Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Reality Check

Friday marks the start of 2010. Resolutions abound this time of year -- losing weight, stop smoking, eat this not that, work less, blah blah. Years ago I stopped making resolutions to not do things and started thinking of things that I could do that would enrich my life and the lives of those around me. Oh, wait, that was Lent. Nevermind.

My Christmas present from Frank was twofold: a trip to Vegas to see Garth Brooks (half of which I paid for) and a gym membership (which I've been desperately missing since we moved two Julys ago). So, my "New Year's Resolution" is to make weight loss a priority - a little generic and unoriginal but a big deal for me. However, there is strength in bandwagon numbers: the area gyms are all running promotions. I've been researching a few, and we ultimately decided to get a YMCA membership. Some friends have it which means that we can all take classes together or have pool playdates over the summer. Also, it was the best bang for our proverbial buck. The whole family has access to Y programs (Olivia will be starting swim lessons in 2 Saturdays!), and the monthly fee is still less than some other gyms. Ultimately, though, the number 1 reason we sought out the YMCA: they are running a special right now, waiving the application fee ($150). SOLD to the family on the left with the 9 month old! Oh, alright, we'll take the 1 week free trial membership just to make sure.

Today I decided to check-in with my current bad-ass self... turns out I'm more flabby-ass than bad-ass. Still, I woke up this morning and said, you are going to evaluate what's going on with your body. This was, truth be told, a tad depressing. Once upon a time I was a size 4/6 wearing a cute string bikini and heels (not at the same time -- I'm not a porn star). I had muscles and abs of steel. Now I have the knowledge that I have abs underneath the stretched skin surrounding my navel area. Overshare? My bad.

The silver-lining? I've lost 36 pounds since giving birth to Olivia. My shape still wears clothes well... as long as they have no waistband whatsoever. I eat much better than I did before... except chocolate and Chick-fil-A. In fact, I've only gained 0.4 pounds since my last Wii weigh-in one month ago. (To be fair, though, I had lost 2 pounds before the holidays and gained 3 over the holidays.) And I've always felt like cardio-workouts were the missing link. The necessary chute in my Chutes and Ladders Game of Life. The Gabba Gabba! to my Yo.

So, today I stood on the Wii and saw that I had 30 more pounds to go and a BMI of 28.43%. I looked at myself in the mirror and watched in horror as parts shook even though I stood motionless. I felt the pain radiating from my thigh- and butt-muscles due to the mere 35 mins on the eliptical machine yesterday. I realized that in signing Olivia up for swim lessons, not only would she need a swimsuit, but so would I. Then, I went to the Y and made the temporary membership a permanent full one. Angels sang. Wait, I'm sorry, that was the pain resonating in my bum still. So sorry for the confusion.

So here we go, friends. Off on a mission to lose the rest of this weight. Join me. Or at the very least, support me.

Monday, December 28, 2009

All I Want for Christmas...

is my lower front TOOTH! Lost? It's ok, let me fill you in.

On Wednesday, December 9th, Olivia started to get sick (two days before a well-visit - that's why I remember). It was a tiny cough. Nothing to be worried about. At her well-visit, Dr. D. checked her lungs (fine) and determined that it was probably from all the congestion and post-nasal drip (yummy). The following week was filled with a very sick baby who spent two days home from daycare coughing thick, mucousy coughs (I think I posted about that, though not in such tantalizing detail) and another trip to the doctor (again, just a cold). This led to the snow weekend where both Liv and Daddy were sick (I definitely posted about that) and Mommy wished school hadn't closed (I'm being honest - it's MY blog).

Side note: Olivia has been sleeping through the night since she was about 5-6 weeks old. This bliss came to a tragic end the week of Christmas when Olivia decided sleep was not her style. Admittedly, she also had that amazingly hacky cough. There were several days - er, nights - in a row where she was up from about 1am - 4am. This created some super cranky days... for everyone... Ev-Ree-One.

So Frank and I were going back and forth -- teething? Just sick? She's been feeling better (still coughing like the dickens when she wakes up) and sleeping through more of the night, so we assumed it was just a blip. A sickly, hacking blip. Then, last night, Mom Mom found it. Found the poke of her first tooth breaking the gum. And today it was the tiny top ridges of the lower [her] left front tooth. Of course, she's still miserable but all in all much better. Cross your fingers for a full night's sleep!

Since we obviously don't have any pictures of her tooth [yet], I'm posting pictures from Christmas (you know, that minor holiday we just had) which was full of fun and excitement. Olivia did eventually get the hang of opening gifts. She loves her maraccas and drum, courtesy of Santa, and her homemade board book, courtesy of Mommy (there will be a future post about that). Frank videotaped the entire hour long event, which we are going to try to edit and get online somehow. And Ive decided I need a better camera; one that takes good, clear, non-flash photos when other people use it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We Need a Little Christmas!

One thing that the "snow day" this past weekend helped us get done: decorate our tree! The poor thing had been standing in our family room all alone with just the lights (to be fair, it's a pre-lit tree) looking very sad. Not being able to go anywhere allowed us to get the job done. The tree turned out beautiful this year (Amen to Pier 1's day after Christmas 50% off sale!!). Thank you, Rebekah for the blog post on taking a quality tree picture.

Liv helped in her own way, very much enjoying the sparkly garland.

And when all was said and done, I snapped these two Sears-esqe shots of Olivia in front of the tree. I'm still impressed that she sat still long enough to get a non-blurry shot!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snowed in!

For those of you living in a box, the East Coast got slammed with a huge snowstorm this past Saturday. Our area got about 17 inches of snow! It reminded me of my childhood, except no one knows what how to drive or clean off their sidewalks and cars. We've been stuck inside for a bit because of it, but I thought I'd post the pictures I took. And just so everyone knows, I cleaned off my car - not Frank. Thank you very much. I also shoveled our porch (yes, our porch!) and most of the sidewalk. It took me two shifts and over 2 hours, but I did it on my own. Who needs a man?!?!

These two photos were taken from our front door before I even went outside. In hindsight, I should have taken a picture of all the snow on the porch (probably around 2 - 3 inches) but you'll see the aftermath of my shoveling below. And yes, there is a road behind the cars...
This as the porch after I shoveled and swept it.

This is the alleyway between our house and the neighbor's. We share the walkway. Eventually Frank shoveled it because we keep the trash cans behind the house. The unfortunate thing is that the melting snow will cause this alleyway to become a huge sheet of ice. You can see it starting in this picture. Luckily, my husband minored in the application of rock salt in college.

This is a shot of one of the cars for a guy who lives on the street. To be fair, this was more a snow drift/plow pile than a result of the snowfall, but still, it's pretty impressive.

And here is what I had to do to get to my car. FYI, there was a ginormous pile of snow (see the above picture) in between Frank's car and mine which I shoveled... and carried to our yard so as not to dump the snow into the street... which an a-hole up the road was doing. Are you sensing my anger?

This is the road-side of my car which I had started to shovel out. I ended up taking a break at this point simply because I was exhuasted. Yes, my tire was covered. Yes, eventually I had to shovel the plowed snow away from car so that it could hope of getting to the road.

And here is the front of our house. Normally there are small bushes and grass, and yes, the pile of snow created from shoveling and car-cleaning was pretty much as high as the fence.

My car hasn't moved still because after spending all that time cleaning it off, I don't want to lose my space! Thank goodness, my school closed today!

Product of the Moment

I've decided to try a recurring blog post where I talk about something useful in my life. An homage to whatever is getting me through the moment. For this first post, I'll be saluting all the items that have helped me stay flu & cold virus-free. For those of you who haven't been able to get in touch with us it's because our house has been a little under the weather. First, Olivia got a nasty cold/cough; it started Dec. 9th with just a cough and gradually progressed into a full-on head cold. She even stayed home from daycare two days last week! She's starting to feel better but as you can see from the second picture, we're still wiping away snot. Then, Frank came down with it this past Thursday and stayed home from work Friday and today. He's still feeling a little blech. Luckily, I have the immune system of someone who's worked with kids for 8+ years, so I got a little sick on Saturday, was stuffy on Sunday, and felt just fine today. Poor Livie and Frank, I was the last to get sick and the first to get better.

Either way, I'm featuring all the products that I've been obsessively using lately (minus the tissues, zinc drops & clementines which I was too lazy to take a second picture of). Friends, the old hand-washing & hand sanitizer safeguards really do work! We have a bottle of hand sanitizer in every room! And, for those of you thinking, "That doesn't work; your body gets used to it." You are wrong! 100%, absolutely wrong. What you are thinking about is anti-bacterial hand gel, which does NOT kill viral germs. It does kill bacterial germs but both the good and bad kind, which means your body can develop resistant bacterial strains (or something along those lines). Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is used in hospitals because it kills viral germs on contact and is almost as effective as washing your hands. The difference is that by using soap and placing your hands under running water, the germs are swept away. Seriously, look it up. Now, go wash your hands and disinfect your house! Livie says!

Friday, December 18, 2009


While not formally doing a crawl of any sort, I snapped these to prove that she has learned how to effectively move herself... albeit not pretty or efficient. She does a push-up and on the way up (or down, I guess), she positions herself differently in order to get where she wants to be. The photos came out slightly blurry because she was still pushin' up and down when I took them. Ha ha -- it wasn't even worth a video because I didn't think anyone had 10 minutes to kill nor did I think my batteries would last.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Olivia Meets Santa(s)

At the encouragement of Grandma Jo, Olivia had a photo with Mall Santa back in November. She didn't cry which was shocking because she tends to cry with new people. She did, however, make a great "who the hell is this guy?" face.

This encounter seemed to help the next one at the D'Amico Family Christmas Party go well. Not only did Olivia not cry, but she seemed to enjoy being with Santa. Initially, she still made a "what the hell is up with you bearded men in red suits???" face, but as you can see it quickly turned sweet. Apparently there are even pictures of her laying her head on his chest floating around out there somewhere.

I smell Christmas cards!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Many Faces of Livie

Here are some pictures of Olivia taken at random times during the month of November. They make me smile, and since this time of year is a tad stressful, smiling is oh-so-very important! Hope you smiled, too!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fun in Clarks Summit

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, we trekked up to Clarks Summit to meet Grandma Jo for a few hours. Olivia had a great time visiting and was super fantastic at the restaurant. This was the first time EVER that she was able to sit in the restaurant high chair. Check out how little she looks! We could barely see her head over the table. She had a blast, though, playing with toys, Grandma Jo, and puffs... which made for a very messy floor!

Hmmm, why is her mouth open? Does she know her mouth is open?

Mom, you saw that, right? She's crazy!

Crazy FUN! You should have pulled this out earlier!

Grandma Jo is the best. I can't wait to do this again!

Afterward Liv meant Santa for the very first time! Check out her reaction in a future blog post!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Customer Service

I know I've plugged the website Babysteals.com pretty frequently. I've snagged quite a few amazing items from the site (I'm sure everyone is familiar with the baby legwarmers Olivia is often sporting). For those of you not in the know, it's a website that offers one baby item deal at 50% - 80% off retail price each day, posting at 9am MST (11am EST). On cyber-Monday, I made a purchase, but several days later I found two packages in my mailbox. Since I had bought something else in the interim, I opened both and was surprised to see two of the same thing. Worried that I had clicked the "submit purchase" button twice, I checked my receipt and my credit card -- I only paid for one. Now, many people out there would have said nothing, kept quiet and just silently prayed that no one would notice. But I don't want that karma around Christmas! So I e-mailed the customer service people at Babysteals and asked how I could get the item back to them. Well, several e-mails later and one re-delivered package that the post office wouldn't "return to sender" (policy says it can't be opened), I asked for a prepaid mailing envelope. Customer service wrote back: I just spoke to the warehouse and he said - just keep them, as our gift to you - Merry Christmas, hopefully you can find a good home for them! Wanja

So, thank YOU, Babysteals, for your generosity during this holiday season. And to anyone reading this post, pass the information along -- Babysteals.com is a fantastic company and comes highly recommended by me!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Back when I was pregnant, I made the decision to breastfeed Olivia. Not only is there all the health benefits for mom and baby, but practically, it was cheapest. Let's be honest, not working for 6 months made frugality a high priority. I figured I'd be fine nursing her until I went back to work, at which point, I would wean her and that would be that.

Well, that wasn't that. Despite many struggles early on, we persevered, and I went from disliking it to loving it. Through pumping and freezing, I managed to keep most of (and then half of) her feedings milk-based through these 8 months. But, the day had to come when I ran out of frozen milk. I knew also that I would eventually stop pumping, and that she would eventually stop nursing. It just hasn't been an easy transition for me emotionally. And on December 3rd, we used her remaining frozen milk for a bottle at daycare. Even harder was the night recently when she refused to nurse completely. Ultimately she was both full from dinner and exhausted, and she has been nursing better since. However, I definitely did not handle it well; I was mopey all night. I ended up contacting a friend who encouraged me that Olivia is just getting older. I guess self-weaning happens, but I've been hoping it wouldn't happen until later.

Regardless Olivia is getting bigger, and she's eating so much food, which is something to be celebrated. In fact, I took advantage of a Black Friday deal at Babies 'R' Us where our favorite jarred food was buy one case, get one free. This purchase came on the heels of other grocery store and Target purchases of baby food. When I put all the food together, I was amazed at the visual representation of how far we've come! No wonder my baby girl is nursing less and less - she's eating more and more real food!

So, it is what it is, and life goes on. Olivia grows up, and I must learn to accept where she's going, not hang on to what she was. And formula is just as easy to manage... I can definitely live without my deflated chest causing my squishy tummy to stick out more!
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