Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 60 :)

This is a post from my other blog but I thought I would post it over here as well :)

"I can not believe that it has been 60 days since the beginning of of my Power 90 journey.  It has been a bit of a roller coaster but I am so proud of the progress I have made and the person I have become in the last 2 months. In the last 60 days I have gained more confidence, have more energy,  I have more muscle tone, I am stronger, I have lost 9 lbs (I hit my goal weight at Weight Watchers), I dropped a size, fit in my clothes better (many are too big) and I have created a much healthier lifestyle for myself.

The greatest accomplishment (one that I never set out to do) is that I have shown my son how important it is to eat healthy food and to exercise regularly.  He loves to "workout" and coach me, he is learning so much about food and we now have a special time to look forward to each day :) 

Exercise and eating healthy is now part of my everyday.  Yes I have bad days, bad weeks (who doesn't??) but over all I am usually upset because I ate too much fruit, or cheated with an extra yogurt :)  I have stopped baking (I have no will power), drink way less wine (light beer has kind of taken its place) and try to only snack on fruits and vegetables.  I eat salad everyday, have limited my white flour and sugar and feel really, really GREAT!

I look forward to the next 30 days!  My goals are to try to get every workout in, increase my resistant bands to 30 lbs, add my weighted gloves to the cardio pieces and stick to my Weight Watchers plan.  I am not looking to be a super model by the end of this but I am hoping to continue to slim down and look great in my lands end tankini ;)"

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy First Birthday Jiggy!

My nephew and now godson has his first birthday today :)  We celebrated it over the weekend after his baptism.  Happy first birthday Jiggy J :)  I love you!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Here we Go, Go, Go, Go...On an Adventure..."

Our summer list is posted, our day pack is ready, our Museum and Kids Bowl Free memberships are in the wallet and our schedule is filled with fun and educational adventures :)  This summer is all about bargains.  We are still on a tight budget but I feel like we need some major distractions from S's crazy schedule :)

I always enjoyed the lazy summer days of being a kid.  Eating a popsicle outside, running under the sprinkler, reading lots of books, sipping lemonade and just playing.  This summer I am hoping to balance lazy days at home with fun outings and adventures.  Each week we have two home days built in.  One of the home days is a lazy day where we will try to stay home all day.  The other day I have a Mother's Helper coming for the morning so that I can garden, get errands done and have some ME time (if there is any time left :).  The kids will spend the morning playing with her and then we will have a fun afternoon together at home.

The other three days of the week will be filled with summer Kindermusik classes (each child is taking a class for 5 weeks), bowling, meeting daddy in the city for lunch or dinner and one BIG day trip.  I have lots of fun adventures planned and plan to make the most of our two museum memberships, the library passes and our Kids Bowl Free family pass.

The last few weeks of summer will be spent at the lake where we will be very LAZY and we hope to enjoy all that the lake has to offer :)  We are planning a few big day trips while at the lake but for the most part we will be taking it easy and gearing up for the crazy fall ahead.  The summer will be over before we know it so I want to make sure it is full of lots of family moments and fun :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual from SouleMama to post just one picture capturing a moment from the week with no words.  Here is are mine.....

I want to wish my best friend La a very happy birthday.  She is now 34 years young, in the best shape of her life and the proud mama to 3 :)  I love you La!

La with Lil' C

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cars 2 Fever :)

First let me just say that I am sooooo excited for this movie.  It looks much scarier than the first (not too happy about this Disney) but it still looks fun and endearing.  It is also exciting because Z is falling in love with his many Cars toys all over again :)  His Cars room that he has been begging me to change into a space or whale room is now the BEST again and his metal (and stuffed) cars are once again his most prized possessions.  I bought he and C each a new car and he bought one with his own money.  Add in the $3 I spent for a new Cars 2 story and we have spent a whopping $13 on this new movie and we are good to go :)

With each of Z's obsessions this year, I have turned them into a learning experience.  We have explored Dr. Seuss, the Rainforest, the Ocean blue, Maps and Space.  With this latest obsession, I was struggling with a way to make it "educational" until the other night :)  The movie is about Mater and Lightning traveling the world for the "World Grand Prix" race.  So right now Z, C and I are "visiting" each of the countries that they visit and learning all we can about them.

We started off by spending a day looking at the globe and finding each of the four countries (Japan, Italy, England and the USA).  We discussed how we could travel to each and what we might do when we got there.  We then made a garland that had the different cars and each of the country flags.  Z made these flags himself, he did a great job!

My plan is to spend 2 days exploring each country.  While we are there we will experience the food (Z style complete with candy sushi in Japan), music, learn some of the language (hello/goodbye, numbers 1-10 etc.), learn about some important places, explore maps, learn about the flags, explore some of the customs and talk about the weather. I have made him a book and also created a blog just for him.  On the blog I have put website links, songs in the different languages and pictures so that he can continue to explore the country independently at computer time.  We are so excited about this and it has been a fun way to expand upon the love he has for the world around him and Lightning Mcqueen :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No one to Tag

Well we are back in full swing of Start-Up life, we had a few week lull but about a month ago things went into over drive.  The good news is that S's company got funded (that means a paycheck and healthcare!!!!), the not so good news is that they now need to work around the clock to get their product launched.  S is now leaving the house very early and returning after I go to bed.  He has talked about renting a room in the city or sleeping in the office.  I am not going to lie, this is tough.

One of my favorite sounds is the sound of the garage door when S comes home at night.  I feel a sense of relief to know that he is home safe.  This sound use to happen around 7pm and I knew at that time that he was there to help.  It was so nice to "tag" him and have him handle Z's bedtime routine while I relaxed after Lil' C went to bed.  Last year he also went into work later, so we would often have family breakfasts or he would help me get the kids dressed before he left. 

These days, there is nobody to "tag".  I am on with the kids from 6am (I try to make Lil' C stay in her bed until 6) until 8pm (sometimes later).  Weekends are a little easier because he is here to help with the mornings and evenings but the middle of the day is packed with work, house chores and family obligations.  But we have him close by and that is a wonderful feeling :)  I can't imagine what military spouses and single parents go through, or how they do it??  I give them so much credit!!!

Family time is essential and S tries really hard to make time for it.  I spent weeks on our summer schedule so that we could have a healthy balance of work and family summer moments.  He will not be able to take any vacation so we have to make the most of our weekend time.  We do still try to schedule in a family moment during the week but these days we have to head into Boston to make this happen.  Our family memberships to the Boston Museum of Science and the Children's Museum have already paid for themselves and I am so happy we invested in them.  They are wonderful places for the kids and I to play and then S meets us for lunch or dinner (or we meet him).  They also allow us to visit many other museums in New England and so our other summer days will be filled with fun adventures :)

I do have to say that I am much tougher than I ever imagined.  I try to be as supportive as I can but I do have my teary moments.  I am so proud of my husband and this journey we are on.  He is a go getter, a hard worker and one of the smartest people I know.  I love him with all of my heart and just pray that he doesn't work too hard and damage his health.  He is constantly reminded and encouraged to take time for himself (the little time that is left) and to take care of himself.  I know we will get through this time and we will be a much stronger family unit :)  Work Hard, Play Hard...that is our new family motto.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Nice Relaxing Father's Day

The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky.  It was warm with a nice breeze to keep the bugs away and the kids had a ball relaxing and playing with their grandparents and their daddy!  S didn't work all day and his parents came up the night before to sleep over.  We spent Father's Day eating pancakes, blowing bubbles, swinging, enjoying the deck, playing golf, the boys went to the driving range and then we had a nice BBQ on the new grill.  It was a wonderful day :) 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

To the special dad's in my life, I just want to say "Thanks".  Thanks for being a part of our life, for making us laugh, for always looking out for us and for loving us so much.  We adore all three of you and we are so blessed to have you to call "Dad/Chi Chi/Grandpa".  We love you all very much and

Happy Father's Day :)

Happy Godfather's Day to My Amazing Cousin M!  He is the GodPapa to Z and we love and miss him very much :)

M, S, Kiki, Z, Me and La

Friday, June 17, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual from SouleMama to post just one picture capturing a moment from the week with no words.  Here are mine (once again I could not decide).....

Happy Birthday Daddy!  I love you and want to thank you for all of the wonderful things you have done and continue to do for me.  I wish you a very happy and relaxing year :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Who Am I Today??

Living with Z is like living in an ever changing story or play.  Throughout the day he may ask us to play 5-6 different roles.....there is never a dull moment around our house :)  I might start the day as a large Apatosaurus eating leaves near a pond, change into Sally from Cars (so excited for the new movie!!!) and race with "Lightning" around the house, then morph into Annie from Magic Tree House and visit many places throughout history, then jump into the ocean to search for krill as a fin back whale and then end the day in the Amazon Rainforest going to sleep as a red eyed tree frog.

Z's imagination is unlike anything I have ever seen.  He loves to enter new worlds, habitats and lands and take on the roles of the characters or animals in that world.  There was one day a few months ago where he would only speak whale.  We spent hours "moaning" to each other with words thrown in between :) He has even created his own species of whale, "the Jumper whale".  If you ask him he will describe the "Jumper Whale's" habitat, what it eats, it's physical characteristics and anything else you want to know ;)  It is his dream to find a real "Jumper Whale".

Z is a sponge, loves all things science and wants to know everything about the world around him.  His new passion is the ocean and so we created our own.  We picked the coast of Newfoundland (it had most of Z's favorite animals and was an ocean habitat close to our own), printed out animals that you would find in that area (all were researched and picked by Z :)) and placed them in the habitat. 

Z is so much fun.  His energy and questions can be exhausting but his enthusiasm is also contagious.  He helps me to learn new things each and every day.   I love my little man and I am so blessed that he has this incredible imagination and shares my love for our natural world :)

Happy Birthday to my little sister La :)  She is 32 years young today and I am looking forward to the special party that Z has planned for she and my dad (his birthday is Friday) tonight!!

Noni, K, Me, La and Mom

Monday, June 13, 2011

An Early Father's Day Surprise

Daddy was away at a conference for a few days at the end of last week and so Z and I decided to create a BIG surprise for him when he got home. 

Unfortunately I was away at a wedding during the big unveil but S did call me and I could hear the shock in his voice.  He was so excited!!!  S has been working so hard and the summer is going to be a crazy work time for him so I wanted to do something special.  He loves to cook (especially grill) and so I took our yard sale money and put it towards this very special Father's Day and early Birthday present.  Our old grill was a mess and the lighter was broken on it so I refused to use in for fear that I would burn my face off while lighting it!  He hadn't even taken any time to pull it out of the garage yet this year, it was in bad shape.  Now he (and I) can grill anytime and the burgers we made on Sunday night when I got home, were delicious!! 
I also decided to not get my mother's day present (he promised me a chaise for the porch) and spruced up what we already had.  I put up our party tent for shade (our umbrella broke last year), hung Christmas lights, bought two small tables and a new chair and a few throw pillows.  Our deck is now another living space and the kids and I LOVE being out there :)

We also have things coming up in our gardens!!!  So exciting :)  I love this time of year.

Friday, June 10, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual from SouleMama to post just one picture capturing a moment from the week with no words.  Here is mine.....

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Simple Schedule

Deciding to homeschool Z this year has helped us to slow down, take a step back and figure out what was really important to us.  At about the same time I pulled him out of preschool, I started reading Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne (this is the last time I will mention him....maybe ;)).  In his book, Mr. Payne talks a great deal about slowing down children's hectic schedules in order to allow them to have a childhood.  I found that getting rid of our hectic schedule as S's schedule heated up, was soooo good for us. 

Z starts private Kindergarten in the fall and will be going 5 mornings a week.  A part of me dreads this because I appreciate the flexibility of our very laid back schedule.  Below are 5 things that we did to help slow down and calm down our family life.  These changes have helped my children to be more creative, less stressed (Z stopped biting his fingers) and has reduced the number of tears and tantrums by 80%.  It is my goal to make sure that we still try to do as many of the following things next year, even with Z's new schedule. 

1.  No more than 2 Classes/Sports per kid
 We use to be the family who signed up for anything and everything.  We were running around like crazy people trying to fit it all in and nobody was really enjoying it.  Now we only have 1-2 activities per child and it has made a huge difference.  This year Z did Kindermusik and Swimming and Lil' C did her own Kindermusik class.   If Z wants to play soccer in the fall we will take a break from swimming for a bit.  I do not want to be that family who lives in the car ;)

2.  Must have a Home Day
We schedule in at least one "Home Day" each week where we don't go ANYWHERE.  These days are time to catch up on chores, play and do special projects.  Z LOVES them and is able to wear his jammies until after lunch if he wants.  Lil' C does not love them as much (she is a people person) but I find if we change scenery (upstairs/outside) every hour or so...she is just fine.

3.  Must have a Home Weekend
Our weekend schedule from April-October is pretty hectic.  Last summer I started scheduling in "Home Weekends" where we make sure that we are home and not traveling one weekend per month.  We try to make one of the days of those weekends a "Home Day" where we can get much needed chores and relaxation done :)

4.  Only Say "Yes" if it makes sense for the majority of the family
This was a big step for me.  I use to sign up for activities or events without considering how it affected the entire family.  Now I will not schedule anything during Lil' C's nap time, take both kids into consideration when we accept invitations to parties (will there be anything for them to do, is it too far away, too much going on etc.), try to remember that we are all more fresh in the morning and before I schedule anything, I always ask myself, "Does this make sense for the entire family?".  Of course there are things that take exception but for the most part it has worked really well.

5.  Build Downtime into our schedule
I am a person who thrives off being busy, or at least I thought I was until we slowed down.  Now I appreciate downtime just as much as the kids do and I too find that I am more creative.  I now NEED time to decompress, time to reflect and time to just BE.  The kids and I (and daddy when he is home) spend some time each day reading books, relaxing and just enjoying quiet time together. 

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne
Simple Kids
Simple Mom

My other Posts about Simplifying our Life:
Simple Cleaning
Simple Home
Simple Eating

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mini Vacation in Boston

On Sunday we headed down to Boston for a "Mini-Vacation".  With S's schedule being as hectic as it is, we thought that spending the day in Boston on Sunday, sleeping in a hotel and then spending the morning together was both economical and work friendly.  We had brunch on Newbury street (big mistake with Lil' C), rode the swan boats, saw the ducklings all dressed up with Bruins jerseys, played on the Boston Common and spent Monday morning at the Museum of Science.  It was a bit of a whirlwind but the kids had a BLAST.  Here are some photos from our trip.

view of Boston from our room :)