Sunday, February 28, 2010

What a view (and I'm just talking about the bathroom!)

The Engineer and I had a great time on our short little getaway--it was just what this busy mama needed! Some pictures...

First we drove into the city where we were staying, and went to a late lunch at a posh steakhouse. We enjoyed excellent food and beautiful art deco decor. I mean, check out the bathroom. (Yes, that's a TV mounted behind the mirror. Just in case you need to catch up on the news while you powder your nose....)

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And here we are, full of the best calamari ever, steak, and Bananas Foster:

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After that, we headed to a theatre and saw the movie Crazy Heart (which was awesome.) When it was over I used my phone to take a picture, and we discovered that the flash is killer to eyes still adjusting to the light.

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We headed to our hotel, where our 12th-floor room had this view:

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In the evening, we relaxed in bed with the computer and watched Lost episodes on Netflix Instant. (No spoilers, please; we're only on Season 2!)

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Saturday morning we wanted to take advantage of the hike-and-bike trail that passed behind our hotel. (Here's a view of it from our window.) We headed out for some walking and jogging and worked off a little of the rich food we'd had the day before!

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We wrapped up the trip with an early lunch and some shopping.

Our trip was wonderful. I love my guy!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's super-dee-duper blog by clicking the button below.



My words:

Kid-free weekend. Do not disturb!

As I write this Friday, The Engineer and I are about to head to a nearby city, where we will stay overnight WITHOUT kids! Thank you to my parents for making this possible--our first overnight trip together since the kids were born! We'll be back Saturday, just a fun, short getaway as a late celebration of our 10th anniversary and The Engineer's 40th birthday.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dad, I wanna be like you.

My dad is 58 years old, and he has been a runner for at least two decades (on and off.) In the last six months, he has run two half marathons...his first half marathons ever. He looks--and feels--a lot younger than he is!



I was excited that my dad could be my running partner during his visit. A freak all-day snowfall on Tuesday kept us from going, but yesterday we hit the pavement together.

Before we left, I asked, "What pace do you usually run at, Dad?"

His response was, "Don't worry, I'll just match your pace."

"Okay," I said,"but what is your pace, usually?"

"Oh," he responded, "usually about 9:20 or so a mile, on a four mile run."

Wow. Before I started running, that wouldn't have sounded too impressive to me. Now I realize--that's great! I am 26 years younger than him (yeah, yeah, do the math), and on a 5 km (3.1 mile) course, my best pace yet has been 10:19 per mile. Wednesday of this week, I ran one mile only, just to see what my pace might be, and it was 9:13. There was no way I could have sustained that pace for much longer--when I hit that mile mark, I immediately started walking!

So, Dad, I wanna be like you! When I'm at the end of my 6th decade of life, I'd love to be running way faster than I run today. I've got plenty of time to work on it--we're talking long-term goals here!

And, let's see, when I'm 58, you'll only be 84. I'm going to assume now that you won't have a problem with me swinging by your place and bringing you along to motivate me!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Of baking and running...

I love when we bloggers are good influences on each other!

For at least a couple of years I've known that my wonderful bloggy buddy Sasha is a runner. In fact, I first heard of the Couch-to-5K program from her--for a long time I thought it was her invention! (Nope, she's just a graduate and huge fan of the program--like I am now!)

So, I give Sasha a big chunk of the credit for inspiring me to run. (Thanks, Sasha!!) What a cool bit of positive peer pressure!

If you read this blog, you know I'm not just passionate about running.... I'm passionate about baking. Bread, specifically. The book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day has taught me to bake bread for the first time in my life. (In the last two days, I baked six pieces of flatbread and two loaves of bread. My visiting parents are very happy!)

So I felt like a proud mama bird, watching her babies fly for the first time (I know, ridiculously sappy simile there) when I saw Sasha's blog Tuesday. The post title was "I Am Taken Aback by my Domestic-ness", and...you guessed it...she read my blog posts, got the book, and baked her first awesomely delicious loaf of bread!

So, Sasha's turned me into a runner, and I've turned her into a bread baker. And if we both keep up the bread baking...let's hope we both keep up the calorie-burning running too!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Well...that was a poor choice of words....

I don't like Chickie to stand on the end of my grocery cart, or in front of it, because she ends up stopping, and then I bump her with the cart--not fun. It's even more important at Costco, with their industrial-sized carts.

So when we were at Costco on Saturday and Chickie stood in front of my cart, I said, "Chickie, if you keep standing there, I'm gonna hit you, and it's gonna hurt!"

Immediately I realized that what I meant as a warning about a cart/preschooler crash, sounded more like an "I'm gonna whoop ya" threat. Oops. I glanced around to see if any observant shoppers or CPS investigators were watching us, and even though no one was paying attention, I quickly tried to save face. "I mean, I'm accidentally going to hit you with the cart. And that would hurt. So don't stand there."

Whew. Escaped the dire effects of foot-in-mouth syndrome. This time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Grammy & Sampa

Chickie was the first grandchild on my side of the family, so it was up to us to come up with my parents' "grandparent names." "Grammy" took awhile to settle on, but the grandpa name was easier. My dad's name is Sam, and when Chickie was born and one of Dad's friends christened him "Sampa," it stuck. Chickie could say it early. (Of course, Zoodle's pronunciation is "Papa," but second children don't get grandparent naming privileges in our family!)

Grammy and Sampa's arrival was a very exciting event. Because we live two states away from them, we don't get to see them that often. But we talk on the webcam often enough for the kids to feel that they know them, and to be thrilled when it's time to see them in person.

As I write this, Sampa is doing the Hokey Pokey upstairs. In the 30 or 40 minutes since they arrived, they've read I-don't-know-how-many books and played with plenty of toys too. I'm so happy to have kids who adore their grandparents, and just as happy that the feeling is mutual!

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Micro: Grammy & Sampa

Grammy & Sampa (my parents) are coming today! What this means:
  1. In Chickie's priority list (and possibly Zoodle's) I won't be #1 for a week.
  2. I'll have a running partner--my dad, who has run his first two half marathons in the last six months.
  3. One of my top areas of envy--parents who have trustworthy, in-town grandparents who love to babysit--will be satisfied for a week.
  4. I'll get to play card games with the best of them.
It's going to be a good week!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Six Word Saturday! (Or, uh, Sunday)

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! (Yeah, yeah, I forgot yesterday. So sue me.) To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's creative blog by clicking the button below.



My words:

Am officially cool. (Got an iPod.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The lost art of following instructions

I've posted quite a bit about Freecycle. It's a fantastic organization--each local group provides people with a way to give away stuff they don't want, and to receive items others are giving away.

Well, when you've done Freecycle for awhile, you get tired of poor communication, and you tend to turn into a Type A Freecycler. You have specific ideas about how you want to give stuff away. Having given away dozens of items and groups of items, I'm definitely one of those picky Freecyclers. When I posted some boxes, packing material, and Zoodle shoes yesterday, I ended my offer with this paragraph:

PLEASE READ THIS PARAGRAPH before responding: Please let me know WHICH NUMBER(S)/ITEMS you're interested in. The shoes are available for front porch pickup; just let me know WHEN you'd like to come so I can put them out for you. We'll need to schedule a time for the box/packing material pick-up; let me know some times that would work for you. I prefer e-mail communication but can give you my phone number if I choose you as a recipient, in case you get lost.

So you can imagine my frustration when (after already posting updates about 3 out of the 4 groups of items that were already taken), I received this email:

i will take the packing materials i guess numbers1 2 and 3 please call me whit a good time to pick them up

He ended with his name, phone number, and "thank you". When I sent an email asking him to read the paragraph of instructions and explaining what I needed from him, he responded,

thanks for your time ....seems like to much work for some boxes .. thank you though

[In an effort to rein in my frustration, which I admit is kind of ridiculous when we're talking about boxes, I've deleted the paragraph of this blog in which I explain what I think of that email. I didn't reply to the guy.]

Oh boy. I'm turning into Freecycle's version of a Grinch. On the other hand, when the lady who is picking up Zoodle's shoes turns up at 4 p.m. (the time she told me in her initial email), I just may burst into tears of joy, kiss her, and beg her to always take the items I offer.

Something tells me I need to take a few deep breaths and rediscover my inner cheerful giver....

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Blue Foam Torture Roller of Death

You think zombies are scary? Monsters? Itsy bitsy spiders? You ain't seen nothin' yet. Just wait until I introduce you to...

The Blue Foam Torture Roller of Death!



A few weeks ago, my knee started hurting me a bit while I was running. It was persistent enough that I consulted Dr. Google. A couple of websites came through for me by explaining that my IT band (along the side of my thigh) needed stretching.

I started the stretches, and they very quickly helped. But a personal trainer friend also suggested to me that I get a foam roller, to help my tight muscles relax. I purchased one, and followed online instructions, thinking, "This isn't too bad."

Then I saw my friend, and she gave me a tutorial on how the foam roller is really supposed to be used, not only on the IT band, but on my quad muscles.

Now, a foam roller is used to loosen up firm, hard-working muscles. "Kind of like a massage," you may be thinking. Well...sort of. If sitting in a bubbly jacuzzi is like being massaged by a smiling, gentle massage therapist; then using a foam roller is like going to a massage therapist who also happens to be an ultra-strong sadist who gets his thrills by using his elbows to grind your muscles into submission.

The first three times I used the foam roller, I almost cried. I had flashbacks of my unmedicated labor with Zoodle. (That isn't a joke.) I would have quit in fear, but my friend had assured me that it's supposed to hurt when you start using it. I tried my best not to curse her as I used this seemingly innocuous tool to soften my stiff muscles.

And then something amazing happened. Wednesday I lay on the floor with my new blue enemy, and started to use it...and it only hurt a little. Thursday I got up to do my run, and my IT band didn't even feel stiff.

So the Blue Foam Torture Roller of Death has been demoted to the Blue Foam Slightly Painful Roller of Hope.

If you ever get sore when you run or work out, get a foam roller. It will become your friend. After you spend a few days cursing it as you've never before cursed an inanimate object, that is.

Update, 10/23/10: The foam roller has ended up being one of my most helpful tools as a runner. I love it! I now have a roller with foam that won't break down--the Grid roller from Trigger Point Therapy. I'm also learning about other ways to find and massage those "trigger points" that cause pain, through a great book called The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. I highly recommend this book if you are suffering from pain, whether it's sports-related or otherwise.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My cousins have been released!

My cousins have been released and will soon be home with their families! Yeah!

Two of the group are still in custody in Haiti; the other eight (including my three cousins) have been released. For more info, check out this news story from AFP.

Thank you to those of you who have supported us with kindness and prayer!

Funk

I've been in and out of a funk ever since I found out that some of my cousins were in a Haitian jail. It's been well over two weeks now. Last week I wasn't sure how much of my stress was due to this situation, but when we heard on Wednesday that they would probably be released, my energy suddenly soared and I had a smile on my face! I knew then that their predicament was really affecting my emotions.

That was a week ago, and they are still in jail as I write this on Tuesday. We hope to get more information Wednesday. Things are just so different in Haiti than they are here. Not knowing what to expect is frustrating. If this is hard for me--someone who is not particularly close to my cousins--I know the stress on their immediate families must be intense. Thankfully God's peace and love seem to be flowing through Paul's and Drew's wives.

Trust is key. Stealing quiet times away to connect with God--that's key too. Those things are harder than they sound, but when I manage them, I have much more peace.

Since this is on my mind so much, I figured I might as well blog about it. My ideas for blogging are compromised when I am so distracted! When these guys come home, we will be so relieved. Their spouses, siblings, kids, and parents will be joyful. And way down on the list of benefits...maybe my blog mojo will be back in full force too!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Micro: Now this is how to celebrate

For Valentine's Day we ordered take-out from Carrabba's, and the ordering process was so cool. Saturday we went to their website and entered our entire order online. Sunday The Engineer headed down there while I got the kids to bed, and they brought the food to his car, where he also paid. I didn't even have to pick up the phone, and he didn't even have to get out of the car!

We opened a $10 bottle of wine (that probably would have cost $25 in a restaurant), and I spent about $4 on the ingredients for these hand-made yummies:

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I hope your day was a sweet one!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Me and my Valentines

Happy Valentine's Day from me, The Engineer, and the two kids who have captured our hearts.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's sixerific blog by clicking the button below.



My words:

We need Krispy Kreme Valentine donuts.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Internet survived without me!

In Christianity (and plenty of other religions), fasting has been a spiritual discipline for millenia. The idea is to not eat for a particular period of time (a meal, a day, three days, 40 days[!], etc.) and to focus on prayer.

I spent so many years pregnant and/or nursing, and during that time I really needed to eat regularly. My body was working with an extra-fast metabolism, and my kiddos were depending on that nutrition. So occasionally I'd do some sort of "media fast," where I'd stay away from TV, radio, and/or Internet for the better portion of a day. I found that for me, this seems to have more meaning than a traditional food fast. My brain slows down enough to pray--and relax--when I'm not constantly listening, watching, or typing.

I knew that yesterday some family members were going to be fasting and praying for the missionaries in Haiti, and I decided to take time away from the Internet. This isn't about strict rules; I didn't stay away 100% of the time. But I didn't read any news stories. (Checking Google News every other second for Haiti stories has been my recent obsession, and it really doesn't bring me much peace.) I checked email once, responding to very few. I kept Twitter and Facebook closed. I didn't check any blogs, only taking a few seconds to set up a writing prompt at my other blog.

It reminded me to pray. And beyond that, it just afforded me with more peace. It was hard not checking email, Twitter, news, etc. throughout the day, but it was also nice. I even got our taxes done (which required quite a bit of Internet time, but not of the fun variety.)

And you know what? The Internet survived without me. Maybe I should give it that opportunity more often.

(By the way, we are hopeful that the missionaries may be released Monday, but nothing is certain. If you do pray, please continue this weekend.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ma Ha Kee, Ma-ee?

Zoodle has a good vocabulary, but at 22 1/2 months, his pronunciation is still lacking. This morning, he asked me,

"Ma Ha Kee, Ma-ee?"

Which of course means, "More Honey Nut Cheerios, Mommy?"

What, that wasn't obvious? Well, if you spent many hours every day with the kiddo, perfecting your Zoodle-ese skills, and you had the benefit of seeing his nearly-empty bowl of cereal, you might have understood him.

When you have two kids, it's pretty much impossible not to compare them. And Chickie was advanced verbally, both with her vocabulary and her pronunciation. So I'll admit I'm a little worried about Zoodle and, for instance, the number of consonants he doesn't include in his personal alphabet.

But as I analyzed his sentence this morning, I realized--maybe he's just trying to create a brilliant new language. A language of efficiency. "More Honey Nut Cheerios, Mommy?" is nine syllables. "Ma Ha Kee, Ma-ee?" is only 5. And since I knew what he meant, those four extra syllables were unnecessary. Same with the sound "d". We know when he says, "Hi, Ga-ee!" he means, "Hi, Daddy!" Who needs "d"?

Yep, my almost-two-year-old is a model of efficiency. Which means...and I don't know whether this should frighten me or thrill me...we may have another Ih-ee* in the making.

*"Ih-ee" is how I'm guessing "Engineer" is pronounced in Zoodle-ese.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Random brain bits, delivered to your computer screen

I really shouldn't wait until almost 10 p.m. to blog, because I can tell in advance, this is gonna be a post full of randomness. Here goes:
  • The term "BFF" (which I'm assuming still means "Best Friends Forever" as it did when I was in junior high in the stone age) bugs me. Do I want to tie myself to a girlfriend for LIFE like I've committed myself to my husband? I love you, my girlfriends who read this! But it's natural in life, as we go through changes, for friendships to grow, and to wane. The term "best friend" is fine, but I'm hesitant to use the word "forever" unless I'm wearing your ring on the third finger on my left hand.
  • Hollywood Week on American Idol just might be my favorite week of the show.
  • You should make this bread; it's awesome: Whole Grain Challah With Cranberries and Orange Zest.
  • After fighting a sore knee and then a lack of energy and motivation the last couple of weeks, my running is back on track. Tuesday I ran 5 km in my fastest time yet (33:15.) It felt great!
  • The Engineer and I have "helped" put away toys in the living room way too many times. ("Helping" usually equating to us doing most of the work.) We're going to crack down and require the kids to pull their weight. Chickie does a good job cleaning her own room; she can do the same thing in the living room.
  • As the judge in Haiti continues to investigate the missionaries, we are hoping and praying they will be released very soon.
That's all I got, y'all!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My nail care routine (a horror story)

My wonderful bloggy buddy Sasha recently posted her nail polish routine. And I was impressed! It involves six steps, with five different products. Her nails look beautiful. She even has a blog (with some other moms) called Manicure Mommas.

After reading about her routine, I left Sasha a comment: "You are amazing. I'm totally planning on doing a post about my nail routine soon. I'll link back to yours. My routine will either make you laugh, or gasp in horror. :)"

So, readers, get ready to laugh...or gasp in horror.

C. Beth's Six-Step Nail Care Routine

1. Let nails grow.

2. Think, "Wow, if I took care of my cuticles, my nails would look pretty good right now!"

3. Promptly catch a nail on something and break it. Use teeth or clippers to get rid of the jagged edges.

4. Repeat Step 3 three times over the course of a week or two, resulting in six long nails and six short ones. (Edited to add: As Kara pointed out, this statement is a little fishy. Either my arithmetic or my proofreading skills were clearly lacking when I wrote this....) :)

5. Cut all nails so they are even.

6. Repeat Steps 1-5.

I actually went through some phases when I was younger, phases where I painted my nails, did pretty French manicures, etc. Then my nails developed some sort of sensitivity to nail polish (even quality brands); they get really unhealthy (separating and peeling) when I use polish. I have found one brand online that is water-based, and I've tried it. It seems to work on my nails, though it costs an arm and a leg.

But when it comes down to it, there are just other things I'd prefer to spend my time on. (And I don't mean I have more noble or meaningful uses of my time; on the contrary, I'd prefer to fritter away my time on the computer, watching TV, or reading novels.)

In closing, I'm going to be brave and share with you a picture of my nails. This, readers, is the result of my patented, Six-Step Nail Care Routine:

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Follow my routine and you, too, can have jagged nails, dry cuticles...and the time to write in two daily blogs!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's splendid blog by clicking the button below.



My words:

I believe God is in control.

Friday, February 5, 2010

What I know about the missionaries in Haiti

If you've been reading my blog this week, you know that three of the American missionaries in Haiti--being officially investigated for criminal association and kidnapping--are related to me. If you've followed the news like I have, you know that, like most legal situations, it's hard to sift through exactly what happened.

What did happen? I don't know. Unfortunately, I don't have a bunch of "inside information." I'm not going to be naive and say I'm certain the team did everything the way they should have. I don't know seven of the ten missionaries (including the leader, Laura Silsby, who spearheaded and organized the effort to bring children into the Dominican Republic.)

What do I know? Well, I've known Drew Culberth, my first cousin, all my life. I've known Paul Thompson, the husband of another of my first cousins, for well over 20 years. I've known Silas Thompson, Paul's son, since he was a baby--but I haven't spent much time with him since he was small, so while I do trust him, I'll refrain on commenting on his character.

So what do I know about Drew and Paul? They are men of deep integrity. They wanted to serve others in this mission. They are men who live out their faith, day to day, in a real way. Paul lives sacrificially every day, pastoring a church and driving a school bus to support his family. Drew has a career of service as a firefighter and also leads a church youth group. Paul and his wife Renee have raised two men who, from all I can tell, have character--their oldest is in the Air Force, and their youngest is in Haiti with his dad. Drew and his wife are loving, joyful parents of four young children.

We haven't heard much of what Drew and Paul have to say about this situation, but I don't even have to hear it to know this: I believe them. Whatever they have told the judges, I believe them.

I've read news stories throughout the years with people that seem to blindly trust their relatives who are suspected of wrongdoing. And I'm realizing, in some cases, it's not blind trust. In some cases the people involved really are so trustworthy that their families can know they are telling the truth.

If you want to reserve judgment, that's okay. I'm reserving judgment on the team members I don't know. I'm reserving judgment on exactly what happened and who knew what.

But I'm standing by my cousins. When people have proven themselves trustworthy through the years, I owe them my trust. They have it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Loving this educational toy

For Chickie's birthday, her friend Coqui gave her this toy:


It's the Leap Frog Scribble and Write, and it is so cool. It has little lights that light up, in order, showing kids how to write letters and numbers, even how to draw shapes. Then the child takes the little stylus/pen thingy and traces the letter, number, or shape. Their tracing shows up on the screen--a lot like those little magnetic drawing gadgets kids play with. When they push a button saying they're done, the lights go away, and the child only sees what they've written. With a swipe of the blue bar at the bottom, the drawing is gone and the child can move on to learning another character or shape.

Within a week or two of getting this gift, Chickie was learning to write her brother's name and her own. She has an independent spirit and likes to learn things on her own. (I'm pretty darn sure I know where she got that from!) So she'd been hesitant for me to teach her how to write letters. But I think this toy may have piqued her desire to learn. Now she can use it to practice, and when she's using real paper to write on, sometimes she even lets me help her do the letters.

Now, it's not a magic toy that keeps her attention for weeks on end; right now it's not her favorite. But I think it's one she...and then Zoodle...will keep coming back to. Chickie has been able to recognize letters, numbers and shapes for a long time, but this toy is helping bridge the gap between recognition and creation. Awesome!

(By the way, if you're thinking of using Amazon to purchase this, be sure to check out the different sellers, here. As of right now, Amazon itself doesn't sell the toy, and there's a lot of variation in prices and shipping cost among the different sellers.)

Disclaimer: This review is 100% non-compensated. I just think it's a rockin' toy.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bye bye, big appetite. I miss you!

I'm a twin, and my mom has told me, "When I nursed you and Becki, I could eat whatever I wanted! And as soon as I weaned you I gained five pounds."

Well, I was pregnant and/or breastfeeding for 4 1/2 years straight, and I looooved having an increased appetite for so long! I relished having a genuinely good reason to eat all those calories. As Zoodle's nursing slowed and then stopped, though, I did gradually put on a few pounds.

All my life, I've had a tiny appetite. My sister and I used to share half a hamburger when we were little--that's 1/4 hamburger each! And it wasn't because my parents didn't have enough food to go around; it was because we just didn't naturally eat a lot. I realized recently that I'd gotten in the habit of giving myself larger portions, because for over four years I actually needed those calories. I don't need them anymore.

It's an adjustment--and a bummer of an adjustment--but I'm learning to once again put less on my plate, since I'm no longer using my body to grow a kid or two. Now, mind you, I'm not talking about starving myself. I'm a big fan of eating and really not a big fan of being hungry! I'm just having to re-learn what my ideal portion sizes are. And I like eating "treats"--foods that aren't particularly healthy. I just try to somewhat balance that with plenty of genuinely good stuff, like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Some days and weeks are less balanced than others, of course!

And I guess (along with the running and working out), it's working! Today I grabbed two pairs of jeans from my closet that had been rendered recently unwearable due to my not-so-tasty muffin top...and they both fit.

I'm in the post-infant phase of my parenting (a.k.a. the lower metabolism phase); and I'll probably be in this phase the rest of my life. But even if I'm not hungry enough to eat a whole burger, I can still enjoy every bite I take!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Meet Drew

Thank you to everyone for the support while my relatives and the rest of their team are detained in Haiti! If you have a few minutes, I'd like to introduce you to Drew, my first cousin who is part of that team. He is from Topeka, Kansas, and one of the local news stations there did a story on him. I think they did a fantastic job showing what kind of man he is.

Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a way to embed this video in my post, but if you'd like to watch it, click here, and you'll see the video on the right side of the screen.

Drew's sister's husband Paul and his son Silas are also part of the team. I am getting most of my information from the various stories listed on Google News; if you'd like to keep up with the story, open this link and refresh it occasionally to see new stories.