Thursday, September 30, 2010

Small Successes (Vol 17)

1. I finally finished P90X and wrote about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can read it here.

2.  I have completed 11 days of Insanity.   This is a huge success, because it's BRUTAL!

3.  I made healthy after school snacks (peanut butter & honey brown rice crispy snacks) Breakfast cookies for Andy's 6th birthday breakfast (TODAY!!!)  and for his birthday dessert, whoopie pies.  (They look like hockey pucks, which is a good thing)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My First Daybook

Outside my window... it's cool and gray, the lovely beginning of fall.

I am thinking... I would love a nap.

I am thankful for... a husband who loves me.

From the kitchen...what to do with all the apples we picked yesterday, pie, brown Betty, pandowdy, dumplings?  So many things to do with apples!

I am wearing...track pants and a t-shirt.  Comfy clothes today.

I am creating...Halloween project to do list in my mind.

I am going... to Kansas City alone in  a couple weeks!

I am reading...Family Fun Halloween Edition

I am hoping...for a chance to catch my breath

I am hearing...the dull hum of the computer and nothing else! (baby sleeping, preschooler watching cartoons far away) Ahhhhhhh.

Around the a lot of dust and chores that have gone undone.  I'm not going to think about that right now.

One of my favorite things...naptime

A few plans for the rest of the week: perhaps go to a chastity talk for parents by parents

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Andy's and Renee's soccer team makes the Sign of the Cross before praying at the start of the game. 

"Would you like to linger on the simple things...then join me and many others in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those who are focusing on of the everyday moments."  The Simple Woman's Daybook 

Monday, September 27, 2010

P90X: My Story

Let me start with how I got here.  I've had 4 babies, each pregnancy healthy, but progressively harder on my body.  With my fourth pregnancy, I lost a lot of strength.  I was unable to walk or stand for any significant length of time because of swelling, sciatica and varicose veins.  Because of all of these problems, I spent a lot of time laying on the couch with my feet elevated.  When my daughter was born, and I could move freely again, I began to notice just how weak I had become.

I came across the P90X infomercial in the wee hours when I was feeding my newborn daughter.  I turned on the TV and there it was. I was enthralled.  I watched that infomercial dozens of times and even recorded it for my husband to watch.  I suggested to him that it was something we could do together once the baby started sleeping through the night.  Eventually he agreed.  (He's thin with a high metabolism and wears the same size pants he wore when he was 17.  It's OK if you hate him for this.)

After doing a  little more research, we decided that P90X was too advanced for someone who had barely walked in a year, so we ordered Power 90 instead.  Power 90 is the original program and P90X's (Power 90 Extreme) easier counterpart (You can read a comparison here).  I am so glad we did!  When we started, I couldn't do jumping jacks AT ALL- I did step-outs instead- lunges caused me great discomfort and I had very little arm strength.  We did Power 90 for almost 90 days before we were ready to move on to P90X.

I started and stopped P90X many times before successfully completing it.  Since we were working out after the kids went to bed, it was easy for my plans to be disrupted.  I decided to make the commitment to getting up early in the morning to exercise before any of the kids were awake, which meant getting up at 5:30 (EEEK!).  I did it for 90 days (That in itself is a huge accomplishment for me).  Here are my results:

                                        Day 1                       Day 90

Pull-ups:                           0                          12 with one foot on a chair

Push-ups:                         32 from knees      10 from toes 20 from knees

Vertical leap:                    8'1"                      8'2"

Toe Touch:                      +7"                       +7.5"

Wall Squat:                      1min 30sec           2 min 26 seconds 

Bicep Curls:                     36 @ 10lbs          51 @ 10lbs

In&Out (ab exercise)       42                        110

Are those results amazing, or what!  As you can see from those fit test results, I made major improvements in my strength.  

As I mentioned before, the actual weight loss has not been nearly what I hoped.  I didn't follow the diet guide verbatim, although I did vastly improve my eating habits to include lean meats, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, more vegetables and fruits and next to no refined sugar or flour. This has been good for my whole family, since I am the Executive Chef of this household.  I also ate less, although there is room for improvement in my serving size and attention to hunger and fullness cues.  Despite the lack of movement of the scale and still weighing 10 pounds more than I did before I got pregnant with Anne-Marie, I am now able to fit into all of my pre-pregnancy clothes comfortably.  What is even more surprising is that only a couple short weeks ago, I tried on my favorite jeans and couldn't button them.  Last week I tried them on and not only buttoned and zipped them, I sat down and could still breathe.  I even looked so good in them and they felt so comfortable, that I wore them out in PUBLIC all day long!  I count this as a tremendous success, because it means that my body is tighter and toner than it was when I originally bought those clothes.  I've decided to put the scale away and concentrate on getting strong and tone and let my clothes tell me how I'm doing.

The biggest success in all of this has been the way I feel.  Not only have my energy and strength returned, but so has my self-confidence.  Before P90X, I was limited not only by my body but by my mind.  My body could not do things, but worse than that was the feeling of resignation.  I felt I would never have the ability to do what I used to do.  I believed that this was the body I had now so I'd better just get used to being fat and tired and weak.  P90X turned it all around for me.  Now I know that I can achieve more than I ever thought possible.  I know that I can do whatever I put my mind to doing, even if it isn't easy.  I am more open to experiencing life than I have been in a long time.
P90X can't take all the credit.  Without Kevin, none of what I've accomplished would've been possible.  Kevin, who hates exercising if it doesn't involve actually playing sports, agreed to do Power 90 and P90X with me.  If he hadn't I don't know that I would have had the courage even to try.  He helped me push through the frustration and tears of realizing how weak I had become and encouraged me to keep going.  He assured me that his love for me had nothing to do with what my body looked like and when I wanted to show him my latest fitness success, he came running and cheered.  Eventually he stopped working out with me, but by then I had the motivation to push myself.

Some might wonder why I didn't do a cardio program designed to burn fat rather than build muscle.  Simply put, I couldn't. I tried.  I was just not strong enough to do it.  I needed to build muscle and strength alongside  burning fat.  P90X  cardio workouts in the Lean Routine are fun.  So now that I have the strength and stamina, what am I going to do?  I'm moving on to Insanity .  When I tried Insanity at the beginning of the summer, every workout ended with me laying flat on the floor, sobbing. Yes, sobbing.  Thanks to P90X, I end every Insanity workout on my feet, dripping sweat and smiling. 

Thanks to Beachbody, Tony Horton and P90X, I have a new lease on life.

Update: Since writing this post, I've become a Beachbody coach myself!  You can find me at  

Friday, September 24, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol.10)


Anne-Marie is now driving.  I was at a resale shop looking for Halloween costumes and found a car!  The one we used to have was made shortly after the invention of the wheel, so after 3 kids, it was useless.  This one is very fancy, all colorful and intact.


  Check this out!  I won this iPhone cover from a Twitter contest held by @Psych_USA.  Do you ever watch Psych?  The Psychic detective (he's faking it) has this cover on his phone in the show.  I love winning things.


Speaking of winning things, we are on a roll in this house.  Last weekend we got to go to Taste the Future, a fundraiser for Columbus State Community College.  It's a culinary showcase for 50+ restaurants and caterers.  Really, it's tapas on a grand scale.  It's awesome.  I tried some things I never would have tried at a restaurant.  Here are a couple of my favorites:

 Corn and Parsnip Vichyssoise with Truffle and Pancetta
Teleggio Risotto with Duck Confit 
Thai Barbecued Pulled Pork and Asian Slaw with Lemongrass and Mint Vinaigrette (My favorite)
Chipotle Shrimp on Corncakes (Kevin's favorite)


I ate some things I didn't mean to eat, too.  I mean, I meant to eat them, obviously.  I put them in my mouth. BUT,  if I had known what it was before I ate it, I never would have gone near it!  Having said that, they were both good.  I still have no intention of ever ordering them in a restaurant, though.

Escargot in Puff Pastry (Yes, I actually ate this and thought it was a mushroom)
Lindey's Tuna Tartar with Ganfrette Potato Chip and Ginger-Soy Vinaigrette (this didn't really taste like anything.  I thought it was salsa.  It tasted like a cold meaty tomato)


Emma and her Brownie troop got to ride the Girl Scout float in the local parade on Saturday.  Emma is dressed as an artist, which is what she wants to be when she grows up.  She is wearing daddy's old shirt and her hair is in funny pigtails.  Thank goodness our troop was on a float!  The driver was easily doing 10 mph.  There is NO WAY our girls could have kept up with him.  It was rather ridiculous.


This is a noteworthy event.  Anne-Marie actually fell asleep while I was rocking her.  She never does this.  Even as an infant, she preferred to rock until she was settled and then be laid down to go to sleep.  I know this is ideal, but rocking a sleeping baby is so satisfying and soothing.  I'm glad my husband walked in when he did so he could snap this picture.


It's a crummy picture of a beautiful thing.  Andy is reading to Daddy on the stairs. I tell him all the time, but I'll say it again: There is scarcely a thing more attractive than a man who is a good father.

Would you like to get in on 7 Quick Takes? Visit Jennifer at Conversion Diary to read more and better Quick Takes and link to your blog.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Small Successes (Vol 16)

1.  I discovered there are people in my life who are willing to help me when I need it.  Living far from family, I often find myself in a bind when it comes to childcare and daytime appointments.  This was one such week.  It's good to know that people are willing to help me.  I never ceased to be amazed by this!

2.  I successfully hung another set of curtains alone.  That is sweaty hard work, though I don't know why.  Maybe it's because our windows are so tall and I don't have anything quite tall enough to reach, so I do it all in precariously balanced postitions.

3.  I met a couple of really nice women.  They came to my house for a playgroup for the moms group I chair on Tuesday and I learned we have several common interests.  I had only met one of them for the first time at the meeting and she brought along her sister-in-law.  You never know how these things are going to go.  You could spend two hours staring at each other or wishing it would end, but these women were very pleasant company.  I'm always so happy when I am able to make a new friend.  (That's the extrovert in me).

4.  My P90X  review is in the works.  I'm taking the fit test this weekend and I hope to have my review posted for you next week.  I know I keep telling you this, but I really mean it!

Funny Things Kids Say

On the way home from ballet, Emma was watching Babe.  She said, "Mama, is this a true story?"

This morning Andy asked me what was on the school lunch menu for the day.  I told him, "Monkey brains."  Without a pause or even a strange look, he said, "I'm packing."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Covered Porch Construction Edition

Backhoe in the backyard
Very cool!
Guys getting ready to cut the conrete
Through the kitchen window
An 8 foot trench
Looks like we live on the edge of a cliff
Overnight cave-in.  Workers had to dig it out by hand
Through the kitchen window, again
2 Concrete tucks and a pumper truck
Massimo holding the hose in place
14 yards of concrete. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Snippets- A Catholic Carnival

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is hosted by RAnn at This That and the Other Thing.  This is the place where we can share our favorite posts of the week with other Catholic bloggers.  After you read my post (be sure to say "Hi", too), why not share one of your favorites with us?

This week I pondered the question: How do I raise a boy among girls?  Read about it here in Nurturing the Masculine  I hope you enjoy!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Nurturing the Masculine

Tears of joy
A question from Muthering Heights has got me thinking.  She asked, "How do you nuture your son's boyness?"  Like Jessica of Muthering Heights, I have one boy and 3 girls.  My son, Andy, is the second child.  He's surrounded by girls.  When his youngest sister was born, he cried as his dad gave him the news: "You have a baby sister".  He went off in the corner, alone, and cried.  He wanted a brother so badly!  Then he met his new sister and his tears of disappointment became tears of joy.  He loves that little girl so much!  Still, the problem remains:  How do I nurture my son's masculinity in a house overrun with girls? 

A girl, peaceful and quiet...
When he was a baby and a toddler, I didn't really do anything special to nurture his masculinity except buy him cute boy clothes and boy toys.  Learning to buy boy toys was challenging in itself because, to me, they all look the same.  When he was 2-years-old, he used to carry a Dora purse and wear Mardi Gras beads. (I looked everywhere for a picture of this, but couldn't find one.)   He played whatever his sisters were playing.  Mostly he was the dog or the prince or the pirate to his princess sisters.  As he's gotten older, his masculine interests have evolved and become apparent.  As a little boy, cars, pirates and dirt were his interests.  As a not-quite-6-year-old, his interests these days are hockey, video games and dirt as well as playing with other boys, which is challenging because our neighborhood is lousy with little girls.
until tackled by her brother.
How do I nurture his masculinity? I don't know.  I suppose I do it the same as I nurture the girls femininity.  I teach him about respect for his body, to use good manners, to play fair, to be kind.  I enroll him in sports and make him play outside as much as possible.  He's still little, only now in Kindergarten.  There will be more nurturing and more smelly boy things that I've not yet encountered or even imagined.  In his young life, I've already made mistakes in this area and undoubtedly there will be more mistakes made.  Boys are different than girls and it only gets more pronounced the older they get.  Sometimes he makes me crazy with his boyness, but mostly I'm happy for a different perspective.  My girls are girly, not prissy, just girly.  Having hockey pucks and guns mixed in among the ribbons and dolls is refreshing. 

If this isn't masculine, I don't know what is.
My husband is a wonderful role model for him. Andy copies everything his dad does.  Lately he's taken to wearing undershirts at all times and then sleeping in that and pajama bottoms, just like his dad.   Kevin loves it! I know Kevin will probably shoulder the brunt of teaching our boy to be a man.  What do I know about being a man?  All I know are the qualities I like in a man: a loving heart for God, kindness, generosity, strength and faithfulness.  When I think about it, that is all I need to know.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Small Successes (Vol. 15)

1.  I finished P90X.  I LOVE P90X!  Not because of the weight loss (which I shared last week has been minimal) but because of the strength I gained.  Oh my gosh!  I will be writing a more in-depth review of the program for anyone who is interested as soon as I find 10 minutes to think!

 2.  I hung curtains and rods all by myself and they actually fall to the correct length.  That is truly outstanding!

3.  The moms' group I chair at my parish had it's first meeting this week.  Membership has been dwindling since the economy took a dive, so I was starting to worry about our future.  This first meeting gave me a lot of hope.  We only had a few women show up, but those that did are sincerely interested in making this group part of their lives and had fantastic ideas for making that happen as well as getting the word out to other moms in the parish.  I'm very hopeful about the year!

It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that. To share yours, click here.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Small Successes (Vol. 14)

1.  Made and kept my appointment for my annual exam with my gynocologist.  I'm only 9 months off schedule, so... Hey, at least I got in before I'm pregnant again.

2a. I'm glad I kept that appointment because I talked with him about my failure to lose weight (among other female problems) despite my clean living and P90X  exercise regimen.  I mean what more can I do?  I think something is wrong.  He said he'd test my thyroid.  Not that I want trouble, but come on!  I'm doing everything I can to live a healthy lifestyle and the scale hasn't moved.  Something has to be wrong.

2b. I'm in the last week of P90X, otherwise known as recovery week and I've got a major head cold.  I'm taking this week off and I'll recover next week.  BUT...despite my complaining over lack of downward scale motion, I've had huge successes in strength and agility this week.  HUGE!  What is it, for heaven's sake? Ok, I'll tell you.  After discussing my inability to do military style push ups (arms squeezing your sides as you push up and go down)  my husband related how for him it's all about his mindset.  So, I thought maybe my brain was getting in the way (hardly ever been a problem before ;-)    I tried it and I'll be darned if I didn't crank out 15 military push-ups (from my knees) over the course of a workout.  My max is 3 in a row.  It was like magic!!! I couldn't believe it.   

3.  My outburst with Emma last week has been the one dark spot on the whole homework routine.  She's figured it out and I haven't had to worry about losing my temper since the first day.  Thank God, right?  I know homework is only going to get harder as the year progresses, but so far we're both doing alright.

It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that. To share yours, click here.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Saturday Evening Blog Post

The Saturday Evening Blog Post is hosted by Elizabeth Esther. This is where bloggers gather on the first Saturday of each month to share their latest and greatest blog posts. This weekend we are sharing our favorite post from August 2010!  I chose to share my confessions.  You can read all about my shortcomings and faults in Mary Comes Clean, Sort of  Why not join in?

Friday, September 03, 2010

Funny Things Kids Say (Vol 2)

"I know why Gramma and Papa's house doesn't have sidewalks.  They ran out of hard squares"
- Renee, age 4 (Sept 3, 2010)

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol.9)

This one is all about my kids.

 This is Andy's first picture drawn in Kindergarten.  It is Andy driving a car in front of our house with the sun and hot air balloon in the sky.  "The purple house is in the background, that's why it's smaller," says Andy.  Is this kid a genius or what?  Look at that nice use of perspective!  But then why are the hot air balloon, the house and the sun all the same size?  If I had to guess it's because he knows you keep the things you love the closest to you.


Speaking of Andy, we've decided to enroll him in hockey lessons.  Last Easter we got him a goal and a couple sticks to play in the driveway and he took to it like a fish to water.  All through the Winter Olympics he watched every hockey game he could, including women's hockey.  This summer he and the girls took ice skating lessons so now he's ready to go to real hockey skating lessons.  Oh my gosh! Am I gonna be a hockey mom?  Just look at that smile.... I hope he keeps all those teeth!



But what about my darling girls?  What will they be doing this year?  Maybe I should enroll them in hockey lessons too.  No?  Here are my beautiful girls in their ballet uniforms.  Renee is just starting classes, so she gets to wear the cute pink leotard and skirt, but Emma has graduated to Ballet 1.  This is serious.  They must follow a strict dress code, including a specific hairstyle.  She will be doing exercises for her core so she has to have a mat and she will be learning vocabulary so she needs a pencil and notebook.  Welcome to discipline, Emma.  This year we will find out just how much you like ballet. 


With school back in session, I've had the opportunity to do some things that for some reason I just can't manage to do when all 4 kids are home.  No- cleaning isn't one of them.  The little girls and I have been very busy running around town, going to lunch, riding bikes and going on field trips.  Monday I took Renee and Anne-Marie to COSI to play.  since I didn't have Emma, we could go into the Kidspace for little kids.  We haven't been in that part in 3 years, so it was a nice change.  The best part is Anne-Marie can run around to her heart's content.  She particularly loved the water table.  Bad news: she drank some of the highly chlorinated water- GROSS!  She didn't get sick, but that is just so nasty! UPDATE: Today she woke up with a runny nose and now she also has a cough.  Darn it!


 This is a cute picture of Renee at COSI


I took Renee and Anne-Marie on a field trip this morning to the zoo.  It was a nice cool morning and all the kids are back in school, so it was a perfect day to go.  The weather was so nice even the animals were out! Here the girls are visiting with Oliver. 

I let the girls ride the carousel today.  It was Anne-Marie's first ride.  She was not wild about the horses so we sat on a bench next to Renee, who had a great time.  What a beautiful day we had!


Would you like to get in on 7 Quick Takes? Visit Jennifer at Conversion Diary to read more and better Quick Takes and link to your blog.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Small Successes (Vol. 13)


 1.  We are closing out our first week of the new school year.  After our welcome to school activities and easing in to the year, this is the first real week. Emma and I had our first homework battle of the year on Monday in which voices were raised, threats were made, tears were shed and feelings were hurt.   The success in this? Homework got done, rules were re-established, child understands need for obedience (at least this week) and no further battles have ensued.  This is kind of a crappy success because if I had been more patient and gentle with her instead of irritated and annoyed, the same success could have been achieved without the yelling.  Homework always reminds me that I need to be gentle and loving instead of Drill Sargentesque (which is my tendency when I want something done NOW).  Time to start praying for gentleness again.

2.  I am almost done with P90X Round 1 (I say round 1 because I've never actually completed the 90 days the other times I started it)  Next week is the last week.  I cannot believe that I get up at 5:30 to workout!  Even more amazingly, I've not had the wake up chatter going in my mind: " You don't need to get up now.  It doesn't really matter. You can do it later"   I've gotten up right away!

3.  This school year I feel like I am on top of all the papers and activities that the kids are involved in.  Everything has been signed and returned.  Granted, I've overlooked a few things, but luckily, they weren't things that were crucial and they were also things commonly missed by parents of kids moving to the next level.  So, all in all, I'm feeling pretty good about my performance in this area.

Next week, I hope to tell you that I am still on top of school things and that I have figured out how to overcome my trigger where homework battles are concerned.

God bless and keep you until we meet again.

It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that. To share yours, click here.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: First Days of School (Again, captions don't count)

 Kindergartners up front: Andy and Olivia (he's tall for his age and she short for her age.  It always makes me laugh)(note the hand-holding) In back: Hannah and Emma, the old pros.