Monday, February 28, 2011

I want glass pendant lights, bouy!

It's four something in the morning and I can't get back to sleep. So exhausted lately, but every night it seems either my husband or I are awake when we should be resting. Ach viel, I thought. Might as well get up, fold some laundry, make a blog entry and try to get a workout in before the kids wake up. I might need to think about making some coffee...

Lots on the go today! I have to call my school board to find out what my next move is. Would like to just stay home with the kids forever but I seem to have used up all possible leave now that my youngest is almost two, and I've been off since my almost-four year-old was born. I think the minimum requirement to remain employed will be to rejoin the on-call list, which could be a challenge as it involves last-minute teaching gigs and therefore last-minute childcare. Hmm. We'll see what the day brings on this front.

This weekend was a blur with Noah getting his two year molars and Griffin going through a sassing/yelling/running laps phase. We did build a snowman in the yard on Saturday, only to be outdone by our next door neighbours a few hours later when they implemented an igloo. Yes, an igloo. In Victoria. I am so done with this weather.

On the fitness and diet front, I am still committed to eating clean and have done pretty well in the last week, with a few glitches. Thursday night I was also up with insomnia and succumbed to a midnight snack craving. I had two pieces of high-fibre toast with raspberry jam, which very likely took me from a clean three pound loss for the week down to about two and a half...but that's fluctuated over the last few days so it could be a multitude of things. In general I am not craving the sugar I've given up because eating this way keeps your body satisfied on whole foods. Eating a bit of protein with a bit of complex carbohydrate every two to three hours is supposed to take longer for your body to process, thereby making you feel fuller longer. That's what the book says anyway, and I would say it's true so far. For those of you who missed my earlier posts, I am referring to Tosca Reno's "Eat-Clean" book series. I'll post a picture of last night's dinner on my food page - grilled chicken with lentils & kale. It was delicious and very lean.

The workouts - The P90X Extreme Home Fitness - are my biggest challenge, not because I don't want to do them (actually I am quite enjoying them when that works out); in theory they should be easier to do than getting out to the gym or something, because they are on DVD and I can do them right in my living room at home. However, they are longer than many DVD workouts - I think the shorter ones are still 50 minutes or so with warm-up & cool-down. Even when I try to begin as soon as the kids go down for their naps, I am often foiled by one of them waking up or something. Those days result in my having to do the workout in the evening after they go to bed, when I just want to flake out after a long day. Which is why, after I finish this post, dear reader, I will be that crazy person who works out at 5 am. I never thought I would be this nuts, but hey, I'm up anyway.

Work on our house has been at a standstill since the snow arrived last week. All I can say is that groundhog is one lying sack of fleas. Hmph. I'm not sure if I mentioned that our site foreman fell off the roof a few weeks ago and mightily wrecked his wrist, which now has something like 16 pins and two plates in it. He was unconscious for around two hours so we are all extremely thankful that this appears to have been the full extent of his injuries. The whole thing is hugely unfortunate on many levels, primarily just that he's a stellar fellow and was doing great work, and it's a loss not to have him running the site. But seriously, we're just so thankful he's okay.

When the weather improves - and things should melt here pretty soon, in theory, in Victoria - the crew will go back to installing our windows, and eventually our doors will arrive so we can have completed the actual structure to lock-down. Last week we went shopping for kitchen appliances, which was fun (and expensive - still waiting to hear back from the sales rep on the actual number crunch). Now we're reviewing the budget and my husband is telling me all light fixtures have to be CSA(?) certified, so making my own is not an option. Whaaaat???? With the LEED certification we do have to comply with certain requirements, but it seems crazy that a person can't just purchase some ready-to-go wiring and attach the creative light cover of their choice. At any rate, I've figured out what I want to do in general, and everything I look at online which is ready made seems pretty expensive for how simple it is. I love the idea of using old glass bouys as pendant lights. My husband thinks it sounds too nautical, but I think if you take off the rope netting (which I actually like) and hang them more simply it won't be an issue. I will post a couple of links to things I've spotted that I like. This one won't bring the picture up straightaway - you have to scroll through to idea # 12 - so I will post the link and paste the photo directly so as to give credit to the site: (just to your right - the ones that aren't bouys but have that feeling to them).
Here is one (left) which goes back to my original idea of doing a pendant with glass insulators, but I think they would be too small in our large kitchen. Totally love it though: . For the record, if I have reposted any photograph illegally, I will remove it immediately upon being informed of the mistake. Hopefully I am just supporting business.

I also have this crazy, beautiful picture of my maternal grandmother, Marion (right), which I would like to incorporate into that area...maybe hang an enlargement over the breakfast table or something...or down the road I might even commission one of my two close friends (who are both insanely talented painters) to paint it. I've taken a picture of the picture next to a sketch of the bouy pendant idea. My kitchen will overlook our infinity pool, which will overlook the lake, so you'll see why I think it all works together. Or, if you don't, I will post a picture when it's all finished. I never knew my grandmother as she passed two years before I was born. I love having pictures of her though and want to display photos of our whole family, going back as many generations as possible, around our home.

I'm going to need that coffee now as I am wilting. It doesn't help that I've developed a nasty bronchial cough, which seems worse today than when I went to sleep. I hope I don't end up with a full-blown head-cold.

Well, onward & upward. I'm off to fold laundry, drink coffee and work out before the family awakens. See you next time.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Super-fast Update

Halloo readers...
Just a super-fast update which I will need to keep minimal as my chicken is grilling and healthy kale & lentils ready...
I am down somewhere between 2.5 and 3 lbs for the past week, which I am happy with, and that's with a few misses on the workout front just because mommyhood is so busy/unpredictable.
I still love the changes the clean eating approach involves and will try to sneak a proper post in later tonight...
Happy Sunday.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Another Week With The YoYo...

That would be me (the yoyo), or the diet (which is fun to think about doing perfectly, but not easy unless you plan & prepare EVERYTHING ahead), or my hormones and resulting mood swings(PMS)...Oh, what a week it's been.

On Friday morning, I woke to find my almost-four (!) year old attempting to clean the toilet he had just used (and had not flushed) with the toilet brush. All I had time to do was clean HIM up because we were already running late for preschool. I had to leave the rest of the mess (which could have been worse, but was still really gross) for later. Then my youngest and I had a play date in the morning (which in spite of cold weather at the park, and his stepping in dog poop) was really quite fun. However, it put me in a slight grocery deficit when it came time to pick up my oldest and take the boys home to give them lunch and naps. I chose to ignore the obvious lack of time and stop to pick up a few things I knew we'd need over the weekend.

Having been a bit rushed getting up & out of the house that morning, I hadn't paid much attention to my attire, or how the layers of it were interacting. Now, I know I have talked at length here about my quest to lose weight. Let me be clear: I do have a bit of a baby paunch. I hope to lose 20-30 lbs. But I am tall and I carry the weight pretty well. And I am not obese, nor do I have a bizarre concentration of flab around my mid-section. It's definitely not the contoured piece of magic I would like but at this stage I think I've done pretty well. I've retained elasticity, generally speaking.

Unfortunately, wearing a double-front-pocketed hoodie under a winter coat that ties around the waist (a little high, but in theory that makes my legs look I'm laughing at myself because as you will see that's redundant) results in the impression that I am not only carrying concentrated weight in my midsection, but in comments like the one a lady made during our foray down isle 11:

"Aren't YOU brave; two in the cart and one on the way!"

Sigh. I won't dwell, but I AM PMSing and it did NOT make my day. By the time we left the store, all three of us were on the verge of tantrums.

Luckily, I have an awesome husband, who the next morning told me to take the day off! Totally last minute, but what joy! I may not have mentioned it but I really don't get days off. Kids don't leave much room for it. So I TOTALLY THRIFT STORED MY WAY AROUND THE TOWN, LIKE ALL DAY! It was awesome! I got a whole bunch of stuff that made me really happy. Nostalgic bed linens and the cutest little vase and some gorgeous cushions, a charm bracelet, books,a scarf & hat and a few things for the kids. To name a few. I indulged and had a slice of pizza for lunch, and took my time meandering home. I think I spent about $50.00. I can't say how much I enjoyed it.

Today I started the P90X program & did the first workout. It was a long one - just over an hour of upper body & ab work. A few of the exercises were tough and the hardest part was the fact that my youngest woke early from his nap, so I had to keep pausing the DVD to change diapers, get snacks etc...but he did a few of the exercises with me and was generally good. Every day of this program you get a new workout, and the order of it all is always different. So I think if I can make the time to get the workouts in and do the food prep, I will see results for sure. Today I've done well food-wise and I'm motivated to keep it up.

In other news, the house is rolling along. Windows are going in this week and electrical is being plotted out. Tomorrow we've booked the sitter and will go to choose our kitchen appliances & then meet with the designer to keep the ball rolling on the interior planning. I am overwhelmed by the process much of the time, but so grateful to be doing it!

I have just enough time to post a few pictures of my thrift store adventures before I fall into bed like a dead person. Didn't sleep much last night. No reason in particular. I am just an insomniac when I have too much going on. Enjoy and please leave comments! Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Me, Myself, My Thighs...

Hello all ~

I thought I would focus on updating last week's entry, since it was long and so revealing as to my pursuit of leaner living. Ha.

I am still all about the clean eating. I totally went off the plan for a couple of days on the weekend though. With my sister coming I knew we'd be having wine and goodies. I would say I did fine in that I only had one portion of everything...but it was a full plate. Clean food (and my stepmother was great about making her contribution of roasted root vegetables both clean and utterly scrumptious), but with a serving of polenta and more than I needed over all. Rather than looking at this as a setback, though, I'm going to try to learn from it. I know if I had taken the time to plan and prepare the foods I could have around to make things easier, it would have been, well, easier. The booze are tough not to indulge in - I am, after all, part Nova Scotian (this is not a slag on Nova Scotians - but most of the ones I know like to tip a few)...and I like my wine!

In any case, I did decide to drop my online Weight Watchers subscription because I'm having trouble finding time to track everything. I am following guidelines for portion control and eating every 2-3 hours as the clean eating program suggests, with smaller, more snack-like meals. I'm going to have to put that extra time into the planning and preparation of my meals so that they are ready & on hand when the time comes, and half of my battle will be won!

Okay, so the other thing on the list is exercise. I love to run when I can fit it in, and even enjoy a good, hard interval session on the treadmill when the weather is crappy (here, that's most of the winter). That's what I'm doing for now. It doesn't address my need to tone all of my muscle groups as I lose weight, though, so I caved into my husband's persistent and ongoing recommendations and picked up the P90X program, which is, to put it lightly, going to kick my ass. It uses the "muscle confusion" theory and keeps your body guessing, which if done right should keep me from plateauing unless something dietary is out of balance. The tough part will, as always, be fitting in the workouts, which are about 50-90 minutes each. I will let you know how it goes, and plan to start next Monday. This is not a small investment, but my husband has been borrowing the DVD etc. from a coworker and is totally keen on it so he will continue to use it even if I end up deciding to give up and glue my butt to the couch forever more (I won't. I am too into feeling better). The nice thing is that you can do the whole program at home and not a lot of equipment is involved.

No, I've not dropped any weight yet. But I'm pretty sure I kiboshed that with the booze and polenta. I have faith that it will start to drop pretty quickly once I add the exercise and knock my portions back.

As an added bonus to my still-ample booty, though, my sister is a ridiculously talented stylist, and gave me the best haircut I've had in years. Seriously, like 20 or 30 people have commented since I posted my pic on Facebook. If you love it too, go and see Malissa at IS Salon in Yaletown, Vancouver. I feel great; thanks sis!

I will sign off with a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my other sister, Monica. Hopefully she's enjoying a wine tasting with her girlfriends right now herself. Mwah!

PS: Oh yeah, I started my "People" page too...check out my first entry to your right ~

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Making Changes

So first of all, it's really pathetic that within two weeks of stating that I would write here at least once a week, I have already failed to do that...But I will keep trying. My apologies to you, my faithful NINE followers. Sheesh, I clearly need to write more often if I want an actual audience. Note to self! Though I will say that so far, quality is at least evident over quantity, and thank you for reading.

This week I decided to really overhaul the way I've been eating. I have struggled with this for years because I love to cook, I love to eat, and I love to feed the ones I love. Even working out six days a week, it's been hard to change my body in the ways I'd like to because I haven't yet nailed that right combination. I think what's different now is that I've learned enough, finally, hopefully, to actually understand what to do and how to do it.

I am at home with the kids. That's a huge bonus. I am in the environment from whence my food comes on a daily basis, and I do have control of that. There are a few habits I just haven't taken the time to change in recent years which I am now, and I think this will make a real difference. I KNOW I've been ignoring my body's need for water for years. I've always been really bad about that. I know portion control is key. And I have been addicted to sugar for, like, ever.

I wish I could tell you what EXACTLY has changed for me but I think it's mostly a state of mind. I am at a place where I want to feel better and have more energy, and set a good example of living healthfully for my kids, and BE here for my kids when I am older. I am grateful for so many things, including my health, but I am carrying extra weight and it does stop me from doing things I want to do (won't get into that - that's another talk show)...So I am ready to change it up for good.

The fact that we are preparing to start life in our new home next summer makes it a good time to transition in regard to lifestyle choices. We have put in a pool, and I would like to at least feel alright in my bathing suit when the time comes. I am also planning to grow as much of our food as I can, though that may take a good year or more to set up (and admittedly, my husband currently refers to me as "The Plant Assassin," so there is some learning to do there). We have built our home with the environment in mind and want to reduce our consumerism and increase our reliance on local, organic food suppliers in regard to what we don't supply ourselves with. So, I'm starting with how I plan, shop for and cook our food.

Yes, I do have something concrete to offer. In my quest to get my mind wrapped around real change, I purchased some fitness and cooking magazines early in January, for reading on the treadmill (we've had some bad weather in the last month; thank dog that's looking up). Among them were Oxygen and Clean Eating, which I have since realized are affiliated. Oxygen is nice for it's presentation of fit women with strong bodies rather than super-skinny diet addicts. On the down side is it's excessive advertising of protein powders and metabolic booster-type supplements. Granted, it did provide an article reviewing and explaining the powders, and it does promote a lifestyle that supports fitness competitions - a bit extreme for most of us. So I can forgive my complaints because I find it motivational to read in general. Clean Eating is full of great, simple recipes and carry-on solutions for eating well without depriving yourself. The concept of eating "clean" foods is not new, but it's one Tosca Reno has written a pile of books on. She's featured regularly in both magazines and is an over-fifty fitness model who struggled with weight before her forties.

I decided to pick up one of her books, "The Eat Clean Diet - Recharged" and I haven't put it down. It's mostly stuff I know already, but somehow I find her particular approach to be exactly what I need to get motivated right now. It's got meal plans and recipes and basically, I've cut out all sugar and am eating six meals a day. Oatmeal and fruit and fat free yogurt, lean proteins, black coffee, the works. I have given up all the crap.

So far I've only been doing this for, um, four days. But I FEEL better. A LOT better. I think I just had way too much sugar and refined flours in my diet before. Even while doing Weight Watchers - which for now I'm still doing & will assess whether I still need in a few weeks - you're allowed to eat anything, as long as it fits into your points allowance. That's okay for general weight loss, but it doesn't address the body's needs or addictions, and I think I will be much fitter for giving these things up.

I like my red wine and love dessert (though I rarely indulge in the latter). I will allow myself to have them sometimes. The weird thing is, I am not craving them or having any trouble sticking to my plan. I get to eat when I'm hungry, and these clean foods are actually satisfying me. Go figure.

I will keep you posted on my progress there. In the meantime, I will try to find some of my old "skinny" pics to post to show you what I'm aiming for! I know I will never be 18 again...and now that I've said that, all I can say is thank gawd! I was awfully dumb back then (as many of us are). I'm looking forward to feeling better, long term. And I'm excited to look better too. That's all.

PS: I want to start a page on here for people I like. Just random great folks, like Marissa Tomei and Jamie Oliver and Mary Louise Parker and Robert Downey Jr. (*drools on self slightly*) and also people I actually know who are awesome and need to be shared with the world. I will post links to their blogs, web pages etcetera. I'm psyched to start it up, but for now, it's back to decluttering my kitchen so I can actually show it when we put it up for sale this spring...Adieu.