Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fall Happenings

There's been a bit of craziness around here this fall. Charlie has started going to preschool two days a week and it's safe to say he LOVES it.

I love it because it creates some more of a schedule for us and gives me a few hours to spend with just Isaac. Isaac loves it because he can play cars without Charlie taking them away from him.

We also had craziness in the form of an October snow storm. It was kinda funny to watch Charlie ride his bike surrounded by snowflakes.

More Charlie news!!! He turned 4 yesterday! Happy Birthday, Charlie!

It blows my mind just how fast the past four years have gone by. And I can't believe that Isaac is almost two! How did that happen?

We celebrated Charlie's birthday with a trip to Friendly's for lunch and ice cream.

Isaac really enjoyed his ice cream.

After Friendly's, we went bowling! Charlie had never been bowling before, but when we asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday, he kept telling us he wanted to go bowling. So we did.

And some of us had more fun than others.

I LOVE this picture of Nana and giggle every time I see it. She did have fun; she was just caught in the middle of griping (probably about a gutter ball. LOL).

We can't wait to go again!

Monday, November 14, 2011

What We're Eating 11/14-11/20

It's been almost 5 months since I last posted! Sometimes it feels like forever ago and sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday. I've been fighting a pretty touch-and-go battle with my depression for the past few months and really haven't had much energy to devote to writing. Things are looking better, so we'll see about getting back to regular posts. I'm also trying to get back into menu planning to get some sort of order back into our lives.

I've probably planned menus for the past 3 or 4 weeks and it's so nice not thinking "What are we going to have for dinner?" all day.

Tonight's meal was absolutely amazing, but I have to say I was a little scared of it. First, because it involved me cooking fish on the stove top instead of Chris grilling it. Second, because the side was a quinoa salad and Chris isn't always a fan. I have to admit, I was a little nervous about eating it myself because the black beans are straight out of the can, but we both approved. I did make a few adjustments (mainly leaving out jalapenos and some of the herbs) and I will definitely make it again.

So here goes!


L: Grilled Cheese, Grapes, Red Pepper Strips (for me)

D: Chili Rubbed Tilapia & Quinoa, Corn & Black Bean Salad


L: PB&J, Grapes, Chips

D: Chicken & Cheese Rice Bake (family favorite), Salad


L: Leftover Rice Bake

D: Potato-Spinach-Sausage Casserole


L: Leftover Casserole

D: Omelets, Toast, Fruit


L: Soup, Cheese & Crackers

D: Shrimp Lo Mein


L: Whatever leftovers are still in the fridge

D: Homemade Pizza


L: Leftover Pizza

D: Cranberry Stuffed Pork Chops (family favorite), Roasted Cauliflower

For more menu planning ideas, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What We're Eating 6/20-6/26

It's not Monday, but this is the first moment this week that I've had a chance to sit down at the computer to write! We had some great meals last week, but we did miss out on the dinner I had planned for Friday night. I haven't rescheduled it yet, but really want to try the Macaroon Crusted Tilapia, so it will appear again sometime soon!

We've been enjoying as many meals as possible out on our deck. The weather has been beautiful lately! I've been trying to plan lots of grilling recipes to take full advantage of the weather and I've been looking for recipes that allow me to use the herbs from my garden. We haven't used anything from our veggie garden yet although the spinach, Romaine and kale are looking pretty good!

Tonight's dinner is a crock pot meal we've had before and loved. I have to be at a real estate class from 6-9 tonight (so I can renew my license) so I wanted to make a meal that would be warm at the different times we'll be eating tonight. I'm not looking forward to eating my dinner around 4:30, but at least I'll get one that I enjoy!

L: Leftover Grilled Pizza (boys); Turkey Sandwiches, Fruit Salad, Cucumber Slices
D: Hawaiian Beef Burgers, Sweet Potato Fries

L: Picnic lunch after hiking - PB&J, Fruit, Cheese Sticks
D: Gnocchi with Summer Vegetables

L: Leftover Gnocchi
D: Shredded Beef Tacos

L: Leftover Tacos
D: Honey Lime Chicken, Coconut Rice, Orange & Mint Snap Peas

L: Baked Potatoes
D: Scallop, Orange & Cucumber Kabobs, Brown Rice, Sesame Broccoli

L: Snacky Lunch
D: Pork Chops with Parmesan Sauce, Parmesan Couscous, Kale Chips

L: Free For All
D: Spice-Rubbed Chicken Breasts with Roasted Carrots, Minted Couscous

For menu-planning inspiration, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Monday, June 13, 2011

What We're Eating 6/13-6/19

I am so not in the mood to make dinner tonight. We had a great play date this morning with a former co-worker and her little girl who is 2 weeks older than Isaac, but this afternoon, I should have taken a nap when Isaac did. I'm wiped! My first instinct was to call Chris and tell him I wanted to go out to dinner.

But, I actually planned our meals out this week and I spend a bunch of money grocery shopping yesterday so that I could make those meals. We're trying some new stuff and I'm excited to do that. For the most part, our meals are healthy. Ordering out would have fed into this afternoon's blah mood so I'm making an attempt to fight that even though I would much rather curl up on the couch and cry because I'm so tired!

I've got caramelized onion mashed potatoes staying warm on the stove (I wish I were a better food photographer because those onions were gorgeous!), washed broccolini (new food for us!) and waiting to be sauteed and rubbed pork chops sitting on the counter waiting for Chris to grill. Yum, yum!

Tomorrow, I'll get a crock pot going before we head to the zoo so dinner will be ready for Chris when he gets home from work. The rest of us will be fine dining at McDonald's! ;)

L: Feta Shrimp SkilletD: Double Sesame Chicken Stir Fry

L: English Muffin Pizzas
D: Smoky Pan-Grilled Pork Chops with Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes and Lemon Broccolini

Wednesday - Trip to the Roger Williams Park Zoo
L: PB&J, Chips, Fruit
D: All American Chili (crock pot), Corn Bread

Thursday - Chris' 31st Birthday, so his choice of meals!
L: Grilled Cheese, Fruit
D: Rib Eyes, Homemade French Fries, Salad, Boston Cream Pie

L: Lunch at Pickity Place
D: Macaroon Crusted Tilapia with Quinoa Salad with Grapes & Almonds, Kale Chips

L: Lemony Penne & Broccoli
D: Hot Dogs/Burgers, Grilled Corn on the Cob, Fruit Salad

Sunday - Father's Day, Chris' choice of meals
L: Brunch - Pancakes, Bacon, Fruit Salad
D: Homemade Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza

For more menu-planning ideas, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


I'm worked up tonight, but in a good way. I have a ball of energy in my belly, and for once, it's not a ball of anxiety. I need to write so that I can actually get some sleep!

As it was raining on Saturday, we had to make a last minute change to our plans to hike Rhododendron State Forest with my sister. Instead, we took a trip down to Mass to visit The Butterfly Place. We let Charlie choose where to have lunch and, of course, ended up at McDonald's. Then, since we were right there, we decided to head to the mall to do a little walking/window shopping. When we walked into Target and I discovered that they had rearranged the store so that the books are now right next to the entrance, Chris and Andrea were on their own with the boys for a bit. I was happy browsing until I saw Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project and had to have it. This book has been been written up in several of my magazines and it was actually on my list of books to request from the library. Now, it's mine!

In The Happiness Project, Rubin chronicles her decision to dedicate a year of her life to what she calls her "Happiness Project." She had come to the conclusion that she wasn't unhappy, but she wasn't as happy as she felt she could be with her life. She felt like she was taking her life for granted and decided it was time to change that. She selected 12 areas of her life that she wanted to improve and dedicated one month to each area (i.e. January - energy, February - marriage, March - work).

I'm now on Chapter 3 (work) and I feel like the author is speaking to me! This book is so what I need to be reading right now. I feel like her personality is similar to mine (she's a list-maker and writes about her need to collect "gold stars") and her thoughts and fears are those that run through my head all the time (Is it selfish to spend so much time and energy on one's own happiness? - Rubin decided that it's not because by making herself happy, it was easier for her to make others happy as well.)

Rubin writes that she had recently made a career shift from law to writing so choosing a profession was not the center of her project. However, because happiness is so directly connected to work, choosing the right career might be the focus of someone's else project.

Now, I, too, have recently made a huge career change, and as much as I love being a mother and relish the fact that I am able to stay home with my children, I know that being a mother is not my sole purpose in life. It is not my passion. Growing up, I wasn't a little girl that played "house." I played "teacher" or "doctor" or "lawyer" and my husband stayed home with the kids. I had huge dreams for myself in which I was the main or sole breadwinner of the family. I know I shocked some friends as well as myself when I made the decision to stay at home with my children.

What I'm feeling about my life right now is very hard to articulate. I don't want to belittle motherhood. It's got to be the hardest and most rewarding position I've had. By no means do I want to give this job up. But at the same time, I'm not growing in this position. There is no room for promotion, there are no "gold stars." There is no reward for "Best Mom." And most days, I would reward myself "Worst Mom"! What I need is something to supplement motherhood. I need to discover what my passion in life is.

Passion has been a recurring theme in my life lately. I first started thinking about it while watching Oprah's finale. She said, "We are all called. Everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it. Every time we have seen a person on this stage who is a success in their life, they spoke of the job, and they spoke of the juice that they receive from doing what they knew they were meant to be doing." Oprah

So I suppose that for now my passion in life is to discover what exactly my passion is. I know something is missing. I'm bored, I'm depressed, I'm not as happy in my life as I want to be. I feel like I don't appreciate my family, my house, my opportunities, my life the way I should.

I'm ready to make a change.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bitch, Bitch, Bitch

I can't sleep.

Insomnia is a new experience for me. I've never had an issue falling asleep before and it's not something I'm dealing with every night, but I'm not liking it. But really, who does?

I think part of it is that I'm not looking forward to the waking up and facing a day just like every other.

Another part is that we've done nothing this week.

I've sat on my butt way too much in this damn heat.

I'm bored.

And summer's just begun.

On a normal week, we have activities planned to occupy our time. This week, not so much. It was our first week without story time as a normal activity. We didn't schedule anything else and I didn't make much of an effort to. I didn't want to bring Isaac out among other kids; not only is he teething - molars on top and at least 2 other teeth coming on the bottom - but he's got a nasty cold with a drippy nose and raspy cough. He's been a clingy mess.

Clingy baby + hot weather = miserable mom! I know I'll get flack for it, but I'm not a huge fan of summer. Give me a crisp fall day any day and I'm happy as can be. Give me a hot summer day and cover me in sweat and I'm not too fun to be around. To add insult to injury, we've got a gorgeous blue pool that I see every time I look in the backyard, but I had to go and get a garden tool stuck in my leg and can't swim until it's healed. Seriously, who but me?

So, I'm bored. I'm bitchy. I'm lonely. I feel sorry for Chris.

I have a few ideas to overcome the boredom, but with the boredom has come a lack of motivation. I could just care less about fixing the problem right now.

I'm not liking my attitude too much tonight. *sigh*

In reality, I've been thinking about a few things. I just haven't done anything about them.

I really miss the gym and we have one right up the road. It's less than 5 minutes away. My hangup is that my workout time is limited to before Chris leaves for work at 6:45am or after we eat dinner and put the kids to bed around 7:00pm. I could obviously make it work, but it just seems like too much work right now. And, I'm not sure on the price. It's easy enough to call, but I haven't. Excuses, excuses.

I NEED to sign up for a real estate class ASAP to renew my license (expires in, oh, about 4 weeks). It's a 3-hour class, easy to fit in.... I've just procrastinated on signing up because it'd be nice to go with someone else. (Any takers? Wednesday nights in Nashua......)

Thinking about taking that class has made me think about signing up for a "real" class at NH Tech (or whatever it's called now). There are a few classes that will come in handy in the next 18 months.... accounting or something of that sort. It'd be nice to have homework again. I know, I know, who wants homework? But if it means time spent answering intellectual questions instead of "Why?" a bazillion times a day ("Can I play outside, Mimi?" "Sure." "Why?" - Seriously, HOW do you answer that?! WHY would you even ask it?!?!), I'd be in Heaven.

Interacting with people, especially people I don't know, has been what I've missed most now that I stay at home with the boys. Being a stay-at-home mom is a lonely job! I never thought I'd miss talking to some of the crazy people I had to talk to when answering phones!

I've known that I need something more in my days. I had hoped book club, the Board of Trustees and my girlfriends would fill that void, but apparently, I'm needing something more and it frustrates me and makes me feel guilty that I can't be satisfied with everything I already have. I feel like guilt has become one of the major themes of my life. Is this just part of being a mother? A woman?

I've ranted, it's now 1am and I'm still not too sleepy. At least I don't have everything rattling around in my head.... maybe it'll be easier once I put my head on the pillow.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pushing Through

Sometimes the thing you want to do least is the thing that will help you the most.

I started spiraling down on Wednesday afternoon; I was tired and I was having a hard time putting words together to hold a conversation. It would have been a good time for me to write, but I wasn't on the computer much when writing is possible (i.e. when the kids are sleeping or otherwise occupied with Popsy) and it might have been hard to understand.

Even at therapy on Thursday, it was hard for me to express anything. By Friday, I was a complete grump. I just wanted to be alone and since Chris was home, I spent a good part of the afternoon with Stieg Larsson. Yesterday, I was feeling pretty much the same. I wasn't too keen on getting out of bed, but once I did, I made the bed right away so I wouldn't have the option of crawling back in. We had a few errands to do and I spent most of the trip lost in thought. Chris would ask a question and get the bare minimum of an answer in response. At a tent sale, we found a much-needed new sneakers for me, but trying on t-shirts did not improve my day. And I was dreading the birthday party we had RSVP'd to. I knew the boys would have fun and that it would be great company; I just wasn't too sure I would be able to pull myself together for it and didn't think I would be much of a companion.

My instincts yesterday were to retreat inside myself. I felt like I didn't have much of myself left to give to anyone. Surrounding yourself with people when you're wanting to be alone isn't easy to do. But, really, if I had done what I wanted to do, I'd still be in that lonely place. I don't like that lonely place, but it can be so hard to get out of it. It's a matter of forcing yourself to do something you don't want to do. The beginning of the party was a bit rough for me, but by the end, my mood had improved and I had a blast! Today, I'm still feeling good although I'd be even better if the sun would show itself a bit more.

We didn't have the healthiest breakfast this morning, but it sure was tasty! Fortunately, the rest of the day should be better health-wise. Chris has been fixing the brakes on his truck this morning and this afternoon we're planning on finally putting our bikes to use! My Mother's Day present was bike seats for the boys and a new bike for Chris so that we could take family bike rides. With the rain we've had for the last WEEK, we haven't used them yet and I have been so anxious to! Today's weather forecast was for clouds....I didn't see anything about rain so I have my fingers crossed. We're going to head over to the bike path and I'm hoping to hit up the farm stand on the way home. I've been craving something grilled for dinner. I'm torn between grilled shrimp and veggies and grilled pizza topped with some veggies (maybe some of the asparagus from the fridge?), but I think I'm leaning towards pizza.

It's now noon and I'm still in jammies! I'll leave you with this goof (stealing his brother's dinner last night) while I get dressed!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Losing Words

I'm just not into writing tonight. I can't seem to pull anything together, but I want to get in an update. I wrote some this morning and I added a little tonight, so I'm piecing both together. I'm having a really hard time processing thoughts and coming up with words. What I've written may not flow too well, so bear with me. I didn't have the best afternoon. I worked out tonight and I have therapy tomorrow, which I'm really looking forward to, but losing words like I am tonight is usually something that happens right before a bad "spell," for lack of a better word, so we'll see how tomorrow goes.

7:05am: I swear that Isaac has an extra sense. He was sleeping peacefully. Charlie was "eating" breakfast and watching TV. I was cooking my oatmeal and cutting my grapefruit. At the EXACT moment my grapefruit and oatmeal were at the counter ready to be eaten, Isaac decided to let me know he was awake....

7:50am: Both boys have eaten, are dressed and their breakfast dishes are drying in the rack. Isaac's playing cars at the coffee table and occasionally calls my name so I can watch him as he climbs onto the coffee table. My little daredevil. Charlie and his friend Megan are chasing each other around the house. My oatmeal and grapefruit are still sitting on the counter. It's a good thing oatmeal holds its heat.

9:30pm: Apart from a late breakfast, it was a good morning. I was up at the same time as Chris and did a little stretching before hopping in the shower. Charlie had a blast playing with Megan although he was a little much at times. He doesn't seem to have a concept of personal space when he gets excited and I think she was getting as frustrated with him as I was. I would say she was ready to go home when Mom came to get her. They did have fun together and it was cute to see them cuddling under a blanket as they watched a movie together. :)

This afternoon, not so good. I was d.r.a.g.g.i.n.g. There was no opportunity to squeeze in a workout yesterday and I felt it today. Between story time, Isaac's doctor's appointment and picking Charlie up from his friend's house, I didn't eat lunch until 1:30. Isaac was not interested in taking a nap until 4 even though he had 4 shots and a dose of Tylenol to ease the pain from the tetanus shot! By the time he did go down, it was time to start thinking about dinner so that I could eat and run out the door to be at the library at 6:30 for a board meeting that lasted until 9. Good meeting, but I missed Glee. :(

To make up for yesterday's lack, I made sure to get in a good workout tonight. I also caught up on Glee while Charlie watched Curious George.

As for Isaac's doctor's appointment....Isaac, at 15 months, weighed in at 18 pounds even. He was 17 lbs 10 oz at 12 months. This means he did not even gain 1/2 pound in 3 months.

Luckily, Charlie was the same way in terms of weight (he didn't hit the charts until he turned 3) and the doctor isn't worried. He's on track or beyond where he should be developmentally so there's nothing to be concerned about. In terms of his seizures, we just need to let his doctor know when/if he has more. We know it's directly related to his breath-holding and the seizures are something that happens with breath-holding spells so isn't we don't feel there's a need to put him through a battery of tests. Down the road, we may change our minds and talk to a neurologist, but for now, we're going to attempt to get used to any seizures in the same way that we've gotten used to the breath-holding spells. Fun. :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I am on edge this morning. I'm very jittery. My heart and mind are racing but my body just can't keep up. I'm sure part of it is that I'm anxious about Isaac's doctor's appointment this morning, but I think the biggest thing is that I'm hungry. I need food!!!

I also need Master Charles, who woke up with way too much energy this morning, to back off a little. I've already yelled at him a few times to calm down and it's not even 8:30. That boy goes from 0 to 60 way too fast! The day started with him crawling in bed with me this morning. I was on my side and he somehow curled his little body up in the space above my legs. I opened my eyes to see his face an inch away from mine. Good morning, Charlie! LOL Later, he made me laugh as I was getting him breakfast when he said, "Can I call you Sweetheart?" Where does he come up with this stuff?

Luckily, the hunger is an easy fix! I'm still hooked on KERF's oatmeal. I eat it in some form almost every morning. Today I've got the normal oats, milk, water and banana with some strawberries stirred in at the end and topped with banana, coconut and pecans. Yum! This should keep my belly happy until lunch.

My jitters this morning are a good sign. It means that I woke up hungry which means that I didn't binge last night! Woohoo! I've been using different strategies to stop myself from mindlessly shoveling food into my mouth. Last night, I had a small helping of dessert right after dinner and brushed my teeth shortly after. I actually went to bed hungry last night and almost wished I hadn't brushed my teeth because I could have used a little post-workout snack.

We've got a busy morning of storytime and Isaac's doctor's appointment so we're off to finish getting ready. I'm very curious to see if my 15-month-old has hit 20 pounds yet. Any guesses as to his weight?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Morning Stretching

Isaac passed out 3 times before 1pm today. It was a rough morning. And we had a playdate, too! He is definitely a boy that needs a lot of sleep and his morning nap was interrupted so he was more than a little overtired. He's taking a nap now and Charlie's watching a movie (there's not much more to do on a rainy afternoon and we needed a little quiet time) so I was able to eat my lunch (another HUGE salad along with a serving of Tostitos Hint of Lime chips, which I LOVE) in peace.

Chris is up at 6 every morning and most mornings, today included, I don't hear his alarm go off. Sometimes I wake when I hear him getting dressed; sometimes I wake when he comes to kiss me good-bye. Usually, I stay in bed until the kids force me to get up.

This morning, I heard him moving around. Like I normally do, I spread out to enjoy the extra space and Chris' pillows, but rather than closing my eyes again and falling back asleep, I realized that I was actually ready to get up and that I actually wanted to get up!

When I rolled over to get up, I realized that after yesterday's run in the rain, my body was more than a little sore and getting up wasn't very easy. But, the good thing was that the boys were both still sleeping! I got my stiff self up and did a little yoga in the bedroom. It really wasn't much because even bending in half was painful, but the movement got the energy flowing and was a nice way to start the day.

Apart from Isaac's breath holding this morning, the rest of the morning was uneventful. We went to a playdate and are now home enjoying a little quiet time. I think I'll dig out a game to play with Charlie once he finishes The Little Mermaid (his choice), because Isaac should take a long nap. I have the energy and desire to do something fun so I'm going to act on it while the motivation is here!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

First Steps

When things are good, it's easy to forget just how bad they can be.

You may have noticed that I've been missing lately, both here and on Facebook. I've been lurking, but I just haven't had anything positive to say, and if you don't have anything nice to say, it's best to not say anything at all.

I've been toying with the idea of writing more about the struggles I've been having with depression and I guess I've decided to just do it. It's hard to put myself out there, but.....

It might help me.

It might help someone else.

It won't be pretty.

If you're not okay with reading about some pretty raw, unpleasant emotions, you're following the wrong blog.

Last week, I started seeing a therapist.

She seems to be the jump-start that I need in order for me to live my life rather than limp through the days.

I know I'm not perfect. No one is. But.... I have pretty high expectations for myself. I am a perfectionist.

I've had a rough winter and the days that I didn't want to get out of bed far outnumbered the days that I did. I've never had trouble sleeping, but I've been finding myself having trouble drifting off. I've been lonely. I've been teary. I've been angry. I've been binge-eating. My moods go in cycles. It's either really good or really bad. There isn't a happy medium. This really worries me.

It's getting easier for me to admit that I needed to ask for help, that I wasn't able to manage the stresses in my life on my own. I cried when I asked my doctor for a referral to a therapist. I had admitted that I was NOT perfect.

Everything started to really fall apart two weeks ago.

On Monday, I learned that a former co-worker, someone I had worked closely with and for, loved and respected quite a bit, lost a hard-fought battle with a brain tumor. At 44.

On Wednesday, while playing with Isaac, he squished my breast while climbing over me. While trying to pinpoint exactly why it hurt as much as it did, I discovered a lump. I deliberated what to do and finally called the doctor When I said the word "lump," I was penciled in for an appointment the very next day. I spent roughly 24 hours in between discovering the lump and my appointment thinking, "I'm 28 years old. I have a husband and two little boys. I cannot have breast cancer." I was terrified.

(I am fine. The position of the lump made it hard for me to tell, but it ended up being a muscle in my upper ribs under my breast that was inflamed from an intense upper body work-out the week before.)

On Friday, while getting ready for my friend's funeral, Isaac had his second seizure. His first was the day before Easter and had us calling 911. (Luckily, Chris was home with me both times.) We knew what to do and expect this time, but that didn't make it any easier.

Isaac is a breath-holder. When he gets upset, he holds his breath while crying. When he's in a mood, it results in him turning blue and passing out. Occasionally kids who do this will have seizures as a result of the breath-holding. Of course, my kid is one of the few that has this result. The seizure itself isn't dangerous (as long as it doesn't last for more than 10 or so minutes), but we need to make sure he doesn't choke (especially if he has food in his mouth) and that there's nothing around him that he can hurt himself on. There is nothing we can do to stop the seizure and this in itself is terrifying. I cannot help my baby.

Honestly, I've had enough. I've hit my breaking point. I've realized that I cannot do this on my own.

I know what can help me cope, but my depression has been preventing me from taking those steps. So, I'm seeing a therapist. And taking that first step has prompted me to take others.

I surrounded myself with friends this weekend and did a LOT of talking (and a little wine drinking). :) I walked. I spent a day at the Museum of Fine Arts. I went for a run in the rain. Three out of four days, I ate a salad for lunch and enjoyed it! :) I spent a few hours in bed up way later than I should have been just talking and giggling with my husband. I spent time playing with and enjoying my children. I actually wanted to get out of bed this morning.

But, like I said earlier, my moods tend to run in cycles and when things are good, it's easy to forget just how bad they can be. Two weeks ago, things were really bad. Right now, they're really good. There was no in between. This is where the therapy is going to help.

I do believe that everything happens for a reason. We may not know the reason right away, but eventually we find the answer. Every night, unable to fall asleep, I'd tell myself I'd call the doctor tomorrow. When tomorrow came, I didn't call. That silly lump is what prompted me to call the doctor and take the first step in getting my depression under control. If I hadn't found that lump, I never would have called.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

2011 Reading Challenge

I love to read. One of my favorite childhood memories involves an afternoon spent with a book (one of the Goosebumps series if I remember correctly) and a bowl of popcorn. I can't go to bed without doing a few minutes of reading, and if I'm caught up in a good book, a few minutes often turns into hours. Last night (I should say this morning!), I was up until 1am because I could not put the book I was reading (that I finished) down! (It was Jodi Picoult's Keeping Faith, which I started Sunday night!) I joined my first book club in December (I think), and in a few weeks, I'll have some news (that is exciting to me, at least) regarding books and reading! There are times that I don't find it as easy to get lost in book, and because of that, I have quite a severe magazine addiction. No fewer than 100 magazines are tucked away under my bed (luckily, I've been doing a bit of organizing lately, so they're in neat little stacks instead of a gigantic pile threatening to take over Chris' side of the bed). Right now, I'm in the mood to read and I never want to stop! Because of this, the top of my bedside table is hidden under 8 books that have been read, are in progress or are waiting to be read.... I don't think my magazine stacks are going to get shorter any time soon. I decided I wanted to keep a running list of what I have read and am reading in 2011. I completed three in January and hope to see just as many, if not more, completed in February. I've got one under my belt for the month, I'm halfway through another and I have a bookclub book to read, so I think this goal is very doable. I would like to read at least 30 books in 2011.


January 2011

Tana French - The Likeness (bookclub pick) - LOVED it

Alexander McCall Smith - 44 Scotland Street

Alexander McCall Smith - Espresso Tales

February 2011

Jodi Picoult - Keeping Faith - LOVED it

Jodi Picoult - House Rules

Sunny - Mona Lisa Awakening

Kathleen Kent - The Heretic's Daughter (bookclub pick)

March 2011

Amy Weintraub - Yoga for Depression

Dan Brown - Lost Symbol

Pam Jenoff - The Kommandant's Girl (bookclub pick)- LOVED it

April 2011

Diana Gabaldon - The Fiery Cross (finally!!!!!)

Kristin Hannah - Winter Garden (bookclub pick)

Sara Gruen - Water for Elephants

Sara Gruen - Ape House

Peter Arenstam - Nicholas: A Massachusetts Tale

Peter Arenstam - Nicholas: A Maine Tale

In The Works

Diana Gabaldon - A Breath of Snow and Ashes

Alan Brennert - Honolulu (in 3rd chapter and already love it)

Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird (bookclub pick)

Peter Arenstam - Nicholas: A New Hampshire Tale

Feel free to pass along any recommendations!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Meal Plan 4/4-4/10

The past few weeks in our household have been pretty rough. We went from a stomach bug that lasted about 8 hours for Chris and me and about 5 days for poor Charlie to a nasty head cold with lots of boogers for Isaac and me. We've left the house to grocery shop and take a few walks, but have done little else.

I have been menu planning and cooking and we've found some really great meals. Unfortunately, I just haven't been up to posting. I've mentioned before that I've been dealing with depression and after observing myself for the past few months, I've realized that my depression (and anger, irritability, over-eating, sleeping as much as possible and more) is linked to my menstrual cycle.

I went to see my doctor and we discussed the possibility that I could be dealing with PMDD. The treatment for PMDD is usually anti-depressants. I've been down that road before and opted to try something else first to see if it works. Birth control can sometimes help, so for the meantime, I am back on birth control. Month One is almost down. It can take three months to be completely effective, so we'll see how it goes. Last week was my rough week and apart from some lingering phlegm from my head cold, I'm back to my normal self this week!

L: Leftovers
D: Smoky Pork with Quinoa Pilaf (new family favorite)

L: PB&J, Grapes, Chips
D: Saucy Parmesan Chicken, Egg Noodles, Broccoli

L: Beans & Cheese Quesadillas (from freezer)
D: Spinach Cheese Lasagna

L: Leftover Lasagna
D: Modified Turkey Tetrazzini

L: English Muffin Pizzas
D: Baked Potatoes

L: Kraft Spiral Mac&Cheese with Turkey & Broccoli
D: Whiskey Steak Tips, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, Minty Peas

L: Leftovers
D: Pork Chops with Orange Sauce, Couscous, Herbed Green Beans

I will also be making an orange version of this Lemon Fluff Dessert that we first made last summer. I can't wait to try it!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Week 2

Today marks the start of Week 2 of getting up at 5am to workout and it's really working for me!

I was in bed reading by 8:30 last night and the lights were off by 9:15. I hopped right out of bed this morning when the alarm went off. Sometimes, I have trouble wrapping my head around the idea that by 8am, I've already been up for 3 hours!

I'll admit that towards the end of last week getting up wasn't as easy as at the beginning. I've had my alarm set to play music instead of its annoying beep and I was a little worried it wouldn't wake me because Chris' alarm doesn't wake me. Instead, the music gradually wakes me up instead of jolting me out of bed and it's been nice! Unfortunately, when the alarm went off on Thursday, the DJs were talking and Chris elbowed me to turn it off so I jolted awake like with a beeping alarm - not so nice. :( On Friday, I woke up at 5 with the shakes so I crawled back in bed and got up at 6 with Chris; I didn't work out that day but did take a little nap on the couch downstairs while the four of us were hanging out down there. I needed it!

There have been quite a few benefits to getting my workout done in the morning and not too many cons.

I don't spend all day worrying about when I'm going to be able to fit in a workout.

I'm awake before the kids and I'm able to have at least an hour to myself before facing their endless energy first thing in the morning.

It sets the tone of the day for me - I'm more likely to eat well all day when I've started the day off with a workout.

I'm more productive! By 8am, I've worked out, showered, gotten dressed and gotten the kids and myself breakfast. With my previous schedule, we were lucky if we'd finished breakfast by 8! Now, if we have errands, we can get out of the house earlier. I have more time for playtime and I'm able to fit chores in more easily.

Although I've never really had an issue with my water intake, I'm definitely getting more water now. I've already had 3 cups shortly after my workout and usually drink 2 full Nalgene bottles by the end of the day (until last week, I thought my Nalgene held 4 cups of water and it actually holds 5 so I've been drinking more than I thought all along). Add to that a cup or two (or three) of tea and that equals a lot of time in the bathroom! That may be the only con I've found to getting up early and it's really not that bad.

The hardest part to waking early is getting to bed early but it's just because I'm not used to it yet. My goal for this week is to be ready for bed by 8pm and in bed, either reading or ready to sleep, by 9pm.

Am I on my way to becoming a morning person?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Meal Plan 3/7-3/13

We had some great meals last week! It took me an entire day (seriously 9am to about 10pm - I procrastinated all day) to plan out the last two weeks of dinner menus, but, oh, it was so worth it! We have eaten a lot of tasty, and for the most part, healthy meals, and we've done a lot of experimenting with "different" food combos. I've been doing a lot of recipes from Cooking Light and Taste of Home's Healthy Cooking magazine; I like that the calorie count is included on most of the recipes because its easier for me to calculate my day's intake that way. (I now have an official goal of dropping 20 pounds by June so I can purchase a bridesmaid dress for a friend's wedding in the size I want to wear.)

My breakfasts for the past week have been different variations of this oatmeal. I stumbled upon it last Sunday, and despite eating it for seven days in a row now, I'm not anywhere close to sick of it! I started simply and topped it with 1/2 a banana and some walnuts before I moved on to peanut butter and bananas. Mid-week, I topped it with some Parmesan cheese, a chopped up chicken sausage and a fried egg (with a runny yolk). Later, I added some raisins and used up the pumpkin leftover from Thursday's dinner of Sausage and Pumpkin Pasta (one of the odd combos I mentioned earlier - wicked good! Chris declared, "I would eat this again.") and topped it with a sprinkle of coconut, walnuts and a spoonful of peanut butter. I even made a bowl for Chris this morning and he approved. All of the versions were so tasty and I don't think I could decide on a favorite.... but that runny egg yolk mixed in with the oatmeal was A.MA.Z.I.N.G.

For this week, we have planned the following:

L: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
D: Pumpkin Lasagna (minus the mushrooms), Whole Wheat Rolls (from freezer)

L: Leftover Lasagna
D: Sweet 'n' Sour Chicken, Rice Pilaf, Honey-Glazed Carrots

L: Easy Italian Stew (from freezer)
D: Applesauce Glazed Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli

L: PB&J, Chips, Fruit/Veggie
D: Cheesy Spinach Lasagna Soup

L: Leftover Soup
D: Terrific Teriyaki Burgers, Sesame Green Bean Salad

L: Heading to Mass for a Birthday Party
D: Charlie & I are heading to a Monarchs game with Sara & Kale from A Kiss A Day - should be fun!

L: Pasta with sauce
D: Marinated Steak Tips, Baked Potatoes, Roasted Pear Salad

Monday, February 28, 2011

Meal Plan 2/28-3/6

I enjoyed a little quiet time this afternoon! Isaac napped and Charlie watched Oliver and Company so instead of procrastinating by browsing Facebook and the blogs on my Google Reader, I enjoyed a snack (Honey-Banana Muffin from the freezer, grapes and a vanilla Greek yogurt along with a cup of maple tea sweetened with maple syrup - yum!) and blogged!

I got back to my menu planning last week and started working out again as well.... well, on Monday and Tuesday at least! I started off this week on the right foot by getting up and out of bed at 5am, putting on my workout gear and hopping on the elliptical. I did a 40-minute workout, strength training and stretching before the kids got up and I was able to shower while Chris was still home. Woohoo! I would like to MAKE myself be a morning person and I took my first steps today!

After my shower and getting the boys settled with some Cheerios and fruit, I started out with a good breakfast. I think I am hooked on this oatmeal (minus the chia seeds since I don't have any - yet!). Yesterday, I topped it with walnuts and half a banana. Today, I put a small scoop of peanut butter into the bottom of my bowl, added the oatmeal and then the rest of my banana along with another small scoop of peanut butter on my spoon. Soooo good and I cannot wait to try some of the other combos listed on the website. I should have some leftover pumpkin after Thursday's dinner so I might be trying some pumpkin oatmeal Friday morning. TRY IT! Because it's oatmeal, you'd think it would take a while, but it's only about 5 minutes on the stovetop. Well worth it.

On to the menu.... And I can't believe tomorrow is March 1st! That means it's my birthday month! hahaha Poor Chris! Almost all of our meals this week are new again.... except maybe one. I'm looking forward to trying them and can't wait to see how they turn out!

L: English Muffin Pizzas (Charlie had cheese, Chris had ham and I had turkey and red pepper - yum!), Red Pepper Slices (for me)
D: Beans & Cheese Quesadillas (from Family Circle May 2009)

L: Leftover Quesadillas
D: Oregano Chicken, Homemade Sweet Potato Fries, Honey-Glazed Carrots

L: Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup
D: Smokey Pork with Quinoa Pilaf (from Family Circle September 2010)

L: Quesadillas
D: Sausage & Pumpkin Pasta

L: Leftover Pasta
D: Rosemary Shrimp with Spaghetti

L: PB&J, Chips, Fruit/Veggie Sticks
D: Burgers, Homemade French Fries, Veggie Sticks

L: Nachos
D: Herb Roasted Chicken

For more menu planning ideas, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Meal Plan 2/21-2/27

I did a meal plan for last week and this week but didn't get around to posting it last week. It took me ALL day (and I mean ALL day, from like 9am to 10pm) to get the meal plan put together. I procrastinated all day. I just did not want to do a menu and I'm not sure what my aversion was/is. I know how much better off I am with one, but putting it together isn't my favorite chore.

Last week, every meal we ate was new (maybe this is why menu planning takes me so long....). They were all a hit and I got my cream cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, sour cream hating husband to eat cream cheese and cottage cheese in one night and actually enjoy it! Chris loved the Oven Baked Chicken Parm and I loved that it was so super-duper easy to make and we both loved the Maple and Soy-Glazed Steak Tips (that were supposed to be flank steak which I couldn't find when I went grocery shopping). The Macaroni & Cheese was yummy, but a little too rich. It was made with reduced-fat Velveeta and I'm not sure I'll make that for myself again.... The Velveeta kinda grossed me out. Processed. Cheese. Product. Blech. Yummy, but even though the recipe was a makeover of a less healthy recipe, it's still not very good for you. I think I'd prefer taste and nutrition.

L: English Muffin/Tortilla Pizzas
D: Applesauce Glazed Pork Chops, Couscous, Peas

L: PB&J, Chips, Fruit/Veggie
D: Spinach Cheese Manicotti

L: Leftover Manicotti
D: Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan, Whole Wheat Angel Hair, Green Beans

L: Nachos
D: Maple and Soy Glazed Steak Tips, Silky Sesame Cucumbers, Scallion Noodles

L: The boys scrounged up whatever they wanted (hot dog for Chris, PB&J for the boys) while my mother-in-law and I dined in peace at Pickity Place - yum!
D: Mashed Potato Bar for my Lia Sophia party

L: We ended up eating at McDonald's (and I really should have gotten a salad instead of chicken nuggets)
D: Makeover Macaroni & Cheese with broccoli and ham

L: Leftover Macaroni & Cheese before heading out to our nephew's 1st birthday party
D: Leftover Mashed Potatoes

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Too Busy to Organize!

I've gone missing again! I've been doing a lot of blog reading, but no blog writing. We've been pretty busy the past few weeks. We have something on the calendar for every weekend in February. This is not normal for us. We normally have a few things scheduled, but spend a lot of time home or out and about as a family. It's been nice to be busy, but I'm also very off track because of it.

Some big news first - this little guy (and I mean little - he weighed in at 17 lbs, 10 oz at his 12-month check-up) turned one last Friday!

We had Molly of Molly Viglione Photography over to do photos for Isaac's birthday. Once again, she did a beautiful job and I can't wait to see the final result!

I have not menu planned for the past two weeks and I'm feeling cRaZy because of the lack of organization! I hate racking my brain all day trying to figure out what I'm going to make for dinner. Monday night - Valentine's Day! - we ended up eating chicken nuggets. Just chicken nuggets. No sides. What. So. Ever. I actually put the pan I cooked the nuggets on in the center of the table and we ate them with our fingers!!! Soooo romantic. Last night and tonight, actual meals were served, but I have no idea what to make tomorrow. I hope to get my butt back in gear and do some menu planning when we are home this weekend; we are going to Winterfest at the camp with Chris' extended family one day, but we will be home the other.

Not only have I not been organized, but I haven't gotten a good workout in for the past few weeks and I'm feeling like poo because of this. First, a bearing in the elliptical went, then the belt kept slipping and then the other bearing went. My wonderfully handy husband was able to fix all three issues, but it was a matter of a week and a half before the machine was working properly.

On the bright side, because I haven't been working out, for the first time in a long while, I managed to get the house cleaned last week using the room-a-day cleaning system I had been using in the summer/fall. This week hasn't been quite on track, but I'm getting there. :) I'm still trying to figure out how to work everything that needs to be done in one day into one day! I have NO idea how I managed when I was working full time!

Lastly, I mentioned that I would have some exciting (to me) news coming up. Last night I became one of three new trustees at our local library! I've been wanting to become involved in our community and I think the library will be a perfect fit for me. There's going to be a lot involved and it's certainly going to be a learning experience, but I'm looking forward to it!

Once this weekend is over, I hope to be a bit more organized so that I can get on here to write. I've missed it!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Meal Plan 1/31-2/6

I'm a little late, but didn't have a chance to post last night. The boys and I made a last-minute trip to Geeky's basketball game and didn't get home until around 9pm. Once they were in bed, I had cleaning up to do and didn't have a chance to post.

We don't have anything really exciting planned this week. Honestly, I'm just hoping to make it through the week and to the weekend. I'm not having the best week, but I'm looking forward to Saturday - we are going to be spending the weekend with my sister-in-law, brother-in-law and their boys to celebrate their boys' birthdays and their wedding anniversary. It'll be a day of sledding, ice skating and other outdoor activities and some hot tubbing and adult time once the kiddos are in bed. I cannot wait to spend a little time away from our house!

L: Leftovers
D: Turkey Sandwiches

L: English Muffin Pizzas
D: Tacos

L: Leftover Tacos
D: Pork Chops with Pears, Brown Rice, Roasted Green Beans

L: PB&J, Veggie Sticks with Hummus
D: Whole Wheat Rotini with Vodka Sauce, French Bread

L: Leftover Rotini
D: Spinach & Cheese Quiche

L: Lunch with Sister-in-Law & Brother-in-Law
D: Dinner with Sister-in-Law & Brother-in-Law

L: Leftover Quiche
D: Shepherd's Pie

For more meal planning ideas, head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Squares

I have a pretty serious sweet tooth and LOVE dessert. If I'm in the mood for a treat but don't want to spend a bunch of time in the kitchen, I'll whip up a batch of Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Squares.

Now, this isn't Chris' favorite recipe; he actually groans when I make it. This and pasta were on the menu quite often when I was pregnant with Charlie and even though that was three years ago, I think he's had enough. He prefers something a little more gooey.... think brownies, cookies, Seven Layer Bars.

This is a recipe I've had since high school and got it from my best friend's mom. The first time I made it was at my best friend's house; her mom put out the ingredients for me and none of us realized until we were eating it that she put out powdered sugar instead of flour. I like sweet, but that was a bit too much!

When I made these tonight, I decided to try to "healthify" the recipe by substituting wheat flour for half of the white flour. The resulting squares were a little more dry than normal, but they crisped up quite nicely and I liked it.... so much that I ate two, no make that three squares! So much for staying on track today! lol

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Squares

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup wheat flour (or additional 1/2 cup white flour)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While oven is heating, place stick of butter in 8x8 pan and pop the pan into the oven to melt the butter (and save you from having to wash an extra dish!). Once butter is melted, remove pan from oven and add all ingredients, except chocolate chips, to the pan. Mix with a fork. When ingredients are combined, add chocolate chips and mix. Press mixture with fork to flatten. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Enjoy!

Linked up at The King's Court IV: What's Cooking Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Family Snowshoeing Outing

One of my favorite family activities is hiking and this past Saturday, we packed up our gear, the kids and the dog and headed over to my mother-in-law's house to walk her land. This was our first time snowshoeing this year and it was also Charlie's first time in snowshoes. He was a natural!

A former co-worker of mine offered me Charlie's snowshoes in return for me writing up her bio for the company website - what a great deal! We went out a few times last year but thought the shoes would be too big for Charlie. We packed them this time figuring it would be another no-go, but they tightened up around his boots nicely and within two steps, Charlie was walking all over the place. He even managed to get up easily when he fell over! However, he quickly decided it was fun to fall in the snow and pretend he couldn't get up so that I would have to lean over (with Isaac in the backpack) and give him a hand. Silly boy!

Our first trip lasted about 70 minutes. Isaac was nice and cozy on my back

and Charlie survived about half the trip on his shoes. Unfortunately, his love for falling into the snow didn't keep his gloves very dry and he got a little whiny. Luckily, he has the best Popsy ever and got a mix of shoulder rides and sled rides on the walk back to the car.

I would say we all had a blast and we will definitely be doing it again! I can't wait!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Meal Plan 1/24-1/30

Most people hate grocery shopping, but I really enjoy it! I'm a big fan of meal plans and I go to the store with my grocery list in hand and do a pretty good job of just getting what's on my list. Plus, I love having a fridge that's stocked full of fresh fruits and veggies and other healthy snacks.

Our meal plan for this week is as follows:

L: Turkey Sandwiches, Apple Slices
D: Gnocchi with White Beans

L: Leftover Gnocchi
D: Coconut Chicken Fingers, Sweet Potato Fries, Broccoli

L: Chef Salad
D: Parmesan & Tuscan Herb Crusted Haddock, Squash Puree, Roasted Cauliflower

L: Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup
D: Cheesy Spinach Lasagna Soup

L: Leftover Soup
D: Homemade Pizza (with Wheat Crust)

L: Leftover Pizza
D: Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Veggie Sticks & Hummus

L: Leftovers
D: Pot Roast with Fall Veggies

For more meal planning ideas, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Meal Plan 1/10-1/16

It's been just short of two months since I last posted! I've been thinking of posts in my head, but I've never had the motivation or time to actually make the post. My depression has gotten the better of me quite a bit lately, but for the time being, I'm on top of it and feeling great! I've been working out steadily since the week between Christmas and New Years' and what a difference!

I've changed up our schedule a bit at home so that I'm working out in the afternoons before I hit my afternoon slump and because of the workout, I've been avoiding that slump! Isaac goes down for a nap, Charlie watches a movie on the (free!) TV and (free!) DVD player we now have hooked up downstairs and I hop on my elliptical for a 40-minute workout and then some strength training and yoga. Woohoo! I'm also active again on SparkPeople; I've yet to see a weight loss (damn holidays!), but there should be one soon! The important thing is that I'm feeling amazing mentally and I'm working hard to make that last!

It's been more than a few weeks since I've created an actual menu plan, so here goes for this week. A bunch of our meals are coming from Taste of Home's Healthy Cooking magazines and I've included the link to the recipes; unfortunately, you do have to register to view the recipe, but it's a simple registration and you can opt out of receiving any emails. ;)

L: Miscellaneous Leftovers
D: Favorite Skillet Lasagna

L: Leftover Lasagna
D: Tortellini Soup

L: Leftover Soup
D: Pulled Pork Sandwiches (made with leftover pork in the freezer), Veggie Sticks & Hummus

L: Chef Salad (I had a craving last week and Chris and I both enjoyed the salads when I made them, so this might become a common lunch!)
D: Cran-Apple Turkey Skillet (made with leftover turkey in the freezer)

L: Leftover Cran-Apple Turkey Skillet
D: Homemade Pizza

L: Leftover Pizza
D: Chicken Parmesan

L: Miscellaneous Leftovers - whatever we can find in the fridge
D: Calico Beans (made with a hodgepodge of leftover pork chops, steak tips & hamburger we have in the freezer and need to get rid of)

For more menu planning, ideas, hop on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie!