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Mommy Claus doesn't have a list.

I never know what to get my kids when gift time rolls around. Usually it's a good bet to get Trip something that's aimed about 2 years older than his current age. This year he asked me for a microscope. I don't remember when I got mine, but I'm pretty sure I was older than 8. He's getting one from Nana. I settled for getting an electronic dart board and some woodworking tools. Gah! Hope he at least pretends to like it. I couldn't get anything on his list because I know Grammy already bought it all.

Oh, and I have to share this little tidbit. One of the activities at Great Wolf Lodge this weekend was writing letters to Santa. Trip wrote "I know you always give gifts to good little girls and boys, but this year I really want you to get my brother something special". Awwwwww!

Anyway. I have no idea what to get for Chris (age 5). I ended up with an electronic drum set (aimed for age 8) and a hard hat. I figured he would need it during the construction of our house and for defeating the evil older brother overlord.

Honestly though, they would probably be just as thrilled with silly bands and fake tattoos. It seems as if the harder I try to find a cool gift, the more they like the cheapo crap stuff.

Gym Musings

I've been taking full advantage of the initial free training sessions at the gym (Gold's, natch). I am usually the biggest person there and I'm somewhat embarrassed at having to do squats and deadlifts with no weight on the bar, but I feel like I'm at least trying, right?

So anyway my trainer, Jarrod the self-professed Canadian football player wannabe, did my body fat measurements today and according to his machine I am obese.

Obese. I hate that word. Yes, world, I'm fat. I get it already. I'm old and fat and weak and I make everyone else in the gym look like a Greek god in comparison. Not that anyone besides me is trying to make me feel bad or anything. Everyone is really very supportive. It just makes me feel more motivated. If only I could get my nutrition under control. I suck at that part and I know it's more important than the working out. Honestly though, I like working out a whole heck of a lot better than counting, measuring and scheduling.

*sigh*

Feeding the Family

Last year I purchased a book - "Saving Dinner" by Leanne Ely. Ms. Ely is a nutritionist with young children who decided that the best way to bring families back to the table and away from a lifetime of poor eating choices was to make it easy. Her book lays out kid-friendly flavors in weekly menus by season accompanied by a corresponding shopping list.

This week we finally decided to try the plan. We started with "week one" of the Autumn menu which includes Apple Chicken, Roast Beef Picante, Beany Burritos, Moroccan Fish Tangine, Italian Turkey Meat Loaf and Crock Pea Soup. We immediately discarded the weekly fish dish because it didn't seem fair to ask Moe to cook a food he will not eat. The kids were out of town for two nights so we haven't made it all the way through the dishes, but the first three were absolutely wonderful.

Now, I don't know about your kids, but mine are super picky and always beg for favorites like chicken nuggets and hamburgers. And if you are anything like us, you are probably sick and tired of the typical family go-to meals.

We were a bit nervous to try them ourselves, but the kids surprised us. Even though the flavors are new to them (pinto beans, white wine sauce, etc.) they ate them up and asked for more. We figured we have spent about $2.50 per person, per meal so far because the expensive roast we bought for one meal was used (per the instructions) to make the burritos the next day. In fact, the boys declared the burritos as good as "Chipotle's"! Now that is something to celebrate!

If your family is ready for some new flavors, I highly recommend "Saving Dinner", which retails at $16.

My (not so secret) Vice

I have a constant companion. Honestly, I didn’t like it at first. In fact, I thought it was tacky, disgusting and more than a little bit pretentious. But the more time I spent with it, and the better we got to know each other, the more I found that life was unbearable without it.

Yes, I admit it. I am addicted to diet coke.

There is something about it that I find irresistible which is odd, because sometimes I don’t particularly want it or even like the taste of it; but I’ve found myself reaching for it above all other beverages. When I am thirsty, when I am tired, when it’s time to get up from my desk to stretch my legs, my first impulse is to get a nice, refreshing fizzy chemical cocktail that is really not all that good for me.

Is it the extra fizz? I have noticed that it appears to be the fizziest soda around. Have you ever tried to pour a diet coke into a cup on a plane? Usually it takes so long for the fizz to settle that the flight attendant gives up and just hands me the whole soda and the cup of fizz ensconced ice cubes accompanied by a heavy sigh. On the other hand, that way I get a whole drink and not the 4 pathetic little ounces that everyone else gets served.

Diet coke is also really bloating. I know this because I quit drinking it for the first several months of this year. I didn’t lose any weight (nor did I gain any), but I did lose the bloating and that roundness of the belly that I thought was my genetic cross to bear. Quitting diet coke gave me a flat stomach. Yet even though I know this to be true, once I started drinking it again, it was as if I had no control over it any more. It has me right where it wants me.

So there you have it. I am an addict. Fortunately for me, I can get my hit just about anywhere and no one is much the wiser.

The world as I know it

I think my job is crushing my soul. Don't get me wrong. I am extremely grateful to have a job that supports my family in such a comfortable manner; but I am unaccustomed to the breakneck pace of daily quotas in the face of the inevitable learning curve associated with learning a whole new corporate structure, policies, politics and software. I never realized the full extent of how sheltered I was in my former employment.

At any rate, things are - and will continue to be - fine. Really. Time will cure all of my self-imagined deficiencies. Though I am astonished every day by the team's continued satisfaction with my production, the numbers don't lie. Maybe I am lying to myself, but it has always been that way. I am my own toughest critic. Most of the time.

In other news, I am trying to make the majority of Christmas gifts this year. When I was packing and moving house, I made note of how much stuff we had accumulated. Sure, home-made gifts are stuff too, but I would hope that a scarf is easier to use and store than your average tchotchke.

Anyway, that's all that's fit to print at the moment. My life is busy, but good.

Stuff is happening.

I have been to Corning and I got to blow glass. Who hoo!!!! An update is coming, but it will have to be after the kids' bedtime. Best. Vacation. Ever!

Knitting Update

Finally, the air is cooling and the bugs are less prevalent. Thank goodness the autumnal weather is upon us. I've nearly finished my leafy vest - just the neck border left to pick up and knit and buttons to choose. Christopher and Trip have both picked out yarn and I have started a drop stitch scarf for Topher and am looking for a hat pattern for Trip. LaRuse blocked my Ishbel shawl and I'm finally motivated to pull out Aeolian and give finishing that one a go. I need to do some lace. Oh, and I have a mohair dress that needs to get started before it gets too cold. This weather really gets my knitting mojo going. I picked up the most recent Vogue knitting and the fair isle projects are really appealing to me. Maybe I will finally conquer my fear of colorwork.

Sep. 5th, 2010

It has been so long since I have posted here that folks have actually started unfriending me. Really, it's not that I don't love LJ, but I simply don't have the leisure to read and post much and I'm undecided as to what I want to do with it from here on out.

So at any rate-an update.

We are not ready to buy, but we've started doing some house hunting to figure out where we want to live and what we are looking for. Sadly, it doesn't appear that I can afford to live where I want to in the style to which I've become accustomed. We're also planning for the future as we want a house that will accomodate multi-generational living. My mom is retiring next year and we want her to move in with us. It's not that we don't think she can live on her own, but she's lonely and as the oldest daughter, I feel like it's my privilege to have her live with us. Mom is excited about the prospect.

The thing is, I know she would infinitely prefer her own space so I'm looking for a place with a mother-in-law apartment and those are nowhere to be found anywhere. Maybe everyone has turned those into income-producing spaces, but there has to be something that would work, I would think.

Oh well, we have plenty of time. If I had unlimited funds, I'm sure my search would be easy. How do people with moderate incomes ever find a reasonably sized house in a decent neighborhood to buy? I don't want to live out in the boonies to get what I want.

Things as they are

Sasha is certainly a much happier dog now. She doesn't like the ear wash, but she is submitting to it willingly now that it doesn't hurt so much. She doesn't stink anymore, and her hair has stopped falling out. Last night she only scratched once.

Her main problem now is that she's living at my mom's house and has been for the last week. We love our dog and hate that she has to be boarded with family right now, but with a contractor in and out all day and the potential to have buyers walking through at any time, having our enthusiastic dog-bell at home is not optimal. I hate it though because I miss her so much. When we go over to mom's every day to see her she cries because she keeps thinking we won't come back. It breaks my heart.

In other news, we got an offer on the house. Unfortunately, it was the guy across the street who is trying to buy every house on the block and he undercut our asking price by $40,000. Sure, we'd still make some money, but I'm not giving my house away. We didn't take the offer seriously. I hope the weekend is nice and that we get some folks checking out the house.

My Doggie

We have a German Shepard Dog. She blows her winter coat every spring, and for several weeks we contend with non-stop dog-hair tumble weeds blowing across the hardwood floors. This year was different in that she seemed to be still blowing coat way past the usual time. Plus she itched. A lot. And she smelled like fritos.

Yesterday, Moe took her to the vet for her annual shots and the excessivly long shed period was explained. It turns out that she has a severe allergy to fleas. How severe? We didn't even know she had fleas. The vet only found one or two. She also has a double ear infection which explains the nasty smell. Poor baby!

Sasha ended up with her annual shots & heartworm meds, a steroid shot, antibiotic pills, benedryl, special dog-wash, an ear wash, an ear ointment and a new flea-killing formula that we've never even heard of. It's supposed to be the strongest there is, which seems a little harsh for a dog that only had a couple of fleas; but her reaction to them is so severe that the vet felt it was warranted.

Despite all that, she's as healthy as can be. She checked out perfectly in all other physical respects - healthy gums, great intestinal fortitude, perfect weight, etc. The steroids seem to have stopped her infernal itching, for which I know she is grateful - as are we.