Move It Mama Monday! Holiday exercise

Do you or don’t you? Exercise during the holidays, that is. I have to admit, it’s getting to be a struggle to find the time to do everything I would normally do, and I’ve missed a couple workouts and I know I’m going to miss a few more in the upcoming weeks. But still, I’m trying to fit the exercise in wherever I can. I’m afraid if I don’t, I won’t fit into any of my clothes come New Year’s Day. That and the fact that taking time off and having to dive right back into exercise after the holidays are over is just a real bitch to do.

Right now, I’m keeping up with 2 days a week of water aerobics and 2 days a week of karate. On top of that, I’m doing mini-workouts, about 15-30 minutes long, in the evenings a couple times a week. It’s still not enough to fight off the holiday flab, but it’s enough to ensure I don’t spin completely out of control healthwise over the next few weeks. And I have to admit, it also helps me stay calm. When the holiday stress really starts to get to me, I can just work up a real sweat and then be too damned tired to care.

I’m curious to know what other folks are doing, exercise-wise this holiday season? Are you cutting back, or putting more time in the gym? Are you being ultra-super-careful to eat healthy, or like me have you already given yourself a nasty case of heartburn by eating too much greasy fatty food? (You folks have no idea how much I miss my gall bladder at times like that.) Let me know what you’re up to!

Sunday Contentments – Cookies

I know this is going up late, but I just got back from Mary’s a little while ago. She and I spent most of the afternoon baking cookies and making fudge while the kids rampaged through the house and the husbands watched football and watched the kids rampage through the house 😉

I love holiday baking and I love my friends, so I’m very grateful I took a day off today to just bitch and bake with one of my best friends. We ended up making almond toffee sandies, sugar cookies, mint chocolate fudge, and something I think we’ve decided to call Christmas puffs. The Christmas puffs were Mary’s idea. She figured the kids needed something they could do with minimal supervision, so she melted some chocolate and set that out with big marshmallows and crushed candy canes. The kids dipped the marshmallows in the chocolate and then in the candy canes and then set the results aside to cool. Very simple and we only had minor squabbling about who’s turn it was to dip marshmallows next.

We split all the cookies and treats between the two families before I grabbed my brood and headed home. Tomorrow’s task will be to portion out all the goodies into small packages and deliver them to our neighbors. We’ll save a few for ourselves, obviously, but only a few because it’s not even Christmas yet and I’m already having problems fitting into my jeans. As the Pixie is wont to say, “Mama haff a big butt!”

And that’s pretty much it contentment-wise this week. Just baking and bitching with Mary while the rest of the family kicks back. Not really sure how I could top that, except maybe to have had a couple more friends with us to help bitch and bake and add to the general chaos.

Have a good Sunday night!

Episode 47 – ‘Tis the season to give!

Am I the only person who has this problem? Am I the only person who’s living room turns into gift box city every December? Am I the only one clambering over cardboard crates shipped from every major retailer known to mankind, whilst trying to reach the TV or my kids?

Please, for love of Pete, tell me I’m not the only one.

To say my mother likes to shop would be like saying the Grand Canyon is kind of deep, or Niagra Falls is kind of wet. The woman works simply so she can buy gifts for her grandchildren. She has actually said as much to my face! Thus we get a steady flow of packages all year long, but in December, the flood gates open and suddenly I can’t find my couch!

Oy. It’s already started. We’ve got boxes everywhere, and I know more are on the way. Somebody help me, please!

Freaky Friday – Food Porn!

It’s started.  Harry and David… Swiss Colony… Hillshire Farms… All those glossy holiday food catalogs are just bursting out of my mailbox with their sensuous, tempting images of sinful, seductive food, all of it crying out, “Eat me!  Eat ME!”

What, you’ve never heard of food porn before?  Let me tell you why these naughty little catalogs are really nothing more than hard core XXX porn!

  1. Glossy, airbrushed images of tantalizing treats, complete with strategic lighting.
  2. Everything in those pics is plump, ripe, fresh, steaming, hot… Speaking of hot, is it me, or did someone just turn up the thermostat in here?
  3. Twelve inches of summer sausage on special sale this month.  Need I say more?
  4. More nuts than you can stuff in your mouth, just in case you didn’t get enough summer sausage.
  5. And finally, the centerfold in just about every one of these damned catalogs is… CHEESECAKE!!

This has been your moment of freakiness for the week.  Enjoy.

Freaky Friday – Homemade Halloween!

Well, this is being posted late, but it can’t be helped. I’ve been tinkering with the new blog over at www.cynicalwoman.com and hopefully this post makes it over there tonight. Also, I was a little busy this afternoon finishing up a special project, namely some homemade Halloween decorations. You see, it is my goal to have a Halloween display just as cool and impressive as the one my neighbors set up in their yard. In case you missed the previous Freaky Friday post, their Halloween decorations look like this…

And at night, it looks like this…

And like this…

And like this…

Not to be outdone, the girls and I sat down and worked up a few decorations of our own. They look like this…

And this…

Ummmmm… Okay, so maybe we have a few years to go before we catch up with the neighbors. But you have to admit, the mummy looks pretty neat! Anyway, I hope you have a Freaky Friday (what’s left of it anyway)!

What I want to do this year.

I had meant to post my New Year’s resolutions the very first day of the year, but I’m still sort of stuck in 2008 thanks to a project I’m working on that won’t be over until next weekend. I hate this project, and can’t wait to get past it. It’s been taking up so much of my time at a point when I really need to be working on other things. I won’t say what said project is, but those of you that know me well know what I’m talking about. It’s something I volunteered for and I will never volunteer for this particular project ever again. Nope, no sir, couldn’t pay me to suffer through this misery another year.

Any way, let’s take a moment to look past next week and into the time when 2009 will finally start for me. I’ve been thinking about what I really want to do this year, things I’d like to change, things I’d like to start, things I’d like to finish, and here are some of my goals.

  • I want to work less and spend more time with my family. I spent several weekends in the library slaving away over this project I hate so much and missed a lot of time that I could have spent with my husband and kids. I don’t want to do that this year. Plus having a kid in school has turned out to be more demanding of my time than I thought, and I have no choice but to quit working at 3PM so I can focus on the kids.
  • I want to lose 10 lbs. Yeah, yeah, I know, everyone thinks I’m skinny and I’ve got nothing to complain about, but I’m starting to get that middle-age creep in my weight, and I swear, I don’t want to be 40 this year and be 10 lbs. over weight. I can lose the weight if I make a few changes, so that’s what I’m going to do. And I’m going to reward myself with a new summer wardrobe because for once, I’d really like to have something to wear in the summer that I can enjoy.
  • I want to read more. I got the mini-laptop for Christmas and promptly bought two erotica e-books. I was enjoying the first one very much, but the dreaded project I hate reared its ugly head and ate up all my reading time in addition to my work and family time. So after next weekend, when the dreaded project finally dies– er, I mean is finished, I want to go back to reading half an hour a night before going to bed. Just today I bought three more e-books through Fictionwise.com, and I can’t wait to sit and read them. Plus, I want to go to the library once a week as a family so we can all have a chance to browse and pick out books to read. I love the library. When I was a kid we used to go there every Friday night, and I want to start doing that again.
  • I want to play more games. We spent a week over the holidays with Michael’s family, and those guys play a lot of games! Cassie is old enough now to sit in a lap and play with someone, and on ocassion, she can even play a game herself (she’s not bad at Uno). I want to pick up some games to play with the kids and then some games I can play with Michael and other adults when they come over (I’m looking at you, Mary, John, Patricia, Vince, Patty, Lloyd, Rick, Cindy…). Games would be good!
  • I want to watch more TV. Not kidding on this one. I watch almost no TV these days beyond the ocassional half-hour of kids programs during the day. I had to give it up to do some of this work I’ve had all year, and it sucks. I miss watching all the cool sci-fi shows, and I’d really like to start watching some of the history and science programs that show up on PBS, Discovery channel, etc. I love those things. Plus I’m way behind on watching ‘Coupling.’ That show is such a scream! So yeah, I’d like to get in a little more tube time, just a couple of hours to vegitate and enjoy myself each week.
  • I want my hobbies back, at least one or two of them. I want to get back into sketching again, and maybe either beading or polymer clay again. I’m thinking polymer clay is more likely, since I can sit with the kids on a Friday afternoon and make little figurines with them (with Cassie anyway; Sam could make beads). It would be fun to have a hobby again.
  • I want to take the kids out to play more – swimming at the Y, hula-hooping in the backyard, long walks, hiking, working in the garden, etc. We don’t get outside nearly often enough, and I want to change that. I’m thinking I want to surprise Cassie and Sam by picking Cass up for school and then taking the three of us straight to the pool for an afternoon swim. That would be fun! And it wouldn’t take a lot of work either, just grabbing the swimsuits, towels, and shower stuff and tossing it in the car before Sam and I head down to the bus stop. I think we’d all really enjoy that.

Anyway, so those are my ideas for this year. More fun, a little less work. I still need to sit down and figure out the work schedule, because I do have things I need to accomplish writing-wise and art-wise this year, but I won’t be taking on anything that eats up all my time again, and I’ll work on just one project at a time, so this could work. One more week until I can get started. I can’t wait.

Episode 24 – Happy Holidays, You Perverts

It’s 12:30AM, Christmas day. I’ve been up since 5AM, and refused to go to sleep until this sucker was finished and posted. That’s how much I love all of you. Really!

Aside from the web comic and the book I’m currently editing (Future Perfect, due out in February 2009 from Logical Lust Publications), I decided to take it easy this week. My parents are here, along with my sister. I had one day where I buried myself in editing, and I missed out on making the gingerbread house, so that was the end of my daytime work hours. Since then, I’ve played Twister, made fudge with the kids, gone book shopping (our extended family overwhelmed the cafe in Barnes & Nobles!), wrapped presents, gone to church (yes, my family dragged the only Buddhist they know to church, and I had to stand through the whole mass, it was so dang crowded), and tossed naughty story ideas back and forth with my good friend Kathleen Bradean. We want to write something super-naughty, kind of like that cartoon up there.

Anyway, I need to hit the hay, because I know the kids are going to yank me out of bed at any minute, screaming, “Santa came! Santa came! And he left presents!” Here’s hoping Santa hits your house too and leaves you something fun.

Merry Christmas and happy Boddhi Day 😉

Homemade Holidays

I’ve had a lousy week do to work issues, and I’m so fed up and frustrated that I can’t seem to stop snapping at my kids. I hate being the Grinch, so I decided to take a little time off from my obsessing about stuff that I can do absolutely nothing to fix and spend an evening just enjoying my girls instead. Cassie needed to make a Christmas ornament for her bus driver and Sam was in a pissy mood because Cass has all the good play jewelry and she wanted something new. So I broke out all my old beading stuff and this is what we made.

Cassie’s holiday ornament. She did most of this herself. I helped by bending the wires after she beaded them and then finishing things off by making the final loop for the hook. Otherwise, everything else is all her work.

Sam’s new necklace. I used memory wire, which holds its shape forever. That way I didn’t have to add a clasp to the ends or tie anything off. She can just slip it around her neck, but it still has an opening so the necklace will come off if it gets caught on anything. Sam picked out the beads and handed them to me. I did the stringing and finished off the ends with some needlenose pliers.

There was a lot of fussing and fighting over beads and who got Mommy’s help when, but all of that taught me a very important lesson. Doing any sort of craft thing with kids can be frustrating and stressful, but not nearly as frustrating and stressful as what some adults (who should know better) do to others. I’ll take my girls over most adults any day of the week.

Memorial Day – How Do You Say Thank You?

I’m trying to decide how best to observe Memorial Day. It should be a big deal to me, considering how many of my family have been in the military. My father served two tours in Vietnam and retired after twenty-one years in the Army. My mom was an Army nurse. I’ve got two uncles who served in the military during Vietnam, and I served in the Army Reserves for twelve years until I got pregnant with Cassie. Ironically, it was during Memorial Day weekend five years ago that I got pregnant at a fertility clinic. I had thought I would stay in the Reserves after having a baby, but after undergoing a rather scary emergency surgery at the beginning of my second trimester, I realized I never wanted to leave my child for anything, so I got out.

Even though I’m out, I still have an appreciation for the military. The Army Reserves was the source of some of the best and worst experiences of my life, and had a lot to do with the person I am today. And knowing what I know about the military, I have to admit I am very grateful to anyone who serves. It’s not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination, but someone has to do it. I believe that freedom comes at a cost, and as someone who benefits from the freedoms of being an American citizen, I ought to support the people paying that cost. Let’s face it, there are very few places in the world where a woman can get away with doing the things I do and not be stoned for it. My freedom to write, paint, express myself, vote, practice my religion of choice, read, have an education, drive, earn a black belt, marry as I choose, etc., all come from being an American citizen, and the military defends that freedom. So you’d think I’d have plans to honor said military in a big way today.

Well, I don’t. Michael and I made no special plans beyond getting together with friends for an afternoon barbeque. I will probably call my folks to see how they’re doing and tell them I love them, but I have no intention of heading out to any public events. I hate crowds and I am not keen on hunting for a parking space at some memorial event that is really no more than an over-sized barbeque anyway. Why should I? Memorial Day is not about barbeques. It’s about saying thank you to the people who serve our country. So I’ve been thinking. What is the best way to say thank you?

After a short search on Google, I think I found my answer. AnySoldier.com lets people send letters and care packages to service members serving in harms way. Basically, you send the stuff to whatever unit you want and it gets distributed to soldiers who don’t get much or any mail and would greatly appreciate the support. What I like about this is the following:

You get to choose what to send, who to send it to and when.

It’s more personal and more involved than a monetary donation.

AnySoldier.com has a non-discrimination policy that includes all people, regardless of “race, color, national origin or citizenship status, creed, religion, religious affiliation, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, veteran status or any other protected status.” That’s a big deal to me.

So, I may not get a package out today, but I think I could send a letter, and I can certainly get a package out by the end of this week. And I can’t think of a better way to honor Memorial Day than this. Can you?

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I love my husband so much that for Mother’s Day, I gave him a present. I gave him both kids to enjoy by himself all day long.

BWA HA HA HA HAAA! BWAAAAA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAA!

Excuse me. I didn’t mean to laugh quite so hard.

Ah yes, for Mother’s Day I let my darling husband take care of both kids so I could enjoy a little peace and quiet. I slept in… until 8:30 AM. And believe me, that’s sleeping in for me. I got to dye my hair with no interruptions. I even took a shower without anybody banging on the glass door, saying, “Mommy? What are you doing in there? Can I play in there too?”

Michael made me breakfast, lunch and dinner. Okay, Michael almost always makes me breakfast, lunch and dinner on the weekends, but breakfast was extra nice AND he took us all out to Dairy Queen for ice cream on top of all that. We even went to a bookstore, although I didn’t pick up any books. The only thing I wanted was $50, and I figured I’d already gotten plenty of gifts, considering Michael gave me ten brand new CDs (BMG Music had a sale!).

Poor, darling Michael. He even cleaned up cat poop for me. But now we’re back to normal life. I was up this morning before five nursing Sam, who decided to nurse until 6:30 AM. And then Cassie threw her usual morning fit. She doesn’t want to wear shorts under her dress. I say she has to if she intends to play at preschool. Oh what a scream-fest we’ve had over that. And now I’m looking at a baby who has no intentions of taking her morning nap, thus totally screwing my plans for the day. Oh well. I gave Michael the kids for a whole day and now he’s given them back. But it’s okay. Guess what he’s getting for his birthday next month.

BWA HA HA HA HAAAAAAA!