Saturday, January 30, 2010

JM detox

Last night, I had to put the Jillian Michaels' DVD away for a while because it is "broken" and needs to "be fixed at the shop." Reed had just lost control in a big way and was so incredibly obsessed with this exercise video that we could barely get him to focus on anything but "doing his exercises."

This morning, my decision was confirmed when I asked Reed if he wanted jelly on his bagel, and he said: (and I'm not making this up; I couldn't have ever thought of this):

"YES! I would love Jillian Michaels on my bagel."

We are now in workout video detox.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

warning: i'm about to tell you what I had for lunch

There is a book about blogging called: No One Cares What you Had for Lunch and so, I thought long and hard about whether I should write this post. But obviously, I decided TO write this post, and here we are.

In December, I wrote about how I had accidentally gained 7 pounds over the course of November and December, and I set to work to amend that just after Christmas. I found it very satisfying to get everything back under control, and I have lost all the weight as of this week. I feel pretty good about that when I pick up 7 pounds of hand weights and imagine running with them.

For any of you out there who, like me a few years ago, have no idea what a good strategy (i.e. not a fad diet) for losing weight would be, I thought I'd disclose my secret weapons. My sitemeter tells me there are about 100 readers a day reading this, and I only know for sure who about 20 of you are, so who knows, right? Just in case anyone could use a little diet talk? I'm here for you. At least I know my friends Suzanne and Ange are always up for a WW pow wow, aren't you, girls.

My strategy is to follow a Weight Watchers model, without actually joining Weight Watchers, or going to any meetings or weigh-ins. The philosophy is simple: pay attention to your portions, eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and fiber. Drink a lot of water. Write down everything you eat. There are no foods you cannot have. That's why it is smart, and why it works. (I am not a WW spokesperson, but I totally would be). You can eat anything you want, but you just have to budget for it, and pay attention to serving sizes. In WW world, every food is given a point value and you have a certain amount of points each day. For example, for my weight and height, I stick to 22 points a day.

Here is a typical day on WW:
Breakfast: Whole-grain English muffin with All-Fruit Spread. Coffee with Silk Creamer. Banana. (4 points)
Lunch: Turkey sandwich on Double Fiber whole wheat bread with baby spinach and tomato. Baked chips. Apple. (7 points)
Snacks: Granola bar. Grapes. Green Tea. Dried Mango. (5 points)
Dinner: Whole roasted sweet potato, broccoli, and one chicken-apple sausage. (5 points)
Dessert: Yogurt with blueberries mixed in. (3 points)

(That is actually 24 points, which is fine, b/c there are bonus points for the week and you also earn points back for exercise, all of which I would be happy to explain to anyone who wants me to).

That's not bad, is it!? I'm definitely not hungry (except for the first week, during which I felt hungry almost all the time) and I feel like it is quite do-able. I followed this plan for 4 weeks, which means I lost just over 1.5 pounds a week, and I've read that you shouldn't lose weight much faster than that.

I write down everything I eat, plus whatever exercise I do on a little chart that I carry around with me. It makes me really happy.

When I first did Weight Watchers two summers ago, I relied too heavily on fake foods (splenda, diet soda, lite ice cream cones, etc.) to get me through the afternoon, my hungry part of the day. I'm being very conscious about not doing that this time. I am eating whole, real foods, as much as I can. I eat a ton of salads, and a ton of roasted veggies, lots of hummus and veggies, and a ton of oatmeal. Sam eats what I eat too, but when I add hot sauce, he adds butter and cheese.

These are some of my stand-by snacks:

Stoneyfield Lowfat Lemon Yogurt with blueberries.

Crispy baked kale. I swear to you that this snack totally satisfies any sort of chip/ fries/ salty craving. It's a whole head of kale, chopped and drizzled with olive oil (very sparingly) and sprinkled with salt, pepper and a little parmesan cheese, baked at 400* for 15 mintues. It is SO crispy and good. p.s. Sam hates it.

Best for the afternoon stretch between lunch and dinner. Almond Milk Chai. My new discovery. Oh my goodness, it makes me so full and satisfied and warm.

Best for an after school snack or before a run. Morningstar veggie burgers are perfect b/c they are so high in veggies and fiber, that they are only worth one point each. SCORE.

Other tricks of the trade are foods that take a while to eat, like dried mangoes (extremely chewy) or a bowl of edamame (in the pod). Then the snack isn't over before you realize you ate something.

When marathon training is in full swing, I shift my thinking totally to fueling my body for runs rather than running to counterbalance my eating. It's a really cool concept, I think.

For the record, I am aware that this may sound like I've crossed the line from health-conscious to weight-conscious. About that. I am very careful to stay right in the middle of what my BMI should be for my height, I am definitely not starving myself, and I am much more interested in being strong than skinny. I am also not interested in a yo-yo pattern with my weight, which is why I nipped this in the bud now. I am learning about how my body gets along with food and running. I am not afraid to indulge once in a while (duh. whole pie.) but I also find great rewards in some discipline and common sense. I hope I'm making sense.

Any questions? Any healthy snacking tips to share?

Monday, January 25, 2010

I was getting nervous that Skyler was done saying hilarious things.

1. Skyler to Reed: "If I hear you say 'I need to do my exercises' one more time, I'm going to cut my head off."

2. Just when I thought that Skyler had the whole time zone thing figured out ("If it's daytime here, it's nighttime in Japan, right Mom?") she says,

"So, if it's Valentine's Day here, it's Christmas in California, right Mom?"

3. Also, about Valentine's Day (we starting making our "valentimes" tonight):
"I think for each kid in my class, we should make a gift bag and put a little cookie and also some money in each one."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

winter things

this week's storm brought enough for a snow day!

so we hung out by the fire:

and waited for hot chocolate:

and today, this:
(beckett really was there, i swear, he was just too fast for my camera!)

he's our hometown hero

Sam swam in a local meet so we were able to go cheer for him! Turns out, we weren't his only fans. Check it out.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

here we go again!

We are ON PLAN starting on Monday for the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, VT.

I love having this training plan on my fridge, because the miles listed become non-negotiable. My training team includes Jen, Amy and Christine, who ran their first marathon in Maine on the same day I ran my first marathon in San Francisco (and our finishing times were amazingly, 2 minutes apart). Suzanne is joining us too for her first plunge into 26.2!! We chose the novice plan again just because we are all juggling this training with parenting and working and we don't have the time to do the more complicated plans. We'll all do the mid-week runs as we need to according to our schedules and meet up for the long runs on Saturday mornings. 90% of me is gung-ho and psyched to get going again on this. 10% of me can't believe it's time to start again.

Training for a marathon through the thick of a Maine winter seemed like a great idea in October. Running in the cold is a different animal. This morning, while I was struggling to breathe in the icy cold air, I decided that running outside in the winter is twice as hard but three times as rewarding. And makes me four times as good looking when I run.

Off I go!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Update on Erin

You may remember that I wrote about my friend and former student Erin when I was raising funds for Leukemia and Lymphoma for the Nike Marathon. Erin's name was at the bottom of my Team in Training shirt when I ran, as she was in the thick of her battle against Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Since that day, Erin has been through a lot. The first chemo had been unsuccessful at shrinking the tumor, so they put her in a new regimen called ICE which is incredibly strong. Erin described it by saying that she couldn't fathom how any cancer cells could survive what that chemo did to her body. It was very rough, and she was very sick from it. Around Thanksgiving time she got the bad news that the ICE chemo had done nothing for the tumor.

Erin, unbelievably, battled on with a positive attitude that dumbfounded me. She continued on with law school, and claimed: "third time is a charm!" as she headed into the 3rd attempt at chemo.

Lo and behold, the 3rd chemo worked! (tears). Erin made enough progress with the 3rd kind of chemo, that the doctors deemed her ready to undergo a stem-cell transplant at Dartmouth which will give her body the very best chance of beating the cancer for good. The process includes zapping her body with a few more blasts of chemo to kill all the bad cells and then injecting her with new, healthy stem cells that can fight off any remaining cancer cells in her body.

Yesterday, Erin got her new stem-cells. She posted on facebook: "It's my new birthday!"

I can't overstate how amazingly Erin has kept her head up and her spirits high through an ordeal that would make me want to crawl under my bed and hide. We've kept in close touch through all of the twists and turns of her treatment, and every message I get from her, even the ones with bad news, maintain her brave message: "I'm going to beat this."

Won't you please visit Erin's caringbridge site and give her some well wishes in her guestbook? Her battle is not over, for sure, but she fights on.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Skyler's new do = no more hair brush battles!

Reed exercising

Saturday, January 16, 2010

CW together again.

Friday, a group of my creative writing class from 07-08 came over to visit, drink tea, bake cookies, and hang out with the kids. Skyler ended up making butterflies with half of the big kids at the kitchen table, while Reed did the Jillian Michaels' workout DVD in the living room with an audience of hysterically laughing college kids. Reed was unintimitaded by having an audience, it just made him more focused on doing his ab work correctly.

I love these kids, and I love that they still come over to hang out even now that they are sophomores in college. Also, it made me remember those looooong college christmas breaks.... it's the middle of January, people! Get back to work!

On their way out, they tried calling me "Emilie" instead of "Ms. Manhart" but it was too weird for them and they couldn't do it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

More of Reed's funnies

Reed, when I pick him up to hug him: "Aww, Mommy! You are so friendly!"

Reed, when he eats something yummy: "Mmmmm. That feels good."

Me: "Where is Daddy?"
Reed: "He's warming up his shirt again." (ironing) "Daddy? Is it warm enough yet?"

Reed, when telling me to put the Jillian Michaels' workout DVD on. "I need some cardio."

Pulling one of my sports bras out of the dryer: "Here you go, Mom- you need this for the cardio."

Every morning on our way to Reed's daycare, we drive past the building where Sam got his vasectomy. Every morning, right on cue, Reed says:
"That's daddy's doctor. That's where he got the shot."
and then... Skyler always adds: "Right in his bum!"
and Reed comments:
"That's not good."

It's the same conversation, every morning.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

need a laugh?

Please, please, please. Read this article about the rules of parenting. I giggled throughout the whole thing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

like a boot in the face.

The craziest thing about being a parent is that every emotion you are capable of having gets turned up several notches. Since I've become a mother, everything I feel is felt more strongly. Maybe it's a hormonal shift from pregnancy, maybe it's having little beings in the world that you love so much you ache. But I've noticed that when I get annoyed, I want to pull out my hair. When I feel compassionate, I weep. When I get mad, I want to kick down a door. When I love, I feel it with every molecule that I have. I laugh until my stomach hurts. And these emotions can turn on a dime.

I guess this emotional overdrive happens because life with kids is so full of love: hugs, kisses and laughter, and also so full of things that make you exhausted: whining, crying, misbehaving, repeating the same questions, spilling things, needing to be wiped.

I find it difficult to be the patient, calm, consistent mother that I want to be. I feel like one minute I'm so frustrated I want to throw something because Reed won't stay in time out, or because Skyler ran away and hid again when I got out the hairbrush, and the next minute we are all in a pile tickling each other and laughing our heads off.

But worst of all, we are almost always in a hurry, and I feel like I am always having to use this frantic tone of voice that annoys even me. Getting from place to place with kids in the winter is an exercise in frustration (understatement). Everyone needs snow pants, mittens, socks, boots, a hat, but no one wants to wear them. Plus there are backpacks to pack with a lunch or show-and-tell. And if you are Skyler, you also have to bring a stuffed animal, a blanket to wrap it in, a toy for it to play with, and some plastic food for it to eat.

I am constantly saying: hurry up! hurry up! hurry up! I allow for plenty of time, I get up at 4:45 so I won't feel rushed and can get everything organized, but there is always the last crisis. Like someone's boots aren't by the door, or like yesterday, when we were all just about out the door, and Reed said: "I'll be right back" and ran upstairs. He came down having changed out of his pants and put on his bathing suit (5 degrees outside).

Yesterday, it was my turn to take Skyler to swimming lessons, and we got doing something at home and had to, of course, rush to get there. In the locker room, I was saying "hurry up! hurry up!" In response, she kicked up her legs to fling off her boots, and one of them hit me square in the face. My eyes filled with tears because it hurt, and because it was my fault, and because I was so annoyed with myself and the situation. It didn't help that I had an audience of other moms who didn't seem to be in a hurry at all.

I watched Skyler's swimming lesson and pulled myself together. Ten minutes later, I saw her from the back when she was standing on the other side of the pool, dancing confidently while waiting for her turn to dive in. Again, my eyes filled up with tears because of how tall and grown up she looked, and how she is so unbelievably, undeniably not a baby anymore, and it catches me off guard sometimes. And I teared up with pride at what a darn good little swimmer she is.

Like I said, one minute, crying from frustration, the next, pure love.

And then this: I like to joke about the annoying things that kids do, like tell incessant knock-knock jokes or say: "Mom! MOM! Mommy? Mom? Mommy. Mommy!!!!!!"
Last night I followed a link on a blog I read, and I ended up reading some of an Arizona mom's on-line journal about her 5-year old daughter's battle with aggressive brain cancer. She said she used to be the mom who was always complaining about how her kids said her name over and over and over. Now she was lying on her daughter's bed in the hospital begging her to say "mommy" because they feared she's lost her speech as an effect of brain surgery.

Hello, perspective.

Maybe Skyler's boot in my face was not an accident. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me to slow down and be more conscious of how lucky I am.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year's snow storm

Good morning, snow!

Good morning, Sam!

Sam is a snow-shovel hold out, making us the only non-snow-blower household in the neighborhood. He likes the workout and the sense of accomplishment of clearing us out without help. And I like watching him.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

It's a new year!

We talked about New Year's Resolutions at dinner tonight. Skyler talked for about 20 minutes about what she would like in 2010, and the summary is this: "more ice cream, more swimming, and a new toothbrush." Sounds doable.

When I asked Reed what he hoped for in 2010, he said: "A new baseball bat!"
I said: "You just got a new baseball bat."
He said: "Oh yeah. I love my new baseball bat!"
So, I guess Reed is all set.

My resolutions are something like this:
more running (and faster), less controlling, more yoga, less hurrying, more baking, no processed food, more patience, less procrastinating, more reading, less laptop, more biking, and more family dinners.

I'm also going to work very hard NOT to make little movies about my kids every day. I'm already struggling.

Sam's resolutions (and I quote): "to lose a little around the tummy and the bottom and save more electricity." (author's note: Sam looks fantastic in both of those areas, he just wants to swim faster, and for the love of god, how little electricity can we use? He's very anti-lights. It's very dark romantic around here)

I am tempted to add a few resolutions for Sam here, but considering that I just wrote "less controlling," I better not. Plus, I'm sure he has a few (HA! A FEW!? HA HA HA!) he'd like me to add.

One thing we are going to work on as a couple is to do more stuff outside together, as opposed to always tag-teaming. I swear it's true: we never argue and we are much lighter and laughier when we are outside together. We fell in love in the woods after all. Our first date of the new year will be a cross-country skiing-then-out-to-dinner affair. Who's babysitting!?

(Did you know that only 6% of Americans keep their new year's resolutions? That's pretty bad.)

Friday, January 1, 2010

I made a little movie