Sunday, December 16, 2012

Abby, the four year old.

Saturday was a nice day - it was sunny and relatively warm with the highs in the 40s.  I had pitched the idea to Abby a few days prior about having a photo shoot with just her and me.  She asked, "but what about E?" to which I responded that E could come too if she wanted her to.  Abby added, "No.  I don't want her to come"  

And fair enough.  We don't get one-on-one time.  Any of us.  I can't remember the last time I did something with just Abby beyond playing with her for a while when I let her stay up during nap/quiet time.  And E and I only get one-on-one time in the rare minutes that she wakes up before Abby.  So, you could tell that Abby liked the idea from the get go.  

So we set out to the nearby park and picked out picture location after picture location.  Abby switched with me and took some pictures of me for a while.  After about half an hour, she was getting cold so we took a hot chocolate break.  A few more pictures after that and she wanted to play on the playground.  So, we did that for a while until we were both getting chilly.  We decided to extend our time together with a treat.  Abby picked donuts and we sat in a warm Dunkin and shared chocolate donuts while Abby marvled over and over about how the cashier had given her a donut sticker AND had given one to her bull, Ferdinand.  That detail - about the stickers - was what she would recount about the day to Kyle over and over.  :)  

Abby is a joy.  At four, she's developed a new level of...what's the word, maturity?  Poise? She's more kid than ever before.  She has been telling me for a week now, "I'm big now, so I can do all sorts of grown up things"  

Knock on wood - 4 seems to be the easiest age yet.  Abby really is able to do things herself most of the time, and more importantly, she has an understanding and handle on her emotions.  She's never been an overly difficult child where tantrums and such are concerned - but she just seems to process things with more understanding now.  If she's told "no" to something, she may pout - but she doesn't typically do much else.  If she does talk back or anything, a quick reminder about manners sets her back on track.  

Overall, Abby is a kind girl.  Thoughtful and affectionate.  So loving.  Creative, smart, and funny.  She is everything I ever wanted my little girl to be.  She is the best big sister to Elizabeth.  Their spats are short and few.  They play together - and entertain each other and they just love each other so much.  This age, for both of them, has proven to be so much fun.  I'm really enjoying it - and I already know that this will be one of those periods of time that I eventually look back on fondly.

I'm the luckiest lady in the world to be this little one's mom.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012


This year marks the first year that Abby has had a really good concept of "birthday"  Meaning, she has had the mind to anticipate it.  For months...since summer, perhaps. :)

With the ability to anticipate things - comes the growing excitement of the event itself.  And Abby's excitement and anticipation of her birthday were contagious and fun to watch.

We decided, after thinking about what it is that Abby is into right now, to have a painting party.  The child is at the age of arts-n-crafts.  This is the age I imagined when I thought about becoming a mom one day - crayons and glue-sticks, glitter and construction paper.  It really is a lot of fun.

So, we had a painting party on Tuesday this week during our normal playgroup time.  I think everyone Abby knows came, and we had a very full house of little ones and parents.  I was a little worried that the party supplies I had ordered weren't going to make it when they hadn't arrived an hour before the party.  But, the FedEx man pulled through and we got everything just in time.

For the party, we ordered 8x10 canvases, smocks, and paint brushes and put them together for the kids. We had paints and glitter for the little artists to enjoy.  We had paint palette cupcakes and paintbrush rice krispie treats for favors. We kept the rest of everything pretty simple.  Some easy appetizers, ordered pizza and bought ice cream cups.

The kids had a great time and the mess was actually minimal ;)  At one point, Abby turned to me - beaming from ear to ear and declared "Mom!  This is the BEST birthday EVER!"  And - what else can you want to hear?  Abby played with her friends - the girls mostly escaped to her room to play dress up and doctor while the boys threw balls around and played chase.  The moms got to chat and I think it all went very well.

That night, after the girls were in bed, I went downstairs to clean up a little more.  I grabbed a piece of pizza and sat on the couch.  I woke up an hour later - 1/2 a slice of pizza still in my hand.  Ha :)  I guess I was a little worn out.

Wednesday was Abby's actual birthday.  It's a hard concept of having a party on one day and a "real" birthday on another day.  When you're 4 - a party = birthday.  Abby quietly asked me first thing in the morning, "Mom?  Am I four now?"  When I said "yes" She beamed and chattered on about how she was a big kid now and how she could do all kinds of grown up things.  Indeed.

I had to work of course for most of the day, but when we got home, we opened a few presents from the family and I loaded the girls up for a "birthday surprise"  Abby tried to guess where we were going the whole ride.  It was, E, however who - upon seeing Chuck-E-Cheese - started shouting and clapping and saying "Basketball!" was the one game she could see through the window.  They girls had a great time.  It was pretty empty - much to my relief.  They played games, collected tickets, rode rides, ate food, watched the scary robot characters and got prizes.  E was nonstop motion the whole time and Abby didn't stop smiling.  So - birthday surprise - success.

My big girl had a really great birthday - she keeps telling me so.  Thank you to all of you who helped make it special.  :)  Here are a few pictures for now....I took "real" ones with the camera before the show, but it'll take me 6 months to get them pics win.

Monday, December 3, 2012


We decided to get a tree this weekend.  In the past, getting a tree has always been a question of timing.  Do we do it before Abby's party and then have a house full of toddler and birthday decor competing for attention with a big tree and christmas decorations?  Or, do we wait until after her birthday and only have the tree up for a week or so before we leave to fly home to AR?  

This year, we decided to enjoy the tree all month and get one early.  It snowed on Saturday morning.  Just a dusting, really, but it added a nice feel to the morning.  We packed up the girls and drove to our church where they sell trees.  We let the girls run around a little bit and we eventually picked out a tree that we thought was not too small and not too big (of course, it's about twice as big inside the house as we thought it would be, but -eh)

Doesn't E look so old here? Not a baby anymore. :(

Abby was so excited about decorating.  We made her wait until after nap time so we could get out the decorations and let the tree dry off for a while - and that was SO hard for her.  She kept sneaking little pieces of play-doh on the tree as ornaments and sticking socks in the branches and such.  Eventually, however, the girls were up and we decorated the tree listening to Christmas songs.  It was nice. They did a very nice job. 

That night, Kyle and I did something uncharacteristic.  We went out.  Like, we got a babysitter and left the house to go to a dinner party.  One of Kyle's friends had invited us to partake of a tradition amongst his friends called "Piemas"  It's a night of eating where every course is some sort of pie.  We had pie appetizers, dinner pies, dessert pies.  It was interesting, fun, and yummy.  We had a nice time.  And the girls didn't miss us.  They got to stay up late- drinking hot chocolate and watching movies.  

After piemas, we came home and prepped for the next morning when Abby would get the elf she's been wanting.  But, I think I'll save that for another post.  Till next time!

Friday, November 30, 2012


I suppose I should blog about Thanksgiving before December gets here, eh?

Thanksgiving was nice.  Brittany and Jason drove up from Philly to join us for the occasion.  It was really nice to have some family around and it gave us the excuse to actually cook and make a bigger to-do than if it had just been us.  The girls were very excited to have both of them (and their attention) most of the weekend.  

While we waited on the turkey to cook, Abby and I sat down to make a thankful chain.  We did one last year and still have it.  Last year, however, Abby just told me what to write.  This year - she did a lot of the writing herself.  I was so proud of her.  She knows how to spell a handful of names and words, and I told her how to spell the others.  Her hearts look a little bit more like peaches at this point - but I just love that she wrote as much as she did.  She was pretty proud of herself, too. 

Kyle was a big help with all the food prep.  I think he cooked just about everything with the exception of the turkey and the Armstrong-staple sauteed mushrooms.  It all turned out really well.  We had quite the feast.

The rest of the day was spent watching the Macy's parade and football and vegging out rubbing our bellies.

The next day, we decided to all venture into the city to show Jason around.  It was a beautiful day - just a little chilly but really nice out overall.  We decided to let Abby try her hand (feet?) at ice skating for the first time.  I will say - ice skating on frog pond is a little iconic to me, and apparently I'm not alone, because it is not cheap.  I had a good long convo with Abby before going in that if we went she was not allowed to back out.  But she went, and she loved it.  She was nervous and rarely let go of the wall (only to hold on to our hands of course) but you could tell she was happy and proud.

At one point, as we're skating, Kyle said "careful, you don't want to fall"  And Abby responded, "Daddy, it's ok if I fall, remember?  If I fall, I can always just get back up!"  An old man we were passing heard it and laughed and smiled at her.  She's a sweetie.  And she didn't fall.

We left the ice rink and grabbed some lunch before heading home.  I had fun shooting pictures of the city and just being out with everyone.  It was exhausting too, and we came home and all settled into a lazy evening.  

The next day Brit and Jason joined us for a big brunch at the station diner and then headed back to Philly.  We spent the rest of the weekend cleaning and running errands and checking things off our to-do list.  

All in all, it was a nice holiday.  It was nice to have family around - and nice that we could video chat with the family back in AR, too.  I think we made some good memories. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


So, I'm 30 now.  That happened yesterday.

I imagine that the significance of that will settle in eventually.  Right now, though, it's just another day.

I treated myself to a coffee yesterday thanks to a birthday coupon I got in the mail - yay for not spending money.  My work day was really really busy and I didn't have enough time to get everything done that I needed to.  But, that's ok.

I came home and was happily surprised with cupcakes and a family portrait that Abby and our nanny put together.  Abby's excitement and pride over surprising me with the cupcakes was the highlight of my day.  A very thoughtful friend sent an edible arrangement for our enjoyment and Kyle's sisters sent a goodie box of nice things.  I played with the girls and picked up Kyle from work and took him to class.  We came back home for our typical routine.  I put the girls down and ordered chinese food for my and Kyle's dinner.

And that was that.

Not the most exciting-spectacular-firework-and-sparklers day ever, perhaps.  But, still with lots of good wishes and nice gestures - and for that, I'm thankful.  Perhaps I'll find time some time to do something special to "celebrate" instead of eating too much sesame seed chicken and an early bedtime. Or maybe not, maybe thirty is the beginning of a new low-key.  Either way, it's good to remember that even my low-key days are blessed and I shouldn't take even one low-key minute of them for granted.

Thanks to everyone who made yesterday special.


Friday, November 16, 2012


Today, Kyle and I toured the school that we're hoping to send Abby to next year.  She will be in what they call a K1 class, which is the year before official Kindergarten.  If we stay here in Newton, Abby will go to public school for kindergarten, but our town doesn't do public pre-school and the ones near us are too pricey and not workable with our schedules.

The school we're looking at is a Catholic school just a few blocks from where I work.  She would be there 5 days a week from 7:30-2:45 - which, more or less, mirrors my own work schedule.  Other than having to pay tuition (which is a lot - but reasonable for the area) its a great fit for us.

We'll know if she gets in sometime at the end of January.

It was a little weird though - weird to be the parents taking the tour, weird to see kids her age (and younger) going about their school days.  It was weird to try to imagine her in school full time.  It was weird thinking about dropping her off and picking her up.  I'm definitely going to be a cryer next year.

Of course, I'm pretty confident Abs will love it.  I think she'll thrive with the structure and positive adult attention.  I hope she will, anyway.  This is all new for us, and while it's still a year away - the process starts now...which makes time seem like it's moving faster than ever.

Monday, November 12, 2012

1/2 marathons

Sometime earlier this year - or maybe it was even last year, I can't remember - Billie Jo told me that she wanted to run a 1/2 marathon in order to celebrate turning 30.  Our birthdays are only 3 days apart, so she suggested I run it with her.  We trained together  - long distance style - for most of this year.  We sent each other screen shots of our runs/times/distances.  We sent encouraging words and kept each other accountable.  I've tried running a few times in my life - and even done ok once or twice - but this was the first time that I felt like I got decent at it - and more importantly, really liked it.

Running 5 miles was a huge deal for me.  And then I ran 6.  And I kept adding miles and kept getting stronger.  Billie Jo and I tried to adhere to a similar training schedule, so it was nice to have that push, too.

I ran up until school started in September.  I'm not a fan of excuses, but I just couldn't / didn't find a way to keep up my schedule.  I'd not anticipated 1) how tired going back to school was going to make me and 2) how much time it took to run.  Add into that colder temperatures, shorter days, and daylight saving time which rendered 4pm nearly too dark to run - and I just didn't keep up.  With that in mind, and looming financial shortcomings - I had to back out of traveling to San Antonio to run with Billie Jo.

I was pretty upset by this.  For a lot of reasons.

Now, while I was planning to fly to Texas, Kyle had been training with me to run a 1/2 marathon here in Newton.  Once I decided I couldn't head south - I tried to register for the one here...that literally runs by our street. But, it was sold out.  I even asked about a waiting list or paying extra.  No dice.


All that is to say that this past Sunday - Billie Jo ran her 1/2 marathon in San Antonio and Kyle ran one here in Newton.  And I - watched from the sidelines.  There is definitely a big part of me that feels like  a failure for not being out there too.  And a little part of me that knows I wasn't ready anyway.  It just kinda sucks to have worked all spring and summer with this one goal in mind - just to watch it pass you by.

But, my own shortcomings aside - I am immensely proud of both Billie Jo and Kyle who both completely rocked their courses.  I should mention that Kyle has also not been training very regularly it makes him a little extra sickening that he was able to run the 1/2 so well.  I'm very very proud of them both.

I'm going to try to get back into it a little.  I'll have to settle for a treadmill now that it's cold and dark all the time...which, I think, will make things less fun.  But, maybe, with any luck, it'll keep me 1/2 conditioned so that I can hit the pavement again next year.

Again - thank you to Billie Jo for pushing me to do things I didn't think I could do and to Kyle for always being my running parter (and stroller pusher!).  Love you both, and I'm very much looking forward to the next race we can all do together.

Here are a few pics of Kyle after his race.

this course is known for it's pretty intense hills through miles 6-8

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I've got 5 mins

Let's see how much I can get out. :)

Abby is under the weather today.  As is E.  And me, for that matter.  Kyle is the only relatively healthy one right now...and that's good as he's running a 1/2 marathon this coming Sunday.

It snowed yesterday.  A little early and due to a nor'easter.  It's going to be in the 60's again this weekend.  Crazy.  Abby was SO excited about the snow.  She was chatting 90mph about all the things she could do in the snow.  She's my winter baby 110%

I got off work a few mins early today and sat at a panera by myself and enjoyed a bowl of onion soup.  It was really yummy.  And it was a little nice to have some down time.  It would have been better if I hadn't had to walk home in the snow sludge, sleet and wind....but, eh.

Other than feeling sickly today, the girls have been great.  E is getting to be big.  Literally, I suppose.  She had her 18 month Dr. appointment on Monday and she weighs 26lbs and is 33 inches long.  That's about the 85% for both height and weight.

Both girls got their flu shots.  E got the shot.  Abby got the flumist spray.  I don't have time to get into it, but let's just say she threw a fit that EVERYBODY in that office will remember for their entire lives. It ended with THREE nurses holding her down while I shot mist up her nose.  Completely traumatic and terrible for everyone involved.  Her 4 year check-up is next month, so THAT should be fun.

And - ok - so that's what 5 mins of typing looks like.  In my defense, E closed my computer twice and I had to get up to keep her from trying to stick her finger in an outlet.

Happy days.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

We had a fun time this year.  The girls dressed up as Little Bo Peep and her lost little sheep.  It was appropriate, because E tends to run off a lot.

I got Abby's costume off ebay - I think it was the first thing I've ever won/bought on ebay.  Abs liked it, until she put it on and the wrists were too tight (elastic bands)  After that, she utterly refused to put it back on.  I cut the bands out and spent 2 or 3 days bribing her back into it.  Of course, once she put it on again, she liked it all anew.

I was impressed with how well E did with hers as well.  She also hated it the first time I put it on - but then was magically fine with it - she even left her head piece on all night.

The girls have had a week filled with halloween crafts and activities - movies, pumpkin carvings, paintings, parties, etc.  When Kyle got home yesterday, we got everyone ready and headed out to trick-or-treat.

Last year, Abby was shy about saying trick or treat, but not this year.  She was the first one up the steps most houses.  We met several of our neighbors and all kind of stayed together as a group.  There were about 5 kids plus all the parents (and Brittany got to come too), so we had a good little bunch.  E didn't know what was going on for the first several houses.  She was happy to look at the jack-o-lanterns, but didn't understand the candy thing.  That, of course, changed quickly.  She even managed to say her own version of "trick-or-treat" towards the end of the night - and she was ALL about getting candy.

The girls did great, they had more candy than they could carry home and we had a nice time with our neighbors.  It really is a fun holiday.  :)  The girls had 1 or 2 pieces of candy when we got home and then Abby requested tomatoes.  Funny girl.  Both girls crashed for the night pretty easily when all was said and done.  As did I.

Here are few phone pics.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

back to it

I've been avoiding this blog because I feel that I need to have time and space and mindset required to write about grandma before I can post about other - mundane happenings in our corner of the world.  There have been one or two occasions where I sat down to write and just stared at the screen - not finding the words or the energy I needed to start, let alone finish a post.

So, I'm just going to recap some things because as much as I have to say about grandma - I don't want to forget the little things that are happening right now either.

Jennifer called me to let me know about Grandma, nearly two weeks ago now.  I was at first scared of the thought of not being able to come home, but once I told Kyle the news, he assured me I'd be going.  We couldn't afford for the whole family to make the trip this time around, so I went solo.  I had many conflicting feelings about the whole scenario.  It was such a sad occasion and I'd rather have not have had to make the trip at all.  But, despite the sadness, the fact remained that I was going to get to spend several days with my family.  And that is always a reason for happiness.  On top of that, I was traveling alone.  For only the 2nd time since I've been married.  This means that I time to spend with my family that didn't involve around holiday preparations and business, I didn't have kids to tend to and there was no set agenda apart from the visitation and funeral arrangements.

And so, I went home.  Never underestimate the power of healing a family can have.  I soaked up my family and friends and acquaintances.  Hugs, food, good conversation, laughter, tears, more hugs, reminiscing - family.  It was nice to be there.

The visitation and funeral were nice.  Well attended, personal, sad yet beautiful.  The thought that I kept thinking was that I was sad she was gone but how lucky we were to have had her so long.  My grandma lived every day of her life and left this world mentally sharp and with her days full of activity.  There is a lot to be thankful for in that.  She got to see me married, she got to hold her great grand children and meet, hug, and kiss her newest namesake.  I find comfort in thinking how happy she must be to be with my grandpa again - and, perhaps even more so, how happy he must be to have her again.  I'm going to miss her, but I feel like she's still close.

The rest of the week in Arkansas was a hodgepodge mix of visiting people, good meals and enjoying the city.  We had a family birthday dinner for Michael, David, and Patrick - and I was happy to be there for it.  I hung out at mom and dad's a lot and ran errands with mom.  I had lunch with Jennifer and hung out with Michael after work.  It was good to be home.

I eventually made it back to Boston - the same day that Kyra flew in to visit us.  And I was quickly transitioned from the leisurely week at home to the fast paced scheduled days up here.  Kyra was here for several days - much to the girls' delight.  They are both absolutely crazy about her.  I had 7 photo shoots last week, and I have a lot of work to do on that front.  I've been so very fortunate to have so many people interested in pictures.  Of course, that all had to happen after work everyday and it was a busy week on that front too.  Kyle flew out of town mid week for Colorado and so I had my hands full with the girls and the next thing I know - I blink and it's Sunday night.  Kyle is flying in on the last plane into Logan before they pretty much shut it down for the hurricane.  Brittany was rerouted to Boston and suddenly we have all of us together again.  Again, the girls were pretty excited when they found NeeNee had come for a surprise visit.

We hunkered down at home while the winds blew yesterday.  School was cancelled for me and Kyle, and I must say - I don't remember the last time we all had a full day at home with nothing to do. It was nice, despite the wind and eventual cabin fever.

We never lost power, we only lost roof shingles and some small branches.  I saw several cars smashed by trees and branches on the way to work this morning, and the school had a few trees down as well.  We were certainly fortunate to have escaped further wind damage.  The girls seemed to take it well, barely aware that it was anything more than a rainy day at home.  They slept fine through the night, which was my biggest concern.  Alls well that ends well.

Tomorrow is halloween, and I'm not sure if the rain will stop in time for us to get out or not, but Abby sure is hoping so.  They went to a halloween party on Sunday and had a good time, so hopefully that will suffice if nothing else.

And that brings us to now.  I will find time sometime to write out my thoughts and memories about Grandma.  I want the girls to be able to know about her someday. Thanks to everyone who sent well wishes, cards, flowers, prayers, etc.  Those gestures are so nice in sad times.  Truly, how lucky we were to have had her for so long. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Arkansas Dem Gazette

It's been a whirlwind week, and I will write it about it soon.  But I wanted to document and share a little piece they wrote about grandma in the paper.  Thank you to everyone who has reached out.

Elizabeth Armstrong

Music a big part of stalwart faith

This article was published today at 5:12 a.m.
 — Elizabeth Armstrong was known as the “bread lady” for making two homemade loaves a day for several years to share with others.
“She’d take it to church, she’d take it to neighbors ... she’d bake 60 loaves a month,” said her son, the Rev. Roger Armstrong. “When she passed away, her freezer was full of bread she’d put in bags to give away. At her funeral service, we’ll be using her bread for Communion.”
Elizabeth Fawn Jones Armstrong, an accomplished musician, died Sunday at her Little Rock home from congestive heart failure complications, her family said.
She was 89.
At an early age, Armstrong developed an ear for music.
“I think she was probably prenatally ” interested in music, said her daughter, the Rev. Anne Holcomb. “She sang, she played mostly piano ... she was always there to accompany people.”
In the early 1940s, she found a kindred spirit in Lyle E. Armstrong.
“They’d sit on the short swing,” on her family’s porch, her son said. “As long as it was creaking as it swung, it was OK but, if it quit creaking, someone would peek out of the house and find out what was going on.”
The couple married Oct. 16, 1943, a day after he proposed so they could be married before he shipped out overseas with the U.S. Army for the next few years, her son said.
“Their wedding cake was orange Hostess cupcakes and [the drinks were] Coca-Cola,” Holcomb said.
In the early 1960s, Armstrong began teaching music at the Arkansas School for the Blind in a class where some students were both deaf and blind, her daughter said.
“Sometimes they could feel the pulses of the music or the beat of it,” Holcomb said.
Armstrong translatedmusic and lyrics into Braille at the school and at Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church, so blind people could join the choir, her son said.
For years, Armstrong taught piano and organ lessons.
“When I was practicing, she’d listen in the other room,” Holcomb said. “[She’d say], ‘No that’s supposed to be an F-sharp’ ... she’d say, ‘Just slow down and work out that part.’”
Armstrong and her husband were active in the music and theater scene atthe church and in the community.
“Our family would write songs and musicals,” Roger Armstrong said. “We’d hum out a tune and she’d write it down.”
For the Armstrong family, Dinner conversation became a gameof puns.
“One [pun] would lead to another and we were all groaning, ‘OK I give up, I can’t top that one,’” Roger Armstrong said. “Once, there was a funeral for a Mr. Faucet that had died, but [we knew] two Faucet families. My mom and my sister-in-law said, ‘hot and cold?’”
At 65 years old, Armstrong graduated with a degree in music composition, 45 years after she had begun taking classes.
“She got her first computer ... and discovered there was software to compose music,” her son said. “That was a great help to her, she used to do it all by hand.She had reams and reams of manuscript stuff.”
Armstrong played the song of life with her faith at the conductor’s stand, whether it meant taking in those in need or sharing God’s words with her four children, all of whom became Methodist ministers.
“[My brother said] he remembered asking her once when he was about 5 [years old] ... ‘Why are we here, why do we exist on earth?’” Holcomb said. “[She said], ‘We’re here to help others.’ That was kind of the way she looked at everything.”
Arkansas, Pages 16 on 10/17/2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

apple picking

I don't have long to write, but I wanted to share a few of my favorites from our trip apple picking yesterday.  It was colder than in years past and Abby lost her willingness to play or smile or walk towards the end -  she's definitely getting sick...getting what E has, which we suspect is hand foot mouth disease.  Poor Abs was burning up last night and the report is that she's pretty down and out today as well.  But, illnesses aside, but we had a really nice time.

We love this tradition.  It's one of the few (only?) traditions we've done since Abby was a baby and kept up every year.  Abby is now old enough to look forward to it as much as we do.  And it's so New England-y :)

E had a BLAST.  She loved everything.  Mostly the animals, she could have watched the goats all day long.  I think she liked just being let loose and able to roam the farm. Oh, and picking up baby pumpkins.  She seriously just loved it.

enjoy the pics.

Monday, October 1, 2012


At the beginning of the summer, Brittany was kind enough to let me borrow her copy of the Insanity Workout.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with it - it's a 60ish day workout program that has become pretty popular.  It's expensive, though, and not something I could afford on my own -so I was happy to borrow Brit's copy. 

The first week was a little rough in that my calves felt like they were going to pop off my legs, but they acclimated fairly quickly and I really enjoyed the workouts.  I found that while I wasn't able to complete every second of every workout - I felt great when I'd finished.  I was able to do them for 2 weeks without missing a day.

Then, I went on vacation and took two weeks off.  

But, when I got back, I jumped right back in.  

All the time I was doing Insanity, I was also training for this 1/2 marathon - so, over the summer, I was getting plenty of exercise.  I think Kyle was even worried I was doing too much - but I wasn't.  I was eating more than usual because I had to, but overall, I started feeling stronger and better. 

I was supposed to have finished the program when work started, but due to my 2 week break on vacation, I still had 2 weeks left.  Things got much harder to keep up after work started.  I did a video here and there but wasn't able to keep up with them every day.  And due to the girls being sick, me being sick, and a batch of rainy weather - I haven't worked out at all in 2 weeks.  It's terrible.  All that training seems to slip away so quickly.  

So, I decided to cut my losses and start over from the beginning.  So, today, is day one of Insanity again and I did my workout with 2 little monsters hanging and tugging on me the whole time.  My goal is to do a video on the days I don't run.  With this whole job-thing there's no way I have time to run and do a workout.  Especially since it's getting dark earlier and earlier. 

Anyway.  I'm all off subject.  What did I think about the program? I loved it.  I saw results.  I felt good. Once I hit month two, I hated it because it got hard and it was exhausting.  But, pretty soon I liked it again.  

I didn't take measurements when I started and I only took a handful of before pictures.  And there's no way on God's green earth the internet is seeing those full body shots - but I'll share my arm pictures because I think they do a good job of representing the change I felt.  Overall, I think I lost somewhere around 7lbs and I dropped 1-2 jean sizes - so, I was happy.  I haven't worn clothes this size since I started college.

So, if you're thinking about it - I highly recommend it.  If you can commit to pushing play every day - you won't regret it.  :)

 Left arm pics - Day 1 and 6 week picture

Friday, September 28, 2012

wins & losses

Let's star with the wins.  

Win 1: a new breakfast project that Abby loved.  Painting bread with colored milk and then toasting it.  I imagine it shows up even better on white bread - but they aren't even aware that there's another kind of bread out there at this age, so shhh.  

Win 2: I went to my favorite thrift store the other day and made a lot of good finds.  Among them, this 1980 plastic pull airplane.  Kyle loves airplanes, so we have a soft spot for airplane toys.  Plus, E is at the age where she loves pulling anything around.  The propellor spins when you pull it, and it was $1, so definite win.  I'm such a sucker for old toys (the wooden alphabet puzzle and blocks and wagon were other wins of that same trip)

win 3: in addition to the airplane, I found this awesome wooden doll high chair.  This isn't a very good picture, but it matches the girls' kitchen set really well and is really cute.  The girls looooved it.  The funniest thing was watching E feed the "baby"  Every time she would take the rabbit out of the chair or put him back in, she'd make this strained grunting sound - like we obviously do when we picking her up.  So funny.

Win 4: I found a tie I liked for Kyle at the same store AND, the whole reason I went in there was to look for halloween costumes.  I have an idea of what I want to do for the girls, but I'm broke, so I need to do it on the cheap.  I'm not going to spoil the surprise yet -but I found something that I think will work really well for Abby's costume, and it made me happy. :)

Win 5: both girls let me blow-dry their hair the other night.  This isn't a win because I care if their hair is blown dry or not - but it's a win because they didn't cry and scream and run and hide when the hair dryer came on.  Abby would only let me use the low setting - so her hair took forever, but it was nice they weren't afraid. 

And now for the losses.  

While shopping at before-mentioned awesome store - I got a parking ticket.  BOO.  
Sadly, it was justified as I failed to notice that my inspection sticker expired 2, almost 3, months ago.  I was upset about the ticket, but more annoyed that it was due to my own oversight.  I need a reminder about these things.  

So I took the car in for an inspection today.

Loss 2: It FAILED the inspection.  The car people said my 2 front tires were too worn down to pass inspection.  So I need new tires.  They quoted me for the tires - and then clarified that that was the price for *each* tire - not both as I'd assumed.  Fail.

Loss 3: It's raining today, which is the most recent of reasons (and excuses) that I've not run in almost 2 solid weeks.  Terrible.  I fully intended to get back on the pavement this week.  Then the girls got sick, then I didn't feel well, then it was cold and raining.  Blah.  Excuses excuses.  

but at least she's still cute in her raincoat. ;)

So that sums up my past 24 hours or so.  Wins and Losses.  But, I'm thankful that there are still more wins at the end of the day.