Thursday, January 27, 2011

Beware, Chickens....Beware!

Howdy everyone! We are having ourselves a fabulous Thursday. Hope you all are too :-) This morning, we went to the grocery store to pick up a few items. Unfortunately, the store is in the middle of a re-model so I couldn't find anything since most of the items I was there to get had been moved to some random location. Not to mention, I think there may have been a power failure at some point because the seafood section stunk to high heavens. It was bad, folks. I had to hold my breath to make it through the store. I was not in the best of moods by the time we were ready to leave. That is, until I walked out the door and discovered that in the 45 minutes I had spent in the store, the sun had come out and it was now in the low-40's. It was magical, I tell you, MAGICAL.

Soooo, I high-tailed it home and Ben and I went outside for about an hour or so. He loves being outside, but it has been so cold and snowy lately that the yard and sidewalks are basically an ice-skating rink which makes it too dangerous to take him out. He was so pumped to FINALLY be outside.....

Notice the snow already starting to melt???......ahhhhhh!!!!! I am not a fan of winter but I will say certainly makes you appreciate the nice-weather days that much more!!

After being out for awhile, Ben found our (empty) watering can in the garage and decided the plants needed some "watering". Well, they do look a bit brown.....

Another funny "Ben" thing I have been meaning to tell you all about is the strange thing he does with his chicken nuggets. He knows that chickens make a "bock bock" sound. And anytime he sees a chicken, he says "bock bock". Well, for awhile now he has been saying "bock bock" at his chicken nuggets. Funny, yes... But the kicker is, in the last couple of weeks he has been looking at his chicken nuggets, saying "bock, bock", hugging them, saying "awww" and then promptly stuffing them in his mouth and eating them. I don't quite know what to make of this. It is hilarious, if not somewhat disturbing.

He also brought his Barney doll to breakfast this morning and tried to give him some of his milk. It was so sweet, but given the chicken nugget incident, I half-expected him to then bite off one of Barney's limbs. Much to my relief....he did not.

In less interesting news, I decided to switch training plans to prepare for my upcoming races. I have always used the Hal Higdon training plans to prepare for races, but I wanted to try something a little more challenging to see if I can really improve my times this year. The new plan I'm using is called the FIRST plan. The awesome part is that instead of running 5 days a week, I will only be running 3. This will give me more time to fit in cross-training. The not-so-awesome part is that the sessions are longer and A LOT harder. I have a somewhat scary 6 mile tempo run planned for tonight. I won't bore you further with the particulars of a tempo's basically running at an uncomfortable speed for anywhere from 3-10 miles (depending on what you're training for) to help make you faster. Well, would you look at that, I guess I DID bore you further with the particulars :-)

I'm looking forward to getting outside for my long run this weekend. I have HAD IT with the "dreadmill". We're supposed to have another 40-something degree day tomorrow so hopefully the snow will be almost gone by Saturday.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Day in the Life

Happy Frosty Friday everyone!

Well, we had a rough day yesterday. Ben's separation anxiety has become intense over the last month or so. I honestly can't even use the bathroom without him pounding on the door and crying to get in. UGH.

Yesterday, MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) started up again after the holiday break. We go every other Thursday for 2 hours and it is my rare opportunity to spend some time with an awesome group of ladies and just eat and laugh and RELAX. It is held at a local church and they provide childcare while we have our meeting. When I dropped Ben off at his room, he cried as usual, but I figured he would calm down after awhile. Ten short minutes into our meeting, another mom came up to me and asked if I was Ben's mom and told me he was still screaming bloody murder and the ladies in the nursery wanted me to come get him. Great. Sooooo, I quickly went downstairs and could hear him clear across the building. He was SCREAMING and yelling mommy and bye-bye. Knife to the heart.

I picked him up and he immediately calmed down. But then I had to bring him to the MOPS meeting with me. If you know Ben, you know that just DID. NOT. WORK. I mean, sitting quietly for the average two-year old boy is A LOT to ask. Asking that of the super-energetic Ben is just impossible. I tried, but alas, we just had to pack up and go home.... Which was a 30 minute process of me, hands completely full, trying to corral Ben to the door while he held on to the water fountain yelling "NO!".

When dinner rolled around, I was not up for our meal-time battle of trying to get Ben to sit in his booster to eat. He usually refuses to sit in his booster seat (meaning, we cannot physically get him in the chair), so we've been letting him sit at the table without it. However, he frequently crawls up on the table and we have to re-sit him in the chair approximately 80 times during each meal. Anyway....I was not up to all that after the day we had, so I let him do this....

Yes, that is indeed my child sitting on the coffee table, eating chicken nuggets from a paper plate, with milk in hand, watching television. I know. You can nominate me for mother-of-the-year anytime you want. I'm not proud of this moment, but folks, there are just times when you are DONE for the day.

In other Ben news, we are going to be starting the potty training process in the next month or two. We bought him a little seat that fits over the big potty seat. He sits on it from time to time just to get acquainted with it. During that time, he usually tries to flush the toilet or shred the toilet paper. He also does a lot hissing as there is a snake (along with several other characters) on his potty seat. He does a lot of talking about "pee-pees and poopies" too, although he has yet to "produce". It's all pretty humorous.

Ben says, "Cheese"......

Sorry for making you read all my challenges of motherhood. Sometimes you just need to get it off your chest. :-) Hope you all have a great weekend!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cooking Myself into an Early Grave

Hello all! Before I get into the particulars of this post, I'm going to give everyone their Ben fix first. Below are some recent pictures chronicling Ben's new-found love of play-dough. One thing he LOVES to do is watch me press the play-dough through one of the little "shape-makers" that came in the kit. When the play-dough comes through, it looks like snakes, so Ben makes his "hissing" sound every time the dough comes out. Very funny. He also hisses when he wants me to get the play-dough out. He goes into the dining room and opens the drawer that has the table cloth in it (which we use only when coloring or playing with play-dough) and hisses relentlessly. It is impossible to say no to that :-)

A play-dough session is not complete until you have made play-dough noses.

Now, on to the main subject of this post. I've been trying to be better about including more veggies in my diet recently. When I get ready for "running/racing" season, I try to step the nutrition up a notch because it's important to give my body what it needs if I'm going to be running 5 days a week. Soooo, to get more veggies in, I've been roasting a variety of them for a side dish, not as my entire meal! (I can just hear my mom..." you ONLY ate VEGETABLES for need MORE than THAT!!!") I had chili too. Roasted veggies are so delish and Ben gobbles them right up. However, the process is somewhat labor-intensive and I have incurred not one, but two injuries as a result.

So, the first injury came when I was trying to keep Ben away from the oven while simultaneously sliding the dish of veggies in there. I accidentally brushed the top of my arm across the top rack of the 400 degree oven. Result below.....

It looks worse than it feels. Actually, it didn't hurt all that bad when it happened and I didn't even notice that it left such a nasty mark until I got in the shower later that night and felt a pain when the hot water hit my arm. Takes me back to high school when I dropped a hot iron on the inside of my wrist and it left a mark that looked like I tried to slit my wrist. Nice. I was always self-conscious about it and thought people were always staring at it. I still have the scar. I digress....

My second accident occurred while preparing a butternut squash for roasting. My goodness...I was not prepared for the effort involved in cutting up a butternut squash. That thing was a beast. I think what I really needed was a hacksaw to get through the darn thing. But then I would have ended up with a stump for an arm as opposed to this......

Yes, this is a very blurry picture of a poorly wrapped fingertip. All I can say is, I took approximately 47 pictures of my hand trying to get one that actually resembled a hand. This is the best I could do. All the other pictures looked like a white blob.

While cutting the squash with a very, very large knife, I slipped and cut my finger pretty badly. And it HURT like a "you know what". With all the nerve endings and such in that region, it's quite the sensitive area. Once I finished cleaning and wrapping it, our poor bathroom looked like a murder scene. Never a dull moment :-) I think I'll stick to eating salads to fulfill my veggie servings for awhile. Or better yet, maybe I'll just drink V-8 juice (no chance of injury there....knock on wood).

On the running front, things are progressing nicely. My endurance is starting to come back and I'm hoping my speed will get back to normal as well. I can't wait for some warmer days (and by warmer, I mean anything above freezing) so I can run outside. I'm not a fan of the treadmill. Plus, ours is permanently stuck at a 1.5% incline (it will raise, but it won't lower) so I'm always going uphill. Granted, it's not a large incline, but you start to feel it after 5 miles, trust me. I'm looking forward to the State Farm 10 miler coming up on March 26th. I'm really hoping to finish in a time of 1:25:00 or better. I guess we'll see!

OK, that's all I have for today. Have a nice evening everyone!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Life Changers

Greetings from the frozen tundra!! Today, the high was a balmy 8. However, with the wind chill, it was like 10 below. Lovely. Yesterday we had about 7 inches of snow to boot. Normally I would be all out of sorts about it, but the weather folk had forecast anywhere from 7 to 10 inches in our I'm good with the 7. It wasn't as cold yesterday, so Ben and I bundled up in our winter gear and headed outside for about 30 minutes or so......

It seemed like an occasion for the fur hat to come out. It is a rugged, manly contradiction to the more feminine, powder blue snowsuit.

Poor kid could barely walk because the snow came up to his knees in the back yard. I think he had fun though. At least, as much fun as one can have when they have snow in their gloves and can barely move :-)

Switching gears. In keeping with the whole "beginning of a new year" hoopla, I figured I'd throw out a few fun, random suggestions you might want to give a whirl in 2011. You never know, one of these could change your life.....

READ THIS: I recently finished a book my mom gave me for Christmas. It is called The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven (title is self-explanatory). It is written by Kevin and Alex Malarkey. It is INCREDIBLE. Although I absolutely believe we go to either heaven or hell when we pass, I have always been skeptical of stories from people who said they died and came back. This story is, without a doubt, the real deal. There were parts of the book that completely overwhelmed me. It is just an amazing story that shows what an awesome God we serve!! Read'll be glad you did.

DO THIS: Try a new form of exercise! Perhaps running!! Since I took up running a couple of years ago, I can't say enough about what it has done for me mentally and physically. It is almost like free therapy. Seriously. And anyone can do it....ANYONE!! (Unless you're injured or your doctor says don't do it, of course).
I know it is difficult to get started. When I first started, I thought I was going to die after the first couple of minutes. No joke. But I took baby steps to improve. First, a quarter mile without stopping, then a half mile and so on. Before I knew it, I was up to three miles and it just kept building from there. And the sense of accomplishment that comes with meeting each of those goals is thrilling. Also, if you're looking to lose a few lbs in the new year, there are few activities that burn more calories than running. Not to mention what it does for your health. So, give it a try. A real try. If you hate it, fine. But, you just may love it!!!

LISTEN TO THIS: At the start of the year, the Christian radio station I listen to threw out a challenge to only listen to Christian music for an entire month and see what it does for you. I started listening to Christian music about 3 years ago. Before that, I listened mostly to top 40 music and I had the (false) impression that Christian music was boring and dorky. Then, I found a contemporary Christian station I love (KLOVE) and now I listen to it every day. The positivity and hope that comes from the music and conversations on that station is such an important part of my daily life now. I can be having a horrible day and I will ALWAYS feel better after listening to it. I don't necessarily love every song they play, of course, and I still listen to top 40 every now and then. But if you're looking for an encouraging, clean, kid-friendly radio station, I would recommend giving Christian radio a try. If you want to go all out and give the "one month challenge" a try, by all it! Here are some songs I LOVE....

RELAX WITH THIS: More often than not, I am a big, old, ball-o-stress. I think I was born stressed-out. It's something I've been trying to get a better handle on over the last few years because it has really started to affect my sleep. A few years ago, a doctor recommended progressive muscle relaxation as a way to lessen my stress and anxiety. She gave me a 30 minute CD that guides me through the process. Sweet mercy, that thing has been a life saver!! It basically works by guiding your body through a series of tightening and releasing the major muscle groups. The idea is that your body will become more aware of the difference between tension and relaxation so you can better recognize when your are becoming tense and can nip it in the bud before it gets out of control. I don't know about all that, but I do know that I feel like a wet noodle when I get done with it....and then I sleep like a baby. I'm sure there are many other CDs, books, etc. on this method. If you are a stress ball like I am, try it out!!

I could throw out some more brilliant "ideas", but this dissertation would then become a novel. So I won't. I just wanted to share some things that have had a positive impact on my life. Hopefully at least one of them will do the same for you :-)

Have a great evening!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Things...and also, Stuff

Those of you who have met Ben know that he is very, um, energetic. He is always going...unless he is sleeping, which is becoming a rarity these days. Well, within 15 minutes of waking up this morning, he apparently was ready to go shopping. Personally, I think he should do something with that hair first :-)

When I try to get ready in the mornings, he loves to get in the closet and play dress up. His favorite accessories are mommy's boots and the occasional headband.

Today, one of my tote bags caught his does compliment the boots nicely.

After "shopping" it was onto Ben's latest addiction. And I'm very,very sorry to say that addiction is Barney. Barney is threatening to take over our television and our lives. Ben doesn't want to watch anything else. If I let him, he would watch the same Barney video over and over, all day, every day. As a result of his addiction, Ben is also becoming agoraphobic....he doesn't even want to leave the house. And when we do leave the house, he just talks about "T.T." non-stop ("T.T."is Ben's version of "T.V."). We will be staging an intervention in the very near future.
Below is a picture of the offender. Sure, he looks innocent enough, but he has big plans, people, BIG PLANS! And those plans are evil.

Below is a picture of Ben eating a snack while watching Barney. In case you are wondering, we do NOT allow him to eat his main meals while watching T.V. But he eats most of his snacks at his picnic table and, yes, Barney is usually on during this time.

Ok, on to more shocking news....I have been cooking lately!! I know....I told you it was shocking. It's no secret that Greg and I are not the best cooks in the world. Now, to be fair to myself, I do "make" all of Ben 's meals. He rarely eats take-out, unless it's pizza....he LOVES pizza. However making meals for a toddler doesn't exactly count as "cooking" in my book. It basically consists of a lot of fruit, vegetables, mac-n-cheese, bologna, yogurt, eggs, etc. I also make my own meals during the day...again, simple stuff...grilled cheese, grilled peanut butter, tuna, chips, salad, fruit, etc. When it comes to dinner, however, Greg frequently brings home take-out for he and I.

Lately though, I have been cooking. Greg adores chicken and noodles, so I found a recipe that seemed easy enough and sounded pretty decent and guess what.....he (cue the singing angels) LOVED it!!!! AND I made garlic mashed potatoes (a Wheeler family favorite) and those were delish as well. The only draw-back is that the whole process took about 2 hours and that isn't counting the clean-up time. This reminded me why I rarely cook. It is not easy to keep a toddler occupied (code for "out of trouble") for a lengthly period of time. I guess I just need to find more recipes that don't take so long. I'm thinking more crockpot dishes would be good. I think I'll be making turkey chili tonight. That one isn't new though...I've made it quite a few times. Very simple, pretty tasty and very healthy to boot!

If you are still reading this post, bless your heart. I know this isn't very interesting stuff but tis the life of a stay-at-home mom.

Just one more topic to cover. And it's one you'll likely be hearing a lot about in the coming months. Running. I'm officially "in training" for the spring racing season. And oh my sweet goodness do I hurt!!! I ran a few times last week and felt better and better with each run. And then I decided it was time to add weights back into the equation. Like a moron, I decided to do 2 of my P90X videos in one day. Actually, it was one and a half, but if you ask my body it will tell you I did 7. I am not even exaggerating when I say I feel like I was hit by a truck. And not one of those dinky pick-ups. I'm talking a semi. Every single muscle in my body hurts. Note to self: No more two month hiatuses from working out. It only results in PAIN!!!!!

Alright, I'm pretty certain no one is still reading this post at this point (and I don't blame you), so I'm calling it a day. Make it a great one, folks!!!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

And a Happy New Year!!

Ok, so I promised in my last post that I would include some photos from Christmas. I don't have many, unfortunately, but here ya go.....

Our niece, Reagan on Christmas day.....she just turned six at the end of December and during her party, she broke her leg. Poor thing!!!! Sending out prayers for a quick recovery!!!

Ben with Uncle Mike.....

My cousin, Kelsey, helping Ben with his new favorite hobby...trying on adult boots.

Greg, Ben and I at my Uncle John and Aunt Sandy's on Christmas Eve....

My cousin, Sara, her hubby, Patrick and their girls, Savanna and Lorelei (Rory).

Kelsey with the kiddos.....

Christmas cuteness.....

At my mom and dad's house (look at Ben's hands.....when he says "cheese" for a picture, he almost always includes this hand gesture and facial expression that reads "why am I saying cheese?"'s hilarious.)

Ben says...Happy New Year!!!

Wish I had more pics to share, but I was too busy having fun with family :-) Hope you all have a happy and blessed 2011!!!

Love, Greg, Brooke and Ben