Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!

The 00's were interesting. I got married, graduated college, lived in three different states, had a son, and started graduate school. What a ride! The 00's were better than the 90's. So I am hoping the 10's are even better and with such wonderful people in my life, I have no doubt that will be the case.

Last year's resolution was getting rid of my bye-bye arms by working out more. That did not happen at all. No working out for me in 09. Oh well.

Here are my New Year's resolutions:
1. Proactive: I need to be more proactive in my life. I have been in the last few months adhering to this and I want to continue this trend for the new year.

2. Clutter-free: This is another thing I have been practicing for a year now. Every three months, I go through my stuff and get rid of what I no longer use. My wish is to maintain clutter-free by getting rid of unwanted stuff on a weekly basis.

3. Going through my mail: This should be a part of No. 2, but it does deserve it's own number. Dan and I let the mail pile up for months and it sits on our dining room table. Yesterday, I went through it all and shredded for hours. No more of this. My table actually looks like an area where we could have dinner on instead of a storage space. I want to keep it this way.

4. Time Management: I desperately need to work on this. Lately, I've been having a difficult time concentrating and get distracted very easily. I need to focus better.

I wish all of you a very wonderful new year. May it bring plenty of joy and happiness!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Things I'm grateful for:

1. Family: They make my existence much better with the kindness and love that is always shown to me.
2. Job: Need I say more!
3. The doors that always seem to open when I need it the most.

Everyone enjoy your Thanksgiving and eat plenty of food!!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy Halloween!!

video

Halloween was fun! We went to the Museum of Natural History, where they sponsor a trick-or-treat event filled with treat stations, crafts, and live musical performances. Will had a terrific time and even said trick-or-treat.





I love this place! Dan and I want to go back to check out the entire museum. It was too chaotic to check out some of the exhibits with all the children running around. Will seemed to like the Asian Mammals Exhibit because he stopped to look at the animals. Great place!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Part 2 of On with September

Unfortunately, there was no celebration for my mom. Dan had to be hospitalized on Friday and it turns out he has infection that has caused pneumonia. He won't be released from the hospital until either tomorrow or Tuesday. I have mycoplasma pneumonia (aka: walking pneumonia).

Enough said.

Friday, September 25, 2009

On with September

September is my favorite month of the year since I was a little girl. First off, my birthday is in September. Second off, school would start and I loved going back to school. Third, my mom's birthday is also in this month. Now that I'm older, I have a child whose birthday is also this month.

Having said that, this month has been one of the worst in a long time for me. My car broke down Labor Day weekend. Between renting a car to get around to and from work, prepare for Will's birthday and repairing the car, I spent about $500. Of course, let's not forget the money I spent preparing for Will's birthday.

Almost a week after Will's birthday, he got a bit sick compounded by the fact that he a reaction to the vaccine he got. I didn't have to take him to the doctor, but had to deal with a cranky two year old; not much fun I may add. He was feeling great on my birthday, but we decided to stay home just in case he had a relapse.

Fast forward to this past Wednesday, Dan wakes up feeling not so hot complaining about his chest hurting. He calls me around 3pm telling me he's having difficulties breathing. He had gotten sick at the beginning of the month with an upper respiratory inflammation, but we thought he's was getting better. At 4pm, he calls me to tell me not to go to class (I had just gotten there) because he was going to the ER. His chest hurt and really couldn't catch his breath.

I drove to the ER and waited for him to get there. He was admitted rather quickly, got hooked up to oxygen, had an X-ray done, given antibiotics, steroids, and a nebulizer. He has bronchitis now and the shortness of breath was due to an asthma attack, which by the way has never happened to him before.

Let's move on to Thursday and I wake up with chest pains. I'm having a difficult time breathing, but there's no cough associated with my chest pain. I get sent home from work and I go directly to the doctor's office. I get hooked up to an EKG machine to check my heart. The doctor thinks it's an inflammation to the wall of my chest due to either some kind of exercise I had done or stress. He sends me home with a prescription to an anti-inflammatory and tells me I can't work for the rest of the week. About an hour after I took the anti-inflammatory, I get a fever. I call him back and he tells me that now the scenario has changed and I may have pericarditis, which is an inflammation to my pericardium due to a virus that causes chest pain and fever. Either way, the treatment he sent me is fine and to take Tylenol for the fever.

So being that this month has not been that favorable to me or my family, I am choosing to end it with a celebration to my mother. Sunday is her birthday and I'm making a nice dinner for her. My sister and the kids are coming over and I'm very happy. Let this be the momentum that carries some great luck for us in the next coming months.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Life Style this September

Classes have begun for me. As you may or may not know, I'm working on a Master's in Urban Education with an ESL Specialization. Besides the ESL certification, I'm going for a Bilingual certification (it's an additional six credits because the classes for both certifications overlap). I'm also taking an additional nine credits so that I could teach adults in a community college setting.

I'm really enjoying my classes, but man is it hard juggling being a mom, wife, worker, and student. My classes are held Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and one of my classes is online. Those days I don't work. Thursday and Friday I work doubles, which means I work two twelve-hour shifts. Saturday and Sunday are always booked (at least for the next few months) with birthdays and other events. Even though I'm home most of the day on Mon, Tues, & Wed, I really don't get much of a chance to read for my classes. I'm so distracted with Will around that nothing gets done. I have to get into my own rhythm and manage my time better (which means I shouldn't be doing this right now).

Anyway, that's what's going on with me. I must go now put away the laundry and get my place somewhat organized. Ahhhhh...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Birthday Pictures!

Mom and Dad:

Showing off his name:

Aunt and cousins:

Happy Parents:


There are more pictures, but it would probably take me all day to upload. Will had a great birthday. He played with all of his cousins, ate plenty of cake, and was none stop. We all enjoyed his birthday. It was a nice get together with plenty of food and treats. I definitely had tons of fun!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Will!!

video

Happy Second Birthday Will! The joy you bring everyday is absolutely incredible. You brighten up my heart and soul. I love you so much it brings tears to my eyes. I hope your birthday was wonderful. Love ya!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More About Eating Healthy

I've been on a health binge. Not a bad thing, right? In my obsessiveness to eat better, I'm finding that baking is the way to go. I've been making granola bars, biscotti, and breakfast cookies. Besides that, I've made my own croutons and salad dressing. I still have bad stuff, but I really don't crave it as much as before. I'm not sure if it's because I'm adding so much more fiber to my diet that I'm just satisfied. For instance, the breakfast cookies that I've been baking have pumpkin puree, which fills me up and still satisfies my sweet tooth. Another thing I've added to my diet is yogurt.

Besides the changes I've been making, I have a different outlook on food. I don't look at it as eating, but more like fueling. That mindset is making a tremendous difference. I eat food in order to keep my energy levels up not because I feel like eating. So every 4 hrs or so, I snack on something or if it's dinner time I eat a meal. If there's no time to eat, then I continue my snacking (this is for when I'm at work). I pack my purse with very healthy stuff (whatever I've been baking) and bring it to work. I no longer reach for a roll or french fries.

With school starting on Tuesday the 1st, I foresee myself snacking more than having meals at night. Monday through Wednesday, I will be working in the morning and driving directly to class. There really won't be time to sit down and have a meal. Once I get home, I'm not going to start cooking, either. I will have to have power snacks to help me throughout the day.

By the way, I came across an article (which of course I can't find now to link) that states that women should only have 6 teaspoons of sugar a day and men 8. What? I have 3 teaspoons of sugar in my coffee! The article basically spoke about how Americans eat way to much processed foods and we're unhealthy. If you want to have more sugar, then you should exercise that way you burn off the sugar.

How am I suppose to cut out sugar? I have no idea. The article scared me. My family has a history of diabetes. Is it inevitable for me? I'm not sure. But if 6 teaspoons of sugar is all we're suppose to have, then I'm in trouble. I don't know how I feel about using Splenda (which I use on occasion) instead of sugar. I want to eat natural foods and that's not natural. I'll have to do some research on this.

Anyway, that's what's been on my mind as of late. Until next time!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Eating Less and Being Healthy About it.

The other night, I waited on a mom with two young sons (around the ages of 10 and 12) who proudly proclaimed they were on a no carb diet. All three of them were very overweight. I pointed out to them the healthy options that were available and that were low carb. For starters, they each had an appetizer. Two of their entrees were casseroles without breadcrumbs and a surf and turf. They were having dinner at 10pm.

The problem is not the carbohydrates they're consuming, but the amount of food. People don't really realize how much food they eat. You should never finish a meal at a restaurant. It's too much food. I'm coming clean on this one. This morning, I had challah french toast at a diner and ate every little morsel. I did, however, get home and had a white plum as a snack and my dinner consisted of about 4 ounces of chicken breast with some couscous. I snacked on some homemade pita chips with hummus and took a bite out of a chocolate cake.

The family I waited on needs to learn how to eat less. It's not an easy task. I was very overweight for a long time. I taught myself to watch my portions. Are there days that I go overboard now? Of course. But my weight has been pretty steady for the past three years. Am I hungry now at 11pm at night? Yes. Will I eat? No.

The point is that eating less and healthier is an everyday task. If you're a food lover, you have to learn how to love other foods that are better for you. Most importantly, you have to learn how to eat less. A great way of eating healthier and less is by preparing your food for the day or even the week. For instance, today I baked honey pistachio biscotti (Ellie Krieger's recipe). I've been having a hard time with breakfast in the morning because of the lack of time and haven't been eating as much as I should, which has been leading to massive headaches. So, I baked these biscottis, which are low in fat and have breakfast for the next week. I also made spicy pita chips (Ellie Krieger's recipe) in order to have something to snack on. I'm set for this week.

I'm going to get into a habit of baking more of my stuff like chips and biscotti. I want to make my own granola bars. If Dan and I could stick to this, I'll feel good. If we teach Will good eating habits, then hopefully weight won't be an issue for him. Let's see!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Out in Nature!

What a gorgeous summer afternoon! We're taking advantage of this summer to it's fullest. We went to the Palisades Intersate Park. We love this park because it starts off under the George Washington Bridge on the Jersey side, hugs the Hudson River and goes all the way into New York. There are many trails and interesting stories that date back into the 19th century. There are also guided hikes available on a practically weekly basis that are fun and informative.

There was no hiking involved this time around, but we enjoyed the scenery, laid down on big blanket, and let the breeze relax us. Take a look at the pictures:






Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More Energy Please!

After having off of work for three days and not working hard at all yesterday, I fell asleep on my couch at around 9:00pm. Today, I'm working probably about 14 hours and I'm up from 4:00am. I have tons of energy on the weekends. All I want to do is hike or go to a park or whatever requires physical activity to the point that I drive Dan crazy. For instance, this Sunday he put his foot down and we stayed home. So why is it that when Monday rolls around, I'm ready to pass out?

I'm amazed at how some of my friends with kids have energy to workout or even go out throughout the week. I really wanted to go to the gym yesterday, but I couldn't keep my eyes open. Ugh...

My problem might be that I'm not eating enough during the day. I'm not doing this to loose weight (I haven't lost any). I'll have breakfast at work and sometimes it's only a yogurt because that's all I have time for. I don't get to eat again until 4:30. By then, I only have a small salad because I'm going home to cook. If I eat anything big, I won't have dinner. On days I work doubles I eat a normal meal during the 4:00 time, but that's my only meal. I'll have a yogurt when I get home.

I'm not sure what to do about this because I really don't have an option to change my eating schedule. I wait tables and can't just stop what I'm doing to eat something in the middle of my shift. Maybe I'll have a real meal after work instead of a salad, cook dinner for Dan, and eat something light. That may work?

Anyone have suggestions?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Three-Day Weekends are the Best!

Can the summer continue being the way it's been the last two weekends? The weather has been beautiful and not extremely hot. I think it hasn't gotten past 84 degrees, which is fine by me. I dislike it much when it's sweltering.

On Friday, we picked up Dan's cousin and went to Cheesquake State Park. The place is gorgeous. There are trails to hike, a lake to swim in, bird watching, a basketball court, grilling, and countless other activities available. We went to the lake, which Will actually enjoyed. It was a bit cold for me, but nice. Will held on to me and splashed the water. We did, however, get out of the water fast when something bit my thigh. I have no idea what it was and I didn't care. All four of us got out.

Once we dried out, we went hiking. We passed a couple that was crabbing. They caught some blue crabs. Then we met up with another couple that were walking their huge dog Jacky. She decided to go for a swim. The rest of the short hike was beautiful. The forest was full of pine barrens and the trail was sandy. I wished we would have been able to do the full hike, but it was getting late.

Here are the blue crabs and if you look closely, you could see Dan taking the picture!


Will, Christopher, and myself:


Jacky swimming:


The beautiful forest:


On Saturday, we went to a pool party/bbq that my coworker had invited me to. He has three beautiful kids ranging from 3 to 8. One of my other coworkers who also has a child was invited as well. In total there were 6 adults and 5 children. We had such a great time. They live in a beautiful home in Madison, NJ. The kids spent most of their time in the backyard playing and were all very sweet to him by making sure he was having a good time.

The only pictures I have are from the pool, but they're great. Will did have an incident at the pool, though. We were in the kiddie pool with him. The deepest part was 18 inches. He was fine walking around and grabbing all of the toys that were floating around. Dan and I were sitting at the edge of the pool watching him play. He ventured into the deeper part and slipped. When he tried to get up and out of the water, he couldn't because he was too buoyant. I hadn't seen him fall into the water because at that moment I had turned my face to say something to Dan. Dan did see and immediately jumped into action as I did. The lifeguard was also very quick. We got to him and Dan pulled him out. For a second, Will had his eyes closed and wasn't breathing. He did, luckily, breathe out. I guess he was holding his breath and wasn't sure if he was out or not. He was great about the whole deal. He didn't cry and wanted to continue playing.

Here's Will playing with the water:



Let these weekends keep on coming!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

May This Summer be as Wonderful as This Past Weekend

What a wonderful three day weekend I had! You already know about the hike. I haven't told you about July 4th or what turned out to be a surprise day off for both Dan and I on Monday. May there be more weekends like this one this summer.

On Saturday, we had our friend Cody come over to watch the fireworks. Since we live close to Hoboken, we decided to take a walk over there. The walk was a good 40 minutes. We took an elevator down the cliff (there's a light rail stop there) and made it all the way to the downtown area. The day was beautiful and it was a great walk.


Will, surprisingly, stayed in the stroller the entire time we were making our way to the fireworks. Once we made it to our destination, he got out and ran around. As soon as the fireworks started, he stayed put and watched them. He loved them and would clap and cheer when everyone else did the same. It was adorable. I guess he was as excited as we were because he stayed awake the entire time we were there. We didn't get back home until midnight and that's when he fell asleep.


Let's skip to Monday! On Friday, I was able to switch my schedule around and got Monday off. Dan, however, was suppose to work. Well, it dawned on us on Monday morning that he should try to to take a vacation day. He texted his boss, but she didn't respond. So, he left for work. Not even five minutes after he left, he came back with the good news that she let him take the day off! So what to do on an unexpected day off? Go to the beach!

We have not been to the beach since we lived in Florida and that was about four years ago. So, I was as excited as I could be. We made it there, settled down, and applied lots of sunscreen. Will was happy until we tried going into the water. I held him as we walked towards the shore and he took one look at the water and cried. He didn't even want to stand and get his feet wet. Poor little guy! I brought him into the water, but he was not having it. Oh well, back to the sand, which he loved.


Will hated the water so much that he would cry out for me whenever I went in. He actually would run up to the water and call for me to come back in. I would come out and he would hug me. It broke my heart and I stayed out. We tried one more time getting in, but it was useless. He was miserable and I didn't want to ruin the day for him. Someday, he'll like the beach.


The day was absolutely gorgeous and we took advantage of it. We didn't leave until 8pm. Once we made it home, we unpacked and knocked out. Ahhhh.......


Our weekend was so wonderful. We always enjoy ourselves when we go out, but this weekend felt like a vacation. I loved it and hope that there are more wonderful mini-vacations in store for us.

Enjoy the pictures!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Sunny Days!

Ahhhh, the sun has decided to grace us with her appearance just in time for the holiday weekend. We took full advantage of this opportunity and went on a impromptu hike yesterday. Actually, the whole trip was unexpected. I wanted to go to Bear Mountain and instead ended up at Sterling Forest State Park. We've never visited this park even though it's next to Harrimon State Park and Bear Mountain.

What a beauty! I can't believe we've never gone through this forest. The area is so large that you have to drive to the different parts of the park. The woods are so beautiful and pristine that you forget that civilization is near by. Dan and I have to come back here to do some serious hiking. Anyone want to babysit????

We made it to the visitor center, which had a beautiful lake behind it that you were able to hike. Once we were done checking out the visitor's center and got a map to the hikes available by the lake, we were off to our hike. We really weren't prepared for the hike. I was wearing flat shoes, that fortunately had a nice grip to the ground, but I felt every step I took. Will was wearing sandals, but they at least had a good grip to them. Dan was the one that was most prepared.

Either way, the hike was very short only be 0.4 miles long. The seclusion of the trail amazed me because right after taking a few steps you were what it seemed like the middle of the woods. At first, I was concerned that the hike would be a little too much for Will since it wasn't a flat trail and there were many rocks. As always, he amazes me. He was great. The spots that were difficult for him to go through, we carried him. Otherwise, he hiked it himself. He even got to go under a huge tree that had fallen. He loved it!

The end of this trail was just beautiful. We were able to sit down right at the edge of the lake. We took off our shoes and soaked our feet. The water was cool, crisp, and just so inviting. Will loved wetting his feet. If he had his way, he would have gone in. Unfortunately, we couldn't let him go because we were sitting on big rocks and it was to slippery to run around. He didn't seem to mind. He sat there with us and soaked in the sun.

Our little impromptu trip was great. We all had so much fun. The trip reignited Dan's love of hiking and there will be more trips coming up. I leave you with some pictures. We didn't have our camera with us, but snapped some pictures with our cell phones.



Enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Phili for the Weekend

Dan and I have been dying to get away for at least a weekend. The last time we went away, we went to Florida when Will was seven months old and I spent the entire week sick. There was no beach or pool. Anyway, for the past month, we've been deciding on where to go. There were several options: Catskills, Poconos, Washington DC, Ocean City, MA, down the Shore, and Philadelphia.

We decided on Phili because the weekend was going to be a washout. We figured we would see the aquarium, the zoo, and museums even if it rained. The hotel we booked was in King of Prussia right outside of Valley Forge just in case it didn't rain. Everything seemed like a great plan. We got to the hotel and saw that we were across the street from the King of Prussia Mall, which is enormous. There was a Chili's across the street as well. Not bad!

We expected rain, but man the weather was awful. It was just pouring. We did make it to Valley Forge. We walked a good mile into the park and then it started pouring on us. Will kept on having meltdowns because he was strapped into his stroller the majority of the time. It was a mess. We only made it to Philadelphia for a couple of hours. We never got to see any of the sights we had planned on. We couldn't get off and walk around because of the downpour.

We did make it to Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks. They are suppose to be the best in steak sandwiches. They're across the street from each other and the lines are long. Guess what? We tried a sandwich from each place and did not care for either one of the them. You want great steak sandwiches? Then go to Dos Amigos in West New York, NJ. This place puts them to shame.

Besides all the downs we had, we did enjoy ourselves as much as we could. We watched two movies while we were rained in. We did make it into the mall and walked around a lot. The one thing I do regret is that we never got to go out to dinner at a nice place. I really wanted a sit down dinner to celebrate Father's Day, but it was impossible.

Today turned out to be the nicest day of the weekend. We got to hang out at the mall, Will cooperated, and the traffic on the way home was pretty good. We both have tomorrow off, which we need to recuperate. Overall, we had a nice time. We'll just have to go back when the rain gods are on vacation.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This One is All About Me

I truly believe that you have control over your life. At times, it's difficult to swallow that pill. Life throws curve balls at you and you think there's no way you would do this to yourself. Well, you purposely don't, but you do. On days that I'm cranky or I'm plain bitchy, my day goes wrong. On days that I'm feeling fine, they tend to go better.

For quite a few years now, I've been racking my brain on why if I meditate often, try my hardest to see the best in people, always try to be as kind as possible, and have changed the way I view the world am I still stuck. Well for starters, I'm concerned on why I'm stuck, which by the Law of Attraction means that I'm attracting more situations that keep me stuck. Besides that, there's an underlying theme going on with me. I don't take care of myself.

Now, I don't mean that I'm unhealthy or that I'm some kind of a slob. On the contrary, I eat healthy most of the times and I take care of my appearance. The problem lies in feeling guilty about purchasing stuff for myself. I feel so guilty all the time. I drive myself crazy about it. For instance, my flat iron broke about a year ago. I've been agonizing about buying a new one ever since. The reason I don't is because I don't want to spend the money on it because the money could be used for something else. If I get birthday money, I tend to spend it on bills instead of myself.

This obsession I have with going without is what has me going without. It finally hit me from two weird dreams I had about a week ago. The first dream, I was told to place a plate under my bed because I had a spirit that was holding me back. It would be an offering so that the spirit would not be without. The second dream, I was in hell (not the hot one; more like an alternate reality) and was hiding from the Devil because he hated me. I specifically remember questioning my existence in hell since I had not been a bad person when alive. These dreams are my subconscious letting me know that I'm ruining my existence.

The other day, I was at the mall. I wanted to buy a new top and shoes. Since I've lost so much weight, I'm pretty much out of clothes to wear and have to rebuild my wardrobe. I know that I need to shop, but that whole guilt thing keeps me from buying stuff because it's too much money and I convince myself that I don't really need it. Well, I fought these evil demons and bought my top and shoes. I felt horrible the entire time I was trying them on and even flirted with the idea of leaving the items at the stores. Luckily, Dan was shopping with me and pushed me to get them. He can't stand how I always find a way out of buying stuff for myself. If it wasn't for him, I would own less clothes and shoes.

This particular incident also had me thinking. Why should I feel bad about buying myself stuff? I need a new top and I'm in desperate need of shoes. Why should I feel guilty? Then it all hit me: the dreams, the way my life always seems to lack (and what I mean by that is that I always state that I can't afford this or that), and my guilt. I'm the spirit that's holding me back. I'm in hell because I put myself there. It's all my doing.

I can't move forward in life until I get rid of my hang-ups. I declared to me and to Dan that I will be updating my wardrobe and will not feel guilty doing so. Of course, I'm not going on a shopping spree, but I will no longer carry that dead weight around. It's time to shed my old skin and get comfortable with the new one. I'm buying clothes that I like and need and that's the end of it! Yay!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Date Night

On June 3rd, Dan and I had a date night. We've had this plan for several weeks now since we need a babysitter for the night. We are extremely lucky that my parents are always willing to babysit him. They do so while I'm at work and once in a blue moon we ask them to so that we could go out. Since we were going to a Yankee game and they were playing at night, I packed up his pajamas and extra food because the chances were that he would be asleep by the time we got home. I was working the morning shift at my job the following day, which made it pointless to drag him out of my parents' place to come back in the morning.


We had a blast. The Yankees were loosing, but we were enjoying ourselves. The stadium is beautiful. We had beer, delicious garlic fries, and nachos. Our date was wonderful. We did leave the game early, but not early enough to pick the baby up. My mom told me he was asleep and not to bother. So, we went home.

The following morning, we both went to work. I called my mom to make sure Will was doing fine. I really was missing him terribly. Everything was fine until around 5:00-6:00pm. My mother told me that he was kind of crying and very sad. My heart dropped. I finally made it to their place and walked through the door. Will looked at me, began pouting, started crying, ran to me, and hugged me. He just cried a sad cry and held on to me for about a good five minutes. I kept on apologizing to him and explaining where we had gone and he just held me. I asked for a kiss and he wouldn't give me one. I wanted to crawl under a rock and disappear.

After he let go of me, he went directly to my mother's arms and kept a very serious face. He was mad at me. He stared at me with those gorgeous sad eyes and my heart kept on sinking. I started playing with him giving him kisses and poking his nose and after about a minute of me doing that, his frown turned into a smile. He let go of my mother and gave me a kiss.

I feel so horrible for putting him through this anguish. Date nights will have to be put on hold until we find someone reliable enough that could stay at our place when we go out. No more of this sleeping over anyone's place until he's old enough to understand that we're not abandoning him. I never want to see that look on his face again. Besides, it's a lot of work for my mother. I don't want to burden her anymore than I already am.

Sigh...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

NY Times Article on Kids

Dan forwarded me an article from the NY Times called The Way We Live Now-Let the Kid Be. Let me tell you, it got me thinking. I'm a worry wort by nature. I worry about the simplest things even if there's no need for any concern on my part. I've toned it down over the years, but with Will around, it's creeping back up. I worry about his feelings. I don't want to see him get hurt, which is really part of life. I worry about me not educating him enough. I really worry about that one. I try not to do this, but sometimes I compare where each child is at to Will. I know, this is utterly ridiculous. He's a smart little boy. He's learning new words every single day. If I took the time and wrote down every single word he utters, it would probably be at least 100 words (personally, I think it's more). Besides talking up a storm, he knows how to tell us what he needs.

The worry wort in me obsesses with wanting to sign him up in every single class possible to ensure that he's well rounded. I get upset when I work nights now because I'm not around him and worry that he'll be scarred emotionally by this. I make sure that on the mornings I'm off or on any day off that I'm out and about with him (especially now that the weather is nicer). I want to buy him every single educational toy there is out there. He needs to be learning.

The point is that this is not healthy for any of us. He's fine and I need to accept that. I will still take him out because that's me, but I need to relax on all the other stuff. I need to be my own person, too. My free time is very limited and I just want to be able to sit down for half an hour and not have to worry about anything. I want to be myself. I think Will would want the same for me. The article is great and I suggest you take the time to read it.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm Exhausted!

From 9 am forward, Will grabbed his shoes, walked right up to the front door, and said "Let's go". I looked at Dan and we both kind of laughed . We got ourselves ready and out we went. We grabbed some hot dogs, a burger, and a grilled cheese for Will at this place called Hirams and ate outside on their picnic tables. There was a squirrel that was stalking us or anybody for food. Will was so funny because he looked at him and told him to "go". We enjoyed the breeze and the food. What a gorgeous day!

After our lunch, we went to a park by the Hudson River in Edgewater. It had a great walkway and tons of geese. The geese were great, but not all the droppings we kept on trying to avoid. Will learned how to say the words geese and tree (btw, his vocabulary is expanding very rapidly). We had a great time and it was the perfect weather. Sorry, there are no pictures. Our camera ran out of batteries and we didn't have any backup.

The meltdown did occur and it was at Target. From the moment we got there to pretty much until we left, Will was screaming and crying. I put him down on the floor for a minute while I was deciding which cereal bar to buy. During that minute, he managed to get Pop Tarts off the shelf and the pricing plastic thingy. I, by mistake, knocked him down and he just laughed at me. After trying to put the shelving thing back on unsuccessfully, I gathered my cereal bars, the Hershey syrup, and Will and ran to Dan.

We finally made it to the car and both Will and I fell asleep. He's still out and I'm trying to do a million things at once. Wow, I'm really exhausted. It was a great day! Let's hope I still have energy to cook.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Great Day for Some Hiking!

Will and I went to the State Line Lookout today. What a perfect day for hiking. It was about 80 degrees, but nice and breezy. I love this place. There are several trails to choose from and each trail is marked by the severity of the trail. We took the easiest trail for obvious reasons. I was carrying a backpack and most likely a 25 lb little guy. Besides, I don't want Will to get discouraged by harder trails. Although, I think he might enjoy the challenge.

Number one rule (at least for me and it's recommended by many hiking books) is to never hike alone. The reason is if you fall and hurt yourself there is always someone who could go back for help. Ideal number is three. One person stays behind with the injured hiker and the other person goes for help. The reason I bring this up is because I became a bit nervous as I got further into my trail. I was alone with Will and the trail became secluded very fast and we didn't come across other hikers. So, I didn't venture far into the trail. I might have traveled between 5 to 10 minutes. Of course, it took longer because we were stopping to enjoy the view. I wish Dan would have been with me. We would have gone further in and had tons more fun.


Regardless, we had a really good time. Will seems to enjoy these hikes. He runs forward and suddenly stops to stare at a plant or whatever caught his eye. I'm already envisioning the future of him hiking with us for hours. Of course, he has to still like doing so.


Besides hiking, later on in the day we went to a playground with Dan and his cousin Christopher. The guys played basketball and Will and I went up and down the slide that is until Will realized they were playing basketball. Then he went directly to the basketball court. At one point, he tried shooting the ball into a hoop. He stood directly under the hoop and through the ball up. Unfortunately, it only went up about two inches and went directly behind his head. We really need to get him a little basketball hoop for his room. He loves basketball!


What an eventful day! He's finally gone to sleep and I'm hoping that today's activities will lead to a very restful sleep. Furthermore, I hope it leads to a later awake time. Hey, anyone could dream! Enjoy the pictures!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Will's Hike

I finally got the two pictures I took from our hike on Thursday on to the computer. Here's Will enjoying his walk:




He's such a big boy now. Sigh...

Mother's Day and Beyond

A few years back, I went on a hike craze where I purchased a few books on hiking. One of these books is called 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: New York City. Right at the beginning of the book, there's a hiking recommendation section, which gives you a good amount of trails that are child friendly. For Mother's Day, we decided to try out one of the recommendations. We went to Croton Point Park.

The park was nice, but there was construction going on in some parts of the park. So, there were areas we couldn't get near. The trail was a walkway along the park. We were sort of confused by the map and where we were walking. There was a section of the trail that was blocked, which we didn't go through to only find out later that we should have gone pass the blocked area. Besides that and the insane amount of wind there was, we had a great time. Will ran around and played and seemed to be having fun. The view of the Hudson was spectacular. We'll have to return and picnic here. The park is great.


I've been working like a maniac. With all the training I had to do with the new job, I really haven't had much energy to do anything else. I did, however, manage to take Will on another little hike this past week. I had Thursday morning off and it was gorgeous out. I grabbed the little guy and took him to a park (I can't remember the name of it) right below the George Washington Bridge. There's a picnic/bbq area, playground, spectacular view of the City, and since it's at the bottom of the cliff by the water, it does have great hiking.

Hugging the shore line of the Hudson River, there's a trail called the Dyckman Shore Trail. I've been on this trail before, but never have gone through it completely. It was perfect for Will and I. Since it was a weekday morning, the area was nice and quiet. I was the only one with a kid there. Everyone else was either biking, jogging, or plain walking. We walked along the trail for quite some time. Will was looking at the river, the flowers, and everything else around him. He ran, laughed, and stared. I really enjoyed my time with him.

So when Will gets tired of walking, he does this thing where he begins to squat. He began doing that here, which was my cue to turn around and head back to the car. I carried him back and it must have been the sweetest walk we've had so far. He had his head on my shoulder and faced the river. He was so peaceful that he fell right to sleep. We lasted a good hour at this park. He has energy and loves the walking.

With the weather getting nicer, I'm going to take advantage and take him to every park that has kid friendly hikes, whether they are just walkways or little getaways like the trail hugging the Hudson River. He loves stretching his little legs and I love being in nature. Perfect combination! I hope his love of walking continues as he gets older and we'll go on big hikes. Hiking for me is very spiritual. I feel connected to everything. I hope he'll feel this way, too.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

I wish all Moms out there a very special day! Enjoy your kids, whether they're little or big!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Ft. Tyron Park

The weather was suppose to be crappy this past Saturday, but I guess we got a reprieve. Since it was already the afternoon when the sun came out, we decided to go to a place that would be pretty close. Fort Tyron Park was the place we had decided on. Neither one of us had ever gone there, which made the excursion fun.

I'm so glad Dan thought of this place. The Cloisters is located at this park. The place is gorgeous. We didn't take a tour of the place because the weather was too gorgeous outside. We walked, ran, played, and enjoyed the afternoon. The park is really pretty with gorgeous plants and flowers, hills everywhere, and nice spots you where you could take naps or just soak in the sun.

Here are some pictures of our outing:







Enjoy!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Since it Feels Like Summer...

I have set up some goals for myself this summer. First off, one of the changes happening to me starting May 5th is a new job. I'm leaving the corporate world of commuting into Manhattan everyday, working 8:30 to 5:30 for the restaurant business. Why? For starters, my fall school schedule conflicts with my work schedule. Second, I'll make more money. Third, I won't have to work as many days.

Since I'll be working less days, my main goal is to take Will out everywhere. I want him to enjoy the summer to the fullest and I want to enjoy him to the fullest. I'm so psyched about this. You can't imagine. I'm going to take him everywhere!

My second goal is to read as many books as I can. Once September rolls around, it's not happening. Right now, I'm reading a teenage book (Dan gets copies of books from his company to review and they publish teenage books) called "The Secret Circle: The Initiation and the Captive Part I." So far so good. I have a bunch of other books to read that I haven't had any chance to get to.

My third goal is to crochet or knit something. This will probably be the one goal I can't attain because it requires some type of not chasing a toddler time. Nonetheless, I will try even if it's one thing I make this summer.

Well, that's it so far for my goals. I do want to say that I'll do some kind of workout throughout this summer, but it hasn't happened for me yet. Maybe with a less rigid schedule, I'll be able to manage a workout here and there. We'll see....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lot's to Talk About and No Time to Do So

There's so much going on around me that I can't possibly put into this blog. Things are in the works that I will not mention until they come to be. I have this habit of mentioning stuff that might happen, only to have it not happen. I'm making a conscious effort (along with Dan) to keep our mouths shut. If it happens, great and if it doesn't, fine. You should always keep your wishes private that way nobody else could influence the outcome. I'm not saying that people wish me bad because that's not the case, but people have different views on things. Those different views, I believe, have an influence on outcomes. Once I have settled a few things, I'll post them.

Will surprises me every day. We took him out last weekend to a park in Brooklyn. We were meeting up with a few friends. Dan played three games of basketball with the guys and I played all afternoon in the park with Will. We had tons of fun. Will learned how to climb a fence and go up the stairs without my help. He played some basketball too.



He's a very active little boy. Can I tell you that we left our place around 10:30 and didn't get back home until around 10:00 and not once he took a nap? This kid was none stop. He ran everywhere, played everywhere, and tired Mommy a lot. By the time that Dan and I were walking to Port Authority to catch the bus back home, I could barely walk. My legs were aching so badly. Not even in my toughest workouts have I ever felt this way. I better hit the gym again to keep up with him because I'm sure he's only get more active.

Tomorrow we're taking him out again. The weather is going to be gorgeous and I'm not keeping him at home. He loves being outside. He loves walking and for long periods of times. We're taking him to a petting zoo. He should have tons of fun there and I'm sure we'll come back home with everything aching.

Well, time to go. Talk to you soon!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pictures!

I know I've been bad about posting pictures of the little guy. Here you go, enjoy!










Friday, April 17, 2009

Random

Yesterday turned out to be a dry, sunny day. Will was right on cue for walking. He stepped out of my parents' place and immediately wanted to walk. We reached the car and the yelling began. Trying to get a toddler into a car seat while he stiffens his body is not an easy task to endeavor. Add to that loosing my balance during the struggle and you could imagine how stressful the few minutes were. I'm amazed that I don't loose my cool. There's no blood beginning to boil or adrenaline pumping through my veins. I'm insanely calm. If this were ten years ago, this wouldn't be the case. I thought I use to be strong, but now I know I wasn't.

So off to the park we drove. Dan was meeting us there and I was excited. I love being outside and sharing this time with my two favorite people is even better. It was a bit chillier than I had expected. Will's hands were turning pink and we decided to cut the outing short. Will was thoroughly enjoying himself. He was running, yelling, grabbing grass and twigs. He was chasing us and we were chasing him.

I picked him up while he had a twig in each hand because he was trying to run off toward the street. I'm not sure how this happened but he shoved one of the twigs into my nose. My eyes immediately watered and I swore I would start bleeding at any second. Man did that suck! My nose is still raw and tender this morning. Boys....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

After raining all day, the evening cleared up and guess what we ended up doing? Yup, some more walking. I swear, we walked more than we did the other day. This time around, I carried around the stroller. I think on our twelfth block (this is after playing on the swing and see-saw), he got antsy. Holding hands was not an option for him and walking this way wasn't an option for me.

I put him into the stroller and all hell broke loose. He threw the biggest fit he's ever thrown. There was screaming, crying, kicking off his shoes (about five times), and whining. This went on for about two and a half blocks. I stood my ground and let him throw his fit. I thought I would be self-conscious about it, but it didn't phase me. It won't be the first or last fit he'll throw. He calmed down eventually and got upset again when I was putting him into the car. By this time, I had a headache.

We made it home and by this time you could tell he was tired. He grabbed a giraffe (part of a puzzle) and shoved it under the fridge. Of course, while this is going on and I'm trying to stop him, Dan calls me. I answer the phone as if the world is falling apart. I move the fridge, it gets stuck, and I want to cry. I keep it together and go into the living room to play with him.

Dan finally got home and Will was ready to knock out. I brush his teeth and lay down with him. All that walking got to him and he fell asleep within five minutes. The walking and the giraffe under the fridge got to me too because I almost knocked out right along with him.

It's now 10:10 pm and I managed to eat two cookies, half a ham and cheese sandwich, and a Godiva milk chocolate egg with almond butter. I did manage one other productive thing and that was registering for my summer classes. Yes, I got accepted into graduate school, which I'm not sure if I mentioned it in earlier posts (probably not). This is very exciting!

I'm babbling. It's time for bed. I need to be up by 5:30 am and exhaustion is ruling my body. Good night.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Little Guy

He always seems to amaze me. I underestimate him all the time. My thought process: he's too little. Let me tell you, I need to change that quickly. He is a smart little boy and Mommy needs to wise up to that.

Will has been on this walking kick and I don't mean walking around the apartment. I mean wanting to walk outside. It's no longer satisfactory to him for me to carry him when I take him out of the car to drop him off at my mother's place. He wants to walk over. On top of wanting to walk over, he likes to walk up to her apartment, which is on the third floor.

When it's time to pick him up to go back home, he wants to walk to the car and continue walking right pass the car. It basically ends up with him throwing a fit while I'm trying to strap him into the car seat. It's not a fun experience for him or me.

Since it was so nice out yesterday and I didn't have to cook dinner, I decided that when we got home we would go for a walk. We started on our walk and I was doing my best to describe all of his surroundings from the birds chirping to the bushes he was touching. He was having a blast.

There's a park a few blocks from my apartment. The only problem with getting to this park is going down a steep hill and then coming back up. We made it to the park, but it was packed with kids playing basketball and touch football. So, I turned around and faced the hill. We began walking up and I kept on asking him if he wanted me to carry him. His response was always "no" and when I would actually pick him up, he would squirm out of my arms. Well let me tell you, he made it up that hill.

We managed walking ten blocks. Yup, he inherited my walking genes. What impressed me more was what happened when I was going to continue walking to meet Dan at the bus stop. We have to pass our house to make it there. Will stopped in front of our place, faced it, and said "up". He knows where we live!! How great is that?

He's great and I can't get enough of him.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Early Intervention

Will's evaluation was today. My nerves have taken a back seat since the day his pediatrician alarmed me. Dan and I have been on him like white on rice with reading and playing. His vocabulary has jumped and (I think) he's been babbling more. Those are all good signs. But besides the vocabulary, I've been observing his actions. He's been vocal about wanting things (like water or cookies). He helps you take the groceries out of the bags. He's been pretend playing a lot, especially with the phone. He walks around the apartment pretending that he's talking to somebody.

Within 15 to 20 minutes of the psychologist and speech language pathologist watching and playing with him, they were able to tell me that he's where he should be. The 20-50 words for his age is not accurate. It's more like 10-15 words, which is where he was last month. The only thing they did notice from him was that he was quiet. We told him that he's distracted by the toys and Dan mentioned that we all tend to be quiet, which is probably why he was. They told us that we need to be more talkative. By the end of their visit, he was yapping away. They saw how he asked for water, cookies, and to go "up" for me to carry him.

We mentioned to them that we were looking for either to put him into daycare a few times a week or finding some kind of play group for him so that he's exposed to other children. They gave us some great suggestions, which we'll be checking out and they agreed that he needs exposure to other kids. They were very pleased with him and said that we're doing a great job with him and he doesn't qualify for any help. He's fine!

Although I had suspected as much, it is a relief to know it. I won't feel so bad the next time I go to the doctor and she tells me he's not up to par with his vocabulary. I'll simply let her know about today's evaluation and say that he's fine. There are no cognitive or social issues to worry about.

About him being quiet. I'm not sure how Dan was when he was a kid, but I know that I was very quiet even when I was playing. I have a feeling Dan was the same because he's that way now (not that he's playing), but you know what I mean. It might be that we passed it down to him. He keeps himself entertained for a good amount of time. He also doesn't have another kid around him to keep him talking. He's not shy because he immediately went to the women and smiled at them (especially when he saw the suitcase full of toys they brought with them).

We're really happy with their evaluation. We just have to make sure that we're more talkative and expose him more to other children. Now that the weather will be nicer, I'll make sure he's out at the park, playing with other kids. And now I'm off to find him some play groups!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Stressful Past Month

From the last time I posted, the stress levels have quadrupled (probably more). I've broken out, which I haven't experienced since high school. I've lost weight, which I don't necessarily mind. I'm six pounds away from my goal weight. If I could find the time to tone up, I would feel great. I've been having nightmares. Basically, I've been a mess.

What began stressing me was having to take the GRE, which I took yesterday. I was suppose to be in school this spring semester. I had gone to talk to the head of the department I'll be going to school at to find out more about the program I'm interested in, which is a Master's in Urban Education with an ESL certification. Since, I'm going back to the school where I have an undergraduate degree from, I was kind of hoping they would not make me take the GRE. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

Since there wasn't enough time to take the GRE and get accepted into the program for the spring, she told me to apply to the certification program and whenever I'm ready to take the GRE I could and then apply to the Master's program. What's ridiculous is the difference between the certification program and the Master's program is six credits. Can you believe that? Anyway, I applied to the certification program and got accepted. I figured that at anytime I could take the GRE. So, I'll take my time with it and really prepare for it. I've taken it once in the past and did horrible. So, I wanted to have enough time to get ready for it.

I applied for financial aid and got rejected, which I didn't understand why. Well, I went back to the head of the department and she informed me that since the certification is not a "degree" program that financial aid is not available. She said that I could either pay out of pocket or take out a private loan, none of which are an option for me. I don't want to take out a private loan right now and I'm not getting rid of any money I have saved up with the way the economy is going. So, I cried and cried on my way home from school, which I must of looked ridiculous because I was on the bus and everyone was staring at me.

This was happening around the holidays. Once they were over and I was able to get my sh*t together, I decided that the only way I would be able to go back to school is if I took that damn GRE. I signed up for it as late as possible. The deadline to apply for the fall is April 1st. So, March 21st was doomsday for me. I bought my GRE test practice book and started pounding the studying. I didn't concentrate on the math part because I'm not good at it and a month and half of studying math wasn't going to help me much, but I worked really hard on the vocabulary. While there was down time at work, I would study and if I got any time at home, I studied (that didn't happen very often).

Yesterday was doomsday. I took the grueling exam and found it to be a bit easier than the material I was using to study, except of course for the math. All the studying paid off and I did decent. It wouldn't get me into Columbia or NYU, but it was more than what I need to get into the program at my school. So by the end of today, I will apply to the Master's program and financial aid. If I get accepted or not is no longer up to me. I did my part.

If I were to tell you that taking GRE was the only thing causing stress in my life, I would be lying. On March 14th, I took Will for his regular check up. Let's just say I left the office feeling like the worst mother ever. I'll start off with his weight. When I took him back in December, he was weighing 24lbs. Back then, the doctor had told me that he had gained too much weight. He went from being in the 25th percentile to the 50th. So, she had to told me to make sure that it didn't jump to the 75th percentile. Fast forward to his check up now and he lost 4 ounces and is down between the 10th and 25th percentile. I told her that he just had a stomach virus and that's probably the reason why he's lost weight. I told her that I got the same thing and lost 9lbs. But because of this, she wants to see him at 21 months instead of his 2nd birthday. She wants to make sure he's gaining weight.

I get that she has to check out the weight loss, but I was annoyed. It's four ounces. I don't stop my son from eating. He eats snacks all day long and drinks 16 ounces of milk. If I'm having dinner and he wants to eat off my plate even after he ate, I let him. He's eating real food like chicken or beef with rice and beans. He loves his cookies, ice cream, and cinnamon raisin bread. Trust me, he's eating.

On to the next thing that really made me feel like a loser and it's the more serious of the two. She asked me how many words he speaks. I told her that I wasn't sure off the top of my head, but it was around 15 words. She looked at me and said that he should be speaking 20 to 50. My heart dropped. I told her some of the words he says like he asks for water by saying "agua". So she told me that probably the reason for this is because he's bilingual and might not know what language to use. She also asked me if he did puzzles, which he hasn't. I have one puzzle for him, but Louie had chewed one of the pieces. So, I've had it put away.

Needless to say, I left the office feeling awful. How could I have dropped the ball on Will? How could I have not noticed that he's not speaking as much as he should? How could I? It's my fault. There are several things going on here and these aren't valid excuses, but it's what's going on. I get up at 5:30am, drop Will off at my parents' by 7, and finally pick him up around 6:00 to 6:30pm. I get home around 6:45 to 7:00pm and right away I start making dinner. Dan doesn't get home until after 7 and he helps me finish dinner off. We eat around 8-8:30 and then it's time for Will to go to sleep. I don't interact enough with him. He plays around me or just hangs out watching me. On the weekends, I play with him, but you know how that goes. There are tons of errands to run and tons of cleaning to do.

Since that doctor's visit, Dan and I have adjusted how we work things when we get home and I also had a long talk with my parents. I told them that he can't watch too much tv and to make sure that they label everything when they speak to him. I don't care that it's in Spanish. I just want him to speak more. I also told my mom not to anticipate his needs so much, to let him ask for stuff. The doctor thinks that's another reason for his lack of talking. We know what he wants so he doesn't find the need to let us know verbally. When we get home at night, I still start dinner, but the minute Dan gets home, he gets on with it and I sit down with Will to play. We play with the puzzles, blocks, and read books. I manage to eat a bit and then I try to give him milk (oh yeah, she wants him to stop drinking milk from a bottle, so I've been battling with him to drink milk from a sippy cup). I read to him some more and he finally goes down to sleep.

Dan and I decided that just in case there's something else going on with his lack of talking, that we would have him evaluated. If there's some developmental delay, then we'll be able to get on it immediately and help him out. Dan called Early Intervention and we're waiting to set up the appointment. We also, along with my mother, think that maybe we should put him in a daycare for a day or two that way he gets to interact with other kids. My mother says that as much as we play and teach him, he needs other kids around him. Dan and I need to figure out how to work this because money is really tight with us. My job is not secure at all. I've also been looking for like Saturday classes in my area like a Mommy and me, but my county seems to be lacking those kinds of classes.

Wow, sorry for this long post, but that's what's been going on. Let's see how this turns out. I'm hoping for the better. It's not the end of the world if he's a little behind. I just want him not to fall so behind that he has trouble around his peers. If there's more to his lack of talking, then I want him to have all the possible resources around to ensure that he's helped. I'm mad at myself for letting this go on without noticing. Well, it's a lesson learned. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Recipe Time!

Alrighty, so you're watching what you eat. You've been good, real good, but all you could think of eating is some delicious baked ziti. That bad boy will set you back a few pounds! No need to worry! Here comes a quick easy fix.

Now, I can't really take all the credit for this, because I heard somewhere (here's my disclaimer) to substitute the pasta for eggplant. Yup, you read correctly. The eggplant holds up like ziti does and it's very nutritious for you.

This is how I made it for us tonight:

1/2 box of ziti (yes, I actually used pasta, but only half the amount I would normally use)
1/2 large eggplant (cut it up to resemble the ziti)
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I used Newman's Own Roasted Garlic)
Part Skim Ricotta Cheese (enough to mix in with the eggplant/pasta)
1/2 lb. of shredded Part Skim Mozzarella

Cook pasta as you normally would. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Assemble all of the ingredients in a baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. Voila!

Even though this is a lower fat recipe, it doesn't mean you could go crazy and eat half a tray of this. There's still cheese in this, which is fattening. Portion control my friends! Portion control!

Let me tell you, this is such a yummy substitute. Dan even loved it. He was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. The eggplant enhances the taste of the dish and it's perfectly tender. I think it's a genious and easy way to increase the amount of vegetables in your diet, trick your kids into eating more veggies, and lower the amount of calories you have in a day. Let's not forget how much less refined carbohydrates you're eating, too.

This is also a great recipe because it allows you to have some fun with your diet. Although, I have to admit that if you're eating healthy, you're not eating boring. There are so many different dishes you could make that are super healthy for you and don't taste like cardboard. You just have to be adventurous. Even with this recipe you could go crazy by adding some chicken (if you want some protein) or add other vegetables into the mix. Be creative. Try it out!!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Rough, Rough, and Just Plain Rough...

As hectic as life seems to me for the past week, it could have been worse. On Monday morning, the president of the company I work for called a mandatory meeting (only two hours in advance). You know that's never good. Before the meeting even started, some of my coworkers started packing their desks. One of my coworkers was there for 30 years. It's just sad. I lucked out.

The meeting was gloomy. The CEO informed everyone that anyone making over $25,000 will receive a 5% deduction from their salary for the next four months and overtime is no longer allowed. Everyone just looked down when he announced that. If this is what it takes for us to hold on to our jobs for a bit longer, so be it.

The CEO kept on reiterating how the company is the leader in the industry, which it is. Within this past year, ten offices have closed and tons of people were handed pink slips. I wonder what's going on with our competitors. They are lowering their prices so much that if this company would do the same, it would go under. So, the company pays the price by loosing over $100 million worth of business. Ouch.

What I'm worried about is the end of the four months. Salaries are going right back to normal (well, there was a pay freeze this year, but whatever)after the four months and that was guaranteed by the CEO. Unless, miraculously, we get some of that business back, there will be more layoffs. I'm sorry President Obama, I won't be stimulating the economy. I need to hold on to my money because I may not have a job soon.

My boss talked to me about the situation and what it means for me. I'm the newest one in the department, which may mean that I could be next. He's lobbying for me to take over the job that the person that worked for 30 years had since I basically give him the commercial needed for him to transfer and to show me some data entry that someone in my department does (in order to fill in when he's out on vacation; he definitely will not get fired). He's hoping that with the more duties I have, the more valuable I'll be. We'll see if his theory works.

This all happened on Monday. Now on to the rest of the week. I've been significantly busier at work since the layoffs/salary reduction announcement. I guess the sales' staff is finally realizing that they actually need to work. My eyes are about to fall off from looking at so much advertisement. As a result, I've done 2 hours of overtime. But wait, there is no overtime. Right. Yeah, I'll be leaving early next week to get back those two hours.

On Tuesday night, we said our goodbyes to my sister-in-law who was headed back to Miami. She's also taken Louie (our pooch) with her. I cried so much. He's been with us for nine years and I miss him dearly. There's no one to trip over and no treats to give. Wednesday morning I was preparing my sandwich for work and turned to drop him some meat. I cried some more. I know he's missing us too and I feel awful for letting him go. I feel like a horrible parent.

He's tried biting Will several times and I can't allow that to happen. The stress I had about the dog and the baby being around each other was immense. I couldn't relax and Dan definitely couldn't either. He's back down in Florida with my in-laws who are very gracious for taking him being that they already have two dogs. I miss him.

Also on Wednesday, we went to look at an apartment. The place is very spacious and right where I would love to move. We went back on Thursday to take a second look, but it doesn't seem we'll get it. The owner is not interested in renting the place to couples with young kids. She did let us see the place so I figured she might budge. Oh well. By the way, as I'm writing this post, my neighbors are arguing loudly. There are no fists flying, yet. We so need a new place to live.

Let me end this post on a positive note.
1. I have a job.
2. My savings account has gone up.
3. My 401K is hanging in there.
4. I could be pickier about finding an apartment now that Louie has retired to Florida.
5. I've lost some more weight. I need a new hole on my belt.
6. I could finally breathe through my nose.
7. The weekend will be warm enough that I'm taking Will to the park.

Good night....

Saturday, January 24, 2009

'09 Please Change

Man oh man. What can I say? For starters, I have another sinus infection. Since November, this has been a recurring theme. My energy is zapped and I feel awful. This has got to end. I'm thinking about going back to the doctor and see what else I could do for this. Three months with the same symptoms is way too long.

With taking better care of myself and saving money, bringing lunch to work has been an everyday thing for me. The food I'm eating is better than say getting a sandwich at Subways. For the past two weeks, I've been really good by bringing in my own salads with my homemade dressings. I've been putting yummy stuff in there like romaine, spinach, craisins, almonds, and whatever else I think of. So the problem? Since I've been putting vinegar in my dressings and having salads for two weeks now, my mouth has sores in them (gross). I guess the acidity doesn't agree with my tummy. Of course, I didn't realize this until my mother pointed it out to me on Friday. What am I suppose to do now? She suggested I add only olive oil with salt & pepper to my salads. Ughhhhh.....My dressings are very tasteful. This sucks.

With feeling as crappy as I am right now and a combination of going to sleep late last night, I really didn't appreciate waking up this morning at 4:30 to shouting coming from downstairs. What I hear is the son coughing almost as if he was throwing up and his father yelling at him to get into the kitchen. I'm very weary when I hear shouts coming from them because it usually means a fist fight follows. For some reason, I woke Dan up and told them they were fighting again. I'm not sure why I did this. In fact while I was waking him up, I thought the same thing, but it was too late to change my mind. He looks at me, lays there for about a minute (probably less) and jumps out of bed, running towards the door. I'm not sure if he said anything to me while he was running because my ears are clogged from this sinus infection I have and I'm having a difficult time hearing, but he opens the front door (which at this moment I'm confused and scared) and starts screaming "FIRE". I didn't smell anything because again I'm all freaking clogged up.

It took me a second to comprehend what was going on and then I jumped out of bed. By this time, I hear the father downstairs yell back up that it's not a fire. His son was cooking something and forgot about it. Why is this guy cooking at 4:30 am? Anyway, the amount of smoke now entering our place is obscene. We had to open all the windows nice and wide, turn on the fans at high speed, and put on the extractor.

We go into the baby's room and of course it stinks worse there because his room is over the hallway. Our closet, which is in his room, stinks. We took him out of the room, opened his window, and turned on the fan. At this point, he wakes up, which means I'm changing his diaper and giving him milk. There's no way he's falling back to sleep without something in his belly. For some reason, we didn't freeze to death, but man my place has not warmed up yet from having those windows opened.

I cannot begin to tell you how angry we were and actually still are. Luckily, the father woke up and stopped the fire because from what Dan described, I'm not sure we would have been able to leave from the front door from the amount of smoke there was. You should have seen the smoke just entering our apartment. Our other escape route is jumping out of Will's window, which is over the porch. Not something I would like to do with a toddler in my arms. Now, I fear that this kid (he's not a kid; he's 20) will do this again. Who starts making something at 4:00 in the morning and then forgets it? What is he on? If you're that sleepy, don't eat! I'm not comfortable living here any more and will start looking for a new place to live. Between the fights and now this, we've had enough.

As you can see, I'm in desperate need for a little vacation and not a vacation where I'm sick and can't do anything, which is what happened the last time we went away. I must be focusing way too much on all the bad going on because I just keep on attracting it. I'm tired and can't really handle it anymore. Something has to change in a positive way because these last few months have not been living.

Hopefully, my next post will be positive.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I am Fitter Than Ever....

But not as much as I thought. It turns out that I haven't been able to run at 6.5-7.5 mph again. My theory? I was very stressed out when I went to the gym on that day. Whenever that's the case, I could go on for hours. I remember a long, long time ago I had gotten really angry about something and biked 10 miles without even thinking about it (and not through flat terrain either). I tend to do that. I have also been sore from working out, which might add on to my lesser speed.

One thing I tried that I haven't done in a long time were squats. I have a whole story behind squats. Back when I was in college, I took a weightlifting course. The first day of class, the professor had us do chair squats (sit and get up from a chair) for two hours. There were no weights involved, but just a bunch of us sitting and standing. I can't even begin to tell you how sore I was the next few days and two days later we did it again.

Back then, I was very overweight and doing squats was a mission for me. Regardless, I did them. I didn't want to be the fat girl that couldn't hack it. And of course I was the only overweight person in class. Throughout the semester, we added weights to those squats and they weren't an issue for me.

Fast forward to now. Since I can't make it to the gym whenever I want to, I tend to do mini workouts at home. I'll do push-ups or play Wii Boxing (don't laugh, it gets me going). The other night, I decided on squats. Well, I guess my legs haven't forgotten all those hours of squats I did for this class because I had to stop myself from doing them. I could have kept on going, but I did 50. I was afraid of not being able to walk the next day. Good thing that I did stop because man was I sore the following two days.

so, I'm off to to doing some push-ups and squats before going to bed. It's been a long day. I've been cleaning (and deep cleaning; oven and furniture moving). I'm exhausted. Good night!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

What a Start to the Year

When I said to bring on '09 I wasn't really thinking of an ear infection and very, very sore throat. Will is the one with the ear infection. He's been miserable. My staycation was really a staycation. I haven't left home other than a quick trip to the liquor store, Shop Rite, the gym (yes, I did manage to work-out), and the doctor's visit (today). Five days off and that's it.

Dan's birthday didn't turn out to much. Will was so upset and uncomfortable that he spent the entire day on top of me. I'm not exaggerating. So my plans for his birthday didn't amount to anything. Well, at least Dan plans to celebrate his birthday for the next week. I'll make it up to him.

The sore throat affliction is mine. Yes, back in November I had strep throat. Now, my throat feels as if I have shards of glass stuck. Not fun. So, I've been gargling with some rinse you could buy over the counter, spraying with throat spray, drank got water with lemon and honey, and took a shot of brandy (btw, disgusting). My throat seems a bit better now. I'll have my hot water with lemon and honey cocktail again before going to bed. I expect to feel better by tomorrow.

Wish me luck.