Monday, February 8, 2016

Day Nine

Sorry, it's been a while.  Our house got hit with the flu including me.  Very nasty.  We basically shut down for the week.  Dinners were....interesting.  I got sick on Friday and then Hubby on Tuesday.  So technically I was still contagious running to the store and grabbing nibbles.  I didn't make a real dinner of any sort until yesterday. 

And my house...Oh, my house....On Wednesday I willed myself to clean the kitchen floor because someone spilled something and it was disgusting.  As in sticky with dirty foot prints.  We managed to convince our oldest to clean up the living room on Thursday in exchange for extra video gaming.  Because you know he's six and we were sick.  So it took him a while but he did it all himself.  And we were thankful.  Oh, so thankful.  What it taught me was 1)we are master manipulators and 2)I really don't need to knock myself out over straightening up their room since they are perfectly capable of straightening it themselves.  I was a nice mom for a while.  I thought they are four and six plus autistic.  The sheer magnitude of trying to organize that mess is daunting.  But never fear I'm working on their room to organize it better and they are very good at deception.  So will I clean their room again?  Nope.  I am just the supervisor.  *muah, ha, ha....*  I like this age. 

So between having to wash enough clothes for school, working on homework (because the school expects parents to do the homework with the child and didn't-I-graduate-from-school-already? and when-do-they-have-independent-homework?), washing enough dishes, running out for nibbles, carting people around, getting school supplies, *gasp*  all I wanted to do was go to bed because even putting the boys to bed was hard as I lost my voice. 

Then it was my week to wash the church linens which would be much more fun if we weren't sick.  So hopefully I'll do a better job.

Anyway, you get the point.  I didn't work out until this morning.  I thought "This is going to be tough."  But it actually wasn't that hard to get back into.  I say that now and I'll pay for it later.

And Tuesday, we're having a dinner party for Mardi Gras.  Because I'm crazy and need more motivation to clean my house. /sarcasm 

Wednesday is Ash Wednesday.  I'm crazy but not that crazy.  Some people can fast and still work out, but I'm not one of them.  I'd be craving cheese burgers if I did that.  So I'm skipping the work out that day and going to Mass with my children (halo).  For my Lenten journey, I plan on saying the Divine Mercy chaplet every day and I have a 33 days of Divine Mercy book coming in.  It doesn't officially hit book stores until Feb 15th so until then I have another book that I'll work on for spiritual reading. 

So what are your Lenten aspirations?  How is your work out going?  Have you managed through cold/flu season?  Type a comment.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Day Eight

"We have chairs!  *squeals* Okay we're going to use those instead.  Sorry."

I walked into my cardio class to find brutal-instructor realizing that there were chairs in our room.  She immediately got excited because apparently her chair routine is brutal.  She had everyone put their steps back (fortunately I hadn't gotten mine yet).  And we had the chair.

Now if you've ever gotten up early back-in-the-day and watched PBS broadcast, there's this sweet lady who did chair exercises.  You'd say to yourself that chair exercises are gentle and easy.  But alas the brutal-instructor does not do gentle and easy, dear readers.  She simply does not.  And she knows it because she started the class with "you will never look at a chair the same way again."

Yikes!

We did all sorts of leg exercises on the chair.  We did arm weights on the chair.  We did crunches on the chair.  And we also did squats, curtsies, and lunges not on the chair. 

It was brutal, but it wasn't as down-right awful as I was imagining when she cackled with glee.  There was a point when we were doing several lunges with weights that I thought I was getting a little dizzy so I started breathing better.  But that wasn't on the chair.

In other news: HB is going on a field trip that requires a little bit of hiking.  Knee is learning his letters.  We started 'Aa' today and he's been working on 'Oo, Xx, Ss' which are easy because the lower and upper case almost the same.  And Hubby has been working like a maniac.

How is your week going? 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

In which I declare that I hate how my house is organized...

I'm really into organizing houses.  Since I became an adult and moved out of the dorms, I've lived in six houses/apartments/condos/townhouses/you get the idea.  And I've had to figure out creative ways to arrange my belongings in various ways: with roommates, by myself, with a husband, with babies, with children.  Anyone who has had to uproot many times can probably relate.  Sometimes it takes a while to figure out exactly how you want your home to look.  You have to let it sink in.  And then things change like taking up new hobbies or your children's interests changing.  So there's that to contend with.

I can see you nodding.

My biggest problem has been my kitchen.  For years it has looked cluttered.  This house has a bigger kitchen, but dummy me still cluttered the counter tops.  It wasn't until I read a couple of things that the wheels began to turn.  Somewhere I read, only leave things on your counter top that you frequently use (like your toaster or your coffee pot).  The rest needs to be stored somewhere.  This would not have been possible in some of the kitchens that I lived in because the kitchens didn't have enough cabinet space.  Sometimes I stored things in the pantry if the pantry was big enough.  Sometimes I got rid of things that barely were used if I could make do without.  Sometimes things just got dumped on the counter, much to my annoyance. Thus my kitchens always looked in disarray even if all the dishes had been washed. 

So even though this kitchen is bigger old habits die hard.  Real hard.  I've been fed up with it, but stuck at how to fix it.  I'm not very good at breaking out of habits.  I don't think anyone is.  It wasn't until the suggestion to store things that I got it.  Why haven't I been storing things?  Well, you dummy, it's because you haven't had the space.  But don't I now?  Yes, but you haven't been using the space well.  If you move a couple of things and junk some things, then you could move that over here and that over there....

Well, dear reader, you get the idea. 

Basically what I did was this:

Moved my cook books to a cabinet- This required me to shift some small appliances that I use infrequently around, but was not a big deal.

Moved my crock pot- This required me to shift a few more things.  Some went into the drawer underneath the oven and others to another cabinet.  Done.

Sugar bowl finds a home back in the pantry.  Cutting boards go into a cabinet or hung up.  

Then I went through all that area that had been a catch-all area.  Some of it ended up tacked to the fridge, the rest went back where it belonged.  You should have seen the kitchen table.  It was covered in stuff that belonged somewhere else.

I looked at all that remained on the counter top: coffee pot, coffee grinder, toaster, drying rack, utensil holder w/ utensils, paper towels, knives w/block and my dust buster.  And I rearranged them now that I had more space to.  So now I have an even bigger prep area. 

Also what made a huge difference was all those darn sandwich box lids and other container lids.  Someone posted a cheap way to organize those.  All you do is save a cereal box and cut a part of it off.  Stick the lids inside and put it into your cabinet.  So easy right?  No more searching for lids.  No more lids falling on you when you open the door.  Genius!

So here is my arranged kitchen:

Please note that as far as decades go, I am not fond of the 70s decorating scheme.  Gold and drab.  So yes I hate those counter tops.  But this is a rental.  If I owned the house, at minimum I would install a new counter top and paint the cabinets.  Although truthfully the cabinets and the sink have issues too and should be replaced.


 
I've also done some putting Christmas/Advent decorations up.  Yes I've been procrastinating.  In the process, I found our Holy Water Font and put that on the wall where Knee injured himself and required stitches.  The left is the kitchen and the right is the living room.

Here's my living room with the newish furniture.  I'm not fond of avocado green walls, but I'm not fond of having to paint a rental that I'm not sure how long I'll be in.  I turned the book shelf catercorner to make the room seem less squared off on that side.

A view of the love seat.  You see that cut-out behind it.  That's the kitchen.  There's a pass through window, which at times has me concerned that some naughty climbing children will land on their face one day.

View of the couch.  Yes there are legos on that table.  Since the home owner turned the foyer closet into a pantry, I had to create a sort of entry way drop off.  So that's a coat rack and barely peeking out next to it is a shoe rack.  Their child-friendly height.  The good thing about it being there is behind those curtains is the sliding glass door which leads to the back yard.  So no issues with shoes being scattered to the four winds.

My next organizing projects are to tackle the boys room and our room.  Our room should be fairly simple.  It's the boys room that is an never-ending nightmare.  I'm never happy with how it looks.  It didn't bother me when the boys had a toy room.  But now that their toys, clothes, and beds are all in one room, it's driving me to distraction.  Even when it's picked up, it still looked cluttered.  So I'm going to look into getting an extra book shelf, some toy bins, and sorting through and removing extra clothes that they don't really need/like. 

Are you a super organizer like me?  What's your one problem area and how have you managed it?  Do tell me in the comments!


Monday, January 25, 2016

Day Seven

"I wonder...."

So Thursday and Friday HB was home sick with a fever.  It turns out that he has an ear infection.  He seems perfectly okay today.  He did tell me that his ear was popping yesterday, which is kinda normal if your ear is draining.  I bundled him up and sent him to school.  He's been fever free and on antibiotics for 24 hours so he's good to go.

Does this mean I was slacker and skipped Friday?  Nope.  Not at all.  I just waited until Hubby came home and then went to work out.  I even went to the dreaded scale and it said I lost 2 pounds.  But this made me suspicious.

Today's workout involved a small ball, weighted pole, and of course the mat.  It was the same lady as Monday.  She likes us to lift a lot of weights particularly for the arms.  I choose a lighter weight pole because I pulled my tricep in my left arm putting Knee to bed one night.  It's still pretty sore, so I imagine I'll have to baby it for the rest of the week.  Needless to say, I don't get as much out cardio-wise with this lady as I do the lady on Wednesday.  And the class like exploded.  I got there 5 minutes late just as they were starting, and there were the regulars and some younger ladies I've never seen before.  I spent most of my focus on staying balanced (because she likes to make that a part of it). 

Afterwards I snuck back into the locker room and looked at the scale.  Same weight as last week.  What?!  What am I doing differently over the weekend?  When will this weight start melting away?  I'm so frustrated.

So how was your weekend?  I'm guessing between the weather and cold and flu season everybody's had a bad go of things.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Day Five

"Ahhh...it's the kick butt instructor!"

Today we had the kick butt instructor from last week.  Maybe she's the regular instructor for Wednesdays?  This time it was much easier at least coordination wise.  She give us multiple sets of exercises with two types each.  So for example, we did push ups and then some sort of plank where you move your feet out.  We'd do each exercise for 20 seconds.  Then we'd take a break and do it again five times before moving onto a different set.  This was not to say that these exercises were easy because they most definitely were not.  But I was far more coordinated because they were basic exercises with multiple reps. 

*Gold exercising star*

I realize that it isn't just exercise that I'm going to have to change.  My husband has already been harping on how I should be counting my calories to make sure that I'm not over-eating as a result of the exercising.  *long suffering sigh*  But I have no plans on changing my diet drastically at the moment because that would be setting myself up for failure.  When making life style changes, it's generally recommended to do so slowly with multiple steps so that you (and your body) can adjust.  So I'm thinking maybe in February I'll begin a food diary/journal.  For now I think exercise is enough for this month.

In other news, Monday we purchased a slightly used furniture set.  We've been needing extra seating in the living room for a while now.  When we lived in London, we acquired a free couch but chucked it before we left.  So we've been down to our sad brown couch that we bought 8 years ago....used.  We've been talking about acquiring better and more pieces.  So we ended up answering a Craig's List ad and bought....a couch, a love seat, a small side table, and two poofs.  They look awesome.  I'll have to take a picture and upload it later.

It's also Knee's Name Day.  Since he has a rather common saint name, I picked this particular saint because it just fit.  His saint is a Korean martyr who was a husband and father.  After he lost his family, he became a catechist.  When the pagan government arrested him they offered him freedom to convert and he said "A Thousand Times No."  After being tortured they offered him the chance to convert and again he said "If you set me free, not only shall I continue to practice my religion, but I shall try my best to convert others to it."  He ended up bringing back to the faith several apostates while in prison.  In the end, he was strangled to death.  So in honor of this Korean martyr, I'm trying my hand at Korean lettuce wraps (and there's cake of course).  The wraps don't really seem that hard to make but we'll see how everyone feels about them. 

How is your week going so far?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Day Four

Nooooo....how can that be???!!!!!

So I gathered up the minions and my gym gear because I don't trust the minions enough not to kill each other while I take a shower.  I loaded them into the car and went to the gym.

You see even though it's a federal holiday, unlike in Canada where it's mandatory that non-essential workers do not work on holidays, it's up to businesses if they stay open or close for US holidays.  I checked last week to find out if they gym was open and if there was childcare (they are closing early today but yes childcare). 

I hurried the minions off to child care and stuffed my gym gear into a locker.  The instructor was different this time.  We were using a step to do the cardio part of the exercises.  Then we did weights with our arms.  It was less kick butt this time but required even more coordination on my part so we she said we were going to do "around-the-worlds" for part of the exercise routine I took her opt out suggestion and just did corner knee lifts.  Still managed to flub parts.

After the cardio class, I went to the locker room and took a shower.  I also weighed myself.  I weigh one pound more.  Nooooooooo!!!!!!

This weight doesn't make any sense because I had given blood the day before so I should weigh less.  I chalk it up to water retention.  I've had to drink a lot of water lately because of the giving blood thing.

Also am taking it easy now.  I think I got back into the routine too soon after giving blood.  May end up having to put off housework more until Tuesday. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Day Three

"My exercise classes cost almost as much as my gym membership fees...well when you include child care costs."~ said a friend who is also trying to get into shape.

My reaction to this statement was :o  Then I told her that I go to the Y, and child care and exercises classes are included in the costs.  I.just.can't.imagine.

Why I joined the YMCA


Looking at the history of the YMCA, which stands for Young Men's Christian Association, it seems odd that I go to it.  The Y, as it's fondly called in the States, started out London, England for evangelical Christians.  They used to hold Bible studies on site (and some local Ys still do).  In addition to Bible studies, the organization started offering sports and fitness with the idea to keep young men occupied and away from bars, prostitution, and gambling.  

Now as you know I am not an evangelical.  I am not even male.  And historically the Catholic Church, of which I am a member, did not think it appropriate for Catholics to join a YMCA (or YWCA for women).  But the Y has changed over the course of history and now much of it's membership is Catholic.  A number of clergy also join the Y.  The Y's focus is more on generic Christianity, if at all, and more on sports.  They also don't restrict their facilities to one sex group, which is why I can go to a YMCA even though I'm a woman.  They also don't care if you are a Christian or not.  

The Y is a non-profit and much of it's fund raising goes into promoting fitness for children.  It's true that a number of branches in the past of hosted Planned Parenthood or co-sponsored events with them.  It's also true that some have promoted LGBT activities.  All of this is done at the local level.  There is (as far as I can tell) a neutral stance at the national level.  My own local group focuses on children's fitness.  There is no Bible study groups (which happens on the local level of some branches too).  

The thing about the Y that I like is that it is (at least where I live and overall) focused on families.  As I said it's a non-profit.  They don't charge me to take a fitness class.  They don't charge me for child care.  The offer numerous sporting activities for a variety of ages and skill levels for a fee.  They offer personal training for a fee.  If you are having trouble financially to pay the fees, they actually work with families so that they can pay a reduced rate.  They want people to work-out and stay in shape.  And they want children to have role models in their parents.  It's an extremely family friendly environment.  They have strict rules about language and what you wear.  

I'm hoping this summer/spring I can get the boys swim lessons because they desperately need them.  Tonight I plan on rock climbing with HB who's been looking forward to it all week.  

How it Went Today


I was sore yesterday and this morning so I opted to not go to the class.  I figured she'd work me harder than I'd like.  I wanted to go at my own pace so I went to the cardio room and worked out for an hour.  Weigh in is Monday so we'll see how far those 3 hours of working out this week have gotten me.  

Have a fantastic weekend!