Saturday, July 30, 2011

Madison

This morning, I woke up and immediately went for a 3-mile run in my sister's neighborhood. I knew if I waited, that I would just skip the run, so I wanted to get it out of the way. When I was done, I took a shower and got ready to head to Madison with Jerry.

It took about an hour to get here from my sister's house--not a bad drive at all. We went to the hotel, even though it was only 11 AM, and asked if we could have an early check-in. They let us, even though check-in was at 3. The view from our room is AMAZING...
The view from our hotel window

This is the farmer's market going on below our hotel... awesome!
We went down to the street and walked around the farmer's market, which took up more than the entire block. We bought some goods, mainly for gifts. I got my sister a chocolate whoopie pie (YUM!), my brother-in-law some jerky, their basset hounds some homemade dog treats, my kids some popcorn. I bought a loaf of whole grain bread for myself, and Jerry bought some cheddar-jalapeno rolls.
Whoopie pies!! This was red velvet and German chocolate.

My loaf of bread

Jerry's cheddar jalapeno rolls

The dog treats for Remy and Lucy
After we dropped our goods off at the hotel, we got lunch from a cool little place called Teddywedgers. It's a teeny tiny little shop that serves nothing but pasties, and it was recommended to me by Robyn. Robyn, thank you so much for the suggestion!! My husband and I both LOVED the pasties, and we plan on getting another for breakfast in the morning ;)  I got a veggie one and Jerry got some sort of breakfast one.
Teddywedgers!  Barely big enough for two people to stand inside (dunno the woman in the pic!)

Veggie Wedgie was my pick--tomato sauce, mushrooms, peppers, and mozzarella

My veggie pasty

This is what it looks like inside... it was SO GOOD
Jerry was completely stuffed after eating his pasty, but I always save room for dessert, so I chose to eat my whoopie pie ;)  I had the red velvet one. The filling was buttercream frosting, which you all know is like crack to me. This was such a great dessert for me!
Red velvet whoopie pie!
After that, we walked up and down State Street for a little bit, and went into a couple of shops, and we stopped for a beer at a brew pub. I'm not a huge beer fan, but my husband loves beer as much as I love wine.
Yes, that is my brown Goodwill dress :)

Some guy on a hunger strike... I wasn't impressed

At the brew pub
Now we are just relaxing in the hotel room for a little bit, and then we'll get dinner. We have reservations at a comedy club tonight, which should be fun. I love comedy clubs!
Yes, that would be wine in my hands

Oh, I have to mention something that I find so neat about Madison... there are bicycles EVERYWHERE. Back home in Michigan, I see maybe one biker when I go out somewhere. Here, there are probably more bicycles than there are cars! There is a bike lane on all the roads in the city (a full-size car lane devoted to buses, bikes, and cars turning right only), and there are tons of bike racks in front of every shop. There are a tons of bicycle rental places on the streets, that kind of remind me of a Redbox ;)  There is no attendant, and you just put in your credit card--$10 for 24 hours. I really need to get a picture of all the bicyclists, because it's pretty amazing. My husband and I both commented on it a few times.


Is your city very cyclist-friendly? Like I said, where I come from, it is very rare to see someone on a bicycle. In Madison, they are EVERYWHERE.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Worst drive ever

We left home at about 6:30 last night to head to Illinois. I will start by saying the ride was HORRIBLE. I seriously thought we were going to die. (I will also inform you that I forgot to take a Xanax before we left, which I usually have to do because I have pretty bad anxiety in the car). But we were driving along I-94 E and there was a TON of construction, which was annoying. But the worst was all of the thunderstorms.

We could see an bunch of lightening ahead of us, and then about 5 minutes later, it started POURING rain. I was panicking because I couldn't see a foot in front of the car. Jerry kept telling me it was okay, but I was still really worried about it. Thankfully, the kids were asleep so they didn't see me freaking out. We ended up driving through 5 thunderstorms, 3 of which were zero-visibility. We finally arrived at my sister's house at about 1:00 in the morning (her time--it would have been 2:00 AM in Michigan).

We stayed up for a little and then finally went to bed. In the morning, my sister had a scavenger/clue hunt set up for the boys. She gave them the first clue, and they had to go find the next clue, etc, until they found their prize at the end. She always does this when they go visit, and they love it!

Opening their gifts--Pokegon cards, which they love right now
After that, we headed to a hands-on museum. The kids had a lot of fun there, but I think I had more fun than they did :)  There was a body exhibit, that focused on having a healthy body. I did a flexibility test, a "hang" test to see how long I could hang from a bar, some sort of balance test, etc. I did pretty well! I wish I had written down my test results when I did this a few years ago at 250+ pounds, just to compare.

A "sit and reach" test... I scored "excellent" for my age at 18.5 inches

Holding on as long as I could... I scored way above average

This was fun! I had to create menus based on the criteria the computer gave me... you KNOW I rocked that test!
Jerry and I played a little game kind of like Battleship
Attempting "Chopsticks" on a keyboard ;)  I failed miserably.
In a mirror maze
 After the science center, we went to my sister's friend's house to let the boys swim. I didn't bring a suit, so I just sat by the pool and relaxed. Jerry wanted to swim, and he didn't bring a suit either, so he borrowed a bikini bottom from my sister... it was HILARIOUS. I won't post the pictures I took of that ;)
We're just going to hang out at my sister's house tonight, and order some really good Chicago-style pizza for a late dinner. My boys just took my sister's dogs for a walk--it was so cute! She has basset hounds, named Remington and Lucy.
Lucy is on the left with Noah, and Remy is on the right with Eli.

Tomorrow, Jerry and I will head to Madison for the night!! I'm super excited about that. Thanks for all the suggestions on things to do and places to eat! I can't wait to check out the farmer's market, and my husband was THRILLED to hear about a place where he can get a pasty. He loves those things!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

24 Hours

THAT is how long it took me to eat an entire box of cereal.

Thanks to Krista at My Journey to a Healthy Berg, I was introduced to Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Raisin Granola. She said it tasted exactly like an oatmeal raisin cookie... so naturally, I HAD to buy it. She wasn't joking about it tasting like a cookie!! Difference is, Krista used a measuring cup for her portion. My measuring cups were dirty I chose to pour the granola straight into the bowl. Twice. For breakfast. Then two more times. For lunch. If I didn't have a family to feed, I would have finished it off for dinner, but I waited until the following morning (yesterday) to eat the rest. I got 5 bowls out of it--and the box stated 8 servings.

I deliberately didn't even look at the ingredients when I bought it, because when something sounds too good to be true (oatmeal cookies for breakfast?!) then it probably is. Of course I checked the ingredients after I ate it, though. And I was right. The second ingredient is... SUGAR. Big surprise, right? ;)


See? I'm SHOCKED that cereal that tastes like oatmeal raisin cookies has 16 grams of sugar per serving. It wasn't that good, though, so don't buy it. IT WAS WORTH EVERY CALORIE!!!  Really. Don't buy it. TRY IT!!!

I took advantage of the sugar high by cleaning the fuck out of my house. My friend Renee is going to be coming over daily to take care of my cats when we're away. When we had two cats, we could just leave a ton of food and water out for them... but with FOUR, the litter box needs to be cleaned at least once a day. Ugh. So I didn't want her to see my disgusting house that I've been too busy to clean properly, so I mopped and dusted and vacuumed. It'll be nice to come home to a clean house, so I'm glad I got it done.

I went for a 30-minute bike ride and a HUGE bug flew right into my arm. I heard a crunch when it hit, and then looked down. Just under my shoulder, there was a big plop of poop? dirt? guts? something or other on my arm. I left it there just so that I could take a picture when I got home and show it to you. I know, I'm so thoughtful!
Gross, right? Bug poop or guts.
Well, I would love to write more, but I have to finish packing for our trip. I'm running out of time! We leave when my husband gets home from work. I'll try to blog while I'm at my sister's house, but I'm not promising anything ;)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jeepers

Yesterday, my kids were playing outside and I decided to get in my 3-mile run on the dreadmill. When I do the dreadmill, I wear just my running shorts and a sports bra, since nobody is going to see me except my kids and maybe my husband. I would never wear that in public, because of my saggy belly.  Anyway, remember how I mentioned Seth yesterday, and the need to keep my doors locked at all times? You can see where this is going...

I was only about a quarter-mile into my run when I heard the back door open. I saw Seth walk through the kitchen and stare at me. He started firing questions at me: "What are you doing?" "What is that?" "How fast does it go?" "Can you run faster than that?" "What's underneath there?" etc etc. I was RUNNING, and it's fucking hard to talk when you're running! So I did my best to answer his questions, and then he made it all worthwhile by saying, "Wow, you're a good runner!"  Hahaha, damn straight  :)
My intention was just a slow, easy run, but I guess it was more of a tempo run

And then (speaking of funny things kids say), Eli (my 5-year old) asked me if he could get a step dad. When I asked him why, he told me that his friends have step dads and he wants one too. I explained what a step dad was and told him that he was lucky that he got to live with his mom AND dad. He thought about that, and then asked if he could have both and then they could both live here. LOL

We went to Jerry's softball game last night. I looked really cute in one of my new skirts, but unfortunately, I have no picture. Apparently, I'm the only one in my family that thinks to take pictures of stuff, which is why I'm never IN pictures (unless I'm with my girlfriends, who love to take pictures!)  I did get a picture of Jerry and my kids...

Eli being goofy. He played in the gravel the whole time.

Noah was actually interested in the game
I felt bad for the kids, because they were expecting pizza at the game. The past couple of games, the plant that my husband works for bought pizza and had it delivered to the game. Not the case yesterday. So we stopped and got pizza on the way home. I ate two three four medium pieces with feta cheese, and now I'm super puffy from all that sodium. I'm going to take it easy on the sodium today so I drop some of the water I'm retaining.

Today I have a dentist appointment for my 6-month cleaning. I hate going to the dentist. After that, I MUST go to the courthouse and pay a ticket that my husband got early this month. The ticket was for expired plates--and neither of us had any clue that they were expired (for 10 months, lol)! The ticket was deserved, but it sucks just the same. $100 for that.

So we leave tomorrow evening for Illinois. After checking out some places online, Jerry and I decided to take our little side trip to Madison, WI. I figured that since we've already been to Chicago, we can skip that. And Milwaukee is much farther from my sister's than I thought. Madison is only an hour away, and State Street looks pretty interesting, so I think we'll go there on Saturday. Not sure about spending the night there yet. I don't want to spend the money, but my kids really want to spend the night with Aunt Jeanie and NOT us ;) 


Have you ever been "caught" exercising by someone you'd rather not have been caught by? 


Have you ever been to Madison? Thoughts?


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Grateful

First of all, I want to thank you all so much for your kind comments on my last entry. I think I was just overreacting. I need to learn to not be so sensitive! :)

Yesterday, I spent a good part of the afternoon combining two kids' bikes together to make one functional bike. There is a little boy that lives a street over from us, and he comes over to play with my boys just about every day. His name is Seth, he's 5 years old, and SO cute. He's extremely talkative and asks 10,000 questions a day--many people would probably be annoyed--but I'm very patient with him because from what I've seen, he doesn't have a great situation at home. Jerry saw his dad yelling at him, and just screaming cuss words left and right, and then grab his bike and throw it up against a tree. We haven't seen any signs of physical abuse, but I hate that his dad screams at him like that. He has the most lively spirit you can imagine in a little boy, and I would hate for his dad to break his spirit.

He hates to go home, and he always comes up with excuses to stay a little longer at my house. I have to keep my doors locked at all times, because he tends to just walk right in my house and start playing ;)  I find it cute, but I don't want him thinking that's okay.  Anyway, he has a bike that's probably 10 years old (he said it used to be his brother's bike)--very rusty and the chain always comes off. I really wanted to buy him a new bike, but I didn't want to step on any toes at his house, so instead, I took Noah's old bike (about 2 years old) that needs new tires and I put Seth's tires on Noah's old bike. Seth was THRILLED and so grateful! He rode it all afternoon. I hope his parents aren't mad that I did that, but I had to put the chain back on his old bike about 6 times yesterday morning, and it was getting ridiculous. I'm happy that it worked out to give him the bike.

I woke up this morning from a dream that I got on the scale and weighed 174 pounds. Yikes! That was a scary feeling. I still haven't weighed myself, but I do keep note of how my clothes are feeling (getting a little tighter this week!)  After this trip to Illinois, I'm going to go back to counting calories (boo!) until I can get under control again. I haven't been binging, but I've been eating too too much. I think I'm probably at the high 140's. I will weigh myself on August 19th (the 2-year anniversary of when I started this weight loss madness).

I just went to Goodwill, where I bought waaay too many clothes. I really was in desperate need of summer clothes--I only had ONE pair of shorts that weren't exercise gear. When all was said and done today, I had spent $86 and I got:  3 summer dresses (all with original tags on them!), 3 skirts, 2 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of shorts, 5 pairs of shoes, a purse, a tote bag, 9 shirts, and a couple of toys for my kids.
Just a few of my favorite items:
All my new shoes... grand total of $12

Love these American Eagle shorts... the perfect length (knee length)

Cute tote bag

Sundress with built in bra :)

LOVE this dress!!

This looks much cuter on me than on the hanger ;)

Comfy skirt with shorts underneath

A pretty, feminine skirt


A cute American Eagle top

Love this shirt too
I would have done a fashion show for you, but my photographer (Jerry) is at work. So you're stuck with the hangers. I'm so relieved to have clothes that I'm not going to sweat to death in. I also discovered that having small boobs is very convenient, because I can go braless with all 3 of the summer dresses I bought.


Do you ever shop at thrift stores? That is the ONLY place that I buy clothes (and garage sales, of course). I was in a store a couple of years ago (I think Elder Beerman) and I looked around and just thought about how wasteful (as a country) it seems to have all those brand new items when there are tons of used things that we could have instead. Ever since that moment, I've been buying my clothes from thrift stores (with the exception of running shoes and a couple of items I haven't been able to buy used).
Last Christmas, Jerry and I were shopping at a thrift store with the kids, and a woman said "Merry Christmas!" to Jerry and shook his hand. She had slipped a bill into his hand, and he thought maybe she was giving him a dollar to buy a toy for the kids, but he looked down and it was a $50 bill! The lady left the store with her husband before we even got a chance to thank them, but how generous was that?!  We were having a rough time financially because I had just broken my jaw and Jerry took a couple of weeks off work to care for me--so we were SO grateful for the extra money!  I would love to be able to pay it forward one day ;) 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Third times a charm :)

Okay, this is my THIRD post today--the first two were deleted (by me)--so I apologize if I clogged up your Google Readers. I've been having a really bad day, and when you combine that with the fact that I'm super sensitive to certain comments, I just felt the need to delete my previous posts.

ANYWAY, I've been super lazy today! My 15-K training schedule says "Stretch & Strengthen" so I'll probably do some strength training tonight. But no cardio today :)  Yesterday, I was able to take my bike out without the kids for my scheduled 30 minutes of cross training. I have so much anxiety when I ride my bike! I hope I can learn to relax a little. I'm paranoid of getting hit by a car, of getting a flat tire, of riding over rocks or gravel and wiping out... do these things happen often to people that ride a lot? I almost wish I had gotten a mountain bike because the tires feel sturdier. The skinny tires on my hybrid scare me!

It was EXTREMELY humid. But the thing I love about riding the bike versus running is that the wind is blowing in your face the whole time and it feels much cooler than it actually is. When running, it just feels fucking HOT, no matter what! I wore my heart rate monitor on my ride, just because I was curious to see how high my heart rate would get.
My average heart rate was 135. When I run, it's usually about 160. Since biking feels easier than running (cardiovascularly), I guess that seems right to me.

My kids have been driving me CRAZY today. In and out of the house constantly, asking for drinks and food about every 10 minutes, and bringing half the neighborhood here with them. I try to be patient, because I'd much rather my kids play here than at the neighbors' houses, but it is hard to bite my tongue when everyone is constantly tattling on each other for this and that. It really rattles my nerves after a while!

My sister suggested that Jerry and I might want to go to Milwaukee instead of Chicago, and that actually sounds like a good idea to me. She said Milwaukee is a lot of fun, and still a great city while not being as crowded as Chicago. I'm going to check out both and see what we'd rather do.

Here are a couple of before and after pictures that I posted on one of the posts that I deleted. Sorry if you're seeing them AGAIN ;)
I tried to make the same face for you! ;)
Please be kind :)  Like I said, I'm having a bad day!


Do you ever take blog comments to heart and let them upset you? I'm a very sensitive person, and while I try not to let things bother me, sometimes they just do. If I ask for criticism, I can definitely take it like a man ;)  but when I am just posting about my feelings, I hate hearing criticism. It all boils down to my poor self-image, I imagine.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

July Winers

Last night was my July wine club meeting, and I was really looking forward to it since I hadn't gone to the past couple of meetings. I picked up my friend Amber on the way, and the weather was NOT looking good...

We got to Jessica's at 7. The theme Jessica chose was eco-friendly wines. She picked organic wines, which was new to me, and wines that didn't contain added sulfites (also new to me).
She bought all the wine at Whole Foods

The food was simple and delicious!
Tomatoes, basil, and goat cheese skewers

Cucumber, dill, and cream cheese sandwiches

And local, gourmet popcorn... I couldn't stay away from this stuff!
I got a small plate of food and then sat down with my two glasses. We each had two glasses, to compare two wines side-by-side. The first was a pair of dry white table wines, one organic and one not. We were supposed to try them both and see if we could decide which was which. I guessed correctly :)  The organic one really stood out as tasting very natural and earthy.
Renee pouring our first wine

Holy humidity, look at how frizzy my hair looks!
Next, we tasted a pair of dry reds, trying to guess which had sulfites and which did not. I guessed correctly on this one as well :)  And finally, we tried two rose wines. One of them smelled exactly like nail polish remover--ick! It didn't taste that bad, but I would never buy it.
Me, Amber, Renee, Elayn, and Jessica (at that point, my hair was so frizzy I pulled it up)
 After that, Jessica just started opening more bottles to taste. I had a couple of sips, but I since I was driving, I stopped after that. When it was time to leave, I was SHOCKED to see how many bottles we went through...
It ended up being almost a bottle per person! I probably only had about 10 ounces total, and I don't think Amber had much either. Someone was feeling happy last night! ;)  I love the fact that my friends are all very responsible--nobody drives drunk. We usually carpool to Winers, and the drivers just have about an ounce of each wine. And of course the hostess can have as much as she likes without worry ;)

And of course, we took our traditional group photo (we take one at EVERY meeting):
It was such a fun evening! I feel like I've had more wine in the past week than I've had the entire year, however. Not that I'm complaining. Girlfriends and wine just go so well together, don't they?


Are you a wine drinker? If so, what kinds of wine do you prefer? I love the bold, dry reds. It's funny though, my taste in wine has changed so much in the last couple of years! I used to only drink sickeningly sweet wine, but now I can't stand it.