, I don’t have to paint my toenails. (which we all know I don’t do anyway!)

On the downside, I don’t have an excuse for a pedicure.

On the upside, I do have some spectacularly cute closed-toe shoes.

On the downside, most of them are way less comfortable than the flip-flops I sported ever since I got back from my maternity leave.

On the upside, I do have knock-off Ugg’s this year.

On the downside, they are knock-offs and I can only wear them on jeans day.

On the upside…Ok, so there are no more ups.

But you better believe that I will be checking the weather everyday from here on out, and the next time the temperature is above 70 degrees, you can expect to see my toesies in all their chipped nail-polished glory!

Building Blocks

Not sure if you noticed, but I have been in a weird place this week. 

I haven't blogged as much because the reality is that other than the mundane, money eating stuff going on around here, the only thing I have to talk about is weight loss and exercise. 

It's really the only thing I have "made time" for in the past 2 weeks.  I haven't done crafts.  I haven't cooked anything amazing.  I haven't redecorated anyone's house.  And I only went shopping long enough to redeem all my free coupons and hit up Rite Aid for my $71 of free cold and flu supplies.  But none of that is something I would think you would care to hear about.  Or maybe none of that is something I would want to blog about right now. 

Because my focus is honed. 

My goal is set.

And I have spent all of my free time exercising. 

Running.

Elliptical.

Abs.

The dreaded 30 Day Shred.

Over and over and over. 

I have just over 10 weeks to reach my weight goal.

And I need to lose an average of 2 lbs. per week over the next 10 weeks to hit it. 

And there are two holidays that mostly revolve around food in the next 10 weeks. 

Can I do it?

I am beginning to doubt myself.

But I am slowly remembering something.  (And my friend, Sarah, posted an amazing post today that really helped me!)

Rome wasn't built in a day. 

Cliche? Very much so.

True?  Even more so.

There is a story in the Bible about the people of Israel, who had just been released from captivity to go home to a land where everything that had once been was no longer.  They had no homes, no protection, but they were never without a future. 

So they started to build. 

One block at at time. 

One wall at a time. 

One day at a time. 

They built.  And built.  And built. 

Until they had a wall to protect them.  They had houses to live in.  And they had a city to build a community in. 

If they had gone into it thinking about the big picture, they could have gotten so overwhelmed that nothing would have ever happened. 

"We can't build a whole city with just us!"

I know it's silly to compare.  But my wall is my weight.  And if I continue to look at it as a giant wall of weight, I may get discouraged and give up. 

But I know, that it's one step at a time.  One day at a time.  One workout at a time.  One meal at a time.  And I only need to focus on what comes next.

The bigger picture gets so overwhelming. 

Especially when you are stacked with all the other things that life has to offer you - a stressful job, a messy house, an almost toddler who is into everything, bills out the waaaaaaaa zoooooooooooooo....

But to reach a goal - any goal - no matter what it may be. 

You have to be focused.

You have to do whatever comes next.

So I am doing whatever comes next.

How about you?  Do you have a wall?  If so, how's it coming?  You halfway up?  Or have you lost some blocks on your way to the top? 

Refocus.  Regroup.  Rebuild. 

It's good for your soul.

P.S.  To anyone who is interested, I managed to run 2.5 miles in 26:36 yesterday.  Meaning I am only .6 away from my 5k goal!  And I feel amazing.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Helpful How-To: Personal Shopping Assistant Leah to the Rescue!

Once upon a time in a faraway land, there lived a girl.

Who was married to a boy.

And lived in the middle of nowhere. (i.e., faraway land)

The boy she was married to, just happened to be a member of a very wealthy family.

Said girl, was not.

(Lucky her, right?)

However, looks can be deceiving.

I.e., Destination weddings in even farther away, much more exotic locations, with 4 weeks notice.

Wealthy family members = scary stress to the little girl who is not used to this roll…

(By the way, this little girl is not me. You should know that by now, but I thought I would clarify just to make sure…)

Wealthy family members also = more stress while gift shopping than Oprah experiences on one 2 week diet.

I mean real S-T-R-E-S-S stress.

I mean crying in the middle of Macy’s looking for a dress stress.

And recently she emailed this question to me…

So I've been shopping all morning for {the inlaws’} wedding gift. She doesn't like to cook. They like to socialize/drink. BUT she did say that they like to cook {together}... She is very Southern -likes to be pampered-likes brand names-type of girl. (um, aren’t we all!?) We are looking to spend around $100 or less....

Any ideas???

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Have I mentioned how much I love giving advice?

On the note of advice-giving, you should probably not go crazy enough to let your husband take black mail pictures of you, while riding an adult tricycle in your slippers…. Just a thought.

But I digress…

The problem at hand?
What do you get the person who has everything?

The person who loves designers and doesn’t run away screaming from a pair of shoes that are expensive enough to pay for a year of daycare?

What would you have gotten Bethenny and Jason as a wedding gift, without breaking your own bank or growing a few gray hairs?

And my answer?

For the person who has everything, you can’t give them anything they really want that they cannot or will not get for themselves. It isn’t like you or I who sit around saving our pennies to order to buy that big ticket item. They want, they buy. Period.

I know, depressing, right?

But really, when budget shopping for someone with a flair for high end, here are some tips.

Remember something. High end, low end, the couple is newly wed. They are going to experience a lot of firsts in the next year. Highs and lows, just like you or I would. Chances are they are probably going to do things like hop out to the movies once or twice.  They might even hit up their favorite restaurant occasionally.  They may even enjoy a couples massage on Valentine's Day.  These are all things that you can contribute to.  Leaving them with a fond memory thanks to you.  These types of gifts show your thoughtfulness and care without making your money tree wither up and die. 

Of course, when I got married, I needed basics – a vacuum cleaner, dish towels, bake ware….  More often than not, these couples have usually been out on their own for a while and have a fully stocked home, only needing the things to help them settle in to their new life together.

So what are those things?

Try this on for size…

 
I think this would be my first choice. 
 
Because, let's face it, that little blue box could turn a paperclip into an amazing gift. 
 
And surprise, surprise, they have gifts that are reasonable!
 
But since I know you would rather peruse their site, than mine, I will just give you the link....
 
To those of you who are still with me and aren't making a wish list at Tiffany's, another excellent idea is embroidered linens...


Neiman Marcus actually sells these quite affordably and the monogramming is only $1.50, so yeah!

Or for the couple who enjoys a mixed drink together....


You could affordably pick up this gorgeous blender right here.

My personal favorite gifts are candles.  High end, luxurious candles.  And gorgeous candle sticks.  I don't mean Yankee Candles, although I love me some Yankee Candles, but the idea for a wedding gift should be something soothing, something romantic.  And I can think of nothing more romantic than candlelight.  Mmmmm.  Dinners, baths, other stuff.  Romance.  Get it?  And candles can be as affordable or as high end as you want.  The internet is laden with candle shops of every make and kind. 

And candlesticks...

Well, I found some gorgeous and somewhat affordable options at Tiffany's.

Yep, I am totally in love! 

All that being said, she made her purchase and is very happy with her choice.

She left me with these happy words of encouragement:

"YAY!! Thanks! You should become a personal shopping assistant. Thats how Kim Kardashian started and look how much Moolah she has! lol"

But I think we all know Kim Kardashian didn't make it big because of her bargain basement shopping...

Am I right?  Or am I right?

Monday, October 18, 2010

A "Yay" to the "Nay"s

A little over a year ago, back when I was preggo, Techy and I found out about a glitch in Little Man's system.

Apparently, his left kidney was slightly dilated.


It put us in a higher risk category, and we ended up going back multiple times for ultrasounds while I was pregnant, just to check the size of his left kidney.

The doctor's were very honest with us and provided every possible conclusion to the issue, but determined that there was no way of knowing anything for sure until Little Man's arrival. 

(In case you are interested in what the doctor's had to say it went something like this: 
1.  The issue is very common in boys, who tend to be somewhat lazy in utero and don't pee as often as they should.  The issue may resolve itself.
2.  The issue may cause the child to develop infections such as UTI's or Bladder Infections due to the back up of urine.  In which case, surgery may be necessary.
3. The issue may be due to another disorder that cannot be diagnosed until his arrival, including but not limited to downs syndrome.
4. The issue may resolve itself with time and growth. It may just be a slight abnormality that will resolve itself over time.)


Certainly, of all abnormalities that a child can have, this would be the one you would ask for. 

Nothing that a minor routine surgery can't fix. 

So we moved on. 

Not that we ever forgot about the issue. 

Especially after the little guy arrived. 

Then the doctor's visits began. 

Although he never appeared to suffer a problem from the abnormality, we followed our doctor's instructions and headed off to the specialist. 

Ultrasounds, doctor visits, more ultrasounds, more doctor visits...you get the idea.  And then the bills, bills, bills....

And here we are.

Today was our last visit. 

Not for a while.  Not for 6 months.  For EVAH.

For you see, today, after more prayer and worrying than a mommy of a kid with just a bum kidney should ever go through, we were advised that Little Man's kidney is no longer a "bum" but operating normally.

And our response?

"YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!"

And THANK YOU, JESUS!

Welcome to my world...

Ever wonder what a year of worrying about your child's bum kidney would do to you?

How about that last week before his scheduled visit to the specialist?

Add in an engagement ring with a loose diamond that you have been told is probably going to be a nice chunk of change to fix.

Combine that with a week of worrying about a $5,000 garage floor.

Top that with a car that won't start before church on Sunday morning when you are already running late.

And then a mechanic who tells you he can't fix it and it will probably cost a lot of money to have it fixed.

You know what that does to you?

It makes you go crazy and allow your husband to take black mail shots that you are destined to regret for years to come.


Just to give the 2 of you something to laugh about.

Welcome to my world.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

An Ode to the Gruesome Twosome

For so long, you have been a part of my life.

From the early days when you kept me company in the basement at Techy's parent's house.


To the days that Techy kept you company after moving into our 1st apartment.

And even to the day that we moved into our first home.

Then the parties.

The pets.

In sickness.

As well as in health,

you were there.

Keeping us company.

Making our house a home.

And today, we bid our farewells.

I do not sorrow to see you go. 

I rejoice in the fact that a new home awaits you, with more excitement (I am sure) than you ever saw in our humble home.

For I know that you have been lamenting your lonely life in the man-cave of a basement of this house.

But I do think fondly of the times we shared...

The good times, and the bad.  The movie nights to the cat puke.  The spaghetti stains to the sick days. 

The hours of watching DVR'ed episodes of House, to the Horror Fest that Techy and the boys shared with you every few months.

If I could play a tune to send you off, I would play, Bye Bye Baby by the Bay City Rollers.

You deserve no less than that.

Goodbye old friends.

Good luck in your new home, wherever it may be.




Notes:
 - It took no less than 5 years and the promise of free furniture to talk Techy into parting with these beauties.
 - If you are interested in some pretty ugly but comfy reclining furniture, find these babies for a steal on Craigslist!!! 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Weight Update #5

Another week down. 

Another run under my belt.  2 miles this time.  To say that I was excited is a bit of an understatement. 

Thrilled.  Exstatic.  Shout-it-from-the-rooftops.  All probably more accurately describe my feelings.

I attribute it to Pandora. 

Techy let me borrow his Blackberry and earbuds for the run. 

And his workout station rocks.  Until the techno started, but it did set a nice pace, I have to admit.

Have I ever mentioned how much Techy loves Techno?  I know, how appropriate, right?  One day I will have to do a post on the ridiculousness of his Techno craze...

But today, let's get to what we're really here for,

The dreaded weigh-in.

Drumroll please..........

.................................

.................................

And the results are in


That's 1.5 lbs since last week.

But it's down.

And it's makes me less than 20 lbs. from pre-prego weight.

It makes me 21.6 lbs. away from goal weight.

And it makes me feel great.

For those of you who are consistent readers, and interested in all things Leah-weight-oriented, I did go back for bloodwork last week, and the results show my thyroid is operating at normal levels.  Lucky me. 

That means that the weight loss that I have seen over the last 2 weeks is probably a result of that (5 lbs. since my October 1st post, which is pretty hilarious to me considering I did not lose 5 lbs. in the whole month of September).

However, I would like to note that since my September 28th post, I have bumped up the workouts to hour long workouts and I have been doing intervals both of which are said to help with weight loss. 

I can feel it. 

I can taste it. 

Success is within my reach. 

I know what you are thinking, If it takes you as long to lose the next 20 lbs. as it has taken for the last 20, you will still be whining about this next spring!

But I beg to differ.  In my opinion, so much has changed for me over the last few weeks, and I feel like I have finally broken through to something. 

I am setting goals and reaching them. 

For example, my new running goal.

My official running goal is to run a 5k by Thanksgiving, and considering that I have already done 2 miles and survived, I am pretty sure 3 is attainable. 

And lets face it, 3.1 isn't really that different than 3. 

Now, how's about you?  Any goals for the fall?  Weight loss or otherwise?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Honest Opinion: Video Monitors

Way back before I was a mommy, I thought about being a mommy.

I took classes to prep me for being a mommy.

I read books about being a mommy.

I talked to all my friends who were mommies. 

And then the big day came. 

The day when I REGISTERED to be a mommy. 

As in, I showed up at the big purple store

You know the one:


And pranced through the aisles scanning everything that came within 2 feet of me. 

That was also the day that I determined which team I would be playing for as far as baby monitors are concerned.

What's that?  You didn't know there were teams?

Clearly...

Welcome to 2010...Teams for everything!

Allow me to explain

1.  Team Edward 

High end. Top knotch. Easy to fall in love with. Obvious best choice. 

Also known as the video monitor.


Allows you to see and hear your baby. Some come in color. Almost all of them have night vision.

Allowing mommy to rest easy, knowing that security is just a glance away.


2. Team Jacob
Reliable.  Secure.  Makes sense.  But something just doesn't feel right.

Also known as the Angel Baby Sound and Movement Monitor.


The Angel Baby monitor senses every slight movement, including those caused by breathing, and sounds an alarm if 20 seconds lapse with no movement. 

Sounds great.  But the first time the batteries start to die and the alarm goes off, who is going to clean up the mess I make?

And finally,



3. Team Charlie





















Old school.  Reliable.  Works hard for the money.  Secure enough.

AKA - the simple sound-sensing monitor.


Lets face it, Team Charlie has been getting people into alot less trouble for years now. 

Keeping babies safe and mommies calm for generations even.

Better?  Worse?  Who's to say? 

I will tell you this, I have a "Team Charlie" that I keep in my family room, just in case. 

Works fine. 

Is it my preference?  No, but let's face it, is Charlie Swan anyone's preference? 

Um, no.  Why, because he doesn't sparkle in the sunlight or take his shirt off all the time, er, I mean, isn't visually and alarmingly stimulating. 

But safe?  Probably.
So, there's my opinion. 

Bet you didn't realize registering for a baby monitor would be such a life changing experience, huh?