31 March 2012

Sleepers

I often only post about sleep when I'm not getting any. Whether it's due to a fussy toddler, a new baby, sickness, whatever, I know that not getting sleep is a huge problem for me. I need sleep like I need coffee, which is to say, a lot.

I've been quite amazed by my kiddos lately. Maybe it's the warm weather and outdoor activities, maybe they're growing. I don't know, and I don't care: They are sleeping monsters! This morning Benny crawled into bed with me at around 7:30 and promptly went back to sleep until Lila woke up at 8:15! We are two lucky parents!

What's more: Lila has started begging to go to bed at night. Last night she was all out of sorts. I asked her if she wanted to go "night night." She screamed "NI NI!" ran to her crib and tried to crawl in. It's not the first time she's asked to go to bed either. What's more is that she never gets upset when we put her to bed, she just falls asleep.

As I type this, Benny is asleep for an uncharacteristic nap and Lila has been down for 2.5 hours now. I love my sleepers - even more than my sleep!

27 March 2012

Waiting for Daddy


Yesterday was a rough one. I was still feeling under the weather and we'd had a busy day of running around town for various appointments. Benny wasn't feeling very good either. Lila was feeling just fine. By 4:30, I was ready to throw in the towel. Nate called and reported that he was about 20 minutes away. When I relayed this information to the kids, they positioned themselves at the window and waited for him - just like this - for 20 minutes. I heard giggling and other shenanigans from behind the curtains. I guess they were as tired of me as I was of the day.

I'm happy I had enough energy to capture the moment on camera. It was so sweet.

26 March 2012

Strung Out

Remember when I mentioned how our schedules get all sorts of mixed up when the kids get sick? Yeah, well, chaos ensues when I get sick. I've been battling a nasty head cold for the past four days. It started with a stuffy nose, progressed to the entire-body ache and now I'm contending with a nasty, barking cough. Nate has a big deadline at work, so I volunteered to take the kids for blocks of time so he could work. When I wasn't hanging with the kids this weekend, I was sleeping. And it doesn't seem to matter how much sleep I get - I still feel hazy and croupy.

If you consider ibuprofen and Nyquil drugs, I was totally strung out this weekend. I even had some extra super strength ibuprofen left over from a mouth surgery a week ago that I used to help with the aches and pains.

Nate did clean the house while we were out yesterday and let me sleep in, but I just can't shake this cold. I barely managed to finish the syllabus for my Activist Media class that starts TOMORROW. So much for reading a prepping ahead of time. And running, well, forget it. I'm now two weeks behind in my training for a 10-mile run at the end of April.

As I've written before, I feel incredibly fortunate to stay at home with the kids two days a week. But today I just want to be IN BED, strung out on cold medicine and inappropriate doses of ibuprofen.

21 March 2012

Lila Le Lou: 18 Months

Lila is technically 17 months, six days old. But I know that I'll forget to post something when she actually turns 18 months. She is such a complex, amazing little girl. She loves to dance, play with blocks, take baths with her big brother, and be outside. Mostly she just loves to be outside. Oh, and she likes to wear her winter boots - all the time! Lila, we can't wait to see you develop more, but we also want you to stay right where you are!

Day 2 - Already telling us what she thinks.
Month 1 - She literally slept ALL the time.
Month 2 - Some of the first smiles on camera.
Month 6 - First solid foods.
Month 7 - A food pro.
Month 8 - Loving a tractor ride in Iowa.
Year 1 - Using utensils.
Year 1 - First "real" Halloween (Frog).
Year 1 - Adorable girl in the park.
2nd Christmas - Kissing her stuffed animals.
Lila Month 18ish - Pretty girl.

20 March 2012

Welcome Spring!

Warning, this post will likely be all over the place.

I wait for this day for three months EVERY YEAR! March 20 - the first day of spring! It's not as though we've had a particularly rough winter around here. But the promise of spring is always so sweet. And somehow it never disappoints. It starts with the buds on the trees:


Peach tree blossoms are coming! Can you see the green leaves of the irises poking out of the brown ground as well? Please don't mind the mop on the table in the background. Clearly this picture was not staged.

Nate has been itching for the ground to warm up enough to start planting. He's converted every south-facing window into a little greenhouse and has started all sorts of stuff: lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale. Hopefully with his tending, we'll be eating fresh stuff within the next month and a half or so.


The warmer weather has allowed for some wonderful family moments outside, including Benny learning to ride his bike! And Lila discovering the wonders of the sandbox! And me running more and more!

That's not to say this first of spring is not twinged with some negatives. For example, Lila's sick. Again. I hate when she's sick because she's miserable and isn't our normal adorable carefree little lady. And when she gets sick, the whole schedule gets thrown into a tizzy. Everything is manageable if the kids are well, we are able to stay at home a few nights a week and no one travels anywhere. Throw a wrench in our plans and we struggle to get back on schedule for weeks.

But, with happy weather, blossoms, longer days and all the great stuff spring brings, I suppose we'll make due...

19 March 2012

A Boy and His Bike

video

There are many joys of parenting. Watching my kids grow and develop and sit up, crawl, walk, talk and do all the cool things they do. It's been amazing to watch Benny figure out sounds and begin putting them together to read on his own.

I have to say, though, that watching Benny ride a big boy bike has been one of the coolest things I've witnessed as a parent. Benny has been riding a balance bike for about a year and a half. We tried a big boy bike last fall, but it didn't go well. Now that several of Benny's friends are riding big boy bikes, he was ready to try again. Nate held on to the back of the bike for about a block and then let go. Benny was on his own and he didn't turn back. My favorite part of the video is when Nate asks Benny if he's doing it and Benny shouts, "Yeah! I'm doing it!"

We visited the Bike Depot, a great nonprofit in our neighborhood that sells used bikes and also has a program that teaches local residents how to maintain a bike. People can even "earn" a bike by working at the store and in the work room. So, we were able to find a cheap, used, nice bike for Benny and support a local nonprofit. Win/win/win/win!

Oh, and we scored a nice used bike trailer for Lila. Now Nate and I just need to get our bikes serviced at the Bike Depot and then we're ready for family bike rides ALL summer!

P.S. Does anyone know how to publish Vimeo videos on a blog? I just can't figure it out!

18 March 2012

Book Review: Hunger Games

I have resisted reading every young adult series published in the past decade or so ... Harry Potter, Twilight, etc. I was intrigued by The Hunger Games when I first heard about the books last year (so out of pop culture). I do love myself some dystopian fiction (hello, Margaret Atwood). The books we've been picking for book club have been a bit difficult to finish reading in a month, so someone suggested The Hunger Games. Since I like participating in the discussions at book club, I figured it was time to give in.

And OMG, I LOVED THE BOOK. As Nate will attest, I had my nose in that book every spare minute this weekend. I finished it last night during a bit of insomnia. I'm ready to start the next book, but I have too much to do to invest my time in it right now. It breaks my heart! I did convince Nate to go see the movie with me. And he agreed!

The writing isn't amazing and the story is weak in places. But overall, Suzanne Collins manages to make the whole disgusting idea believable. And not just believable, but intriguing and fast-paced. The characters are likeable and realistic. I haven't been this excited about a book in years. Now, that doesn't mean that I'm going to go back and read any other 'tween series. At least not until Benny is ready to read them with me :).

10 March 2012

Unless...

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better. It's not.

Benny and I saw The Lorax tonight. We've been reading Dr. Seuss' book to him for years. It was Benny's favorite book for about a year when he was two. We read it every night.

It has such a good message about greed and taking care of the planet. And Benny could follow right along tonight.

Dr. Seuss has written about so many social issues over the years. I wrote about Yertle the Turtle about a year ago. The messages are so simple, but so relevant - even still.

07 March 2012

45 Days

I haven't reviewed my 101 Things list in awhile. I checked it the other day and lo and behold, I've accomplished many of the items. Other items - not so much. May 1 is listed as my end date.

The most interesting thing about the list is how much my priorities have changed in about 1,001 days. I wrote the list when Benny was a baby, I was finishing my dissertation and looking for a job. Since that time, I have had another baby, found a job, quit that job, started teaching and started my own business - all in about three years. Ah-mazing.

Socially, the list was helpful in reminding me how much I like to meet new people, hang out, have a good time and generally socialize. In the past three years I have made far more than five friends (yes, that was a goal, believe it or not) and organized a ladies' book club. I have read more books than I ever though possible (25 at current count). I have not managed to run as many half-marathons as I had slated, but I did run two. That's something.

In the next few weeks I'll provide a more detailed analysis of my progress and create a new 101 Things list. Stay tuned!

05 March 2012

Got Some Extra Positive Vibes?

Would you mind sending them to Iowa? Nate's grandma broke her hip and went in for hip replacement surgery. Shortly after surgery, she had a major stroke and is now also battling pneumonia. Lila is a very special woman to Nate and to all of us. We've grown very close since Nate's mom passed away five years ago. Not surprisingly, Little Lila is named after her.

Lila is in her mid-80s and is still quite active. Up until a few years ago, she was still riding her bike daily, bowling and shooting hoops with her grandsons (she even broke her wrist a few years back while doing lay ups - that's amazing!). She's also the most pleasant, caring and enjoyable person I've met.


04 March 2012

The History of White Bread

I had hoped to start this month's Green Means Go(od) with my journey in bread making. Sadly, I haven't thought beyond making my own bread to actually making it happen. It's certainly something I'm going to do, but it may be a few weeks before I get there. So, until that time, here's a fantastic history of white bread - a kind of "how we got here" in terms of highly processed bread.

My own history with bread is deeply rooted in the bread-making process in this country. I don't remember anything but white bread until I was in high school when my mom started buying wheat bread. My dad still insists on eating white bread. Nate and I have shifted to multi-grain bread. It's more expensive, but I think it tastes better and it certainly has more nutrients in it. I've even started spending a few more bucks on whole wheat hot dog and hamburger buns.

I have mostly cut white flour from our house completely. Unfortunately, I haven't figured out a good way to make pie crust and some other baked goods without at least half white flour.

How about you, readers... Do you still eat white bread? Do you still use white flour? Do you have any good wheat flour pie crust recipes :)?

01 March 2012

Gonna Run 'Til I Don't Jiggle

Last night I broke out a new pair of running shoes and took them for a spin. They felt great! So much better than the running shoes I'd been using for the previous two years. I typically don't wear shoes past a year of running in them, but I've been running so inconsistently that it didn't make sense to spend money on shoes.

Which brings me to the point of this post - my spotty running habits since Lila was born. I've considered myself a "runner" since I graduated from college. I moved to a ranch in Montana for about six months post graduation. There wasn't a whole lot to do there, so I took up hiking and running a swimming. I ran my first half-marathon in Bozeman. And I kept up good shape while I was living in Iowa City by running regularly and walking EVERYWHERE. Same goes for Des Moines - training for half-marathons and using my legs as my primary source of transportation by biking or walking - even to get groceries.

When Nate and I moved to Austin so I could start graduate school at the University of Texas, I stepped things up a bit. I had to walk or ride my bike to campus every day. I trained for a half-marthon and my first full marathon. The only time I stopped running was when I broke my foot. By the time it healed, I was pregnant with Benny and decided to take some time off.

But after Benny was born, running became my therapy for postpartum depression. Plus I was home with Benny for two years, so we often walked or ran to the park - nearly every day. Once I started working, I continued running by picking Benny of from school, strapping him in his stroller and putting at least three miles in. I was even able to run two half-marathons in one year. Typically I can only squeeze one longer race in per year.

Rocky Mountain Half-Marathon, June 2009
Denver Half-Marathon, October 2009
For some reason, having a second child has really curbed my running. I'm not blaming Lila. I'm blaming our schedule. There are some major downsides to decreased activity. For one, as I'm getting older, I have noticed that the decline in activity has led to a bit of weight gain. Secondly, running truly is a form of therapy for me. I need to remember that this isn't just about physical health, it's about mental health too. So, I'm using the spring weather to get motivated again. Running is on the docket for sure. But so is biking. I'm now only three miles from work, so I can bike at least once a week.