Saturday, April 24, 2010

I'm Normal!

Back in January I posted the details of my "weight project" on my "More Healthy Me" blog. I explained the joys of the Wii Fit Plus, which has been telling me I'm overweight ever since the first time I stepped on. Well, I am happy to say that I am "overweight" no longer! Yesterday when I measured my weekly Wii weight, the scale line stopped in the realm of normal! Instead of a depressing "boi-oi-oing" sound, I got a cheerful fanfare: "ba-ba-da-da!"

When I first weighed in at the end of 2009, I was 174 pounds, with a BMI of 28.1 (almost into the obese category). I have now lost a total of 23 pounds and 7% body fat! My ultimate goal is still 10-15 pounds away, but in the meantime, it's good to be normal.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Easter Best

New Easter clothes were always the tradition in my house growing up, and they always took center stage over the candy. We dressed up for church, and took family photos. I picked out some beautiful fabric the last time I was at Joann's, and my mom sewed new clothes for our family (the fabric was too silky and intimidating for me and my amateur sewing skills; thanks a million Mom). I love how everything turned out! Today was the first Sunday since Easter that we were all able to go to church together, and we got so many compliments (imagine how fun that was for Chad). The photo was taken quickly with the camera timer before we left for church, so it did not turn out as flattering as I had hoped (clothes bunched, odd angles, etc.), but at least we were all smiling at the same time. That's a miracle in itself!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My take on a few things

  • Only 8 days until our cruise to the Mexican Riviera with Rob and Jaime! So excited, but feeling so unprepared.
  • Blooming roses, petunias, fresh scallions, sweet peas, and herbs. Delicious (not the flowers, just the other stuff).
  • Needing to turn on the A/C two days ago when it was 89 outside. Not okay.
  • Looking out my kitchen window to see this instead of the lovely shady tree of summers past (compliments of Chad's "pruning" last fall, despite my protests). Sad almost to the point of tears.
  • My two-year-old counting to four, trying to sing his ABCs, and now saying "Pweeeeease" after everything to get what he wants. Adorable.
  • Bree sporadically saying, "Mom...I love you." So sweet.
  • Finally watching the movie The Blind Side. Loved it.
  • Being introduced to the show Community. Hilarious.
  • Fitting into my clothes again. Awesome and a huge relief.
  • Sewing new clothes for the cruise. I'm impressing myself.
  • Playing the computer game Sims 3. Fun, but having mixed feelings about being sucked into the gaming world and making a hypocrite out of myself.
  • Dark chocolate peanut M&Ms. Must buy more.

A trip to remember

Cari has been my friend since the sixth grade. We went to church together, we went to high school together, and she gave me a ride to class when we were in community college together. We took Human Anatomy and Physiology together (Remember the time we were partners for that project, and we made those cookies that were supposed to look like a cross-section of a colon? Good times.). She was one of my bridesmaids and flew to Las Vegas to be at my wedding. So of course I had to be in Salt Lake to see her get married.

She and Kristina (another friend I haven't seen in five years, which is way too long) picked me up from the airport, and we went for manicures and pedicures. After Cari went off to attend to wedding business, Kristina and I headed to the only (I'm guessing only) "kinky lingerie and stuff" shop in the area and bought a bunch of fun stuff for Cari's honeymoon basket (it's become a tradition), which we rounded out with some homemade chocolate covered strawberries and orange slices. We met up with Mackenzie and ate a delicious Thai food dinner (a wonderful first for me).

Friday, the day of the wedding we headed to Temple Square, and attended the sealing in the Salt Lake Temple. I was so surprised to see my old Young Women leader Michelle there (group photo, left to right: Mackenzie, Cari, Michelle, Kristina, Me). We hugged and cried, and tried not to be too loud in the temple. It was a beautiful ceremony, and Cari was radiant. The reception was in the Joseph Smith Building, and the cakes (yes, I tried all three flavors) and ice cream were delicious.

The next day Mackenzie and I drove to Park City (where they hold Sundance Film Festival) to do some sight-seeing and window shopping. I did buy a caramel apple at the chocolate shop to take home to Chad, and we found some of that delicious fresh saltwater taffy at a grocery store for Bree and Mason (okay, so I think I ate half of the taffy before it got home, but nobody needs to know). Mackenzie and I spent some much-needed time together chatting and catching up, and watching a delightful BBC show called Monarch of the Glen. Gosh I love that girl.

Then Adam picked me up and we went to get Heather at the airport (she had been in Houston interviewing for teaching positions). We ate at Olive Garden, and Adam's chicken scampi ended up being free because some of the chicken was raw (Lucky for Adam he's one of those people who cuts all of his food into bite-sized pieces before he starts eating, so he didn't actually ingest any raw meat. Is it weird that I noticed that about him? I think it's because I've often thought about the pros and cons of cutting all your food into pieces up front versus cutting off one bite at a time. Chad and Adam fall into the former category, and I fall into the latter. Hmmm.). Wow, tangent. Anyway, our waiter at Olive Garden was profusely apologetic, and told Adam to milk the situation for all it was worth (Adam was ready to just politely request one more piece of cooked chicken to replace the raw one). And we got a free dessert to share. Black Tie Mousse Cake. Oh my.

I went to Adam and Heather's church, wore my pretty green dress again (which my mom sewed and which elicited multiple compliments, thank you), and got to attend Relief Society where Heather is in the presidency and she taught a great lesson that day. Heather made a really delicious baked breaded chicken (using crushed croutons, genius!). I could cook nowhere near that well when I'd only been married a year. I was very impressed. Then I spent the rest of my visit with them relaxing and being highly entertained by episodes of Community and Arrested Development.

I am really glad I got to go. I know that Chad was a little stressed while I was gone, taking care of the kids after he got home from work, and I really appreciate it. And I'm so lucky to have awesome friends who took care of Bree and Mason while Chad was at work AND overnight because he's on call. I did surprise myself by getting a little homesick for my family, so it was good to get back home. I actually started crying with happiness when my family met me at the Sky Harbor Airport baggage claim. When Bree saw me, she started running to me with her arms out, saying, "Mommy, Mommy!" How could I not cry?

And word has it that Kristina will be getting married in San Diego in July. I'll be there.

We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo

The kids have been asking to go to the zoo for a while now (pretty much ever since we went after Christmas), and Bree's birthday was the perfect excuse to go again. Some of our friends bought our family a year-long zoo pass, so we got in for free! My mom was able to come with us and help with the picture taking, and the weather was perfect. We decided to forgo the double stroller this time, and took advantage of the free tram tour tickets. That was pretty neat, since we got to see the lions, tigers, giraffes, etc. without having to walk the entire way. That left us with more time to just let the kids play.

Bree and Mason really love the goats in the petting zoo (it took a few minutes for Mason to really warm up), and playing on with the "toys". That's the beauty of being able to frequent the zoo often for free: I don't feel pressure to make sure we see everything and get our money's worth. If all my kids want to do at the zoo is play at the water pad or climb in the tree house, so be it. We are at the zoo for them, after all. We stayed for a couple hours, enjoyed some kettle corn and some really loud monkeys, and then headed off to Red Robin for lunch. Bree had her usual corn dog, and then she pretended to be shy when the waiters all gathered to sing her the birthday song (although they are quite boisterous, so I don't blame her). A birthday ice cream sundae and balloons for the kids rounded out the birthday festivities.

Strawberry Birthday Cake!

We celebrated Bree's birthday on Monday, April 5th (instead of on the 2nd) so Grandma Wilkinson could join us in the festivities. The day began with the baking and decorating of the special strawberry cake. I honestly tried to talk Bree out of a strawberry-flavored cake, since I have not met a strawberry cake I've been crazy about. But, it being Bree's birthday and all, I let her call the shots in the end. And she wanted it decorated with a Barbie princess, but not an actual doll cake like she had last year. She helped me pick out the perfect template: a Barbie princess with a kitty on her lap (it's amazing how many free coloring pages there are on the web).

I used a new technique called "butter-cream frosting transfer". You tape the template on a pan or cutting board, cover it with saran wrap, and then trace all the lines with a fine icing tip (I used to have a really fine tip, but tiny things disappear so easily in this house). You freeze it for a little while until the lines harden. Then you fill in all the spaces with whatever colors you want, using piping bags with small holes cut in them. Then freeze the whole thing for an hour, and when it's solid enough, just carefully flip it over onto your frosted cake. I was amazed at how cute it turned out, and it was really easy to do. The cake itself was "healthy" because I mixed a strawberry cake mix (the kind with pudding in the mix), 1-2/3 cups strawberry puree, and 4 egg whites. Super low in fat, and super delicious. Bree was thrilled with the finished product, and I got to have a piece of cake without ruining my diet. Win-win.

Bree has been on a huge Barbie kick lately, and that's all she ever asks for. I sewed a few new dresses for her Barbies a couple months ago, and she's been asking me to make more ever since. Tiny Barbie clothes are not that easy to make! So she got some store-bought ones for her birthday, along with a new Belle Barbie, and a Barbie party set. She has spent many hours playing with her gifts, and when I eavesdrop on her Barbie make-believe I'm entertained and impressed with how her imagination is growing.

She is honestly the cutest girl I've ever seen. She loves learning, and is really good at her alphabet sounds, and can tell what letter a word starts with by sounding it out. She is at the age where she can really help out around the house, and is eager to do so. She can clean her room all by herself, and helps Mason clean his too. Bree is friendly and kind to everyone she meets, and is always so complimentary. Sure, she has her rough moments, which usually involve a bout of tears over something small. But I'm trying to patiently work with her on problem-solving. Although we haven't yet figured out a solution to the issue that her panties are always "bugging her." What is that about? I put my foot down and insist that she must wear them, but I allow her to experiment with changing them out as many times as is necessary to find a comfortable pair. Oh, the challenges of being four.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter cash

Okay, so I forgot to take photos or pictures of Bree and Mason opening the actual Easter cards from their Grandma and Papa Wallace. They do love getting their own mail. But let's be honest, they really love the cash inside! (Maybe when they're old enough to read they'll pay more attention to the actual card.) Mason is completely trained, and when he saw the money, he grabbed it and said, "Piggy." Bree kept asking if she could open her bank and count her money, and my curiosity got the better of me too. $175! A pretty impressive stash for a 4-year-old!

And speaking of cash, this evening as we were all walking to Safeway, I spotted a dollar bill next to the sidewalk. I pointed it out to Bree, and she claimed it as a lucky birthday gift. We told her she could buy anything a dollar could buy at the store. We then had to persuade her from wasting it in the quarter machines, which boasted only gum and cheap choke-hazard toys. We steered her to the candy aisle, and I pointed to the different candy bars, describing each of them. When I told her what a Hershey bar was, she said, "Just like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!" Bree and Mason adore that movie (both versions). They frequently sing the Oompa Loompa song from the old film, and Mason often quotes Mike TV from the new film: "Die, die, die!" So anyway, Bree bought the Hershey bar, and after offering squares to Chad and me a few times (we politely refused but thanked her for being so generous), and giving one square to Mason, she ate the whole thing.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Little Happenings

The days go by quietly around here, and we've found a good rhythm. This week:
  • We've spent a lot of time outside, walking at the school track, playing in the front yard (that little patch of grass brings us immense joy!), and weeding.
  • The kids and I got our first mild sunburns of the season.
  • Chad and I covered the big area around our newly-planted fruit trees and blackberry bushes with landscape fabric. We were just tired of weeding that plot (or tired of looking at it's commonly un-weeded state). Now we're covering it back up with the rocks that were there before. Backbreaking but satisfying.
  • Bree came out of her room last night, saying "I can't find my cheese." (We give the kids slices of cheese at bedtime, because, let's face it, kids are always hungry. It's also something my mom gave us for a bedtime snack when we were kids. It not only won't give you cavities, it actually helps prevent tooth decay.) We looked all over in her bed, but couldn't find it. This morning I found it. In her hair. In a dried mass.
  • Chad and I have been eating healthy, and he has reached his goal weight! (The stinker says that he doesn't want to get any lighter, for job safety. He wants to be able to hold his own in a fight.) I lost another two pounds this week, my body fat percentage finally dropped a couple points, and I'm just about ready to dig into the storage bins for clothes the next size smaller.
  • Bree learned that the most important thing about Easter is not the Easter Bunny.
  • A few white roses on my climbing vines opened. They're beautiful and smell wonderful. Soon there will be hundreds of them. Literally.
  • I finished reading David Copperfield, which is 750 pages. Anyone who hasn't yet read Dickens (A Christmas Carol excluded) should.
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