Monday, August 19, 2013

AG Works Out

I am training for two upcoming half marathons.  I'm running this one on Saturday.  I'll be running with a friend and using it as a long-run in order to be ready for this one in September, which I'm doing with Spiff.  He will be doing the Full Inline Marathon on his nifty speed skates.  We actually lined up a babysitter for the night so Spiff and I can go do this event together...alone.  I did just say alone.  I'm so excited!

My latest runs have not been so awesome.  Yesterday, I quit my treadmill run two miles early.  I partially blame the not-awesomeness of my running on my recent discovery of Fitness Blender.  (The other part I blame on my own natural not-awesomeness.)  I have been taking full advantage of FB's amazing and free full-length online workouts.  I have been cross-training with these, and I feel like I am getting stronger.    I like the idea of combining running with cross-fit style high intensity workouts.  I think that the strength training will eventually be very beneficial to my distance running.  But my legs are also very tired, which makes it hard to run. 

I have made a goal to do the 100 Squat Challenge every Friday.  My legs weren't nearly so sore the second time I did it as they were the first.  I will soon be a Goddess of Squats.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Oh, What Do You Do In the Summertime?

I love being a SAHM during the Summer.  We have had the most mild Summer I have experienced in years.  There were only about a week or two that it was hot enough that we didn't want to be outside.  Good Summer weather means lots of outdoor Summer fun, at least when we haven't been recuperating from surgery or *potty training.  I love our hours of riding bikes outside.  I love handing out otter pops like they're going out of style.  My boys are the very most happy when they are playing at the beach.  And when they're happy, I'm happy.

Gunner said, "I think Summer has gone too quickly for me."  I completely agree.  I will miss this Summer when it's gone.

Cold weather will come all too soon.  I finally put away all of our Winter Clothes at the end of June.  I am looking forward to Fall and trips to the apple orchard, and I always look forward to the deliciousness that is Fall Food.

Oh, but this Summer of my small children.  This one I will remember fondly.

*Note: Hobbes has figured out the potty thing!  We struggled with the #2's for a couple of days, but then he seemed to just get it.  He has spent 5 out of 7 nights this week dry!!!, which is something I would not have thought possible a week ago.  He even learned a new phrase from his older brother, which he now uses to inform me when he needs to use the bathroom.  His statements of "I need to go Potty!" are now alternated with, "I need to go so bad!"  I'm so proud of him.  And he is enjoying my free use of candy as potty bribery.

He has also enjoyed this book.  Best potty-training book ever.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Time I Died and Went to Heaven

Spiff planted a garden for us this year.  It was his baby.  He bought the pots, dirt, seeds, starts, and recruited Gunner to help him plant everything.  I stepped back and let them do that work, feeling that I had enough of my own regular things to worry about.

Then I watched them work, and I watched the plants grow, and the process has been so fun, and it has been so much fun to watch Gunner get so excited about growing things, that I even joined in a bit.  (I may have watered it a few times, and I always cheer when Gunner points out a new tomato blossom.)  I also began dreaming about the end-of-summer joy of fresh garden tomatoes and basil.

Sadly, over the Summer, we have watched our little garden be...well...not so awesome.  We apparently have a lot to learn about gardening.  Personally, I'm irked that we aren't automatically and naturally good at ALL things.  Some of the seeds they planted grew, along with a whole lot of "other" things that Spiff ended up weeding out, including about 1 million maple trees.  (I am never again having maple trees in my yard!)  We ended up with two smallish basil plants and a decent little crop of oregano.  I'm thrilled with those, but left wondering whatever happened to the cilantro he planted.  Gunner grew some small carrots.  He was overjoyed!

The tomato starts grew, too.  And then they stopped growing.  We have a few little green tomatoes on our plants, but nothing like our next-door neighbor's tomato crop.  Gunner thought she had planted pumpkins!  She has So Many Huge Tomatoes on her plants!  I am admittedly jealous of other people's tomatoes, and feeling down about our sad little unproductive tomato plants.

We did get to enjoy two of our little tomatoes this week.  And when I say little, I mean it.  They were about the size of golf balls.

So, I have given up on my dream of home-grown tomato salads, and relied on Costco to fulfill my wishes.  Apologies to my poor little tomato plants, but oh boy, Costco tomatoes can deliver!
Yesterday, I made this:

Good golly, if there is food in heaven, it most definitely is this Caprese Salad, made with basil and oregano from my own little patio garden.  You can't beat delicious and beautiful, in my book!

Caprese Salad:
1 fresh tomato, sliced
1 large avocado, sliced
1 small package of fresh mozzarella, cut into ¼ inch slices

Arrange tomato, avocado and mozzarella slices by layers in a circle on a plate or serving platter.  Pour dressing (below) over salad, and serve chilled or at room temperature.

2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 t. bottled minced garlic
1 t. olive oil
¼ t. salt
¼ t. dried basil, or 1 T. fresh minced basil leaves
¼ t. dried oregano, or 1 t. fresh minced oregano leaves

Combine all ingredients in small bowl and stir well with a whisk.  (If using fresh herbs, it works best to combine first 4 ingredients, then sprinkle the minced herbs on the salad before pouring dressing over salad.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

There Are No Words

Found this little gem on our computer while searching for my little AG stick girl drawing.  Spiff emailed this to me sometime in 2008.  So, thanks go out to Spiff for today's Hahas!

Note: For those who don't know, Accomplishment Girl was the persona I created while I was in graduate school and needed some help finding motivation to get things done.  She did always help me be productive.

Monday, August 12, 2013


Like the new look?!

Potty-Training Update, or TMI about my 2-year-old's toilet habits

Potty-Training Update, for all those interested, but mostly just for me and mine.

Can I just start by saying how much I hate potty training?  Cuz I do.  I was right to wait as long as I did with Hobbes.  I'm not so sure how right I was to start him when I did.  It is so hard.

On the one hand, he can totally handle it.  He can and does use the potty when he wants to.  It all started out great when it was new and he was excited about it.  Then he realized that it is work, and that the work has to be done each and every time he needs to "go".  It was at that point that he decided that he doesn't want to be a big kid after all.  Unders aren't all they are cracked up to be.  He has told me that he wants to be a baby.  He has told me that he can't do it "because he's too little."  He has decided that peeing right there on the floor is a perfectly acceptable option.  It's easier, after all, than walking 5 feet to the nearest toilet.

Gah, I really don't like this.  Least favorite thing about being a parent.

Here's another thing that makes it hard, or at least different from when I trained Gunner.  With Gunner, I spent almost a whole week just focusing on his training needs.  We didn't leave the house or venture away from a potty for days.  I followed him around like a spy, watching his every move, knowing exactly when he would need to use the potty.

I just haven't been able to give Hobbes that kind of attention this time.  Day Two of training is an essential day, in my opinion.  Taking care of #1 is no big deal at this point, since the kid has had so much practice.  But #2 is a different story.  It's soooo new to them, and feels so foreign to let it go in a toilet bowl instead of nestled up close in a diaper, as gross and foreign as it seems to us.  They don't get all that much practice at it, since it really only happens once every day or so (ballpark), and it's essential not to miss those #2 teaching moments, or you end up dragging out training for a reallyreallyreally long time. 

My big mistake is that I did miss them.  Friday (Day Two), we were invited to the neighbor's house to play in the yard.  The boys were riding bikes and playing with bubbles.  Hobbes showed no signs of discomfort.  I checked on him several times, and he always insisted that he didn't need to go.  I continued to talk to the neighbor ladies while watching the kids play.  Hobbes disappeared around the corner for just a moment, and came back with pants full of poop.  Cleaning up poopy unders is way worse than changing a poopy diaper.  It just is.


Then there is the fact that Hobbes is so much quieter about it than Gunner was. The next morning, I went on a long run with a friend.  Spiff stayed home with the kids.  Hobbes pooped his pants while sitting next to Spiff.  He didn't even know.

Ahh, so frustrating.

Also, I decided I needed to drop night-time diapers for him.  I think that it was confusing for him to be allowed to go in a diaper sometimes, but not others.  I was giving him permission to be blasé about this.  So, put away all the diapers, and we're down to strict unders now.

Gah!  Stress.

So, here we were on Sunday, four days into training, with dwindling interests in the toilet, and without a successful pooping experience.  Sunday, when we have to spend so much of the day at church.  This particular Sunday when Spiff is on call.  I would have skipped it if I didn't have a church schedule full of things today, including running choir rehearsal, accompanying the musical number in sacrament meeting, subbing in nursery, and helping Gunner with his primary talk.  I couldn't for the life of me figure out how we were going to make it through the day.  But we did.  Hobbsie wore unders to church and had zero accidents while were there.  Good boy.

Then we spent an hour after dinner tonight coaxing him to go #2 in the potty.  He so badly didn't want to.  He asked me for a diaper.  I refused to give it to him.  He looked like he was in so much pain holding it in.  I begged him to go in the toilet.  I comforted, hugged, coaxed, pleaded, cajoled, name it.  It took him a solid hour.  He held onto it until he couldn't any longer.  But he did it!  Hoorah!!!  I rewarded him with a cup full of M&Ms.

I'm so proud of him, and so excited to have a success!  He will figure this out.  He will.  And I will try to be patient, even though I hate potty training so very much.  Please pray for us.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


The primary president from our ward passed along this story to me today.  I had to share.

Someone recently asked Gunner's primary teacher if she had any good stories about the 3 & 4-year-old kids in her class.  "Well, yes," she said.  Goes like this:

Earlier this year, the primary kids were preparing to sing a song in sacrament meeting for Mother's Day.  It was a sweet song, and the kids sang with their hearts and souls.  Gunner's teacher is a sensitive soul, and her heart was touched by the kids as they practiced. 

As tears rolled down her cheeks, Gunner leaned over to her and comfortingly said, "I don't like this song, either."

When Mama Ain't Happy

Throughout Spiff's medical journey, there are always those rotations, the ones that seem undoable.  This OB rotation is one of those for me and Spiff.  It's a Q3 call schedule, so he does overnight call every three days.  I don't think it would be so bad for him if he enjoyed the work environment, but he has never liked OB.  He likes the procedures okay, but doesn't like the nurses (who seem overly bossy--sorry if you're an OB nurse.  He probably like you just fine.), the crazy laboring women, or their sometimes even crazier husbands.  Mostly he has a hard time with all the many things that can go wrong in OB, and he has a hard time seeing sick children and babies.

So he is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted during this five-week month of August.  It's hard to imagine making it through the next three weeks when every day of work seems interminable, and he doesn't ever feel caught up on sleep and truly rested.

For the rest of us, this means that our jobs are harder, too.  The kids go every three days without seeing Dad, and then knowing that he'll be at home sleeping the next day.  They are pretty good about it actually.  They are used to it just being me and them, and I have gotten used to doing all the meals, activities, bedtime routines, and chores.  Normally, we do just fine.

But take this moment from the other day:
On Spiff's post-call day, while he alternately slept and tried to do work at home, we ran out of bread, and I decided to whip up a couple of loaves so I wouldn't have to go to the store.  I also decided to prepare dinner ahead of time, which was a double-batch (so I could freeze some for later) of cheese stuffed shells, with homemade red sauce w/ fresh herbs from my garden (because we have them).  I don't make it much anymore because it's so time intensive.  Between bread, dinner, and feeding snacks to the kids, it kept me being in the kitchen all afternoon.

The kids were so good all day, but both of them soft of broke down just before dinner with the Tired and Hungry Crazies.  Potty-training has really taken it out of Hobbes.  He's so so tired, and come dinner time, he was a wreck.  I had been fine all day, but I also ran out of energy just before serving dinner.

As we sat down at the dinner table, Hobbes was crying because I put butter on his bread.  Gunner was upset because he didn't want to eat the cheesy noodles.  Spiff looked and felt like a zombie and could hardly keep his eyes open.  I was trying my best to diffuse the situation, but coming up short.

Spiff looked around at our struggling family and said, "Look at our family of little wrecks, all leaning on our Pillar of Mindy."

As he said it, I immediately imagined myself as a Pillar holding up our household, and as I ran out of energy and crumbled, so did everyone else.  

This was a moment when I realize how much my little family leans on me, and it felt so overwhelming, and I feel so inadequate.  I realize that the old saying, "When Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" is so true.  When I am feeling well, rested and happy, I can feel up for my many tasks, and I can do it happily.  I can handle the tantrums, the whining, the crying, the potty-training kid, the accidents, the mountains of laundry, the constant feeding of children, etc. 

But when I'm not in the right frame of mind, or I have a headache, or am sick, or whatever little thing comes along, and I find myself not standing tall, it really affects my family.  I have never thought of it before as a Pillar of Mom, but it is an accurate depiction of my role (and all mothers), but especially in this phase of my life.

Hopefully I'm up for the task.  My family is worth it.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

All About Hobbes

My little Hobbsie is such a joy these days.  So happy, so silly.  He talks nonstop, and it's so funny to hear what he has to say.  He throws tantrums, but they are still at the stage of being pathetic, ridiculous and funny to watch, instead of frustrating and scary, like an older child's tantrum can be.  
He zips around on his little Strider Bike like a pro, with a huge smile on his face.  It makes him so happy.  (Thank you for that amazing toy/tool, CFG!  We all love it!)  
He has a baby doll.  In my closet one day, he found my old Strawberry Shortcake doll that my mom made for me when I was a kid.  It's crocheted, with a plastic head, arms and legs, with orange yard hair that sticks straight out all over her head.  He fell in love with her and is now "His Baby."  He sleeps with her, snuggles her, and even gives her the occasional kiss.
He has such a naturally sweet personality.  I was watching one of his 2-year-old friends (Eliza, or "Wiza" to Hobbes) the other day.  The kids were playing outside, and I was on the phone while I watched them.  Eliza decided that she was done with us and wanted to walk home, and she started walking down the sidewalk.  I decided to see how far she would go (within reason, of course) before retrieving her.  Hobbes thought that was unacceptable.  He went after her.
I am used to Gunner's approach to any situation like this, which is to run as fast as he can, then grab onto the other kid and PULL them back, always resulting in injury.  I braced myself for the inevitable crying.  Instead, I watched in amazement as he ran to her, hugged her, then put his arm behind her back and lead her back to our yard.
Sweet, sweet kid.  I love him so much.
He still mispronounces things:
Hayhert: Favorite (ie. That's my hayhert Daddy right dayer.)
Hun: Fun (So fun, the beach!)
Hunny: Funny (Daddy so Hunny!)
Hubbud: Heavy (Oh, that's so hubbud!)
Pinder: Finger (I got a owie.  Could I a bandang on my pinder?)
He makes up words when he doesn't know what something is called, like a reflex.  Here are some of my favorites:
Doom doom doom: A Playmobile Guy's Axe
Hedge Hog: Postum (like hot chocolate)
Water Pie: Apple Juice
Hmpp: Maple Syrup
Gungeegah: The treadmill and rowing machine

Aaaand I need to potty-train him.  I have been saying that for a month now, and I keep putting it off, mostly because I'm lazy.  For several months, I have been saying that I can't potty-train him because he is too much of a free-spirit to be trusted with that responsibility.  Now I put it off because having a newly-potty-trained 2-year-old is a lot of hard maintenance work.  And I'm tired.  And he is settled and sleeping well, and it's hard to want to stir things up.

When I trained Gunner, I got all prepared, and started him on a Monday so he would have all week long to get used to things before we had to do church with a potty-trained kid.  I have been planning that strategy for Hobbes, too.  But I need some supplies, some reward candy, water-proof bed liners, etc., and I keep finding myself at Saturday night without having done my supply shopping.  Soooo, I say to myself, "I can't start him out this week, I'll wait one more week."  
Also, the other day while I was watching Eliza, who is slightly younger than him and potty-trained, she had two accidents after lunch.  Two!  Such a pain to clean it all up.  And even Gunner still has the occasional issue, two years after being potty-trained.  It's just so much work and such a long learning process that I can't seem to bring myself to do it this time around.

On the other hand, I have become increasingly irritated that he is still pooping in his diapers.  He takes care of his business in one of two ways these days.  He will either excuse himself to go play quietly in another room and then return with stinky pants.  Or he will stand in the middle of the kitchen and push it out, while scolding me for looking at him while he does it.  And there I am, laughing at him for scolding me with his hard stares and little pointed finger, and thinking, "Gah!  That needs to go in the toilet!"
So, it's time.  Every kid's gotta learn to go in the toilet at some point, and I guess it's time for us.

Today, I let him wander around sans pants for a while, just to see what would happen.  Then I pulled out some small unders for him to wear.  "Oh," he said, "unders, just like Wiza and Gunner!"  He was so proud.  Then he proceeded to pee in the potty for the rest of the day.  He told me when he needed to go, asked for help, and even took himself to the potty twice.

I'm pretty much amazed.  He is obviously ready.  I'll be making that trip to the store to buy supplies tomorrow.

Let's do this thing.  My sweet little guy is ready to be a big kid.

Friday, August 02, 2013

The Amazing Screw

Spiff is on call tonight (gotta love q3 OB call month).  I have been babysitting all week long.  So, here are some Friday night Haha's for us all.  Enjoy!

 Gunner picked up this book at the library the other day.
Doesn't it look thrilling?!

Here's the first page:

Spiff and I laughed and laughed because it reminded us of these two videos/clips:

A Case of Spring Fever:

 A World Without Zinc (this one HAS to be based on the Spring Fever video.):

What would we all do without a world full of screws, springs and zinc?!