Stupid wagons.

January 24, and as I sit here I’m eating M&Ms. Darn it. I am such a stress eater. The last couple weeks have been rough. Poor Fynn has just been so frustrated with speech therapy. It doesn’t help, I’m sure, that I’m frustrated as well. We’re sucking all of the joy out of playtime by constantly harping on language. Poor little kid. I had a long talk with Fynn’s speech therapist this morning, and we both think it’s a good idea to back off with the speech play at home. Not that we’d stop, but let Fynn lead the playtime so he doesn’t feel pressure. I’m down with that. I’m so stressed out by it that I can’t imagine that Fynn doesn’t feel it just emanating from me.

But since I’m stressed, I’m eating. Boo. Time to get back on the stupid wagon today. I’m putting down the M&Ms right now, I promise.

I did get to yoga on Saturday morning. I’m still sore, but it was amazing. It was a great way to start the day. Can’t wait until next Saturday.

Winter, Motivation and the Urban Mom.

Well, that was a bad weekend for the diet! While I ate a bunch of healthy foods, I also ate too much bad. Frustrating, but today is a new day. At least I didn’t do a lot of sitting around the house this weekend. We took the opportunity to go to through all of the closets in the house (luckily we’d already gone through the majority of the storage unit) and throw away a bunch of junk. My little family lives in a 900 sq foot apartment. You would think that it would be difficult to cram so much stuff into our little space. Well, it’s not. We took out 8 bags of junk to the trash and a trunk-full of stuff to Goodwill. It does feel good to have that out of here. I’m glad I finally felt the motivation to do it…even if that motivation didn’t translate to sticking to my diet this weekend.

Today, I took the little guy to the zoo. It was over 30 degrees and he needed to get outside. I thought I’d explain why Fynn and I spend so much time at the zoo. I have two words for you: “urban mom.” I knew that when I decided to have a child in an apartment building on the East Side that it would be more difficult. Besides laundry and parking issues, we don’t have a backyard. During the summer, we have a little courtyard that Fynn and I can play in, but in the winter that courtyard is filled with snow that has been piled there by the plows. When he was really little and wanted to ride in the stroller, it was easy to take him for a walk. Now that he doesn’t want to sit in the stroller (good thing), but he also doesn’t want to hold my hand on the side walk (bad thing), and he has a tendency to dart towards the street (very bad thing). Walks on the sidewalk of Prospect Avenue aren’t really fun right now. I’m all nerves, I have a really bad back (so I can’t carry him when he gets tired), and I don’t want to bring the stroller because I need two hands to catch him before he runs into the street. It’s not as bad in the summer because I can hustle down to Brady Street Bridge and go to the lakefront and it’s easy. While on the trail, we only have to worry about crazy bicyclists who don’t really believe that walking pedestrians have the right of way. We do go to the park as well…even though he gets bored pretty quickly on the equipment and spends most of the time just looking for a good stick.

To combat cabin fever in the winter and summer, Nate and I have purchased yearly memberships at multiple places in town – Discovery World, Betty Brinn, the Art Museum, and the Zoo. We also go to Central Library quite often. What I love about the zoo is that once we’re on the grounds, I can just let him run and play. He doesn’t have to constantly hold my hand, we both get a lot of exercise, and I can let him direct where we should go. He gets to have a say, which he just loves. It’s funny to watch his route – through the Family Farm to see the cows and the ducks, up the hill to see the monkeys, to the fish and reptile house to see the alligators, down the hill to see the elephants and giraffes, around the bend to see the kangaroos, sheep and the polar bear. Then he hops in the stroller for a snack while I head over to see the big cats. Then we have to go back to the Family Farm so he can play with the little kids tractor and milk truck. When the train is running, we have to get a ride. It’s fun, safe and relaxing (most of the time). So there you have it.

Well, back to dieting. Have a great MLK Day!

And the diet continues (really!)

Fifteen days into the diet and I’m still going strong. I’ve still only dropped 2 pounds, but I’m finally resting comfortably within my allotted calories. It’s always a balancing act between meals. If I don’t eat enough for breakfast or lunch, dinner is a disaster. If I eat too much for lunch, I don’t eat enough for dinner and I’m starving by 10 p.m. I feel like I have a fairly good handle on it now. I’m even doing little calorie cutting things – like leaving the extra teaspoon of sugar out of my coffee. We’re still indulging in dark chocolate (thank you, Dr. Oz), but at 50 calories for a square, it’s a nice little treat.

Speaking of good ol’ Dr. Oz. I’m actually on Day 16 “Calculate your BMI” which I did today. I didn’t do it by hand because…well…I’m an English major. So I just used the U.S. Health and Human Services link. I’d like to sit in the middle of the normal range. I feel like I can not only achieve that, but I can be at a good happy weight at that level. There are, of course, a ton of health benefits for being in the normal range – from lowering blood pressure to lowering risks of type 2 diabetes.

I start yoga on the 21st. I’m pretty excited about that. It has just been too long since I’ve been in the studio. I’ve gone to the same yoga studio for years – Tosa Yoga. A very good friend of mine runs it and she is just awesome. I even did private lessons with her when my back was a mess. It helped quite a bit.

So, I’m still picking a book. It’s between 3 – The Gravedigger’s Daughter, Middlesex, and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I have to pick tonight.

Happy dieting and reading everyone. That’s what January is for, right?

Need some…votes.

So I’m struggling to figure out what to read next. Anyone have any advice? Here are the choices because I’m not allowed to buy any more books. It’s a self inflicted fast:

“The Gravedigger’s Daughter” Joyce Carol Oates (because I love being depressed by novels)
“The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo” Larsson (What?? I think Daniel Craig is hot and I will think of him while I read)
“Water for Elephants” Gruen (I bought it and am regretting it but I feel like I should now read it because I own it…)
“The Street Lawyer” Grisham (because it’s better than cooking shows…maybe)
“War and Peace” Tolstoy (I figured I’d redeem myself with this choice…after the Grisham)
“Middlesex” Eugenides (because it’s been on my shelf for like…years)
“The Joy Luck CLub” (I hear I’m supposed to read it)


Replacement puppies.

My son has a beloved stuffed animal. Actually, he has two beloved stuffed animals. They are exactly the same. For the longest time, Fynn would not play with a stuffed animal, but he eventually fell in love with the Ty brand stuffed dog “Calhoun” that my husband bought for me on a work trip a long time ago. Calhoun became Fynn’s pacifier replacement when we went through that “joyous” experience. When I discovered that Fynn loved his Puppy (that’s his new name), a friend of mine suggested that we better get a Puppy replacement, you know, just in case. So, I started the online search for imposter Puppy. I quickly discovered that Puppy is one of the “retired” Ty products. My heart sank. Uh oh. But, I discovered a Puppy on Amazon, so all was well. I ordered imposter Puppy (for only $17) and got him in the mail. Good thing I did, because the day he arrived original Puppy got tossed into the bathtub “on accident.”

Well, Fynn has a habit of sucking on Puppy’s nose for comfort (we wash Puppy A LOT). Today I noticed that Puppy has a hole in his nose (probably from my son gnawing on it and me washing a plush doll over and over again). I grabbed imposter Puppy or Puppy No. 2 and he had a hole in his nose, too. Uh oh. So I decided I better try to find some Puppy replacements. I went online and there were some (very few) replacements on both Amazon and EBay, but that’s it. He’s going to have to be careful with these two new Puppies because OMG they are expensive for a plush toy. But, how could I not buy Puppy replacements? Those two plush dogs are the only things he really LOVES to sleep with. Alas. They will be here soon…and he can start sucking on their noses, too. This time, he’s getting one Puppy at a time. Although, Nate is convinced that Fynn will have 4 puppies soon. He’s probably right.

Toddlers are bad for your diet (Erin’s new study reports)

My kid is a picky eater. I know, I know, all l kids are picky eaters. We’ve been working very diligently lately (now that we feel like the speech stuff is going better) to work on the eating. So tonight we thought we had a slam dunk – Noodles’ Mac and Cheese and flat bread. I mean, seriously, you’d think that would work. He completely refused. Pushed the chair away from the table and screamed at us. Eventually, thank goodness, he worked on the flat-bread, but he would not touch the noodles. So, here I am on my 1,300 calorie diet, eating a low-calorie nutritious option from Noodles, and I have to try to coax him to eat. By coaxing, I mean eating a little of his Mac and Cheese and saying, “Mmmmm, don’t you want some?!” The entire time I’m thinking, “10 calories, 50 calories…..” How do you stop the “mommy munching?” Whether it’s coaxing a kid to eat or eating off his plate because you’re thinking about how much food you’re wasting. Plus, you’re stressed because your little cherub won’t eat his darned food! If you’re a stress eater like me, it’s a train wreck.

Speaking of train wrecks, my Dr. Oz plan continues. Just kidding (sorta). Today is “Don’t Graze Before Bed.” This one is actually pretty interesting. First off, I’m done eating for the day (well, after I finish this tea). According to Dr. Oz, people who eat at night gain more weight average per year (like 3 pounds), which is kinda a no brainer. In addition, eating 70 minutes – 2 hours before bedtime could decrease stroke by 76%! That’s crazy! It has something to do with circulation changes brought on by the digestive process restricting blood flow to the brain. So, that pretty much convinced me to stop the nibbling 2 hours before bed. Thank you, Dr. Oz.

Day…oh, I don’t know.

Well, still on my diet (although I went off course a little tonight with the potatoes au gratin – low calorie…but I ate too much of that delicious warm potato goo). It was a pretty good day without a lot of cravings. So yesterday, the Dr. Oz plan day was “Get More Sleep.” I mean…hahahahahahahahaha….how could I … hahahahahahahaha … with a toddler … hahahahahahahahaha … That’s how I feel about that one. Today was “Meditate.” I’m not really a “meditator.” Probably the closest I get is yoga. Although, I did read about one mantra in the book “Eat Pray Love.” I believe that it’s the “Om Sai” mantra. Basically you breathe in “Om” and breathe out “Sai.” I tried it during the end of a yoga classes when we were meditating. Usually, I just thought about what I was going to eat when I left, but I have to say that the little mantra helped me clear my head and get in a stress-free zone.

The little man is feeling much better lately. Thank goodness. Since he was feeling better, I took the little guy to Betty Brinn Children’s Museum this morning. He did pretty well. I’m always nervous when I take Fynn to places with other children. The reason is that Fynn is very tall for his age. He’s larger than the average 3-year-old (and at this point probably the average 4-year-old), so basically I have a 2 ½ – year-old who acts exactly his age plus has a speech delay, but looks 4. So, you probably can understand my anxiety. More than once, a 5 or 6-year-old has asked Fynn to play, not realizing that although he’s nearly their size he’s still just a really little guy. I just feel bad for him because he’s going to have to deal with that for a long time. He also doesn’t really know his own strength, but that’s another story.

January 2 + Day 6

Hello from day six of the diet. Now that the carbohydrate addiction has abated, I can actually think clearly and I’m not starving all of the time. Today was a good day for healthy decisions. The family and I were out and about today, shopping and getting photos taken, and we had to make the dreaded “all of us are hungry and our son only eats chicken nuggets” decision. We decided to head to the golden arches because we were in a hurry. Doesn’t that sound familiar? After debating what to eat using my handy-dandy LoseIt! ap, I went with the Premium Grilled Chicken Sandwich (no mayo) – only 350 calories and 9 grams of fat and skipped the French fries. Perfect. Disaster averted even though that cheeseburger still looked pretty good.

Speaking of food, the hubby and I have returned to cooking from our favorite cookbooks on the planet – Cooking Light. Between the cookbooks and the website, it is a great place to find low-calorie delicious recipes. One of the reasons for failure with the majority of the diet attempts I make is a lack of variety. I really hate eating the same thing all of the time. Plus, when we’re busy and don’t have a plan we fall back on easy foods that are not very healthy – mostly pasta dishes – so basically sugar. So far this week, we’ve enjoyed 5 recipes from the book and they have all been yummy. Last night, we ate the gruyere, arugula, and prosciutto stuffed chicken breast – delicious and only 300 calories. The only change I would make is skip the sauce because it’s a little weird and doesn’t add a lot to the dish. I have to say that I’m particularly lucky because my husband really likes to cook and he’s willing to go on a diet with me. I’m a pretty blessed wife.

According to my Dr. Oz plan (here’s the link to it on Oprah’s website), today is “Sweat, Even Just a Bit” day. While I didn’t officially exercise today on my Spin bike, I did take the toddler to the mall for photos (which is exercise…you mommies understand), ventured to Buy Buy Baby (oh, how I love this store. I love you, Buy Buy Baby!) to buy a potty and a booster seat for the Fynn (a “Cars” potty with a gear shift that makes car noises! Hopefully this will make my potty training adventure/nightmare bearable), and cleaned the kitchen. I’m counting all of these activities as my exercise for today. I did sweat a little, promise.

I chalk day 6 up to another success! The husband goes back to work tomorrow and on we go.

Day 5 … and Success!

Happy New Year! So far the day has been interesting. Besides the EPIC temper tantrum this morning because I wouldn’t let him play with the knife drawer, the little man is doing better. Nate and I were actually able to give him amoxicillin without covering ourselves with it as well. I love how the pharmacist gives you the medicine and says, “Good luck.” Because that’s exactly what you need to give a toddler medicine. At least this isn’t as bad as the eye drops for pink eye. That was the worst! Nothing like holding your son down while he screams his little head off and there is nothing you can do about it because he has to have the medicine. But, I digress.

Day 5 in my Dr. Oz plan calls for me to memorize a poem. I should have mentioned before that the 28 day plan is a mind, body, soul kind of plan. Due to the fact that memorizing yet another poem makes me think about graduate school, I think I’ll skip this one (and just read a book) and move on to Day 6. Oooooops. Okay, Day 6 is “Get Busy Getting Busy.” I’m SO not going to blog about that here. Darn it, blushing already.

On to Day 7 “Write Every Bite, Scribble Every Nibble.” Oh, I like this one. This is quite frankly the best thing I believe a person can do to lose weight. I really do have to write down everything I eat and count those calories. Before I started doing this last year (when I lost 20 pounds), I had no idea how much I was eating. I mean, I guessed 200 calories, 500 calories, but really didn’t have a good concept of how much total I was consuming during the day. A friend of mine showed me the Lose It! ap for the iPhone. It also has a website: The best part about this ap – it’s FREE. Plus, the people who use it really do support each other. I’ve posted my weight loss on their Facebook page and so many people show you the support and love. It’s awesome. I’m really fortunate that my husband is doing the Lose It! thing with me again. We both log, we’re friends through the site, and I can see his progress and he can see mine. Plus, this time around they added bar code scanning. Ooooooo. Now that is awesome.

The good news is that this morning, after only doing the diet for 5 days, I lost 2 pounds! It may not sound like a lot, but that little needle moving 2 little notches is pretty awesome. I even feel skinnier. Because we’ve been doing so well, we treated ourselves with a pizza today. The best part is that the pizza was the California Pizza Kitchen Thin Crust Sicilian, which is only 540 calories for ½ of the pizza. It was delicious and it didn’t destroy my progress. Perfect.

Well, back to relaxing while the little one naps. Enjoy your day everyone!