Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Picture Extravaganza!!!

We had a fabulous, fabulous holiday! Isa even told me on Christmas morning that she heard Rudolph on the roof and saw his nose blink. (Yes, the night before I may have made a bit of suggestion about things one might hear on the roof on Christmas Eve but she offered that all on her own the next morning!)

Here is the last week or so, in pictures and video:





O' Christmas Tree!

Santa Baby




Santa brought Isa a new tricycle!





Santa also made her a fancy rack for her new dress-up clothes.




Modeling her new princess skirt and wand.




Buzzy Bee costume (one of my ballet recital costumes from waaaay back when)




Playing "Legos" with Papaw.





Drying Soona off after a pretend bubble bath.


Taking the new tricycle for a spin outside.


And now for a little entertainment... For your holiday enjoyment, Isa will now sing you Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (in appropriate costumage) and then Frosty the Snowman.


video

video


Finally, what happens when toddlers wake up at 6:15, spend a few hours in the blissful craziness of Christmas and get a bit hyper.

video

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sh-boing

These last couple days I've been feeling very Grinch-like. But not the Grinch from the start of the movie- the one at the end whose heart has sh-boinged out of the screen because it's just too big!
Lately things have been running very smoothly around here. Christmas decorations are all up, both inside and out. The majority of the shopping and wrapping was completed last weekend when my parents had Isa at their house. The house is even reasonably clean. It's so much easier to be in relaxed and enjoy the holidays when the to-do list is short.

Isa is getting more and more excited about Christmas. She is quick to spot and point out any decoration we may pass. She wants the tree lit all day and lets me know when it's dark outside so we can turn on the outside lights. We've even done several Christmas projects so she'll have gifts to give (no further info as several of the recepients are probably reading this). Today in the car I heard her softly singing "so to honor Him... pa-rum pum pum" over and over again. I just can't sustain any sort of crankiness with a child so filled with Christmas spirit.

We've watched Rudolph about 20 times in the last 2 weeks. Seriously, that is not an exaggeration- we watched it 3 times on Wednesday alone! Last night she put on her Santa hat and wanted me to be Rudolph. So I got down on my hands and knees. She rode on my back around the living room yelling "Merry Christmas!" Oh how I wished I'd had a way to videotape that. We may re-stage it tonight just because it was so darn adorable.
My heart is just so full right now that I'm sure it's going to sh-boing out of my chest at any minute!


Everyone relaxing for yet another showing of Rudolph



Playing in the snow at Papaw & Grandma's house

Post-snow hot cocoa to warm up

And now I leave you with a holiday performance by the Little Drummer Girl:


video

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December's Menu

Due to popular demand (er... 1 person's demand), here are the meals Isa and I will be eating this month.

First, let me say that I choose recipes with a two primary objectives- easy and relatively healthy. If it takes more than 20 minutes to prep the dish for cooking, it's out. I want fewer ingredients and things that need a minimum of work to be ready. Perhaps as I gain more experience with cooking I'll be willing to expand out to more complex recipes. For now, it just doesn't matter. Isa would be happy with boxed mac n' cheese and hot dogs, so things don't need to be fancy. And, obviously, since one of my main reasons for cooking complete meals is to lose weight, anything too high in calories or fat is out as well.

I've found if I cook 3 times a week that is more than enough to last us the entire week. Most recipes are made for a family of 4, so we have plenty of leftovers. The calendar is great because I can schedule in leftover nights, put the easiest recipes on the nights where there is less time, and also cross off nights where I know we'll be out. Our dinners now fit smoothly in with the rest of our schedule. (Yeah!)

So here it is (starting with today):

12/8 - Coconut beef curry & noodles
12/9 - Leftovers
12/10 - Leftovers
12/11 - Out for the evening with a friend
12/12 - Leftovers (from previous evening)
12/13 - Down to parents' house
12/14 - Chicken with smashed potatoes & peas
12/15 - Watching a friend's children (dinner at her house)
12/16 - Sausage & peppers with crispy polenta
12/17 - Leftovers
12/18 - Leftovers
12/19 - Maple-glazed stuffed pork
12/20 - Leftovers
12/21 - Moroccan chicken & couscous
12/22 - Leftovers
12/23 - 12/28 - Down to parents' house
12/29 - Breakfast for dinner
12/30 - Turkey & roasted red pepper meatloaf
12/31 - Leftovers

Monday, December 7, 2009

Santa!

**My apologies upfront for this post being a bit of a tease. I don't have a scanner so I can't post the accompanying photo tonight. I'll do my best to get you all a visual in the very near future.**

As the title suggests, today we went downtown to visit Santa. Isa got all dolled up in her new Christmas dress, matching bows, and fancy new sparkly red shoes. Grandma and Papaw came up to join us for the fun. We rode Light Rail downtown, which Isa enjoys and is, thankfully, easy to navigate with a stroller. We went straight to Macy's to see the big guy himself. (FYI- if any of you happen to live in Seattle, definitely go to Macy's and not Nordstrom for your Santa experience. Shorter lines which are entirely indoors, fabulous Santas and this year the photos were printed right then and there. But I digress.... )

Isa is already, at the tender age of 2 and 1/4, a Christmas freak. Which is a good thing because it means she fits right in with our family. Yesterday I pulled a Santa hat out of the decorations box and she proceeded to wear it all afternoon. We went to Target still in her festive attire and she made sure to shout "Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!" to fellow shoppers every few minutes. She has already started learning the words to Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman, and Little Drummer Boy- aka Rum Pa Pum Pum. Every time we pass Christmas lights she says "Decorations!" or "Ooh La La!" (That little phrase comes courtsey of Fancy Nancy, who we love and adore.) I'm having a ball watching her enjoy all the fun things that the holidays bring.

So it should come as no surprise that my girl was THRILLED to visit Santa. Some of the small children in line before us had to be coaxed onto his lap. Not Isa B. When it was her turn, I set her down and she walked right over with her arms up for Santa to pick her up. The baby wranglers tried to get her to look forward with her hands neatly in her lap and smile for the camera. No dice. Isa is a total ham, but never on cue for the camera. You've got to catch her in action. So, clever Mama that I am, I said "Isa, can you give Santa a hug?" Voila! Santa photo magic!!! (This is the place where you have to use your imagination and trust that I'll be able to get the photo posted eventually.)

After that we rode the Holiday Carousel, which Isa was excited about until the moment her tush sat on the horse. Then she flipped out but I forced her to sit there because the benches were all taken. Afterward she proceeded to tell Grandma how she went up and down the horse, as if she hadn't been crying most of the time. Right...... A little snack at Starbucks and off to see the amazing gingerbread house display at the Sheraton. Then home again on the train. Busy, busy Christmas-y day!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Call off the search parties

We are alive. Can I pretend that I was doing the Anti-NaBloPoMo? Unlike past absences that were usually due to rough times, this month has been lots of goodness.

There isn't much to report on Isa over the last month. Her language skills are developing at shocking speed. She speaks in full, reasonably long sentences all the time now. Often the sentences are even grammatically correct. I don't need to translate for her as much anymore because everyone else can understand her as well. I'll try to capture some conversation on video although she tends to clam up as soon as the camera comes out.

I think we've also started turning the corner between babyhood and childhood. Tantrums are down to a respectable limit (hey- she's still 2!). I don't need to worry about her getting into all the "off limits" things the second I turn my back. We have even started doing simple craft projects which I'm thrilled about. It's nice to have some options for filling the cold, wet mornings when we're stuck inside.

The big changes this month have been for me. I've felt for the last year or so that my life is slowly spiraling out of control. I'd gained a lot of weight, had been struggling with lots of fatigue due to my crazy work/Mommy schedule, and generally felt like crap much of the time. I was struggling to keep up with work and finances were a big mess. The house was rarely clean and we ate quite a bit of unhealthy, easy to prepare food. I felt like I was failing in ever aspect.

A very good friend of mine recently finished school to become a registered dietician and I asked if she'd take me as her first client. I figured that it would be beneficial to both of us, but honestly never expected to have it be this successful. We've made lots of little changes that never feel like too much work and after only 4 weeks I feel like things have turned around.

I now make a monthly dinner menu plan so I don't have to stuggle with what to cook/eat each evening. Funny how something so small can be revolutionary in my world! It took away the stress of "Oh my God- it's 15 minutes until dinnertime and I have no idea what we have in the fridge!" (which usually resulted in a meal of noodle with butter and parmesan). It means that we're eating healthy, balanced dinners and I'm cooking again, which it turns out I really do enjoy.
My parents gave me their ancient exercise bike and my sister gave me some free weights that she no longer uses. So now I have a simple home gym down in the basement. There really isn't any excuse for me to not get down there and exercise during her naptime. Plus, heading down to the basement means laundry gets done on a regular basis. Woo-ha!

My nutritionist also started me on an adrenal fatigue supplement which is GLORIOUS! I feel awake during the day now which means I don't want to stay collapsed on the couch all the time. It's the next best thing to truly being well-rested, which is something I sadly can't make happen with my schedule.

This week in our session, we decided it was time to start working on weight loss and I'm feeling very motivated. My sister finally set a date for her wedding- August of next year. I'd like to lost at least 40 lbs by then, which I think is realistic but will require me to be pretty motivated.

So.... that is the LONG version of what's been going on this month. And if you actually made it all the way through this wordy post, here is your reward: