Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Mole Returns!!

Yippy! ABC is finally bringing back on the best reality series...The Mole (starting Mondays, June 2nd).

This is one of the original reality shows back in the Survivor era...it is really smart and interesting. I hope they keep it that way now. Unfortunately, the best part of the show, host Anderson Cooper, is not returning...like his new show is so popular (ok, it is I watch most nights (Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN).

I have an idea....

This is the new favorite phrase in our house.

Some ideas are pretty good (let's play pet shoppe, let's have some carrots). And some only sound good.

Two boys....one 2yo, one 4yo in their second floor bedroom. I have a good idea...let's feed the birds. Yes, Mom likes when we feed the birds. Enter loaf of bread. How will we get the bread to the birds? Unlock and open window, take out storm window....hum....how will the bread get through the screen. Let's try pushing it through. Holes are too small. Enter screwdriver. Big hole in screen....the bread fits! We did it!

At least we know they are good problem solvers!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Clothing Craziness

Part I: Always be Prepared.
Kid 1:
Superman PJ's
Snow Boots
Fire Fighter Raincoat (hood up)

Kid 2:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle track suit
Bike Helmet
Light-up Spiderman Sandals

What would you wear to the ice cream shoppe?

Part II: Pre-teen Shopping Experience....beware
The story of my short (in height) life is finding clothes that fit...somewhere in between women's, petites, juniors, the kids' dept...I eventually find something that fits and is appropriate for a mom. Enter pre-teen daughter.

She is right in between the kids and women's sizes...so yesterday at Old Navy she got some women's size 1 and 2 shorts but some kids XL tops...and women's size 8 shoes! Help us...we still have to find some 'nice' clothes for a band concert and 5th grade promotion. I try my best to let her pick what she wants but I had to draw the line at one item. I hate shopping. (But I did run into a fellow mom friend so we chatted while the girls shopped...that's the way to go).

In other Old Navy news...I know their stuff runs big but I went to get some shorts off the sale rack to supplement the boys' wardrobe...they looked huge. I couldn't buy them they looked so big.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Some new fun things....

I love Amy Poehler...and although SNL is lacking these days...she is always funny. One of the best characters on SNL in the past 5-10yrs has been Kaitlin (who has sadly been left out since Horatio left). Last night I turned on the tv to chill out before bed, I even punched in Food Network when I heard Kaitlin's distinct voice. Ooooo....so excited, hit recall button. It turned out to be Amy Poehler's new animated series on Nick...Mighty B! (sorry, I tried to embed, but it didn't work). So, it wasn't Kaitlin but I am sure this character has her roots in that hilarious series of sketches. My 11yo and I watched it...it was pretty fun, I laughed out loud. Check it out.

Secondly, a new funny book, Superhero ABC by Bob McLeod. It has a great collection of alliterating superheroes. Some of the jokes the little ones won't get but parents will definitely appreciate.

Finally, I finally got a new wallet. I have been hanging onto my navy leather UIUC wallet I bought the first week I moved here. I so love it....I use it as a wallet and key chain (since I used to forget my keys a lot and don't carry a purse). But it was time to say good bye....so I got a similar style (wallet-key chain) in yellow on Friday. We'll see.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fitness Friday!

Sleep! Yes, sleeping will keep you fit.

Try hard to get at least 6 consecutive hours of sleep...aim for 8! (I don't think I've slept for 6 hrs straight in 5 years!). This is, what I think, makes those last 5-10 baby pounds so hard to shed.

Basic tips: Do what you do for your kids.
Set a bedtime...and keep it as consistent as possible.
Set a bedtime routine...bath, read, yoga, mediation.

Make sure to relax during your day. And take a rest time during the day...even if that means 5 mins at your desk listening to quiet music, drawing a picture, or just closing your eyes.

Basic tips:
While the kids are napping/resting...you too (Just say no to laundry!)
At the end of the day...take 5 mins to do a family stretch and yoga session (just some deep breathing and long stretches)
Make a point to sit down while you drink your morning coffee or afternoon tea.

Rest and relaxation are just as important as fat-burning cardio work.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Every day is Earth Day!

Sorry, I got busy so I didn't get to post about Earth Day....so here it is.

If you read the paper or watch Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth...you know that we need to help save our planet for future generations. There are a ton of things you can do...pick just one thing to do first and do it...then pick something else.

Many people say that the Bush Administration doesn't care...but...the rising gas prices (thank you war, lack of support for better fuel programs, expensive hybrids)...many people aren't driving as much! They have been forced to stop driving as much. Take the bus, train, or your bike...even walk!!!

If you want to see how amazing the Earth really is....check out our new favorite DVD...the BBC series Planet Earth. It is amazing and interesting for all ages.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An exciting weekend...

We had a very exciting weekend around here...in addition to our circus trip.

*Soccer...finally! Of course, at least our kids were playing at the same time but...on complete opposite sides of the park...actually they were as far away from each other as possible. So we only watched the last quarter of our daughter's game (missing her goal). No gym needed...carrying kids around Dodds Park. You want to treat yourself to something super cute...watch the microsoccer practice. Our 4yo loved it...until he got mud on his knee...but the coach told him it was ok...you get dirty in soccer (our 4yo's new motto).

*Our friends who recently moved back to Chicagoland came down to visit. Yah! Our kids can play together more often...until their daughter slips and cuts her head open on a chair. ER visit! I think my hub just wanted to show off how many people he knows in the emergency medicine field. So, my hub, friend, and daughter are at the ER. I have my kids plus their baby...sure I'll take care of the cutie baby....until my 2yo gets too close to the rocking chair to see the baby and I rock over his toe! More blood on the porch. He is ok (just ripped his toe nail off) but I had the moment of panic...we all have go to the ER! Mind you...my kids haven't been to the ER....yet (knock on wood). Everyone is fine now...and I hope we can visit again.

*I let the kids take care of birthday decorations and the cake (I usually make my own cake so it is exactly what I want). I come home after some shopping (to make up for the things my hub claim don't exist at Meijer...I found the with ease and Old Navy)...the house looks nice with some lovely homemade banners up. Then I see the cake...well, it turned out ok in the end. I had to do some mending before I handed it over to the boys with final touches. It tasted great! (my daughter made the cake herself).

Sunday, April 20, 2008

May All Your Days Be Circus Days!

So, what better way to spend my birthday than to head with the whole family to the circus! Ringling Bros. came to town this weekend...my parents, brothers, and SIL came down to play for the day. Unfortunately, we only got in there for about 10min of the pre-show but that was ok. We all felt like this was classic circus...like we remember when we were kids. Classic clowning...which I love. (could have done without the archer...I don't like to promote shooting things in my house...plus you couldn't really see the arrows and the build up time was way too long for the little pay off)

The kids loved it, the 4yo especially. He really loved the lights and watching the shadows of the performers. The 2yo did his own circus of sorts on my lap and on the seats. Of course, we had to have some popcorn (which occupied the 2yo most of the show) and cotton candy. But no other super expensive trinkets (or rip-offs, as we used to call them as kids). Overall, a nice, affordable family day out.

I do feel a bit torn about the circus. I know that there is a lot of concern about the animals. I don't know about these specific animals. But I will tell you that I think the tiger trainer (who is also an acrobat) seemed to really love and care for the animals. She called them all by name and practically cuddled with them.

Now my kids want to be circus performers...my 4yo rode his tricycle around with a new flare...my brother and SIL have been aerial dance teachers...and my hub is always a clown. I'm sure there will be some risky new tricks in my house for a couple weeks.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fitness Friday!

The Push Up!

Push ups are a wonderful full-body exercise that can be done anywhere by anyone. See here for the basic form. Start with one perfect push up. Gradually add more each day.

*Start on hands and knees and only bend at the arms.
*Bend knees ('girl push ups') instead of extending legs
*Hold at the top in a plank for 10-30sec (great core work)
*Let a kid sit on your back
*Put a non-mobile baby under you...give her kisses or fmake unny faces every time you lower
*Have your kids do them with you

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Taking back our healthcare!

Watching one of my favorite shows....Frontline, Sick Around the World...last night. Like the movie Sicko, it investigated healthcare systems around the world and compared them to the US. I think it was summed up best this way...."We have to take the profit out of healthcare." Since healthcare became a major business in the US, healthcare quality, availability, and affordability has suffered dearly. The other countries' officials and doctors were amazed that Americans go bankrupt over healthcare costs...very few, if any, countries have such an issue.

Another shockingly true statement made: "Healthcare is a human right." Isn't it true that taking care of our society physically and mentally a right of each citizen? Doesn't the government and business want everyone to be healthy and happy? Won't we be a more productive and safe society that way?

I have to laugh when I heard about the many countries that offer free mental health services including spa treatments, Eastern medical practices, and even paid vacation time. We don't even give basic care to everyone...I'd go for free dental and vision care for all.

In our family, it was a requirement that one of us have a job with full health benefits. So we have 'comprehensive' health insurance with dental and vision. So, I can go to the dr when I need to. But I have a $20 co-pay. And my prescriptions cost between $15-60. These co-pays have quadrupled in the past 8 years. I would not hesitate to bring my child to the ER and I don't skip my annual physical. But I do wait to go to the dr for anything minor and I ask my dr for the minimum prescriptions (I take regular medications). And we have insurance. What about those people who don't have anything? Can they afford a $100 dr visit to check out their kid's ears?

I just want to live in a society that I feel like cares about me and everyone equally. A universal healthcare system is essential to our society's survival.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Are they tricking me?

There are times when I am out with the kids and I think...never again will they leave the house. I've gotten to the point where I really can't carry both little ones at the same time...so if something happens....the dreaded drop-n-flop temper tantrum....it is a struggle to leave the location with some composure.

And then there are days like yesterday....they got themselves dressed (the 4yo actually helped his brother), shoes on, potty break....into the car (opposed to running after the multiple bunnies in our yard or dashing for the bikes). We ran multiple in-and-out stops (circus tickets...no you have to wait until Sunday to go in....library, grocery store, car wash). They waited patiently at the children's desk while the librarian got us some circus books. They even went to the bathroom when I forced a stop before shopping. No real whining, no hitting, no crying. Even an 'ok, I'll ride the horse next time' from the 2yo.

I actually kind of stopped taking multiple kids out with me the past couple months after some not-so-nice incidents. But now they are tricking me into thinking we can do anything again. Maybe they finally figured out that if they are good...mom is happier...and they get to eat cheese popcorn.

**Yes, the circus is coming to town this week. Check out Assembly Hall for details (great deals on Opening Night and Saturday afternoon shows...plus ALL shows have a 1hr pre-show for all ticket holders).

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Morning Quickies...

*Have you done your taxes? They are due tomorrow!! Remember that you need to file 2007 taxes in order to receive your 'big' government rebate (that is all you have to do). We usually keep a little tax money for some fun spending, but I think we will hang on to it this year to...oh, I don't know....pay for gas, summer a/c, the increasing water bill (my garbage bill went up too!).

*Pre-teenhood has begun. My daughter had a sleepover on Friday with a girl we have known since kindergarten. Well, they didn't talk to us and retreated to her bedroom for the duration of the visit. They apparently watched some DVD's. Then they headed over to the friend's house for the day. So, they spend 25 hours together....what did you do? nothing. really? we hung out.

*Apparently Katie Holms and Posh Spice only eat 900 calories a day! That is ridiculous! She must not be playing with her kid...I need that much just to keep up. Eat something!

*I love PBS (and NPR)! This week....I watched Illinois Stories about some fascinating historical homes (I love old houses). And my hub watched Frontline (online!) The Medicated Child. My kids are super into Super Why! We spent Saturday making and hiding super letters.

*Did you all see the SNOW! this weekend? Soccer season has officially been extended into June...if it ever gets started.

*My hub wants me to give a shout out to Mr. Rooter! Thank you for saving our basement from the wrath of the sewer (and the packages of baby wipes the boys flushed down!).

*Speaking of the bathroom....we learned that it is perfectly normal not to be bowel trained until 7 years old...especially for boys. Our dr told us to back off our 4yo and put him back in pull ups (which he didn't want but the dr talked him into it). We were really surprised by that. We were so close to being out of diapers...oh well. He still goes au natural at bedtime (he has actually been sleeping naked...is that weird?).

Have a great week!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fitness Friday!

Try something new!!!!

Many people associate exercise with high school gym class...but there is so much more! It is also important to change or add to your current workout from time to time to continue to challenge your muscles and your brain.

I recently went to a fitness conference...the best part was trying new things. I took a whole class on drumming as exercise (loved it, by the way!).

*Head to the library and check out some DVD's...see what you like.
*Browse the bookstore.
*Watch some infomercials (don't buy them but see what is out there).
*Check out your current gym or any gym and try a new class or new equipment. Most places will offer you at least a free day pass (if not a week) to try out their gym. At least check out their class schedules online. Don't feel bad if you have no intention of joining...get some ideas.
*Check out the new summer schedules for the park districts and YMCA's.
*Glance at bulletin boards in the grocery store, library, or local college/university.
*Talk to your family and friends and see what they are doing.

Find something really fun!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Pregnant Men

I'm sure many of you have heard about the Oregon couple who is having a baby. What is different about this couple is that the transgendered husband is the one who is pregnant. I watched them on Oprah...and here is what I have to say...

They are an incredibly loving couple who wanted to try to have a biological child. The wife was unable to and since the husband had kept his reproductive parts for this very reason...he got pregnant. Watching them....they are so cute and in love and super excited about their little bundle of joy. People think it is weird that a man is pregnant...well, of course, this is the first time. It brings up tons of issues (homosexuality, transgender issues, alternatives for pregnancy) for people (not them, this couple is very strong and grounded). But let's remember something....he identifies a man...he IS a man in his life and his soul but biologically he is a female and, therefore, can still do some things that women can do. I wish them the best of luck in their pregnancy, birth, and lives together (I'm sure many people will be very unkind to them). Best wishes!

Hey, come on...if your husband wanted to have the next baby...would you let him? I would.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Book Tag (meme)

I've been Book Tagged by Chambana and Misc. So, here it is. I'm reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. I'm reading a signed copy that my hub got in college while studying musical theater at Michigan...apparently it somehow related to their studies.

Pick up the nearest book that is at least 123 pages...turn to page 123, find the 5th sentence. Type the next 3 sentences.

"It's how I make a living. And I'll tell you somethin' else: It's damn hard work bein' a girl full time!" "Chablis, "said Burt.

Tag 5.

Midlife Mutations
Le Tete Du Roi (honey, you need a new post)
Peter's Cross Station
The Sandwich Life
Champaign Taste

See what else I am reading on my Shelfari list below.

I'm Back...

We had a long week last week....sick boys, a sprained ankle, some migraines, and a trip to Chicagoland for a fitness conference and grandparent fun...hub 'worked' on the ever-lasting basement remodel.

First of all....it is suddenly Spring. The grass turned beautifully green overnight and the temperatures are amazing! Thank you Mother Nature.

Secondly, I continue to investigate the new library. I find that I don't like to bring the kids with me anymore. I would rather like to go alone and find things...like today, I discovered the periodicals section. I found the most recent issue of Consumer Reports but didn't see the previous issues. I ask...the librarian says 'they are underneath the current issue.' I had no idea what she was talking about...from initial appearance, there is only a single shelf. But no, it flips up and sure enough there are previous issues of the magazine or newspaper. How great.

I am still struggling with the self-check out. Today, I spent a couple minutes reading my receipt to figure out which cd didn't scan...then I beeped upon leaving (as I think I do every time). One of the books didn't scan.

I also have decided I don't like the display of movies and new music. The way it is stacked is silly...you cannot see them easily. Anyways. Still love the library. In a couple weeks, we'll be there a lot....storytime here we come!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Hanging Tough after 20 years!

You've heard the rumors....and it is all true baby! New Kids on the Block are reuniting to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their hit, Hangin' Tough (you know you're singing it right now!). And they will be on the Today Show on Friday! Live! Who was your favorite? Joey, Jordan, Jonathan, Danny, Donny? I really liked them all...I had magazine pictures of them wallpapering my walls. Not so sure about the mid-30's/40's yo boy band, though.

I think since my birthday is coming up, I've been on an 80's kick...I watched Sixteen Candles over the weekend. (I heart Jake Ryan.) And have been thinking a lot about Doogie Howser(well, really Neil Patrick Harris....he is so hot now! I had a crush on him as Doogie, of course). He sings to me on my iPod all the time. I heard rumors of a remake series of 90120! The best of Michael Jackson and Madonna happened in the 80's. Of course politically, it was awful, but I was kid...I didn't care.

But really, the fashion should not come back. My daughter was wearing leggings and vest the other day. Oh no....