Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dollar Store Tests Do Work!

A couple weeks back, I blogged about this awesome double jogging stroller that I came across.  In that moment, I was merely thinking of the future and analyzing the options.  This did stir up a little interest from others in whether or not we were expecting.  NO!  I said.

A little later on in the day, I visited our local 99 cent store for the first time.  This store is much bigger than I had expected and had many products I would use.  I remembered hearing about these dollar stores carrying pregnancy tests and had always wondered how well they actually worked when most other tests cost around $10.  It then came to me that I was 'late'.  Now, the reason it took me so long to realize this is that I had breastfed for 6 months, therefore I had not had my friend until the 7th month after she was born.  So, I was not used to expecting my friend.  (Sorry for the details, but you're reading) 

I scurried around to find the tests and purchased two, along with cupcake mix and frosting.  When I got home I used one test and it immediatley showed two pink lines.  Not believing it I took the other.  Same result.  In shock, I loaded Madison up and sped over to the commisarry to buy a 'more reliable' ($10) test.  I could hardly wait to get back home.  I took the tests (yes, both of them for extra measure) and our pregnancy was confirmed. 

Our 8 month old daughter is going to have a little brother or sister.  I am definetly not going back to work now.  And I will officially be chasing a 16 month old around the house while nursing a newborn.  Here we go!

This is what I had prepared for my Husband as he arrived home for work.  He almost ate them before reading them!

Making it to Wisconsin

Well, I have finally returned from my trip back home. The time there was low key itself, however, trying to get there was quite eventful.

My poor husband who is suffering from lack of sleep as it is while continuing his grueling course in Infantry Unit Leaders Course, got Madison and I to the airport at 4:15 am. Why so early? A- He had a scheduled phone meeting at 4:30am and B- He had to be to work shortly after.

After waiting around for the agent counters to open so that I can check my car seat and luggage, I make my way through security and to my gate. We wait around for quite some time as my flight isn't until 8:30. As we are waiting I am approached by a four year old little girl who plops down beside us on the floor and exclaims "My Mommy said I could play with your baby". I look over at the Mother who is paying absolutely no attention to where her daughter is and soon come to the realization that she was probably relieved for her daughter to take interest in someone else, as I soon endured the marathon of questions she posed to me. She also offered a very dirty ratty toy to my daughter which I had to combat. Finally it is time to board the plane.

I fold up my stroller and check it at the gate and am a little nervous for the flight with a wiggly 8 month old. To my relief, I am sat next to a college age girl and her mother who are quite friendly. We are also in a window seat which Madison finds very amusing. Whatever works! After sitting on the plane for over an hour, we are told our flight is now cancelled due to a mechanical issue and that we would need to de-board, collect our luggage, and get in line to be reticketed.

Great. I arrive at the carousel and collect my daughter's massive car seat as I am waiting and waiting for my luggage, until I am the only one left at the carousel. I approach the baggage personal as it takes them a mere 45 minutes to locate my luggage. They inform me that it is already in Madison, WI.

I get in line to be reticketed and find out when the heck I can get to WI, where we do not move for a good 20 minutes. Suddenly a man who must be employee of United says nothing but waves for me to come up all the way into the First Class line, along with another couple with an infant.

As I approach the ticket counter, the unfriendly woman scours as she states the obvious "you aren't first class". What I wanted to say was yes, however, there is NOONE ELSE in this line and your employee pulled me up here so deal with it! Nope, I was actually very kind and patient as I could hear other passengers raising hell at the counters next to me. As she looks through she finally says "The soonest I can get you a flight is Saturday". Just a note: It is Wednesday.

"Fine, I’ll take it." As I sit on the floor of the airport waiting for a ride and trying to entertain an 8 month old, I take a look at my tickets. They say September 2nd. That is a Friday. This makes me wonder what other mistakes the woman made.

My hero Melissa arrives to transport Madison and I and all our stuff home. I am very thankful as it would have been one long day at the airport otherwise. When I get home, I decide to get online myself and check available flights and find that there is a flight available for the next day!! So I immediately call United and get my flight changed once again. Now to find a ride.

My wonderfully fabulous, always entertaining friend Leigh picks me up in the morning after dropping her daughter off at school and takes us back to the airport. I approach the ticketing counter thinking 'here we go again'. The woman at the counter says "we request that you check your stroller". I look at her a little confused and say "why?" She goes on and on about some safety issues. At this point I am no longer friendly and say "I didn't have to check it yesterday, why would I have to today?" "Ma'am, I need to check your stroller."

Great again. I love walking around lugging a 25 lb baby. I survive the tasks of going to the bathroom and ordering food without the use of my stroller to hold my baby and begin to notice several strollers at my gate. Then our flight is delayed. I know this could be an issue as my connection in Chicago has a short layover as it is.

We board the plane and I am pleased to be blessed with an open seat next to me. It was a blessing as my child decided to pitch a fit and squirm to her heart’s content for the nearly three and a half hour plane ride.

When we touch down in Chicago, the captain announces the current time and gate assignments for connection flights. I have 15 minutes to unboard the plane and get from concourse B to concourse F, without a stroller.

Why is it that people insist on walking slow or even standing on the moving walkways? I'm pretty sure these are meant to get people to their destination faster not slower. Never the less, I end up walking as fast as my body possibly can past these idiots, with a baby and backpack through 4 terminals. I arrive just in time, the last one to board the plane, using Madison's blanket to wipe the sweat from my face. I wait for the woman to exit our row so that I can sit in our seat (window seat) and get all situated. Time to breathe.

A flight attendant approaches me and says "I'm sorry ma'am, but you can't sit here." You'll have to move to the back. Great. Let's do that. Like the last flight fortunately enough, I have an open seat beside me. For some reason, at this point Madison is in a great mood and enjoys the short flight. I happily arrive to see my Mother and gather my undamaged items all at the airport minus a toy that has detached from the stroller.  No biggie.

What I have learned is to say "No" to checking a stroller and to either never travel with a baby again or to buy a seat next to me to save sanity.

I had a great trip in the end. I was so fortunate to have friends and family that went out of their way to come see me and spend time with me.  It really made me miss home and made me think of all the more time I could spend with these wonderful people.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Comparing Jogging Strollers

The Pod by Baby Jogger

This morning I came across a give-away for a new jogging stroller called The Pod.  It is a stroller that is quickly and easily convertible from a regular stroller, to jogger, and to a hitch so that you can bring your little ones with you on your bike rides.  Honestly, I would only use the jogging attachment.

Looking more into this stroller I became more interested.  I was surprised that considering the size, it holds two children.  It also has an adjustable handle bar to accommodate shorter or taller people.  There is a built in mesh lining to protect from bugs and a rain guard that can be purchases separately.  This would be a plus for me as there are some days when I skip my run due to rain. 

BOB Double Jogger

I am so amazed at how small it is and how easily it folds up compared to most double joggers I see.  It seems as though it would fit in most SUVs whereas I am not too sure about others. 

What double jogger do you use and why do you like it?  Does anyone have experience with the Pod?  What can you anticipate not liking about this jogger?

NOTE:  This is not an "I'm expecting" announcement.  Simply just brainstorming for the future.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Current Happenings

First off, I am leaving Wednesday to head back home and am very excited to have some time with my Mom.  Although, I looked up the weather and it is going to be HOT.  And it is different than California hot.  Wisconsin is just sticky and nasty.  I think Madison and I will hide indoors on those days. 

The hubby has been extremely busy with the course he is currently in (IULC).  He ended up pulling an all nighter last Thursday night to complete several papers and projects.  He's getting a little taste of the college life if he decides to go that route some day.  Thankfully he only has one month left.  He has been working very hard. 

We attended the 3/5 Family Day at Mariner's Church out in Irvine this past Saturday and it was great!  Of course my husband took off to compete in every sporting competition available as soon as we got there.  This means we missed our chance at a professional family portrait that the Church was providing.  A little bummed about that but it was great to see everyone and it was a great day with great food. 

We had a scary parent moment yesterday.  Our daughter was on the floor surrounded by her toys and my husband and I were playing a game.  She suddenly started crying so I picked her up as I usually do and laid her in my lap.  She started making a choking sound, but it didn't alarm me too much because she seems to choke on her own saliva alot since she produces so much lately.  Something seemed different though and I don't even know what made me look but I reached in her mouth and pulled out the eye to a stuffed animal.  THAT is what she was choking on!  Then she was really crying.  My poor baby.  I am so glad I noticed it.  We really learned our lesson and went through all her toys.  We took away any item that wasn't specifically made for babies, even all the stuffed animals.  We sure learned our lesson!

This is her just before the incident.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Being Sick

It is no fun, no fun at all.  I feel completely unmotivated to do anything and that includes running and working out.  However, my husband did manage to drag me out of the house last evening for the Endless Summer Beach Bash on Camp Pendleton.  There were many vendors selling beach gear, food, beer, etc.  There were motocross races showing us their awesome tricks and a live band.  Matt and I enjoyed some fried food and beer and it was a good time.  It was nice to take the 2 mile walk to and from the event and stretch my legs a little. 
She was having fun til she bonked her head on Daddy's chin.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Going Home

I am so excited to announce that I am going home to visit!  Although I will be there nearly a week and a half, I will not be seeing a whole lot of people.  I want to actually have some quality time to spend with my Mom this time around.  It seems that everytime I go home, I have a jam-packed schedule, driving all over WI and IL to visit friends and family.  In May of 2010, I put 1,000 miles on my rental car.  I stayed in southern WI and Northern IL.  I love being able to see everyone and that is the whole point of me coming home, but this time I just need to relax with my Mom.  I am very excited for her to be able to spend lots of time with Madison.  I know how much she loves her and is probably missing her so badly. 

I will be going to Milwaukee to see all my girlfriends (because it is a must!).  I will also plan to see my Grandmother and my cousin.  My cousin Kelsey is one of the sweetest, nicest people I know.  When we were young, we used to ride our bikes all the way across town during the summer days, just to meet up so we could hang out for the day.  Now she has two little girls and I have one.  I wish we were closer so we could spend more time together. 

Of course I will be traveling down to IL to see my in-laws too.  They are the best in-laws I could ask for.  I am so lucky and I know it.  I hear many horror stories from friends about their in-laws.  Being at their house is like being at home to me.  I am also hoping to see my aunt, uncle, and cousin and his new wife. 

One of my best girlfriends has recently moved back to the area.  I have not seen her in over a year and she is very special to me.  Some how, some way, I will see that girl!

It seems that as a Military Family, it is very hard to find enough time to see everyone you love and care about.  Moving about the country and the world puts a kink in that.  How do other Military Families deal with this?

Monday, August 8, 2011

20 Year Retirement Plan

The Marine Corps Times is reporting on the proposed changes to retirement benefits of Military Personnel.  The change is meant to reduce retirement costs while providing some portion of benefits to all those who have served in the armed forces, rather than only those who choose to stay in for 20 plus years.  A 401k plan with matching government funds would replace the current system.  What are your thoughts?  Read the full story here.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

5 Foods to Avoid

Condiments can turn your healthy, lean meal into a calorie binge.  Use condiments sparingly.  Dress your grilled chicken sandwich with lighter dressings such as mustard.  Give your salads a splash of balsamic vinaigrette.  Try some of Mrs. Dash’s salt free seasoning and add some lemon to flavor up a meal. 

Soda/Energy Drinks:
Need a pick-me-up to get through your day?  Skip the sodas and energy drinks.  Downing 2-3 of these a day can cost you anywhere from 200 – 600 extra calories a day and loads of sugar.  Not to mention what the cost of these will do to your pocketbook.  Grab a black coffee – and skip the sugar and cream!

White Sugar: 
This grainy, white, sweet additive is the culprit and main cause behind obesity.  White sugar creates the fat that clogs arteries and stores as body fat.  This little demon is found in sweets, condiments, and even processed meats.  Read your labels carefully.  Focus your diet on vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains, lean meats, fish, and low-fat dairy products to avoid access added sugar.

Cheese is found on many dishes in America.  It tends to be the unnecessary addition to favorite foods from potatoes to chicken and broccoli alike.  Grilled chicken on its own can be a healthy low cal option, however adding calories worth of cheese to it makes it no longer a low cal option.  Try to avoid this by using salt-free seasonings to dress up your grilled chicken and broccoli.

White Flour:
White flour is found in everything from bread, pizzas, cakes, pastas, and cookies.  It is nutrient deplete due to it being a refined food.  Refined foods are those foods that have been so heavily processed, causing it to lose its nutritional value.  These refined foods consumed over time cause weight gain.  Replace your favorite pasta dish with whole wheat pasta.  Seek out whole wheat alternatives.  You will find they are easy to find and affordable.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

7 Months!

Happy 7 Months to my baby girl!  Can't wait to see what you do next!

Free Food and a Social Butterfly

One great thing about being in the military is all the offers and support you receive being a military family.  Last night, Lincoln Military Housing handed out free meals to all the San Onofre neighborhood residents.  Included was a family-size lasagna, salad, garlic bread, and a 2 liter of soda.  It was a quick easy meal that was free and tasted great.  Can't beat that! 

On another note, as I parked to go pick up my food, a little girl about 3 years old approached my car.  She was holding two dolls.  As I started to unload my stroller she came right up and wanted to chat with me and even asked me to go to the park with her.  She wanted to see the baby as well.  All I kept thinking was "where are her parents".  I know I was in a neighborhood so she could just be right outside her house but I was still looking around for her parents.  After I got the baby all set in the stroller she took off running to the park where there were other children.  This scenario makes me nervous as my little one grows up.  I am all for having an outgoing child as this little girl was, but where is the line?  She practically wanted to take a ride in my car with me and asked me to go to the park with her!  How do you tell your kids not to talk to strangers but to still be their outgoing selves free to be inviting to people?   What do you think?  What do you tell your children?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New and Final least for now

I know, I know.  I've changed the look of this new blog several times now.  But hey, I am new at this and still trying to figure out this whole blogging deal.  I found this Blogger template and it caught my eye as it had Alpha Sigma written all over it!  My fellow Sorority sisters from my college days would understand. 

Alpha Sigma is a local sorority at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  I pledged (affiliated to be politically correct) the sorority in the fall of 2001.  The mascot of Alpha Sigma is the owl.  Although, when you graduate you hand down your trusty owl collection to younger members to carry on, somehow we don't loose our eye for anything owl.  In fact, just the other day I received a gift from one of my closest friends Kelly:

My daughter has had owl shirts and now owl bibs.  I think this one is especially cute and I love that it is big because she is one messy eater!  

The owl template is here to stay! least for now anyways:)

Blogging Time

Sometimes I feel like I am going crazy being a stay-at-home Mom.  Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful and thankful that I get to spend so much time with my precious little one.  I get to see and experience everything new that she learns.  But recently, this little girl just wants Mommy 24/7.  If I walk away to get a diaper she is throwing a fit.  Mommy has stuff to do!!

My wonderful friend Becca (and Baby Nurse as I refer to her - she was present for the birth of my daughter while my Husband was deployed to Afghanistan) decided to watch her for me this last Thursday.  She wanted practice watching two kids, to see what it would be like.  And I needed time to actually get some things done around the house.  Needless to say, they had a blast.  And Mommy did too with a pot of coffee, country music on the radio, and blogging.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Eating On The Go

Many days, our schedules are filled to the brim leaving us vulnerable to catching a quick and albeit, unhealthy meal or snack.  Avoid this by planning ahead.  Keep a stash of carrot sticks or almonds with you as a healthy alternative for a snack.  Take the extra time at night to pack a lunch instead of being left to grab finger food on the go.  It may take a few extra minutes of your day, but it will pay off in the long haul.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cardio VS Weight Training

 Cardiovascular Exercise
Cardiovascular (Cardio) exercise is aerobic exercise that causes more oxygen to be processed by the lungs with less effort, more blood to be pumped by the heart in fewer beats increasing blood supply to the muscles.  All this is increasing the body’s physical endurance and efficiency.  Other benefits to cardiovascular exercise include weight loss, stress reduction, cardiovascular disease prevention, and increased life span.
There are a variety of activities that encompass cardiovascular exercise.  They include running, swimming, cross-country skiing, biking, kickboxing, dance, sports, etc.  It is important to enjoy what you are doing so try a variety of these activities and see what fits you best.

Weight Training
Weight training (resistance training) is a type of exercise used in increasing muscle strength and size.  Weighted bars, dumbbells, and weight stacks are used as the force against concentric or eccentric contractions.  This type of exercise focuses on specific muscle groups through each type of movement.  Benefits of weight training include osteoporosis prevention, maintenance of lean body mass, and injury prevention.

Those who are new to weight training may want to start out with machine weights.  This allows the person to work out alone and to get to know different exercises and the muscle groups they target.  Free weights are great to use with a partner so that you have a spotter.  A spotter serves as support and safety to ensure that the athlete does not drop the weight on him or herself.  Free weights also use one’s natural range of motion and strengthen the stabilizer muscles. 

It is also important to know what the individual’s goals are through weight training.  Is the person looking to tone and maintain lean body mass or is the goal to gain muscle mass?  If the goal is to tone, using lighter weight and higher numbers of repetition can achieve that goal.  If the goal is to gain muscle mass, the use of heavier weight and less repetitions will assist in achieving the goal.

Exercise and Why We Do It

Exercise is any physical activity involved in maintaining or improving the body’s physical health and wellness.  Many people are physically active for a variety of reasons that include weight loss or maintenance, improving athletic performance, gaining muscle strength, improving cardiovascular endurance, and pure enjoyment.  Those who make exercise a part of their lifestyle can benefit by helping to prevent heart disease, cardiovascular disease, Type II Diabetes, obesity, and depression. 
Physical exercise is known to reduce an individual’s stress levels by releasing feel good endorphins that distract you from your daily worries.  And since one may often have an increased perception of body image through exercise, as well as increased self-esteem, sex drive is also increased. 
Are you still looking for a reason to exercise?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fitness Myths

Crunches Flatten the Stomach
Myth - Your body and its genetic code decide where and when to store fat.  There are no exercises to reduce fat in any specific area of the body, only exercises to build and tone muscle. 
The best way to get a flat stomach is to burn calories through cardio exercise, which burns calories and in turn reduces body fat overall.  Crunches will tone areas, but won't reduce the fat there on their own.
If the majority of your fat is in your stomach area, you'll notice a difference.  Crunches do burn calories, so if you were to perform many of them on a daily basis, it could contribute to weight loss.  However, cardio will get the job done more effectively.
Muscle Can Turn to Fat
Myth - Muscle doesn't turn into fat and fat doesn't turn into muscle.  They are two different types of cells.  What actually can happen, is when someone stops working out, he or she is rapidly losing muscle and gaining fat.  Many people who do this do not cut down on their calorie intake, causing a quick gain in fat since they are no longer burning these extra calories through exercise. 
Stretch Before Exercise to Prevent Injuring Yourself
Myth - Research has changed over the years indicating that this is not so.  Individuals who have been injured are more prone to re-injury.  However, you need to warm these muscles up in order to prep them for a good stretch in the first palce.  Nothing too intense - start off slow, giving yourself a three to five minute warm-up, then stretch.  Stretching is mostly effective after a workout when these muscles are nice and elastic.  Stretching now will be helpful in maintaining flexibility and in turn, avoiding injury.

Diet Myths

Eating at Night Makes You Fat
Myth – There is no conclusive evidence that late-night snacking can cause you to put on weight.  The truth is that too many calories cause weight gain, and in many cases, high-calorie foods tend to be consumed late at night.  Try to stick to regular, earlier mealtimes to avoid the nighttime binge.

Not all Sugars are Alike
True - Added sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup, honey, and table sugar which are added to products such as soda, candy, and other sweets, have a lot of calories.  Natural sugar, on the other hand, does not contain any artificial ingredients or chemicals.  Instead of scouring the ingredients on every box, remember that fresh produce will contain natural sugar whereas your processed foods will contain added sugars.

Coffee Isn't Good for You
Myth – Serving up 2 to 3 cups of coffee a day is part of a healthy diet. Research has shown that drinking coffee in moderation (such as 2 to 3 cups/day) may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, gallstones, Parkinson's disease, even some cancers.  What can make coffee unhealthy is all the added fixings such as cream, sugar, and flavored syrups. (Refer to #2 above)

The Less Fat You Eat, the Better
Myth - Your body needs protein, carbohydrates, and fats to survive.  So fuel your body.  The key to remember is that there are good fats and bad fats.  Nuts, seeds, and low-fat dairy contain high-protein and healthy fats (unsaturated fats).  Fats to avoid are saturated and trans fats found in high-fat dairy such as butter, red meat, and many processed foods.

Drink Water – Lose Weight
Myth – There is no arguing that water is good for your body, however, will it really help you to lose weight?  Not specifically.  If you tend to drink high-calorie drinks throughout the day, replacing them with water will help keep those unnecessary calories away and help you to lose weight.  Simply adding water into your diet along with those high-calorie drinks will not aid in any number drops on the scale.