Friday, August 29, 2008

Family Fitness Friday

I am very impressed with the number people and families I see each morning walking and biking to school or work together. Way to go!

Despite the heat this week, walking or biking your kids to school is a great idea! Not only is it environmentally-friendly, it gets in some exercise each day.

There are some issues when 'exercising' to work that prevent people from doing it...
Here are some tips to help you out...

*Bring an extra shirt, shoes, and a 'touch up' kit (baby wipes, soap/washcloth, deodorant) with you. Change when you get there.

*Ask your boss if there is a place in the building to store your bike or gym shoes. Then you don't have to worry about theft.

*Eat breakfast while you walk (a bag of shredded wheat is a great choice). (don't eat while you bike...dangerous).

*Invest or find used bike trailer or tandem-attachment for your bike to help pull the kids along.

*Take five mins to hydrate, stretch, and cool off before going into work.

*If walking or biking is too far, consider walking or biking to a bus or train stop. You don't have to use the one closest to your house but a bit away so you can get in a little workout.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sham WOW!

Ok, does anyone have this? Does it really work cause I totally want it!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back to Work!

So this is the week that I officially am back to work. Yes, its only 20hrs/wk but it still a regular Monday through Friday gig. I don't think its really hit me yet that I have to go to work everyday...for 4 consective hours but so far I like it. (I know all you 40hr-weekers are laughing)

I knew that I missed working and until today when I was meeting all my new preschool families, I didn't realize how much I really missed working with kids and families other than my own. I'm very excited to take this journey with the families. Its been awhile so I hope the ride's not too bumpy.

We had a lot of firsts this week...
My 11yo's first cross country meet (she finished without crying).
Our 4yo rode the school bus home from schoool (super exciting, the driver pulled into our driveway!).
I headed back to work.
We got our 2yo to ourselves for the afternoon (I'm sure this has happened before but its been awhile).

Friday, August 22, 2008


First, the background:

1. Post the rules of the game at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read the player's blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answer.

What were you doing five years ago?

Finishing work while preparing for baby #2 and staying home.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?

1. Head to pool for last time
2. Enjoy a nice dinner with new colleagues
3. Go to bed early
4. Wash stinky workout clothes
5. Relax and rest

What are five snacks you enjoy?

1. Cheese and crackers
2. Popcorn
3. Fruit
4. Chips and salsa
5. Dried cherries with chocolate chips

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?

1. Pay off our school loan
2. Move to the big city into a green house
3. Pay for my kids' college education
4. Start a family wellness center with my family
5. Start foundation for families and kids

What are five of your bad habits?

1. Picking at my nails
2. Overplanning everything
3. Watching too much TV
4. Taking care of everyone but me
5. Going to bed before my hubby

What are five places where you have lived?

1. Elmhurst, IL
2. Champaign, IL

What are five jobs you've had?

1. Coffee shop barista
2. Assistant teacher at a daycare for kids with special needs
3. Parent Liaison for Student Parents
4. Fitness Instructor
5. Mom

Five people I tag:

1. Kate at Flying Weglarz's
2. Amy at Swanson Acres
3. Donita at Neat Shots
4. Midlife Mutations
5. Kinghead at La Tete du Roi

Fitness Friday!

Drums Alive is this fabulous new exercise class I am teaching! It combines basic 'aerobics' class steps, dancing, music, drumming, and FUN to make an awesome whole-body and brain workout! I took a class in April and about half-way through...I felt like I just had to teach this.

You can do this in your own house with an exercise ball (make a circle out of a blanket to hold the ball in place), upside-down garbage can, chair, even your bed. Grab some wooden spoons or chop sticks...turn on the music and drum it out. All ages! All ability levels (I took one class sitting down the whole time).

Its a great way to teach kids rhythm and to have fun while getting some exercise. It also helps maintain your neuropathways. Try it out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Here I go again...Movie Review

Since I realized I hadn't spent any time alone and not working or shopping or driving children around...I slipped out and saw Mamma Mia!
I LOVE ABBA! And always have, so I, of course, saw the stage show of Mamma Mia! years ago. I liked it, and I liked the movie as well. It was perfect for my escapism needs.

Back up....several years ago someone decided to make a musical using ABBA songs. It was a big hit...ABBA fans got a reason to become dancing queens again and it brought ABBA to those people who hadn't taken a chance before. The story revolves around a young woman's wedding...she has a dream to find her she invited three men from her mother's past to find which one is the right guy.

Of course the story is just a vehicle for the music but it really works. The songs fit very well. I would love to hear from someone who didn't know the songs before to see if they worked as well.

As for the movie, which follows the play tightly, I liked it...because for same reasons above and Meryl Streep. Gosh, that lady is awesome! And Kristine Baranski (musical vetern) and Julie Walters (aka Mrs. Wesley) make the perfect trio. I think Streep studied my mom for this role...the way these characters are portrayed is just how I would imagine my mom and her sisters would be singing and dancing around. And when did Remington Steele (Pierce Bronson) become a rocker? I question whether it was him singing. But it the singing overall was so seems so natural in the story and out of the actors. And the acting, especial the use of the ensemble (or chorus) was musical/farce spot on.

The visuals are beautiful...makes you want to go on vacation to Greece. And, of course, Ann Roth's costumes are great (especially the end scenes...ha, ha!).

This isn't a serious film...although a tear might fall down your cheek...but it is a classic musical. Its a Super Trooper!

I recommend it more as a rental and there are some more mature things you might hope the kids miss or you will have to explain later (so over 13+).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


*Congrats to Everyday Dad on their new addition! You all sound so cozy and cute.

*The Olympics are always entertaining...come on...Michael Phelps?! Awesome. Dara Torres?! Amazing. All the gymnastics chaos? Incredible. Bob Costos hair color? So wrong. But I would like them to end soon so I can get to sleep at a decent hour.

*The weather here is great, the only complaint is that is has been a bit cool to head to the pool. Now it is warming up...the pool is closed during the week. I guess we'll have to go on the weekend.

*We are having multiple daily showings of 'Catch me, catch me if you can' starring Rollerskate Man, Bad Cat, and Mr. Bad. (complete with costume changes, commentary, and special effects).

*I can't believe we actually filled the glass case at the library with cotton balls. Great reading everyone! They were supposed to count them this weekend. It looked like slow going for awhile. We always miss storytime during the school year.

*Warning, warning....students arriving starting tomorrow! Avoid North Prospect at all costs (which means a run to the store today for us).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ya, I'm here.

I've been sooooo busy this week, that I kind of fell off the blog-sphere. So, let's catch up.

First, congrats to Mrs. Chicken on her new baby boy! And LBOTP for their upcoming baby in the winter! Best wishes to all of your families.

Secondly, thank you for the amazing weather we've been having! I do wish we could have hit the pool a couple more times....but we should get our chance the next 2 weeks.

I've spent the week working like mad at my new job at the preschool and learning new things for my fitness job. This all while making sure all the paperwork was complete for all our jobs and schools (and a nice dose of PMS). We decided to move our daughter to our neighborhood school...but that was a bit more work than we had thought. But.....its official....she is in jr high!!!! I'm sure that I blended in quite well with the middle school crowd so I have to get over there and meet all the teachers so when I visit they won't ask for a hall pass. She also decided to try cross country....lots of soreness and moaning but I think she'll stick it out.

We also have our 4yo in two preschool programs this fall. He is coming with me in the mornings and then to our local school district program in the pm. Our hope is that if the dr decides he needs any services, that he will get them (we finally have an appt with a developmental specialist for his sensory needs....after 6mons). It will also give him some time away from his little brother...who will be sharing the morning class with him. We'll see.

And our almost 3yo has decided to cash in his Terrible Twos card while its still valid.

Buying school supplies, dr appts, shoe shopping, grocery shopping, work, playdates, Olympics....the 'to-do' list is endless right now!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

For the love of family...

Let me tell you a little about my mom's family....

My grandparents were teenagers when they got pregnant and then married. Add 17 years....nine kids later...they made things work pretty well (after some serious trial and error, of course). From the eight still living children....spouses...grandchildren (their spouses)....great-grandchildren....60 years yields a family of about 75 (give or take any pending births...someone is always pregnant).

And we still see each other often. Smaller groups gather often (my family unit has dinner once a week..usually with an add-on from another family unit), a family website provides weekly communication, at least twice a year the whole group gathers for a wedding and holiday, and we still go on vacation together!

We are old and young, liberal and conservative, religious and not, straight and gay, married and single, rich and poor (ok, we're mostly white). And...we LIKE each other...we WANT to spend time together....we long for it and wish we could see each other more. Not many people today can say they can not only name their second cousins but know them.

My daughter developed a nice relationship with my 'baby' cousin (who is now 25 and getting married). They played cards together (although with another 15 people, my uncle donating the betting money for the little ones). How cool is that?

I love CU, I really do...but what I miss most is my family and all the gatherings and gossip. I do make it up to the hub of the suburbs often (we do have a group in CA and FL)...but I often feel its not enough.

I so often tell them...but thanks Gram and Grandpa for creating such an amazing family to be a part of.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Water World!

(One of the worst movies EVER made....)

Our vacation was spent mostly in water. You had many vessels to choose from (speed boat, fishing boat, paddle boat, pontoon boat, kayak, wave runner)...activities ranged from talking on the dock, swimming (of course), tubing, skiing, jumping on the Rave (a big floating trampoline), playing King of the Rave, jumping from a crudely constructed rope swing, shooting water at the 'dry boat', playing with the kids in the shallow water, floating and chatting in the deep water, sand play, fishing....
Last family reunion I was extremely pregnant so swimming was all I did...but this year, water skiing was definitely on the agenda. Everyone else made it look soooo easy, a 5yo did it! Our 11yo had lots of trouble (so did I)...but after some nice face-plants...I did get up but it didn't last long (but the soreness in my hamstrings did).

I also really enjoyed kayaking (shhh, don't tell my hub, he's been wanted a kayak for many years). It was really relaxing and felt easy. I also liked being able to talk with my SIL while we tried to paddle straight.

It was really nice spending the days in our bathing suits playing around. We really had a hard time saying to was really time to leave (one more boat ride? one more swim?).

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Farmers' Market

My 2yo stole a loaf of bread from the Amish today at the Farmers' Market....we brought it back and bought some cookies. (I was about to buy some Amish peanut butter thinking it was fresh natural, it had marshmallow fluff and corn syrup).

This was followed later by two trips to the bathroom and a temper we left with some peaches, soap, popcorn, and leeks. Oh well.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Family Talent Show

Yes, we love to do shows....ever since I can remember, our family has done shows at family gatherings (I used to carry a leotard and bandanna at all times). This was no exception.

Emceed by my Uncle Sean...we had several songs by the little ones (one in Italian, a couple self-composed songs about going to the bathroom, a teenage ballad of lost love ('our five months together'), an uncle-lead sing-a-long, ukulele accompanied duet)....a spy demonstration (and later spy school), superhero showcase complete with kitchen-towel capes, a hoedown by my chipped tooth uncle and costume-bringing uncle, and a dance number by a pregnant woman and her daughter.

The best part of the show were the introductions by my cousins' kids. "Please stay in your seats but if you have to use the bathroom, that's ok." "If you are sitting on the floor, you might want to move back because I will be moving around a lot." "I will be doing some spy moves that are dangerous. I'm warning you so you don't freak out."

It was a delight.

The next night we had a karaoke party and a special storytelling of the The Three Pigs and the Big Bad Walleye (complete with audience participation and actors).

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Hotel Hoopla

**I will be posting about our lovely vacation throughout the next few days.

After a long drive, we stayed at a hotel, The Waters of Minocqua. The boys had never stayed in one and we quickly realized the concept was quite foreign to them. Think, here is this place that is not your home or most likely a place you have never been before...and you have to sleep there, probably share a bed with someone...

We dropped our things in the room and went to explore. First, the taxidermy-laden lodge-like lobby...giant stone fireplace...huge gumball machine...Mom, a bear! More deer! That's a lot of fish!

Next, the kids love elevators! Down to the arcade. Again, I don't think they had seen anything like it before. The look on the 2yo was priceless...especially as we found him there caressing a game mouthing "Wow!"

On to the 'water park'! 1 indoor/outdoor pool, 1 indoor/outdoor hot tub, 1 baby pool, and 2 water slides (big kids only). (note: we did play in these the next day (although my hub and bro went to the hot tub after the kids went to bed...and then shared a bed together all night), the water slide was TERRIFYING! it was pitch black, you felt like you were just falling into nothing)

We ate dinner at the restaurant in the lobby(where's the kitchen, Mom?)...well my hub and I did, the boys were busy watching the water park and trying to play pool and darts. Fresh fried fish....what else do you want in Wisconsin?!

After lots of chanting (stars! stars! pool! pool! can we live here?), we finally turned off all the lights and hid in the bathroom and talked while the boys finally crashed out. Add a couple more kids and a dog...and we were snug as bugs in our hotel room (complete with fart jokes after the lights were finally turned off).

We completed our stay with a nice Continental breakfast of sugary treats (and bad coffee), a quick dip, and a child-lead tour of the hotel for Grandma.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Road trip!

Today we set out on an 8-hr road trip to the big family reunion!

-5hrs to departure: two sweet boys at my bed telling me they are ready to go!
Departure: lots of snack eating...sampling just about half of what we brought, hub begins ukulele playing
+45min: 1st bathroom request
+60min: hub finally stops playing ukulele
+90min: 1st 'Are we there yet?'
+2hr: stop for bathroom and lunch, 2yo spills bottle of water on car seat (sits on plastic bag rest of trip)
+3hr: all napping ceased when stuck in stop-n-go construction traffic, fight over new sticker books
+3.5hr: stop at rest stop for bathroom...try to play around but too hot, 2yo tells me crabby kids go on vacation too
+5hr: gas stop (no children are allowed to leave the car); more intense asking if we are there yet, parents commence sing along (and soon realize they are the only ones singing), 4yo makes pipe cleaner bracelets for everyone
+6.5hr: stop again for bathroom and boys play on rocks and eat MM's in parking lot (needed a refresher for the last leg)
+7hr: trying to avoid traffic, hub takes the 'scenic route' back to highway
+8.5hr: arrive at hotel...boys super excited
At hotel, walk around to look at EVERYTHING! The boys finally crashed after we turned off all the lights and stopped talking to them. I am happy for the quiet.

The kids were really good, we made it. I wish I could have taken a nap or read but I had to fill a request for something every 1-4mins. Tomorrow, we let them loose with the other 25 kids that are here!