Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Raindrops and Bubbles

KOB_9517.jpg, originally uploaded by ~*~ KO ~*~.

Man, I sure am glad I got the kids rain boots, because we've certainly got our money's worth of use out of them!

Memorial Day weekend was awesome, relaxing and fun, even though it was filled with rain, rain and more rain. Some pretty impressive thunderstorms ran through the area, but we did get a respite with a scorcher on Monay at least.

Saturday was a light drizzle, and it was relatively warm out, so I figured it wouldn't be a bad day for the kids to get to play out in the rain for a while. Pat decided to add some bubbles for fun, and it was wonderful watching them scamper about and splash away! In the back of my mind though, I was concerned about getting them more sick, and it turns out I was right. It wasn't too bad though, and they both seemed to turnaround by Monday. Still not sure if it was a cold%

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mommy of Two

Mommy of Two, originally uploaded by ~*~ KO ~*~.

Thanks to Honeybuns for offering to take a few photos of me and the kids :) It was nice to not have to wrangle the kids AND a remote.

So many things I love about this picture - mostly because the smiles are all genuine. We were all done with our photoshoot at this point, but there's always time for ticklefest with Mommy.

Yes, motherhood is tough. But moments like these - payment in kisses, hugs, and snuggles - is what we all live for.

Thanks, Liam and Lola (and Pat too), for making me a Mommy of Two :)

Friday, April 01, 2011

Health Check

Do you know your blood numbers? I recently had blood work done in October, a free service provided by my company. Seemed like a good idea, since I should really know what my BP & Cholesterol are. The numbers came out a bit wonky, but overall, I felt, OK. I finally hooked up with a primary care physician, and went in for an entire physical a couple of months ago. He asked me to repeat the blood tests because he didn’t like the way the numbers looked, and I thought, well, OK. At the time I had just joined weight watchers, and was trying to commit to a healthier lifestyle – so I was certain the numbers would be improved. I had the bloodwork repeated this week, and turns out, not so much progress has been made. Here are the lifestyle changes I’ve made since January:

  • Dropped 10 pounds

  • Increased activity level to exercising 2 times per week.

  • Decreased fast food eating

  • Increased fruits and veggies to 2-3 per day.

Good things, right? Well, not good enough. Although my total cholesterol is OK (it should be below 200, and I’m at 150 ish) my good cholesterol is too low (40, should be over 50), and my triglycerides are still too high. Also my c-protein levels are way out of wack, not exactly sure why (but it’s an indicator of heart disease along with a determination for chronic inflammation). Look people, I know I’m not a small woman. I know I’m overweight, and I know that not only does it NOT feel good, it is definitely not healthy.

Today I feel like a turning point has occurred. Weight loss is no longer a vanity issue. It is not a low self-esteem “I don’t feel good about myself” issue. It is a health issue. IT IS A LIFE ISSUE! It is a “I want to be here for my husband and kids for a long time if I can help it” issue.

In order to improve my blood numbers drastically by the time my next test occurs in six months I am going to address and focus on the following issue: Improve Low HDL; reduce triglycerides and inflammation:

  • Lose weight by following more explicitly the Weight Watchers plan. 5-8 pounds per month, for a minimum weight loss of 30 pounds. I may need to switch from the online version to an in-person meeting + weigh in.

  • Eat less prepared foods / trans fats by PLANNING PLANNING PLANNING! Pat and I do very well when we plan our meals for the week. This includes lunches, our menu, and that of Liam and Lola (if its not the same).

  • Reduce consumption of refined sugars and non-whole grain carbs (this focal point is a little loosey goosey, but it still needs to be put down and addressed).

  • Consume more Omega-3 by eating more fish, and/or taking a fish oil supplement

  • Increase exercise to five days a week – incorporating strength training in addition to running. I’m already scheduled to run the Shamrock Shuffle 8K next weekend, but I will have to sign up for two additional runs (and set time goals) from now until October to keep me motivated.

Enough fooling around people - this is NO April Fools. I’m ready to kick some ass and take some names.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Storytime - the end of a journey

This pic from yesterday represents one of my favorite things about being a Mom - reading to my kids :) Not only that, but it gives me great, great, heart bursting joy to know that my kids enjoy reading books too. I mean, to fight over how many books to read at night? What better fight to have!!

This particular book cracks me up - and if you haven't read any Mo Willems books, then you absolutely MUST! Pigeon is great - Piggie and Gerald are also awesome. Good times to be had by all.

THis picture also makes me a bit sad, in a way. I've decided recently to put the kibosh on my 365 project, cutting it in two and stopping at 182. Why? Many reasons, I suppose....its not the actual picture taking that takes a lot of time, its the processing and posting, but also its the Flickring as a whole.....visiting friends photos, posting, praising, getting lost on Flickr. Its a huge time suck that I don't have the time for right now. I've got to focus on work, on my business, and my family....and I can't afford right now to spend any more time on the computer than I have to, or I may go mad.

I know many of you have enjoyed my journey, and I really appreciate all your kind words and encouragment (especially you, Mom & Dad :) ). Affirmation is definitely my friend. But in less than a week, I shall walk away. I'd like to say that I'll still continue to post occasionally, but the track record shows that I more than likely won't. If I get burned out on something I have to walk away and recoup for a while before dipping my toes back in.

Back to why this particular pic makes me a bit sad....well, walking away from this project means missing out on opportunities like this. I may have never taken this photo had I not been participating in a 365 project. That goes for many, many other photos like it. I'm hoping that participating in this for as long as I did will make me more aware of capturing me in the picture as well as those around me.

I'm so proud of everything I've produced, and the memories that I've captured and told. I know they'll bring me joy for years to come. I still plan on producing a book to hold all the quippets and memories, it will just be half as thick :)

Thank you, 365/2 journey - for all you've taught and brought me.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Las Vegas Style

New shoes {174/365}, originally uploaded by ~*~ KO ~*~.

Las Vegas Style

Whoo HOO! This pic is a little sexy for even my tastes, but I love how it came out. And really, it very much tipifies what a Vegas Trip should be. Sex, booze, and rock and roll. Oh, and concrete trucks and rocks. Right? no? Oh yeah, just you, Karin.

THis was the first time I was back in Vegas since about five years ago or so, Pat's first visit in about a week (oh yeah, he was just there last week for the start of the NCAA March Madness crazieness), and also our first trip alone without the kids. It was more difficult for me than I imagined - I struggled through the first 36 hours - feeling like I abandoned my children and wondering how I would survive without their hugs and kisses. After I realized the kids were WAY WAY fine without me I was able to settle in and enjoy. By the way, the kiddos had a great time with Mema & Papa (BIG shout out to my parents who came to us for the week - THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!).

Even though we were both busy with separte work obligations, it was really great to get away. The show itself was amazing - what felt like miles and miles of big machines and new technology. Not sure if it was miles and miles, but it sure felt like it to my feet. I managed to have supremely comfortable shoes though (thank you DANSKO!), and only got one blister....which was between two toes. Still not sure how that happened. I got lost twice on the first day, but subsequent days were easier to navigate. I had four classes, two of which were very worthwhile, so that was worth my visit alone.

In addition to the daytime learning & exhibits of the ConExpo / Con-Agg show, Pat and I managed to sneak in a show (Las Vegas, the Show - very entertaining), attend a swanky private corporate event at Surrender at Steve Wynn's Encore Hotel, visit the famed Vegas establishment Spearmint Rhino, and ate some delicious meals. Maybe embibed in a little adult beverage consumption. Maybe. We stayed at Paris Las Vegas, and even though the room smelled a little bit strange, the accomodations were very nice.

I lost a little money at the tables and was getting no love from the slot machines. I decided if I was going to blow my money I might as well get a little something in return, so I went shopping the next day instead. Also managed to secure a manicure pedicure too. It was fantastic...but I kept falling asleep :) So relaxing!

It is good to be home, and back into the regular madness of the work week. I feel refreshed and ready to apply my new knowledge to my job....and maybe spark some innovative quality initiatives :) Hooray for Aggregates!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!, originally uploaded by ~*~ KO ~*~.

Hope your day is green and wonderful and full of good friends and green beer :)

We'll be celebrating low key this evening - after the kids get home from daycare I think it will still be nice outside, so instead of green pancakes I think we'll just have a PB&J picnic outside for dinner :) Easy, and a great way to enjoy this glorious weather!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

HBM: Morning Edition {164/365}

HBM = Happy Bench Monday, for you non-flickrites :)

I'm proud of myself today because I managed to not only actually eat breakfast IN my house before I left, but I also packed a lunch, snacks AND I didn't stop for coffee on my way in. I really need to stop doing that I'm wasting too much money. I did manage to cut back from Starbucks to Dunkin Donuts, but now I'm much more likely to just go ahead and add on a donut and that not only wastes money BUT precious calories.

Speaking of calories - I'm down below 190. WHOO HOO! Only 10 pounds four more times to go :)

The only drawback to not having coffee is that I almost fell asleep on the way in. Twice. That's scary. I read somewhere that driving while tired is just as dangerous as driving while drunk, and I completely believe it. But I don't have much of a choice....I have to go to work and I have a one hour commute. Whatareyougonnado?? I'm just glad I decided to not go to Henry, IL today. I would have never made it 2.5 hours.

OH - Happy Pi Day! 3.14(159)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sleep, sweet sleep.

I'm incredibly tired today.

Not unlike most every day when my child wakes up before 5AM. Honeybuns did a fantastic job of keeping him occupied (even after a 3Am wake up call from Lola...but she went back to sleep). I still didn't really sleep after his initial wake up. Its like I just laid in bed and was PRAYING to get back to sleep, but not actually sleeping. I was thinking Maybe if I pretended hard enough, it would actually find me and then I would feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day after sleeping for another 30 minutes.

The truth is, I'm NEVER ready to jump out of bed and attack the day. I don't like mornings. Never have. Ask my college room / housemates. Somedays I feel like I could just lay there for days on end, warm and under the covers, protected from the stresses of the world. I almost feel like if I'm in bed - I have no responsibility other than to keep myself warm.....but the second my feet hit the hardwood, I've got to take care of everyone else.

Alas, the world beckons me to wake from my slumber, day after day...and I keep pushing back, begging my kids to give Mommy a couple more minutes of sweet, sweet time for me.

*Sigh* Isn't that an eternal battle of parenthood? Trying to get your kids to sleep better? It's like we fight and fight to get them to sleep well, but then by the time they're teenagers we're fighting to get them to get their lazy bones out of bed. Perfect example of the grass is always greener. I realize I should resign to the fact that I'm never going to sleep as well as or as long as I'd like to, but I can't seem to let it go.

Side Note: In general, the kids are great sleepers, much, MUCH better than many other kiddos out there. They go to bed easily, take naps well, and in general, sleep through the night. Its just the early wake up from Liam that is killer. He's just like his dad in that regard, a happy morning person. Lola on the other hand, is my kind of girl. We often have to wake her up to get ready to head to school. I think she'd sleep until 9 if we let her. Thankfully though, even when we do wake her up, she's all sweet and smiles, dancing in a half awake head bopping daze to "Good Morning to You" and "You are My Sunshine". Sometimes I even get a half sleepy "Cha Cha Cha" at the end :)

So, yeah, its not all that bad :) It is the actual act of getting out of bed for me that's the worst.

Another side note: Tomorrow's Self Portrait theme is The Karate Kid Pose!!! I'm pretty pumped about it :) I just have to think of / find a great location....

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Forgive me, Father, for I have has been a VERY long time since my last confession.

I'm going to confess right now. I haven't actually given up anything for Lent in years. YEARS I TELL YOU!!! I'm not sure why I feel so moved to start (or re-start) now.....but I do. Probably because my cousin tweeted (or Facebooked? I can't remember) something powerful. And I don't remember what it was....but something about everything you want that thing, you think of Jesus, and choose him instead.

Bah. Or something like that. Unfortunately I can't go and check what he said, because taht would mean I would have to check Facebook, and I've decided to give up Facebook for Lent.

Yes, the Junkie of all Facebook Junkies, is going cold turkey.

That doesn't mean I'm cutting myself off from the world. For instance, this blog post will automatically load in FB at some point, as will my Flickr 365 posts and tweets (if I tweeted, anyway). But it is tough. My life is so intertwined with FB. In fact, as I'm writing this post I'm remembering that some organizations require my attention on the FB page....and I'll have to make arrangments to deal with that....hmmm....interesting.

Give me strength!!!!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

E is for Enamored {127/365}

E is for Enamored {127/365}, originally uploaded by ~*~ KO ~*~.

Have I shared this one before? Not sure if I did or not....and I'm too lazy to go back and check :) I thought this would be a good entry for I Heart Faces: Best Face in February Photo Challenge. Its one of my favorite from the month....corny selective color and all :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Eye See You :)

T is for Tube, originally uploaded by ~*~ KO ~*~.

I've actually been taking a LOT of pictures with my cell phone lately for my 365 project, simply because its handy, and I can edit and upload right to flickr without too much fuss - so when I heard the I Heart Faces theme was cell phone, I decided I should probably buck up and give it a shot :)

This was taken through a paper towel roll in honor of "T" day of the February Alphabet Challenge.

I'm hoping to participate more with I Heart Faces - it seems like a pretty friendly, fun community teeming with inspiration and uber talented photogs!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Working Mom's Guilt - Party of 1

I is for Identical {131/365}, originally uploaded by ~*~ KO ~*~.

I know what you're thinking. Its 1 AM - STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER. I did. I swear - my other computer is shut down......I even turned off all the lights, and went into the kids' bedroom to do the final "Make sure they're tucked in before we go to bed" check....and that's when it all went down.


Side notes:

First off, I have PAI - Pat Absence insomnia. As in when he goes away for business, I can't sleep. No idea why. I'm thinking it has something to do with my bedroom being 20 degrees colder when he's gone, but its probably something deeper.

Second off, I'm totally and completely pre-mentrual, which I am SURE isn't helping things. But, maybe, I'll think of PMS like alcohol....what's the line??? Oh, En Vino Veritas.....


Like I said before - I shut everything down and walked away after watching two DVR'd gLee episodes (LOVE!), trying to force myself to at least lay down in my bedroom and see if sleep would find me (knowing that it wouldn't). Checked Liam - good to go - nice and toasty warm. Checked Lola........pulled her blanket over her, and she stirred and gave me a quick "What the heck, Mom? Why are you distrubing my slumber?" cock of the head......then laid back down. She fussed a bit when I tried to leave, so I went back in, rubbed her sweet little back for a quick second, and then decided at that exact second that I absolutely needed to hold her.

No, she wasn't really crying, and absolutely didn't need me to hold her, but I did. So I scooped her up, sat in our rocker, and held my sleepy, snuggly not so little girl.

And the water works just opened.

Gosh.....she's really not so little any more.

So there I am, sitting in the dark, disrupting my daughter's sleep, crying to myself and so sad because I feel like I'm missing out on so much. Thinking. Crying. Thinking some more. Wondering if it hurts because its not Even Stevens......I was home with Liam from 6 - 32 months, I kind of feel like I'm jipping her by going back to work when she was 8 months old.

Then it hit me.

Is it ever good enough? Am I ever good enough??

Shit. I thought I was crying before. I was all out bawling when that gem of a thought popped in my head. Well, as bawling as I could be while trying to not jiggle Lola too much by my sobs.

I sat there for damn near 30 minutes with my girl, then hoisted her not so little body back into the crib, where she quickly rolled over, snuggled her buddy and drifted into dreamland. My sweet sweet girl.


This really got me thinking - why is it that I (we) carry so much guilt? Is it built in? Is it inherited? Is it societal? I mean, I'm definitely harboring some serious, serious working Mom's guilt, that I'm sure many moms do at one point or another. But I don't know if it originates in my own insecurities as a person, or if its more of a "Grass is Always Greener" kind of situation. I'm not going to lie, being a SAHM was definitely not all sunshine and roses either!

In any feels terrible. Lucky for me tomorrow is Therapy Day, so hopefully I can add this to the list of other issues to work out :) I do know that putting it all into words feels better maybe I have a chance of sleeping....right after The Colbert Report is over :)