when steps matter

When your Fitbit stops working and your waiting for the replacement in the mail does anyone even care if you workout or get steps if they don’t see them?

I remember running every day and working out all the time not caring or knowing how many steps I got.

Then came this pedometer from work.  It clipped onto my waist band of my pants/shorts and suddenly I was enlightened!  I knew how many steps I got when I ran a mile.  I could see how many I got when I walked from my room to the kitchen and could participate in challenges with my co-workers.

Even without trying to get lots of steps I was racking them up.  I don’t know if it was helpful or if it hindered because I’m so competitive I would walk around the house until it was time to go to bed to make sure I got the most.

I got a Fitbit a few years later since it synced with the site work used and I didn’t have to plug it into the computer like the one they gave me.

Some days having a pedometer is helpful. Since I sit at a computer for work that’s a significant portion of my day that I am sedentary.  I often stand and get steps while working.  I guess I would still try to get up and move some while working without a pedometer but it is easier to remember when you can see how few steps you’ve taken or your Fitbit thinks you are asleep because you haven’t moved in so long…

Steps always count.  No matter if you have a pedometer or not.  Where ever you are with your daily step average you can always work on improving your average and try to move more and sit less!

Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from a tracker or something keeping track of what you do.  Other days it’s nice to just be active and not care about how many steps you or you kid has gotten.

… of course when you do weekly challenges and your Fitbit does for good… you will most definitely loose on paper/online even though you may actually be winning because you are active regardless and it’s good for your health!  (And fun!)

Either way, whether steps really count when you have a tracker or not.  The most important thing is to find what you like to do so you can move.  Find friends who like to do similar things with you.  Or, make friends who already do things you like to do.  🙂

 

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we made it!

Apparently life has gotten extremely busy with 2 girls but I am pleased to report that we made it –  my littlest little has made it to 2 years of nursing!  Number 2 has made it to the WHO recommended 2 years of breastfeeding/nursing.

I have to say, it was a lot harder this time around with two nursing for most of the 2 years.  I finally got tired of tandem nursing and cut of number 1 at 3 years 9 months and 19 days.  She was not happy about it at all.  We made it work with extra book reading and other special time together before bed.

Mad respect for women who tandem nurse twins or multiple children for the entire 2 years or more.

Honestly, I guess I really got tired of feeling like number 1 was just using me as a pacifier instead of drinking milk.  I tried but after multiple days of no let down, knowing that she knows how to get milk out after close to 4 years of nursing I was over it.

For a while I was afraid we wouldn’t make it with #2 because it seemed like she was lazy since she never had to ‘work’ to get milk out since her older sister was doing all the work and she just got the extra letdown on the other side.  Whenever she had to nurse on her own she would fuss even after she turned 1 when she couldn’t get any milk out right away and had to put in her own effort to get it out – no big sister around to help her.

I’m sure she felt like it was a big inconvenience not having her milk just start automatically but with perseverance she made it and here we are past the 2 year mark!

Who knows how long she’ll want to keep going and I’m really tired of pumping but I’m going to try to keep it up as long as I can.

Cheers to all moms who try!

 

 

the phone

I was hurrying out the door and getting the girls into the car and buckled up one day and my mom called.  While we talked briefly I realized that my kid’s phone experience will be very different than mine.

When we were growing up we memorized all our friend’s phone numbers.  Our number didn’t change unless we moved to another house.  I still have many of my friend’s phone numbers from high school memorized and will probably never forget!

Remember when you called someone and you had to be sure to ask politely for the person?  “Hello, is so-and-so there please?”  I still plan on teaching my children to be polite even though they may not need to ask for the person each time (though we have already decided not to let our children have phones at a young age).

Remember the days before caller ID?  When you had to answer the phone in order to know who was calling?  When silly people could prank call and hang up and no one knew who it was?

Remember the days before answering machines?  I remember when we got our first answering machine with a little mini cassette tape in it for recording messages.  That was fun, we would sit there and listen to the messages and delete the tape so we didn’t ever have to buy a new one.

One of the best things about only having a landline was when other people called for someone else in the house.  One of my sister’s (Anita’s) best friends was named Elita and because their names rhymed she thought it was hilarious when I would call out “Anita, it’s Elita!” when she called.  We actually had to talk to other people in our family and figure out if someone else was using the phone (busy tones!! before call waiting!).

Also, remember when people used to hold down the ‘hang up’ button on the phone when picking it up in order to listen to someone else’s conversation without them knowing but then they would breathe loudly on accident and give themselves away?  Invasion of privacy?  Sometimes.  But sometimes that isn’t a bad thing when you’re a teenager and doing silly things that you don’t need to be doing or talking to someone you don’t need to be talking to for so long or so late at night.

Man, how in the world did we survive!

As I was thinking about all of this I was saddened that my children will not have all of these luxuries…

Then I realized we DO have a landline right now because I’m required to have one for my job!  Technically if we bought some phones and plugged them into the phone lines that still exist in every room around our house they would produce a dial tone.

If I still have this job in 10 years my kids will get to experience some of the same things I get to.

Gosh, I hope my job stability is that good and I can witness them utilizing a landline instead of a cell phone and loving it.  🙂

Sorry I’m not sorry.

Sometimes I think back to before I had kids.  I remember friends complaining about people who always posted pictures of their kids.  I happened to like them.  I liked seeing pictures of my friend’s kids growing up, playing, acting silly, etc.  (We wouldn’t be friends on social media if they weren’t my actual friends in real life.)

Before kids I posted pictures of me in this state or that, running this marathon, going on this trip or going there.  Even after I got married we traveled quite a bit.  One of my husband’s friends always asked us ‘do you guys ever work?’ since we traveled more than the average person.

Then I had my first baby.

I still traveled, but mostly to visit my family back home.  I still ran, but mostly to the bathroom and around the neighborhood with a stroller or up and down the street with a baby monitor in the mailbox so I could hear if she cried.

Honestly, I tried to hold back posting pictures at first because I didn’t want to turn into ‘one of those people’ people complain about (I do keep it so only friends can see the majority of my pictures).  Then I realized I don’t care if people complain about me being one of those people who posts too many pictures of their kids.  Who’s to say that anyone posts too many pictures of their kids?  If my kids and family are who I spend the majority of my time with now… then that is my life.  If you don’t like my life, then I’m sorry I’m not sorry for posting too many pictures of my cute little monkeys.

I post pictures for me to remember what my kids looked like, a few videos to remember what they did or said and remind me of what blessings they are in my life.  I post them so my friends and family who live so far away can enjoy how wonderful they are and see a little glimpse into our lives even though we live thousands of miles away.

I don’t get as many ‘likes’ on pictures as I used to.  It’s probably because people have unfriended me or unfollowed me, but I don’t mind.  If someone doesn’t want to see my children, they probably didn’t like me that much anyway because my children are little extensions of myself (it’s really amazing how much they act and talk like me… and a little scary sometimes! haha).

In the end, it’s all for my friends, family and myself.  If you want to post pictures about whatever you want, feel free.  I don’t mind.  If you don’t want to see the pictures of my kids, that’s fine, I’m sorry I’m not sorry – please keep scrolling by and have a great day.  🙂

 

pretend white horsey

Just before bedtime –

Norah – Mommy can horses come in the house?

Me – No, sorry baby, horses can’t come into the house.

N – Can they be in a castle?

Me – Maybe, I don’t know, I don’t have a castle.

N – Why?

Me – Because I have a house, mommy and daddy have a house.

N – Do I live in a castle?

Me – We can pretend fort cookie castle.  Or you can live with us in our house.

N – I want to live in a castle.

Me – Ok.

N – Do we have a play castle?

Me – We can pretend fort cookie castle

N – Do we have a real one? How do we make one?

Me – I guess we can get big, big blankies and make a BIG fort cookie castle.

N – Can we do that tomorrow and play cake party?

Me – Yeah, you can probably play cake party with..

N – After you get off work.

Me – After I get off work you want to play cake party?

N – Yeah.

Me – Okay, we can probably do that.  I think horses are too big for our house

N – Well, can we buy a baby horse?

Me – You’ll have to talk to daddy about that. I don’t think we have room for a horse.  Horses like to run all around and have big, big fields.

N – Do we have big, big field?

Me – No, we do not have a big field.

N – Do we have a pretend big field?

Me – You could pretend and you could pretend you have a horse.

N – Can I play baby horses?

Me – You can pretend baby horses if you want.

N – Can I pretend baby horse is white please?

Me – Yeah, you can pretend whatever you want baby.

N – I’m going to pretend baby horse is white.

Me – Yup, baby horse is white, like the color?

N – and I’m going to paint my baby horsey.  I’m going to paint my pretend white horsey and I’m going to make my pretend horsey purple.

Me – Oh that sounds fun – that sounds awesome.  A purple horsey.

N – I’m going to paint it… with paint.

Me – Ok.

N – Do we have any paint to paint it?

Me – We have paint.

N – Okay!  Where did we put our paint?

Me – I think it’s put up for right now, let’s go to bed for right now.

N – Where did we put it up?

 

..and so on.  And then of course someone got their leg stuck between the rails of the crib because they wanted to sleep in the crib with baby sister…

 

the weather outside is frightful!

Oh the weather outside is frightful… and ridiculous!

I can’t pretend to be someone I’m not, and I am a full fledged California girl.  I was born and raised in the Bay Area and when I was growing up we had decade long draughts.

I now live in Knoxville, TN.  We are not having a draught folks.

I work from home and I usually try to run during my 30 minute lunch break in the afternoon since it’s during the time the girls are doing ‘quiet time’ (aka nap time).

Just before I was about to take my lunch break I saw dark ominous clouds rolling in.

I decided I’d better go before the skies opened up and started pouring so I hurried quietly downstairs (remember, babies are sleeping!).

I got Blitz (our family dog) and opened the garage door… and it was literally pouring buckets outside.

Sigh.  So here I am debating on whether or not I should still run because I am a little paranoid about slipping and falling.  I decided to wait a little bit and get some stuff out of the deep freezer to get it ready for dinner.

Did that and turned around and it stopped raining.  Seriously, in less than 5 minutes time from pouring buckets to nothing again.

So I was like, ‘sweet!  going to go run!’ and got Blitz and took off.

Here I am about a half mile down the road by the park and BAM.

POURING RAIN!  WHAT THE HECK WEATHER!?  I mean, come on!  At least make up your mind!?  I got around the field to main street and low and behold it stopped again.  Suddenly there were blue patches appearing in the skies above.

But, as I got back up to the side of the field by the park, suddenly there was another dark cloud and I was drenched to the bone.

I took poor, soaked Blitz back to the house and left him in the garage until after I finished another loop around the park.

While I was running around the park, again the skies opened up but this time more prominently and it was hot and humid.  I began to sweat.

Let me tell you.  There is nothing better than literally being drenched to the core and then sweating on top of it.

It was disgusting.  So here I am, feeling like I sweat buckets, finishing off my loop trying to go home and I see steam rising from the pavement because it is now so hot that all the water that was dumped onto the streets is changing phases and turning into vapor.

Seriously?

Wow, all of this happened within a 20 minute time window and I ended up sitting at my computer desk sopping wet until I was able to take a quick break and change.

Apparently, people say this happens all over the country… just not in California.

opposites

I remember hearing people say ‘opposites attract’ and when I was younger I often thought they were referring to magnets.  Perhaps they were, but I think a lot of people often are referring to people.

That song Journey comes to mind – with a small town boy and a city girl or whichever it is (all I remember is one was from the city and one was from a small town) and it makes me think of my husband and myself.

In some ways we couldn’t be more opposite.

I was born in the Bay Area and as most know, it’s very crowded (and getting more crowded).  I was accustomed to BART and the urban ‘jungle’ of concrete sidewalks everywhere we walked (including school and no, it was not uphill both ways, it was quite flat and I walked from kindergarten to senior year of high school).

My husband grew up on a dirt road.  To me, that sounds like something out of a book.  I’ve been to the city where he grew up, it’s very small and spread out still.  Apparently they paved the road he lived on and rolling in the Walmart parking lot was some sort of entertainment.

I drive a Prius and love getting fantastic miles per gallon.  Well, that is, I drive when I have to.  I really dislike driving in general and will avoid it at all costs.  I would prefer to walk to the store and do it if I’m not toting around 2 babies, have limited time and have a bunch of refrigerated or frozen foods to bring home.

My husband drives a jacked up pick up truck (I can’t see over the dashboard or into the cab when I walk around the front of it) that he says gets about 9 miles per gallon.

People usually find it comical that we drive such opposite vehicles and it’s amazing at how different we are (I wrote about some of those details the other day), but God put us together for a reason.  Maybe it was to balance each other out (balance our carbon footprints ha!).

Only God knows.

But it works.  Even though sometimes it is frustrating to live with someone who is so unlike me, it is also refreshing to work on seeing things through another perspective.

To infinity and beyond!

the details

We hung out with friends a few weekends ago and my husband and my friend’s husband were talking about boats, trucks and campers.

My friend and I were watching our daughters and laughing as they played in the back of my husband’s giant truck bed.  Overhearing some of the guy’s conversation was quite comical to us.

They knew about horsepower, sizes of engines, type and models of cars, lengths of boats, campers, etc.  I laughed, when someone gets a new car I will know the make, model and color.  Sometimes if I’m interested in the same type of car I may know how many seats and the engine size or how many miles per gallon it gets.

Our husband’s friends may have a baby and if we ask how much it weighed or any information about the birth (other than the fact it was born and maybe if it was a boy or girl) they will have no clue.  It’s the same with friend’s anniversaries, birthdays or kid’s birthdays.  They won’t know how many years or how old but just that it is happening if someone mentions it.

I don’t think my husband even knows exactly how old his parents are other than approximately how old they were when he was born and then adds that to his own age.

I think it’s important to know birthdays (including years) so I will know how old everyone is (including kids) as well as names.  My husband usually relies on me to remember people’s names if we have only met them once or twice.

To my husband, that’s not as important as how much bass speakers put out or how fast a car can go from 0 to 60.

It is funny what sort of details we find important and others find important.

Regardless, I like to remember what we learned when taking a marriage class at church a few years ago – it’s not wrong, just different.  That’s something I have to remind myself of when dealing with all sorts of people, including babies and 3 year olds!

…Not wrong, just different.  I love my family, in all our uniqueness.

some days

Some days, like the past 3, my nerves pinch and I have shooting pains in my back that are constant and won’t go away.  My hands go numb (even more than on a regular day) and it hurts to sneeze.

Getting up and moving is a chore.  Doing anything hurts (like I said, the simple act of sneezing) and makes me feel like crying from the pain.

I don’t say this to get pity, but I think it’s important to know that it happens to everyone, even ‘normal’ 34 year old people like myself who look like they are physically fine and can hike, run, etc.

I try not to complain or be too ‘negative’ and sometimes even my husband doesn’t realize I’m in pain and having issues with my back, my hands or need help.  It’s because I don’t ask, not because he doesn’t want to.  I try to do it all on my own (last night I did leave the dishes in the sink because I didn’t want to hobble downstairs bend over like a 90 year old woman because my back wouldn’t let me stand up straight, though I was silly earlier in the day and ‘wogged’ even though I was in pain).  Today I worked a full day, cooked, did all the dishes, laundry, bathed our 2 babies, took care of them (i.e. lots of diapers) and cleaned up after everyone (maybe even made some ice cream and ate it! ha!).

I feel terrible.

Lying down hurts and makes it hard to sleep.

So I am sitting here awake at 1AM typing.

Because it’s important to know that everyone has rough days.  Whether it’s physical pain, emotional pain or something else.  No one has a perfect life.  Even if all of their posts on social media are of travels, fun events, happy, smiling children or all of their messages to you are about good things in life.  God has given each of us what we can handle and He wants us to come to Him when we are weary and need rest.  He wants us to help each other out and remember that we all have good days and bad days and that the bad days can help us to be more thankful for all of the good ones.  (Not that anyone wants to have a bad day, but I am grateful for what I have and the days when my body doesn’t feel like I got hit by a semi, was left on the side of the road to be picked at by crows and it’s all I can do to stand up out of a chair without screaming and writhing with pain that is comparable to fun pre-delivery contractions – I think I can safely say that now that I’ve had 2 children.)

Don’t make assumptions about people or assume they feel fantastic or have a ‘perfect’ life just because they look ‘in shape’, maybe they worked really hard through excessive pain to get that way or deal with chronic problems just as much as someone who doesn’t look like the same.  Or, if someone looks ‘out of shape’, don’t assume they don’t exercise, eat junk all the time or just sit around all the time.  Maybe they’re still a work in progress (pro tip – we all are!).

Next time you come across someone, anyone – whoever they are, whatever they look like, whether they are smiling or not, remember that we’re all human and be kind.  Whether you think they need it or not.  Even if they’re having a good day, it can make it even better!  If they’re having a bad day, it’ll make it even better!  And who doesn’t want to brighten someone’s day?

Be kind.  And be thankful!  The grass may look greener on the other side – that just means they have more rain and thunderstorms to keep it watered and they have to mow it more often!

more green pepper casserole!

So, I wrote about using my instant pot to make green pepper casserole a few months ago and it has been such an awesome, easy recipe that the whole family loves (even the nanny/babysitter who eats with us twice a week).

Well, for full disclosure with the exception of my 3yo who says she doesn’t like peppers anymore (even though she ate them by the fistful when she was a baby), everyone eats it all.  She eats everything and gives me all the peppers she finds in hers.

To make it even better, I have begun doubling my recipe, adding mushrooms (which the babies and I love) and omit any water since the vegetables have so much water in them already.  Since I work 2 nights a week until 8PM, this helps a ton with meal preparation and we eat one that day I make it and freeze the other half (without the cheese on it).  When I heat it up the next week I just place foil loosely over the top and let it thaw for an hour or so when I start work.  Then I turn on the oven and bake it at 400 for an hour before we’re going to eat.  About 10 minutes before it’s time to eat, I throw a nice layer of mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan cheese on top and let it melt/get a little golden brown.

The recipe I use now looks like this:

INGREDIENTS

2lb ground turkey

1 cup chopped onion

4 tsp minced garlic

6 large green peppers (chopped)

8oz mushrooms (sliced)

1-28oz can of diced tomatoes

16oz tomato sauce

2 tsp chicken bouillon

1 cup brown rice

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat the pressure cooking pot on the Saute setting and cook the ground turkey and onion until it’s browned and crumbled.  Add the garlic and saute for another minute.

Stir in the other ingredients except the cheese (reserved for the end).  Lock the lid in place, select Manual – High Pressure and cook for 18 minutes (less if you use white rice).  Let the pot do a natural release for 10 minutes (or more if you are working like me/don’t have time to watch it exactly and it still tastes great) and release any remaining pressure with a quick pressure release.

Make sure you use pot holders to remove the pot and remove it, pouring the contents into a casserole type dish and sprinkle the cheese on the top.  Broil until it’s melted and started to brown.  (I pour half into a freezer safe casserole dish and let it cool and then freeze it for the next week so I have a pre-made meal and don’t have to cut everything up and cook it twice.)

Serves 3 adults and 2 babies.  🙂  (We just eat the green pepper casserole with no sides since it already has everything in it, but I’m sure you could feed more if you added some sides or bread with the meal.)