Get In Shape, Girl

your body can stand almost anythingAlthough it’s a year-round goal of mine to be in shape and stay in shape, the impending season of shorts and bathing suits always makes me kick it into high gear in the spring.  I’m doing a self-imposed fitness challenge: cutting calories a bit to lose a few pounds of winter insulation, and increasing my weekly workouts to try and tighten up all the parts that got a little squishy over the winter.

I am not a naturally self-disciplined person when it comes to eating in moderation (cheese is good, more cheese is better). 

And I’m also not naturally motivated to work out every day without some kind of incentive. 

I really don’t enjoy: running.

I really enjoy: eating food.

So I run in order to eat more.  Sad but true, my only real incentives are cheese, wine, and bread.

Because I need assistance in the get-motivated-and-lay-off-the-brie-and-pinot department, I use an app on my phone called MyFitnessPal to track my calories, my exercise, and my water intake.  It really helps me get a handle on things to track every little bit of food that goes in my mouth, and it motivates me to work out more when I see calories added on to my daily allowance every time I exercise. 

In weight-loss-mode, my daily calorie allowance for my current height and weight is 1200 calories per day.  When I’m not dieting, I eat like I am a 6′ tall, 200-lb man, not a 5’3″, 130-lb woman.  So 1200 calories a day is a pretty drastic decrease. 

I mean, I CAN eat 1200 calories a day and be just fine.  But I have to go to bed for the day at 3PM.  And I can’t be around other humans without wanting to kill someone.

Working out helps me get a few hundred extra calories per day, which helps me not be a homicidal maniac.  And it helps me tone and build muscle, so it’s a win-win.

Right now I’m in the honeymoon phase where I’m still excited about eating less and working out more and can’t wait to see my results in a few weeks.  That will end soon though, and I’ll need to work hard to convince myself it’s worth it to eat another salad instead of bread. 

Maybe I should just post this on the fridge:

get off your assAnd then try on some bathing suits.  If that won’t convince me to keep it up, nothing will.



Every year when Q’s preschool has class pictures, they open up the day to siblings so that families can bring their older and younger kids in and get photos all together.

It’s been a few years since I’ve done it, but this morning we all went in together and got the kids photos done.  Since all my children went to preschool there, it’s a nice little walk down Memory Lane for them, and their old teachers love seeing them grown up and off to elementary school.

We do lots of photos in this family.  Lots.  Because there’s so much about their babyhoods and toddlerhoods I don’t remember until a photo jogs my memory.  So I try to take lots of photos so that years from now I can look back and remember how B still had cuts and scabs on her knees from playing outside when she was almost 11, and how G used to spike his hair in a very carefully crafted faux-hawk every morning, or how O had this one super dangly snaggle tooth for months before it finally came out, and how Q used to eat his upper lip every time he smiled.

I’m not great about printing out pictures and putting them in albums, though, and that scares me.  What if I lose all these photos because they exist only digitally and then I basically can’t remember anything about my children when they were little? (Slightly overdramatic, maybe, but whatever.)  I’m trying to get better about it–I ordered a hundred or so prints a few weeks ago and am planning to do that monthly until I can catch up.  But that will take a while–we’ve got ten years of photos to get through.

It will be worth it though, to be able to look back and see these sweet faces and remember.

Easy Like a Sunday Morning

always be my baby

I love a lazy morning when the kids curl up on the couch watching cartoons for a while and Matt and I can sit in the living room together, drinking our coffee and chatting. 

We won’t have many of them this spring–baseball and soccer kicked into top gear this weekend, the only morning of the week that we won’t be up and out the door will be Sundays.  From now until school ends in June, we will be crazy busy six days a week.

So I intend to make Sunday mornings as lazy as I can. 

I am all about productivity; nothing is as satisfying to me as GETTING STUFF DONE.  But in my haste to use my time as efficiently as possible and check all the items off my to-do list, sometimes I forget that relaxing should have a spot on that list too.  I forget that in the doing, I occasionally miss out on the being.

And being with these guys? 

1-family gamesIt’s the most important thing I have to do.

Hidden Disasters

Monica's Messy ClosetFor the most part, my house is neat and clean and organized.

But there is one space in my house that I just can’t get a handle on — my laundry room.  I can’t get it the way I want it OR keep it the way I want it.  I can’t clean it alone and it’s a major project to even try to start, so I just keep throwing crap on the pile and closing my eyes.

It’s like Monica’s secret messy closet.  (Please tell me you get that reference.)

Hopefully I’m not the only one with a problem like this…

The first problem is that the laundry room is in the basement and there are sometimes bugs in the basement.  And I hate bugs.  A lot.  So I won’t move too many things around in the laundry room for fear of discovering a cricket.  I can only clean that room if Matt’s home to help (and kill any bugs we find).

The second problem is that it’s the only unfinished space in the house –concrete floors and walls — so it just looks yucky.  We could finish it, but that’s where all our utilities are (furnace, hot water heater, so many pipes) so we’d need to build a closet area to access that, and it’s just more complicated than we can deal with on our own.  So we leave it unfinished but that definitely contributes to the lack of love I feel for that room.

The final problem is that we put shelving in there planning to use it for storing dry goods like extra paper towels and tissues.  And then we started piling other crap on the shelves that we didn’t know what to do with, and now I can’t even handle the thought of cleaning off those shelves without wanting to cry, so I just ignore them.  Ignoring a mess generally doesn’t make it go away though. 

We need to address the whole room and just make it at least semi-nice once and for all, and then I know I can maintain it.  The whole project just seems overwhelming, though, and so we leave it alone. 

We can’t leave it forever though.  I told Matt that on the next rainy Sunday we have free, we HAVE to deal with it.  (He’s thrilled.  Can’t wait.)  I’m trying to plan what I want to accomplish in there, and have it be something that we can do in a single day.  I think if we start with an idea of where we want to finish, we’re more likely to actually complete it. 

I’ve looked on Pinterest for laundry room ideas, but that’s not really a good idea when the room I’m dealing with has concrete walls and no flooring — Pinterest laundry rooms are nicer than my kitchen.  I’m trying to keep my expectations in check a little because we aren’t going to do drywall or install new floors anytime soon.  We’re just going to make it clean, neat, and organized.  It will have to retain it’s industrial charm until a later day when we can really renovate the whole space.

What does your dream laundry room look like? 

Happy 5th Birthday


You’ve been keeping a countdown for the last twenty one days, but it’s finally here — you are five years old today.  For three weeks, you’ve kept us all posted as to how many days remained, and this is the day we’ve all been looking forward to, because your excitement was contagious. 

You’re so ready and so happy to be five.  “What day is my birthday on?” you asked me a week or so ago.  I told you it was on a Tuesday.  “So do I start kindergarten on Wednesday?” you asked with pure anticipation.  I was sorry to have to break the news that you’d have to wait until September, but you were appeased with the reminder that in between your birthday and the beginning of your much-awaited school career loomed a full spring of baseball and a summer of swimming in the pool.  You’re alright with waiting if that’s what you’ll be doing in the meantime.

But oh, you are so ready and so, so happy to be five.

You’d be taller on Tuesday, you told me.  You’d be big.

My heart is full as I listen to you describe all the birthday parties you are planning to have — and you are planning to have several.  You already invited all 16 kids from your preschool class to come to a birthday party we aren’t exactly having, what with 5 nights a week of sports practices and 4 games on Saturdays these days.  We’ll have a cookout one of these weekends and celebrate you and all your wonderfulness, though.  And because you are you, that will be enough and you will be overjoyed and everyone around you will smile too because it’s impossible not to smile when you –my happy, joyful, sweet, smiling boy– are happy.


I am struggling with this birthday, though.  I cannot lie.  It is unfathomable to me, completely and fully, that the youngest person in our family is five years old.  Five year olds are big.  They are not babies.  How, HOW, do I not have any babies anymore?  It is too much for me to wrap my mind around, and so I still, and probably always will, refer to you as “the baby”. 

Sorry, not sorry.

Q is born

Five years ago, I had my last baby.  We found out I was pregnant with you just days before your oldest sister turned five, in fact.  Which means that when we found out you were on the way, the OLDEST child in our family — the oldest of three at the time — was the age you are now.  And now you, my last baby, are that same age that I thought of as so big when I found out you’d be completing our little family. 

My four babies

You, my little bug, are joy personified.  You always have been.  You are friendly and helpful and kind and loving.  You make cranky people smile.  You wake up in a good mood and even when you do get angry, it’s sort of endearing because you’re not very good at it.

baby Q smiling

We’ve spent all these days together, you and I, for the last two years as your big brothers and sister went off to school each day.  We’ve played more games of Candyland than I wish to remember, gone on more grocery shopping trips than I can probably count, read more books and watched more cartoons and baked more treats than I can say.  It’s not always fun, being the one stuck home with boring old mom, because no matter what, I still have to do dishes and fold laundry and cook dinners.  And you’re stuck with me, through all that.  But you make it all so much better and you are cheerful through it all.  Well, through most of it.

I will miss you so much when you go off to kindergarten in the fall.  So, so much.

Q-and-mommy-walking away

In this last year, you’ve started swimming on your own on the swim team and made it the full 25-meters across the pool (almost) completely unassisted by the end of last summer. 

Q swim meet

You can do the monkey bars and pump your own swing. 

Q monkey bars

You started Pre-K, and you are thriving in school. 


You learned to ice skate. 


You learned to ski.

Q and Daddy skiing

You’re playing, for the first time, on your own baseball team, without your older brother there beside you. 

Q baseball

You are reading

You are growing up, and loving every moment.  You are reveling in all of it, and it is a joy to watch you.

Although I want to keep you little, your excitement over all your new accomplishments makes it easier to accept that I cannot.

Although I want to keep you little, it is so much fun to watch you as you get big. 

But this I promise: no matter how big you get, even when you are taller than me (and you will be, in the not-too-distant future), you will ALWAYS and FOREVER be my baby. 

Happy 5th birthday, my bug.  I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart).