summer’s last hoorah

This was the last full week with 13 & 11 of summer vacation. We started out the weekend with a trip to a local arcade where we all played games and did the batting cages; then we had ice cream before lunch and then pizza. (And, if I’m being honest, we had the rest of the pizza for dinner…) It was a great day and a great way to kick off the last week of summer vacation with everyone.

Monday, 3 was having a time, so my husband stayed home with him. I took 13 & 11 to one of our local beaches and was so excited that a friend of mine also met us there! We jumped waves and boogie boarded; had a snack lunch; and enjoyed a solid six hours out in the summer sun.

Tuesday and Wednesday, I had appointments and my husband was working from home. I chopped all of my hair off on Tuesday per the suggestion of my stylist and love the fresh, new cut. My hair has been to the middle of my back for the last few years and a collarbone cut was exactly what I needed. I ran some errands and headed to campus afterwards to try and finish my application and set up Internet on my computer — wasn’t successful in either of those attempts but I did get my student ID.

On Thursday, the Red Sox had to finish a suspended game from the other week. Because the game was to start at 1PM on a weekday (top of the 10th inning; tied 4-4), the Sox were offering free tickets for all kids and $5 tickets for adults. I grabbed myself a ticket and headed into the city with three kiddos and some singles for the $1 hotdogs. What a great lunchtime activity! We met my husband afterwards and he took the kids home so I could meet a friend for dinner. All-in-all, a tiring but fun day!

With Friday being our last day of vacation, we wanted to spend some time at the beach but the weather had another plan, so we hung out at the house until after lunchtime. Then, I dropped them to their mom and 3 and I headed home for nap time. 3 and I are heading on a trip next week to visit my parents and he is looking forward to playing in his red house and showing ‘grammy’ his “big, round belly” … I’m sure lots of s’mores and ice cream and fresh garden vegetables will be heavily consumed during our trip. Personally, I’m looking forward to tomatoes — all of the garden tomatoes!

When we return, we will visit with my in-laws for Labor Day and then the grind will really start. My graduate coursework starts that Tuesday and my stress levels/anxiety are just through the roof. I am sure once I have the syllabi to figure out the timing of everything, I will settle in quickly. 3’s school year doesn’t begin until a little later, so I get a little more time with him before settling completely into my fall routine.

For the fall, I am hoping to get back into the swing of working out and yoga. I typically am able to get into routines more easily at the start of the school year and I’d like to get back to a better exercise regimen. I have watched my diet all summer (enough anyway) but haven’t exercised much outside of walking the dog. I also have a gym membership through my program, so I am hoping to get to the gym there to lift and swim at least once a week. We will see what goals I set for myself in the next few weeks…

infertility, pt3

I started this post back in May and was reminded of this particular experience I shared the story with a friend over dinner and drinks last week.

With it being Mother’s Day weekend, I was thinking back to our IVF days. Those days were particularly difficult for my husband and me (and our marriage). As I was reflecting, I couldn’t help but think of our trigger shot day from our first round of IVF.

I was having all kinds of hot flashes from the hormones, so we’d been sleeping with one of our bedroom windows open (and two fans on). In February. In Boston. It was great to have the windows open for this particular experience.

My husband watched a few videos from the pharmacy’s online portal and then told me what to expect: “The video said to use a dart-like throwing motion.” I was standing in position, staring down at my phone that blared Busta Rhymes and my husband prepped the area.

Then, bam.

I screamed. The dog went ballistic, barking and growling at my husband. My husband was frantically yelling, “Don’t move! The needle came out! It’s stuck!” I stood screaming while the dog tried to protect my honor, all with a giant needle sticking out of me. Because the trigger shot needs to be timed just so, we all had to quickly calm down and try again.

Fortunately, our neighbors are the gracious types. Nobody has ever asked what all of the screaming was about, nor did anyone call the police. My husband kept repeating, “I told you it was going to be like a dart?!” and I kept responding, “I’ve never been hit by a dart before?!” This was an intramuscular shot and one of the hundreds of shots administered by my husband (fortunately, the only one with such a mishap)…

Surprisingly, after this particular IVF cycle, we continued on with more treatments before deciding to call it quits with fertility specialists, shots, and mood swings and shifted our attention and energies to growing our family through other means. ENTER, a visit to our local Jordan’s Furniture store to talk to a representative about DCF fostering/adoption and signing up for MAPP training.

While we had not planned on this particular timing; fostering youth was something we’d discussed because it was always something that I’d wanted to do. My grandparents had five bio children and, because that wasn’t enough, fostered constantly to share their home and chaos with those in need. This was important to me and soon, us.

It wasn’t long before we started our first training class, but that’s a whole other story…

weight watchers & more

In June, I had my annual exam and wanted to address my weight frustrations with my doctor. I’ve been asking my PCP for years why I can’t lose weight and she never offers any advice or blood work; she just shrugs and says it’s not a big deal. Maybe to her, it’s not a big deal, but for me, it feels like I am constantly working hard to be healthy and my weight stays the same. I want to be within the normal amounts on the BMI and not just slightly above, so it is important to me to be able to lose a little weight to get there.

When the new year started, I went back to yoga and was eating healthier. I felt like I wanted to put the healthiest of foods into my system and while I saw a change in how my clothes fit and noticed that my strength was increasing and 5k times were decreasing, I did not see any movement on the scale. How frustrating! I know that non-scale victories are important and I am typically all about them but when you’re trying to drop 15 pounds to hit a goal, they don’t seem as important.

At my annual, my doctor told me to try WW. She’d done it the previous summer when she wanted to lose 10 pounds. Apparently, she’d gone to a conference with a nutritionist who recommended it due to the nature of the glycemic index of the foods. Okay, I figured this seemed good enough and I gave it a go. I ordered the app and started using it.

The app is easy enough and the setup with the zero point foods works well for me. I learned that most of the foods I naturally eat are zero point foods and it seems that where I lose my healthy eating is when I miss lunch and then start to snack at about 2PM and that lasts until dinner where I continue to eat and eat and eat. This is a trend that I noticed pretty quickly (and was aware of it to some extent before this). I used the app from June-August with minimal deliberate exercise (walking the dog and at the beach, mostly) and lost just under 10 pounds. This was good enough for me.

I think that there is value to the program but I can also see how it could feel restrictive or too tightly wound. I am considering canceling this month and using my instincts in September. When we did Whole30, I was able to largely cut out snacking unless I’m actually hungry, which is good and with this, I need to keep in mind that even if I’m not super hungry at lunch, I need to eat. I am thinking that being armed with these pieces of information can help me devise my own plan that mixes pieces of what I want and need.

While I can appreciate the approach, and I see that it definitely works, I think that I need something a bit more fluid. I don’t want to be tracking calories or points or anything else with any regularity. I think that I need to find the balance I once had where I could eat anything but I can’t eat everything; that is the mindset that works best for me.

My goal for September is going to be to eat more salads and raw vegetables with the Greek yogurt ranch for lunches. Dinners are typically loaded with vegetables anyway, but I’d like to get more during the day. I also want to try and keep the frozen foods I like more for weekend treats. We love to do Sunday Funday Football foods — wings; wontons; dips… I want to keep the rest of the week simple: stews, soups, meat & potatoes, etc all with vegetables. I’m looking forward to getting back to the cookbooks in the fall and finding meals that work for us all while lacing an occasional Sunday brunch at home in there (complete with sparking juice and fanc-i-fied meals).

So, while I think WW has been a good summer experiment and I think it’s a good way to start and evaluate what and how I eat, it is likely not something I’ll want to continue long term.

 

 

 

meals, aug 16-22

It’s been a busy week and we’ve been playing catch-up, but we are getting into a groove this week where things are going to be simple. It’s the last full week of summer vacation for 13 & 11. I hate the feeling of summer coming to a close. Though I am on a sabbatical this academic year, I am taking graduate classes and 3 is starting preK. We are celebrating the last week of summer vacation with trips to the beach, a beachside arcade, and our town’s community night (complete with s’mores). I have a hair appointment and dinner plans with a friend, which I’m also looking forward to.

Friday & Saturday, we are going to grill marinated chicken with corn/potatoes, and either beets or green beans.

Sunday & Monday, Chile-lime burgers, veggie burgers, and kielbasa on the grill with raw vegetables with Greek yogurt ranch.

Taco Tuesday (and Wednesday) with chicken, jalape├▒os, salsa, cheese, and Greek yogurt and a chopped salad kit. I have a hair appointment and need to get some things squared away on campus before the semester starts (parking permit, ID, bookstore visit, connecting my laptop to the Internet, email on my phone, etc). Wednesday, we will use the leftover rotisserie chicken for more tacos/burrito bowls.

Thursday, I am going out to dinner with a friend, but I’m planning on tossing some leftover ricotta in with chickpea pasta and sauce for a baked penne. We will use the leftovers for lunch on Friday.

Breakfasts are going to be simple: multi-grain English muffins with cream cheese; 3 requested salmon cream cheese because he’s turning 92 in the fall… I’ll probably add some plain Greek yogurt and berries to this and the kids will have squeezable yogurts with berries as well.

Lunches are going to be a hodgepodge of things we have in the freezer (mini pizzas, nuggets, mini chicken wontons) and leftovers. I like trying to keep things simple, especially with this being the last full week of summer break. I’d like to spend a good bit of time playing and having fun and these quick lunches will allow me to get the kids fed and 3 down for his nap with ease.

 

meals, aug 10-16

What a week it’s been! My parents are visiting and we’ve been out and about at the beaches in town; we’ve also been eating all of the homegrown tomatoes. (My parents brought us BAGS full of tomatoes from their garden — I’ve been having toast and tomato for breakfast and lunch pretty much daily and then pizza shells with tomatoes for dinner!)

Prior to the visit, I got to spend some 1:1 time with 13 & 11. I took them to Water Country, USA on Monday. We had a blast and went on nearly all of the water slides (several of them multiple times). We packed lunches and snacks and enjoyed ourselves in the NE sun!

My parents are leaving Monday morning, so we will get back to our normal eating habits after that. We’ve been still doing a lot of grilling and my mom made an eggplant dish last night that the kids ate before any of the adults could have seconds! Tonight, my husband and I are trying a local wine bar for a date night. We are really excited! Tomorrow, we are going to use the last of the pizza shells and more tomatoes for dinner and on Sunday, we are going to be at the Sox game and will likely introduce my dad to The Sausage Guy. So fun!

On Monday, I want to familiarize myself with campus. I’m going back to school and my anxiety really skyrocketed when we paid my tuition last week. I am really nervous to juggle everything. My husband is going to grill chicken and corn on the cob Monday. Tuesday will be similar but with a marinated flank steak. We figure on Wednesday, we will hit Chipotle to celebrate the end of t-ball and then Thursday, grilled chicken sausages and Caprese salad with our fresh tomatoes. We will likely have fresh tomato and cucumber salads from my parents’ garden all week with our dinners.

I’ve really been enjoying the easy nature of grilling dinners. I know it’ll be fun to be back in the kitchen more when fall rolls around but for now, this is really easy and delicious. We’ve been walking to get ice cream many nights after dinner since we have such little cook time/clean up.

Summer is winding down but we still have two full weeks of fun and beach days planned. I am hoping to enjoy each and every day.