Ready, Set, Walk!

Monday, April 26, 2010

I can't believe how fast the year is going! Last year when I was getting ready for the 3 day, I felt like I had all the time in the world to prepare. I was so wrong. November will be here before I know it. I'm heading out for my first walk of the year. I've set my goal today for four miles. My ankle isn't 100% but I went to see my foot guy again and now I have supports in my shoes. I can't train in the pair I have for too much longer since they (literally) have a lot of miles on them. New ones are definitely in order. 

I don't want to make the same mistakes I did last year; namely not training enough and not training on the same streets as the walk route (ie lots of hills and curbs, I may have to do a whole post on curbs!). I also didn't train with my fanny pack last year (BTW I hate the term fanny pack. Is there something better? Butt bag? I think I'll use that).

I used a small backpack last year and hardly carried anything in it. As a result, I wasn't prepared for the weight of all the stuff I lugged around during the walk. Having all of that weight on my lower back definitely changed my stride so this year I'm wearing my butt bag from the start. Mine is from Eddie Bauer and I love it because it holds A LOT. It has adjustable rubber bands on the sides to hold the water bottles in place. That doesn't seem important until the third time you bend over to tie your shoes and they fall out, rolling in everyone's way. Not that I'd know about that from experience. Ahem. This is what I'll be taking with me on training walks:

Two water bottles
Snacks (as the walk gets closer I carry a lot more food)
Lip balm with sunscreen
Wet wipes
Hand sanitizer
Camera (I'll start carrying the video camera too)
Hair ties
Cell phone
Nike Plus pedometer (for the iPod)
Business card case with debit card, ID and a little cash
Not pictured: toilet seat covers (for emergency porta potty stops)
Hat (either my wide brimmed straw or a ball cap)

I carry a lot more during the actual walk. My suggestion to first time walkers is to decide early on whether you want to use a backpack or butt bag and carry it from the get go.

I'm excited to be an online ambassador again this year. I'm happy to help newbie walkers any way I can. If you're in San Diego and want to train with me, let me know! There are other ambassadors all across the country.* We'll all be posting our progress and tips. We're here to help, support and encourage. If you have questions, please ask!

*Links to @the3day's profile on Twitter with all the other ambassadors.

Earth Day 2010: International Housewares Show Finds

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"The Earth is what we all have in common" - Wendell Berry

I've got a long way to go towards living a truly green lifestyle. I may not ever get there since there are things I can't see myself giving up (public transportation in my area stinks), and some things I can't see doing (composting) but I'm being more aware. I read labels more than I have before. I combine errands. I've added a few organics to our diet. I'm sure my next car will be even more fuel efficient than my current one. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless. 

I saw several things at the International Housewares Show that have stuck with me because I know they would be easy for me to work into my family and our lifestyle.

I like this because I dryclean a lot of my dresses, shirts and my nice jeans. We also take Phil's uniforms in once a month for reserves. I try to remember to take the hangers and plastic bags back but more often than not they end up in the trash. I think it's great that their site offers carbon offsetting from the shipping of their products.

They had the cutest booth. I think that's what really caught my attention. That and the woman doing the demos in a bathrobe and slippers. Sign me up for that job, please! I've seen Nellie's products at my Crate and Barrel outlet. The dryer ball interested me the most. I've heard they do a good job in speeding up drying time.

Sometimes I have to run the dryer twice and I don't know if it's better to divide one washed load into two smaller ones and dry them; or run the dryer once, take out the items that dry the fastest and then finish the cycle. I'm not sure I'd switch to their laundry powder because of the eczema in our house and the limited availability, but I'd be curious to know if it's more cost effective than liquid laundry soap. Have you used Nellie's?

I already use Simple Green, especially after we make bacon or use the George Foreman. It's awesome for breaking down all that fat. I think the Naturals are a good addition to the product line. They smelled good, which is key for me (I tried Simple Green Green Apple. Bad. Really bad.). One change I hope they make is to offer those little concentrated refill canisters across all their product lines so we don't have to buy the big plastic bottle each time.

Pic from the site, I forgot to take one at the show
I'd also glanced at these in Crate and Barrel before the trip to Chicago. I'm a bit skeptical about their effectiveness. Most of their line is made with peach pits, walnut shells, pumice stone and corn cobs. They're designed to replace cleaning agents but can be used with a small amount of product. I see myself using one for my cast iron pan since they're not supposed to be washed, only rinsed with hot water, but sometimes stuff gets stuck and I end up scrubbing. If the Spaghetti Scrub won't ruin my cookware I'd give them a try. Sponges are definitely on my 'things I feel guilty while using them' list.

I'd seen the hot drink cups at Bed, Bath and Beyond before the show. I was going to buy one of hot cups but the people at the booth were giving them out. Yay! I've used it almost every day since I got back. It holds a Grande at Starbucks or the 20 ounce from 7-11 (my new recessionista obsession). It's dishwasher safe but ours is broken so I can't vouch for how it holds up in there. I have re-heated coffee in the microwave though. Once I get the cold cup (above) for smoothies I'll be all set. Copco is a division of Wilton, the bakeware company. I didn't know that before the show.

These last two aren't from Housewares, the companies are local to me.
Samples for Mom's Nite Out swag bags
Also on my guilt list are paper towels. I make a conscious decision to buy recycled but if I don't have a coupon I buy whatever is priced best. I really like these because they come from a local, mom owned company. Michelle and Karen live just a few minutes from me! These cloths are biodegradable and can be sanitized in the dishwasher or microwave. I didn't see these at the Housewares Show. I got a cloth in the swag bag at women's expo I went to last weekend. I wrote to them, asked if they'd be willing to donate to my Mom's Nite Out party and they said yes!

Pic from the site
Another local business and Mom's Nite Out supporter. I met Julie at another women's networking event. I was looking for her business card to ask about Mom's Nite Out and then I got an email from her. It was meant to be! If the back of your car looks like mine, this is will definitely help. The Tote Buddy holds up to 10 reusable bags. It helps with 'forgetting them in the car' and fits well under the shopping cart. Julie has offered code 'earthday' until 4/30 for a $2 discount.

In some ways I think we, as a society, will never completely be able to undo the damage we've done to the planet. Cell phones, computers and cars are here to stay. I do think there's a lot more we could and should be doing to protect the ocean and other precious habitats. I don't think global warming is a made-up phenomenon.

Watching shows like Discovery's Planet Earth and Life have started great discussions in our house. I may not be able to make big changes but I can make the effort and pass those habits on to Tyler. I guess that's the best way we can all start healing the planet, by educating our kids and having them learn from our mistakes.

What changes have you made since last Earth Day? Do you think the 'green movement' is overblown?

*This is not a sponsored post. None of these companies asked me to post about them and I didn't tell them I was going to. Other than the product donations for Mom's Nite Out, I'm not benefiting from posting. These are things I'm genuinely interested in and feel comfortable supporting, especially the mom owned businesses.

Wordless Wednesday: It's NOT What It Looks Like

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Admit It, You've Done It Too

Monday, April 19, 2010

It's Monday. You have a party to go over the weekend at your new blog friend's house. You need a pedicure but think, I've really got to get caught up on laundry, I'll go tomorrow. The next day it's grocery shopping and so on and so forth until finally it's Saturday afternoon. 

Of course your outfit, down to the peep toe shoes, is already planned. So, what to do? You have two choices. Either change your outfit at the last minute possibly resulting in a clothing crisis, or, you can get creative:

I had the flower painted on at the Head to Toe Women's Expo
I went with the latter.

Kid Fest San Diego Seeking A Mom Owned Business

One of the things I like most about blogging and our community is the opportunity to give back once in awhile. If you know a mom who is just starting or has recently launched a business and could use a little promotion, go to the Kid Fest San Diego page on Facebook and nominate her (or yourself!) for booth space at the event! 

I Gave My Kid an Eyeful Yesterday

Friday, April 16, 2010

I was early enough at afternoon pick up to get a good parking spot and to stand by the gates and catch Tyler on his way out. We walked back to the car and he was his usual chatty self. We always talk the whole ride home about how his day was, what he did at recess, whether his larva died. The usual kid stuff.

We hopped in the car and he got really quiet. Actually, he didn't say a word. I pulled up to a red light and looked over my shoulder to ask if everything was okay. Tyler was leaning forward in his booster seat, staring at the floor behind the driver's seat.

What on earth is he staring a...

*mental head slap*

Crappity, crap, crap. 

They don't take those magazines at Goodwill. I forgot I'd tossed them on the floor. At least it was this issue was on top of the pile and not one of the other two.

I told Phil the story as we were getting ready for bed. His reaction? 

"Heh heh. That's my boy. Heh heh. Bewbs." [in a Beevis and Butthead voice, naturally]

 Mom. Fail.

Wordless Wednesday: Blue Italian Ice

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oceanside Farmer's Market April 2010

What Do You Know About It?!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We've been watching Life on Discovery*. It's been great family time. It has, however, opened a door we weren't prepared to go through. The show talks a lot about mating. A lot. Two weeks ago, we were all cozied up on the couch watching the episode about birds when Oprah (she narrates) said the word seks and Tyler screwed up his face.


Me: "What's ewww?"

"She said, 'ES-E-X'." [how does he know how to spell it?!]

"What do you know about seks?" 

"It's gross."

"Why is it gross?"

Phil is looking at me over Tyler's head and his eyes kept getting bigger and more deer in headlights-y.

Kinda like this female Dawson's Burrowing Bee.

"Because there's all that kissing. That's gross."

"Actually, kissing is kissing. Seks is how babies are made."

Phil had a heart attack. 

Tyler didn't say anything to that. After the show, we sent him to get ready for bed.

Phil: "Why did you tell him that?!"

"I didn't want him on the playground yelling at some girl, 'stop trying to have seks with me!' He needs to know the difference."

"I'm not ready for this, he's only 7!" 

"Me neither, but kids are doing some scary stuff, we're going to have to talk about it eventually."

"Yes, but he's only 7!!"

We told my mom the story when she was here last week. She, of course, thought it was hysterical. My parents didn't have The Talk with me. I'm sure with my brother it was, "do not, under any circumstances, bring home a pregnant girlfriend." 

I've been wondering when the topics of seks would come up. I figured we'd wait until Tyler brought it up and answer age appropriately. When he was a toddler, we told him the proper names for body parts and that he used to drink milk from my breasts. I think we've done a good job giving him the information he needs and answering his questions honestly. 

Now that he's brought it up, I guess it's time to think more in depth about how we'll answer the actual how-to questions. I'm sure it will be up to me, given Phil's reaction to this little incident. 

How old were your kids when you had The Talk? What did you say?

*Life is such a good show. Very similar to the Planet Earth series. I wasn't asked to write about it, we just really enjoy it and have had fun watching together. Photo from the Life/Discovery website.

Losing My Mom of the Year Award

Monday, April 12, 2010

I made Tyler cry yesterday. Granted, I've done it before, but this time it was accidental. Yesterday's weather was below southern California standards. It wasn't nice enough for the pool, beach or park (don't hate) so we decided to go see How To Train Your Dragon.
Tyler was outside playing. I called him in and told him to change into jeans and get his shoes on.

Before I get to the part where I made him cry, let me explain a little bit about Tyler. He makes it virtually impossible to surprise him or treat him to something. Whenever I ask him to get ready so we can leave, he starts in with 20 Questions.

Are we going somewhere?
Where are we going?
Is it the park?
Which park are we going to?
Is it the squishy one* or the one with the sand?
It's not the park?
Is it Chuck e Cheese?
Will there be food there?
Will my cousin be there?
Is it the skate park?
Can I bring my scooter?
Why is the sky blue in the daytime but not at night?

If I don't answer, he just keeps going. I've told him before that sometimes, part of the excitement of going somewhere is the anticipation and element of surprise. He needs to just sit back and enjoy the ride every once in awhile. We're still working on it.

Back to the story.

I can see that he's about to launch into 20 Questions. We need to get moving since we decided to go at the last minute and wanted to catch the next showing (leaving us about 25 minutes to get there) so we could go to dinner afterwards. We didn't have time to play his game.

"We're going to the movies and we need to get a move on."

"What movie are we seeing?"

I get easily frustrated that, when asked to do something, Tyler doesn't always just do it because we're his parents and we asked him to. He has to question everything. I'm sure this is a trait I'll admire later. Now? Not so much. Which is probably what led to me saying:

"You're not seeing a movie, Daddy and I are seeing a grown up one and you're waiting in the car."

Phil laughed a little and said, "we're going to see How To Train Your Dragon and we need to hurry."

Fast forward to after the movie.** We're walking back to the car asking each other what we thought when Tyler says to me, "you know, Mom, you made me cry earlier."

"What do you mean?"

"Before, when I asked where we were going."

"You mean, when I said you were going to be waiting in the car?'

"Yes. I was crying in the back seat on the way here. I used Dad's sweatshirt to wipe my tears."

Yes, he actually said 'wipe my tears.' I felt about thisbig. He didn't hear Phil when he said the name of the movie. My poor kid thought he'd be sitting in the car alone! Obviously, my sarcasm didn't quite come through. I've apologized profusely, but think I'm going to have to pull something really special out of my ass to make up for this one.

Please tell me I'm not the only one to inadvertently reduce their kid to tears?

*We have a park nearby with that bouncy, rubber tire-like stuff under the play structure. We started calling it the squishy park, to differentiate it from the sand park, and the where-we-used-to-live park.
**We all loved the movie. It's really cute. We saw it in IMAX 3D. The dragons aren't super scary, except for the giant bad-guy one. I wouldn't take kids under 5.

Support Afterschool Programs in Your Area {sponsored}

Thursday, April 8, 2010

When I was four, my mom worked and I went to daycare.  From the stories my parents tell, I hated it. I would cry every day at drop off. It got so bad that, anytime we got into the car and headed in that direction, I would "scream bloody murder," (direct quite from my mom) and my parents would have to spend a long time calming me down. After awhile, my parents decided it wasn't worth it, putting us all through that, and they decided my mom would stay home.
For us, we've been very fortunate in having access to good care for Tyler. We put him in kindergarten literally at the last minute and were lucky our school had spots open so close to the start of the school year. One of the reasons we like our district is the on-site, affordable child care. When I was working, having before and after care right on the school grounds gave us so much peace of mind. Tyler loved Miss Rosie and Miss Molly! They helped the kids with their homework, gave them a snack and offered a good balance between play time and crafts.

But, I had working mom guilt that we weren't able to enroll Tyler into any type of sports or have after school playdates because of our schedules. Now that I'm home, I'm trying to make up for lost time. The few hours we have together after school before the homework and dinner chaos have become really special. We're taking full advantage of So Cal living and we go to the beach, the park, the farmer's market, on bike rides, play tennis, hang out at the pool, to the local skate park or occasionally for Fro Yo or ice cream. Tyler loves his martial arts class and now he wants to start competing in tournaments (hold me!)

Just like my mom, I know I'm blessed to have the option to stay at home. I also know that my situation could change, I'll have to go back to work and we'll need to utilize the on-site care at school again. Finding affordable, quality childcare shouldn't be a luxury or dependent on the neighborhood you live in, but that's the case for lots of working families. 15 million children take care of themselves after school. I see kids Tyler's age walking home after school and it makes me sad thinking they might be alone for hours until their families get home.

Afterschool programs can help keep kids off the streets. My brother didn't go to a formal program. He wasn't a trouble maker, per se, but occasionally things seemed to "just happen" to he and his friends. The hours right after school are when kids are most likely to experiment or get in trouble. My brother got involved in soccer and I firmly believe it kept him on the right path.

The Afterschool Alliance  and its partners are working to keep affordable programs available for all families. Quaker Chewy, a new partner, created a contest to help spread the word about Afterschool Alliance. If you have an iCarly fan at home, enter the Afterschool Rocks Sweeptsakes and Miranda Cosgrove could play a concert for your kids' school and a meet and greet with Miranda.

If you want to get involved in afterschool programs as a volunteer or find a program in your area the Afterschool Alliance has links on their site. They're also on Twitter and Facebook. You have until April 16th to get your daily entries into the sweepstakes.

What are your favorite after school memories?

*This is a sponsored post from Quaker Chewy Afterschool Rocks. I was compensated to write this post but the thoughts and memories I'm making with my son are completely my own.

Wordless Wednesday: Feathered Sky

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Three Years in the Making

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

When we were looking for a house, I had a few non-negotiable's. I really wanted three bedrooms, two stories and a fireplace. Everything else was gravy. Luckily, the house gods were smiling on us and out of three of our accepted offers, the house we ended up buying met all my criteria. 


We bought a fixer. We wanted the school district so we sacrificed move-in ready for location and a school within walking distance (not that we do walk, but we could). One of the many "issues" our house had was a non-working fireplace. The seller refused to fix it. The repair kept falling to the bottom of our to-do list. 

During the brief California winters, we've been looking longingly at the broken fireplace, wishing we could warm the house with blazing logs rather than turn on the heater, listen to the crackling and sit next to it sipping hot cocoa together. 

After three years, we finally got our wish and it's just as nice as we thought it would be.

And Then He Could Fly

Monday, April 5, 2010

It's hard watching Tyler struggle with self confidence and being brave. On the one hand, he's recently asked me to help him become famous. On the other, he gets stage fright sometimes. He loves roller coasters but doesn't want to try the "big kid" ramp at the skate park. 

We try to be encouraging without patting him on the back for every little thing he does. The "everybody gets a star" mentality has ruined kids' abilities to take constructive criticism and have pride in their own accomplishments. But, it's hard not to give in occasionally when I see Tyler falter. 

I babysat last week and had 4 kids at the house. It didn't rain after all (thank you Jesus!) so I made them go outside. The kids had scooters and I moved my car so they could roll down the driveway. The other little boy, "Joe," is younger than Tyler, shorter and seems to be naturally athletic. He's been taking skateboard lessons locally and can do tricks Tyler hasn't learned yet. "Joe" suggested they use the driveway as a ramp and then jump off the curb. He went down over and over, catching pretty good air and landing without ending up on the ground. 

Tyler started to go several times but backed out at the last minute saying he was going too fast. "Joe" was trying to be encouraging, showing Tyler how to do it and where to jump. Tyler took it as criticism and I could see the beginnings of a sulk. I debated with myself as to whether I should step in and be encouraging or if I'd make it worse. Tyler went inside and I followed. He saw me and then came the beginnings of tears. 

"Talk to me, what's wrong?"

"He's making fun of me because I can't do the jump."

"No, he's trying to be helpful, I think you're just taking it the wrong way."

I reminded him that "Joe" started skateboarding before Tyler and that he's a full head taller than "Joe", which means he's heavier and has a different center of gravity.

"You may not be able to do it his way, but you can figure out your own way."

That seemed to help and Tyler went back outside. They abandoned the driveway for awhile and raced up and down the street instead. We had lunch and I sent them back out (we'd already had one nearly broken picture frame, a Darth Vader helmet to the nose and wood floors vs. sock feet; they were too amped to be inside!).

I had a feeling Tyler would want to try the jump again. And I was right. It took him a few tries, but he did it. And then it was like he'd known how to do it all along.

"Did you see that mom?! I totally nailed it! This is SO much fun!"

I guess my pep talk worked after all. Perhaps a little too well?

Look What Texas Holly Made Me Do!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"If I don't stop shopping, I'll end up a bag lady: a Fendi bag lady, but a bag lady..." - Carrie, Sex and the City

When I was in Chicago for the Housewares show, I finally got to meet Holly of June Cleaver Nirvana. She had the cutest yellow handbag that we oohed and aahed over.

Being the obsessive person that I am, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I had to have a yellow bag too. Yellow is supposedly one of the colors for spring, along with turquoise. I love jewel tones. I am weak. The result:

Isn't it fab! I love it. I found it at TJ Maxx and used a gift card I've been hanging on to. It was the inside that sold me.

And, since two is better than one, I bought this at Target:

I'm ready for spring (and summer!) What about you? Who's twisted your arm lately and what did you buy?
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