Thursday, February 2, 2012

Muh Fitness

I like working out. At least, that's what I tell myself. I've had three kids and I'm aware that the metabolic brick wall I'll be slamming into at full speed is lurking at the bottom of a container of Trader Joe's hummus. I go through a ton of hummus, so I'm expecting this any day now.

I'm a fan of the Les Mills workouts. I got into it when my friend, who is a Les Mills trainer, promised if I came to one of her classes she'd make sure I probably wouldn't die. Since I was a few weeks into recovering from childbirth, I probably should have been doing water aerobics with the 70 year old cardiac patients at the YMCA, but I didn't die. she's always been pretty solid when it comes to standing by stuff like that.

When we moved to CA and got settled I started looking for a gym that offered these classes. I found one, attended a couple of classes, wrote a review about how awful the experience was and simultaneously started an internet war with a women-only gym and became a hero for everyone who hated this particular gym and trainer. I'm still getting emails from people who are pumped about my review. The angry letters from the gym owner have tapered off, but they won't stop sending me their stupid weekly newsletter. I applaud their passive-aggression, actually. Well played.

Anyway, I tried a couple other gyms but missed the benefits from my regular workout. Then I discovered Les Mills was releasing a workout, equipment included, that you can do at home. No paying the gym babysitter to watch Lennox? No creepy interactions with meat heads at the gym? No more internet wars? I will take it, and express mail that sucker.

My husband is a little gun-shy about purchases related to fitness. Before we met, he invested a small fortune on shakes/videos/ipod shoes/gym memberships/yoga pants/etc. for people that used them enthusiastically once, maybe twice. It's kind of a trigger for him when a commercial comes on for the next "Get Thin, Fast!" product and leaves him shaking his head and muttering under his breath like and angry old man. While this has provided me with immense entertainment, I knew talking to him about wanting to order the Les Mills stuff would be tricky.

Naturally, I waited until we were at an expensive anniversary dinner to bring it up because it's hard to get away with muttering and ranting in a nice restaurant. I casually took a sip of water and told him I was thinking about ordering this program since there is probably a bounty on my head put out there by angry fitness instructors at the all-women gym.

He did pretty well. He blinked a lot and did that weird neck cracking thing and said "That sounds great, because you'll actually use it!" which I know was actually him trying to convince himself that I would actually use it. Not him paying me some kind of compliment for being industrious with my fitness routine.

So since I actually may have placed the order before talking to him, it arrived quickly. (I stumbled over it that night when we came home) I'm rolling with the idea that the fulfillment center is actually our neighbor's garage. Rolling by myself.

After the first two days I was really mad at myself for not asking for the same guarantee that my fitness instructor friend gave me about how I probably wouldn't die while working out. I was laying on the family room floor after the people on the DVD finally stopped clapping for me, wondering how long it would take someone to find me after I failed to pick Ben up from work and Lennox had awoke from his nap and dropped every battery-operated device we own in the toilet. Then I looked at the open workout guide on the floor and realized I had been doing the workout recommendation for week SIX of the program. Not week ONE.

I have no idea how I've almost made it to 30   25.

Ben made a comment the other day about how toned I'm starting to look. When I informed him that it's because I've been obeying the chipper slave drivers that mask their evilness with a cute Australian accent, I think I watched him respond to internal stimuli which came in the form of angels singing gloriously from the heavens, in his head.

"You've actually been doing the workouts this entire time?"

And then he smiled a little and could tell that the healing process has started and I can probably squeeze an elliptical machine out of him if I keep devoting Lennox's nap time to pure torture instead of my usual routine of folding laundry and seeing how much hummus I can heap on to one pretzel chip in one shot while watching Hulu.

Les Mills is magic.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The day after we left Disney we decided to stop in Santa Monica on our way back home. The Santa Monica pier is one of my favorite places. It reminds me of the piers and boardwalks in South Jersey that I grew up visiting every summer. There are always entertainers there working for tips. They range from really talented to really psychotic. My favorite one-man show on this particular day was some guy in a gorilla mask just standing next to a stereo system and occasionally swaying back and forth to the beat. he had a sign that said "Talentless, please give generisly." I thought about taking his picture, but my will to live interfered and I just kept walking instead.

There was a magician setting up a show as we were leaving the pier and he asked the forming crowd if anyone was willing to volunteer to help him out. Now, when I was a kid, if someone said "Is there a little girl in the audience who would like a $100 bill? A little girl named INGRID that would like a $100 dollar bill? Just raise your hand if you're out there!" I would have a total anxiety attack and find a table to hide under until everyone had gone home. Grady is different. Grady will raise his hand to volunteer before he even knows what he's volunteering for, he just wants to be part of the action. For all he knew, this "magician" (possibly felon) was planning on shooting his assistant out of a cannon. Grady didn't care. He wanted in.

What a creepy shot. Ew.

After the magic show, Ben took some pictures that will serve as great reminder that I need to work on toning my arms.

The boys were able to detect the presence of an arcade within one mile, so we obviously ended up there for awhile. Aidan is apparently on a very intense safari, here.

No idea.

Back at home, the kids tree in the family room.

Making cookies Christmas Eve. Aidan looks concerned.

Thank goodness Sean was here to eat the cookies left for Santa. They were some freaky looking cookies.


The eleven foot (or something) tree. Remember when I talked about overdoing it?

Isn't this the most bizarre and random post for January ever? I had a post that totally made sense, but Blogger ate it. I tried to recreate it using the pictures that I had used, but I have no idea what I was going for. Sorry.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Does it take normal people a month to recover from the holidays? This year, I feel like Thanksgiving and Christmas really walloped me upside the head. Maybe it's because air travel was involved. Maybe it's because I'm ridiculous and completely overdid it this year. My gut instinct is to just blame my exhaustion on the fact that my brother was visiting for two weeks since he's the human equivalent to tornado, but it probably has more to do with me being ridiculous. (Plus, my brother was actually pretty awesome, I don't think I had to carry the baby for more than two minutes at a time while he was here.)


Ben's parents took us to Disneyland for Christmas. I was pretty excited about this. I had never been to a Disney park in my life, just Downtown Disney in Florida. We drove down for the day and tried to cram a lot in knowing we probably wouldn't be back for awhile. Even with the discount Ben gets from the state, a one-day one-park ticket is almost $80. I was mildly disappointed to find that these $80 tickets didn't come with a monkey or something. It seems like a lot of money to not be getting a complimentary primate kicked in.

I think we were so overwhelmed when we walked into the park that our brains kind of melted and instead of heading to an attraction or to get a FastPass ticket, we all decided instead to pretend to pull a sword out of a stone.

I think Lennox came pretty close.

Sean did not.

Another really neat experience we were treated to was a character breakfast at the Plaza Inn. I always assumed that the Disney characters just kind of roamed around the park and you could just walk up and snap a picture with them. I didn't realize people will murder you to be first in line to see Winnie the Pooh. This breakfast was awesome because so many different characters just come to your table to talk and take pictures. Or put sharp hooks against your throat as your children look on nervously (Thanks, Captain Hook)

Grady and Aidan with their buttons for the breakfast and first visit.

Lennox was digging the Fairy Godmother. She was female, so no one was really surprised.

Nose honk.

After our big breakfast, we checked out the rest of the park. Tried to. That place is massive.

Aidan especially loved Toon Town. He had so much fun exploring all of the houses. He's at such a sweet age, between wanting to be super cool but still wanting to meet Mickey.

Lennox was so excited about Toon Town that he passed out. What a maniac.

Nana Cheryl and Grady went on a roller coaster while Aidan and I explored.

New Orleans Square was gorgeous, the decorations are amazing!

Dole Whip time before hitting the Tiki Room. I think the easiest was to understand the Tiki Room would be to drop acid and then go to a pet store.

Small World all lit up for Christmas.

We had an amazing time and after mulling it over for awhile, we signed up the next day for annual passes. There was just too much left to explore to not want to go back really soon. Now I find myself geeking out on all the Disneyland message boards and reading up on all the new attractions/food/shows/crowd reports that come up and I have a feeling that most of the money we budget towards entertainment will be going towards Disney trips.

I would like to add that as much as I love Disney, if I ever turn into one of these lunatics dressed in mouse ears and a Tigger sweatsuit and carrying a fanny-pack with nine thousand pins on it, you have my permission to throw me into a ditch. I will thank you later.
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Over the river and through the woods.....and then through security checkpoints, a six hour flight, hitting the rental car counter....

I was a late bloomer as far as traveling goes. I never even rode on an airplane until I was 15 years old, and that was only from Maine to New York to appear on the Montel Williams Show. I'm not even kidding.

Air travel was magical to me. When I started dating Ben and flying off to exotic places (to me) like Georgia and California, I wondered how flying could ever get old to anyone. I would always book a window seat and watch in awe as we ascended and descended. During the flight, I was pumped. TV at eight bazillion feet? YEAH! Snackies while soaring over the Midwest? Yes, please! It was all magical, and I felt bad for the people who moaned and groaned about boarding a plane and zooming off to wherever they were going.

Now? I frigging hate flying anywhere, for any reason, unless I'm flying all by myself and have taken at least ten milligrams of Valium and don't have any luggage to deal with. And the in-flight movie better not have Jim Carey or Sandra Bullock in it, or I'm going to make the no-fly list.

Having family on the east coast while we live on the west coast = frequent flier miles being racked up, big time. I have a baby. A baby that wants to roam the cabin, drink my diet coke, and molest any passenger within two feet of us in a Hugh Hefner kind of manner. Since he can't be checked with the rest of our luggage, he has to accompany us in the cabin of the airplane, and he has completely killed any of the magic air travel used to hold. So, tomorrow we will be boarding a plane for the east coast. I have loaded the iPad with his favorite Sesame Street episodes, packed seven lollipops in my carry-on, selected a fine assortment of noisy toys that will hold his interest for at least 30 seconds while royally pissing off our fellow passengers for at least 3 hours, and I bought Benadryl. Because it turns out I'm not above knocking his little butt out for a few hours to finally get some peace and quiet while making the grueling trip back home.

Over the river and through the woods, indeed. I envy the simpleton that wrote that stupid song.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Things I've Been Doing, Part 2

I think this post is more to prove to myself that I actually finish things when I start them. Mostly. My seventh-grade teacher would probably disagree. Also, all of my other teachers from kindergarten through college would probably agree with my seventh grade teacher. Well, take this, Mr Kasper.

This was another dresser my in-laws brought to us. By now, you've probably noticed I need to read up on appropriate placement of hyphens. Don't worry, I've noticed, too. I should probably read up on the placement of commas while I'm at it.

Right. Anyway, this dresser was previously owned by someone with a sincere appreciation for floral decals. I sanded them off, because this was going to be Grady's dresser and he doesn't have any love at all for floral decals. If someone had told me that he was totally slacking on turning in homework assignments this trimester, I may have been more inclined to leave the floral decals on there and invite his closest friends over for a sleepover with the untouched dresser prominently displayed, but hindsight is 20/20, isn't it?

This is the final result. I was a little freaked out when I Googled the paint color I purchased to see it on other pieces of furniture because I kept coming up with tree stands that deer hunters has spray-painted to blend in with the surrounding forest. I wasn't really going for that kind of look. 

Fortunately, it turned out quite nicely with the redneck green and some new knobs. It's nice to have a place to put Grady's clothing. It's definitely freed up space in his built-in shelving for other junk that doesn't belong there. Please excuse the violent flash from my phone in this picture. I was trying to land a 747 while simultaneously getting a good shot of this dresser.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One Year

One year ago I was laying uncomfortably in a hospital bed, waiting to meet you. Your dad was waiting, too, except he was passed out in a recliner. I'll never understand how he was able to do that.

You have brought so much joy to our lives. Aidan and Grady are madly in love with you. I never imagined that little boys could care about how many teeth a baby has or worry so much about what kind of trouble you can get in to. Never once have they complained when you shut the Xbox off on them or swiped a piece of their candy, even if they were in the process of eating it. You are their very favorite thing in the whole world.

Your dad lives for you. I have never met a man so selfless when it comes to his child. Even after the most difficult days at work, he walks out of the building happy to see you. Most men would ask for a break when they get home, for 15 minutes to relax and watch the news or collect their thoughts. All your daddy wants is to snuggle you, play with you, and make you laugh. I think that after a full day of dealing with the people that have committed unspeakable acts against others, you remind him that there is still purity and innocence in the world. From the moment he met you in that delivery room, your dad has been a happy person. You are the baby he never thought he would have and it's so obvious how grateful he is for the opportunity to be a daddy.

I've been so blessed to stay at home with you. I spend every single day watching you grow. I will be here for all your "firsts," which is something I missed out on with your brothers because I was working two jobs during their early years and it still breaks my heart to think about. I love our time together during the day when everyone else is at school or work. I love that you always want me and reach for me when I walk by. I love how you look at me expectantly when you're tired, waiting for me to sing you your favorite songs so you can go to sleep. And even when I'm busy and have a thousand errands to run, I love that we can't get in and out of a store in under 20 minutes because everyone recognizes you, "that sweet baby," and has to talk to you, touch you or give you a special treat. You connect with everyone around you, whether it be a grandmotherly type or a hurried man in an expensive suit. People take the time to slow down and talk to you and you always reward them with one of your beautiful smiles for taking the time to stop and interact. You have such a special, sweet spirit.

Tomorrow, you're getting your first haircut. You'll be one year old and I suspect it will be one first after another. This year has flown by, and I'm so glad to have spent every single day of it with you. Just like your brothers, Lennox, you are perfect. I am so happy you came into our lives. I hope you never stop smiling at strangers. I hope you can always find the humor in Sesame Street. I hope you'll always want to share your snack. I hope you'll always love music. And I hope, at least for a few more years, you'll keep reaching for me whenever I'm nearby, and when you feel like you're too big to do that, I hope you will remember that your family will love and care for you. Even if you're too grown up to ask them to.

I love you, my sweet little man.
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Things I've Been Doing, Part One, Take Two

*It was brought to my attention in the comments section of this original post that the first time I posted this, the pictures weren't coming up. I have no explanation for this. Just conspiracy theories.

There were a few major perks that came along with moving to California, like being within driving distance to In N Out Burger. That's NICE. My thighs don't think so, but who cares? Another perk was that Ben is making more money out here. True, the cost of living can be a little higher if you don't shop around, but it's really not that different than living in Maine where you can absolutely count on paying a small fortune each winter to heat your home.

Even though we're much better off financially, we know how shaky the economy is right now. We've become pretty frugal so that we can keep paying down any debt we have and sock away money so that we don't find ourselves in financial ruin if anything ever happens. We rarely go out to eat (the crack about eating out at the place with an arcade in my last post was totally a joke) and we've worked really hard to not go buck wild on spending on things we would love to have, but don't really need to have right now. Impressive, considering Sephora is right near our house.

That is all very good and responsible things to do and I'm sure Dave Ramsey would be high-fiving us all the way to the bank, BUT it's difficult when you realize you have a whole lot of house to furnish and the moving company you used seems to have been quite selective when it came to deciding which items would actually make it across the country and into your house (Shout out to our moving company. Thanks for keeping some of our stuff but leaving us with two brand new fishing poles!)

Luckily, Craigslist out here is awesome. Craigslist in Maine was terrifying. I actually found a sight called "You Suck At Craigslist" and guess where some of the listing were from? Ben and I have been slowly furnishing the house with our finds. We've actually been slowly furnishing the garage, to be honest. Lennox isn't a big fan of watching me refinish furniture during the day.

The first thing we refinished actually wasn't from Craigslist. My in-laws brought a truck up here with three dressers in it after hearing I like to refinish stuff. They were various pieces they picked up at garage sales and not much to look at, but there's definitely potential.

If know what you're thinking. "What? Why would you change ANYTHING about this dresser? The broken handles, the rub-on floral motif, the Hello Kitty stamps that some five year-old whimsically's a REVELATION!!!"

I know. I'm just a monster like that.

We sanded that sucker down and spray painted it with reckless abandon. We filled in the holes from the old handles and added a new, inexpensive set from Target. I love it.

This table was a Craigslist score. I loved it the moment I saw it in the ad. When I went to pick it up, I knew I wouldn't be disappointed because my GPS led me to one of the most gorgeous houses, ever. Rich people have such great stuff for so cheap.

There's a butterfly leaf inside and it seat about eight people, or 12 dogs if you wanted to have a dinner party for dogs. You totally could. We just needed a small table to go in the kitchen area because we already have a mammoth table in the dining room, but this is perfect. It even matches the dresser! Furniture fate.

I'm going to throw another coat of paint on it because there is a chip on the table top. I could probably just throw a runner on there and call it a day, but there are a couple of scratches from when we wrangled it in the house from the car. FYI? Lock the table leafs before attempting to move the table, or one leaf could come apart and slam down on your toe, totally breaking it. Believe it.

So, pretty, custom, solid table for super cheap. And a broken toe for free!

Here's another project we're working on. It's going to be Grady's dresser. Another find from my in-laws. Right now it's all roughed up from sanding and I'm waiting for the wood filler to dry from the old knob-holes. Knob-holes.

Ben is a huge help with this stuff. He is a human power-sander. I'll have one drawer done while he's got the rest of the thing completely stripped. Then, he looks at me like I'm a jerk when I tell him we just need to rough up the paint, not take it all off. I forget to tell him stuff like that all of the time. He really loves it!

At this rate, I'm guessing our house will be furnished in about nine years. Hopefully, in four years we'll have enough furniture for it to stop echoing in here every time I talk. High-five, Mr. Ramsey!!

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