So long, farewell, auf wienerschnitzel, goodbye…

I have had a hard time writing this post.

It’s been in my head for a year.  I have put it off, and put it off, and put it off.  But the time has come to take action.

I’m shutting down Blankies & Booboos.  It’s been a labor of love for me for five happy years now.  And I hate to see it go away.

But.

I have been thinking a lot lately about my kids and their privacy.  Alissa was a baby when I first started blogging here.  Now she is in grade school and Ashley is in preschool.  I love sharing their stories, but as they get older I hesitate to put too much about them out there.  I never, ever want them to be embarrassed or feel I have exposed too much of their privacy by sharing things about them with people they don’t know.

We are still very much in the era of blankies and booboos around here.  Both my girls love their blankies and Ashley is always covered in band-aids for her booboos, both real and imaginary.  Yet I see us slowly moving into the next stage of our lives.  While this blog hasn’t yet outlived its purpose, it may soon.

Don’t despair (or rejoice!) about my absence just yet.  I have a new blog project in the works that will debut soon.  Over the past year I have blogged frequently about my struggles with weight and my challenges with getting healthy.  My new blog will include stories from my personal journey, as well as posts about fitness, food, health news, and anything else that might sound interesting.  I hope you’ll follow me on the new blog once I get up and running.

I have appreciated all your comments, support, and participation in my giveaways.  There were days when my girls were tiny that blogging here kept me from losing my mind.  It has been comforting to know that many of you have struggled with the same parenting & life conundrums that I have struggled with over the past few years.

Thanks for everything over the past five years.  It’s meant the world to me.

~Amy

April 14, 2013 at 9:24 am 1 comment

What is going ON here?

Baby Blues Lack of sleep

Something unusual has happened at my house this week.

Something much-needed.

Something very welcome.

For the first time in I-don’t-know-how-long, I have slept seven consecutive hours.  And not just one, but TWO nights IN A ROW.

Somebody please – break out the band.  And the parade.  For this is a ticker-tape sort of moment.

I’ve written about it here before.  In fact, the last time I wrote about my battle with Mr. Insomnia was in 2011.  Hadn’t improved since then.  In fact, if anything it was worse.

And I was miserable.  Tired all day.  Frustrated at night, watching the hours roll by on the clock.  2:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m. – I despise those a.m.’s.

There’s a reason why they use sleep deprivation as a method of torture.

I would blame it on the kids, and it WAS their fault for quite some time.  Ashley still gets up in the middle of the night from time, coming in to find me for some midnight comfort.  But for the most part, the lack of sleep is all me.  I have to pee.  My brain is racing.  My legs are restless.  I am hot.

If this is an indication of what menopause is going to be like someday – well, then, forget that noise.  I’ll just stay fertile until I’m 80, thank you.

A few more nights like this, and maybe I’ll conquer the world.

March 16, 2013 at 6:12 am Leave a comment

Training’s not going quite like I had planned.

One of my goals for the year is to run a half-marathon.  So on February 2nd, I hit “submit” on my registration for the Prairie Fire Half Marathon, scheduled for May 5th.   I had already started training; the weekend before, in fact, I had done five miles.  My training plan was set and calendared.  I was confident, I was determined, I was going to DO THIS.

On February 8th, I fell down the stairs.

And it wasn’t some minor stumble, where I caught my toe and righted myself just in time.  No, I completely missed the step and – wheeeee! – flew right past it, directly onto the garage floor.

I fell with all the grace and velocity of a baby rhino learning to walk.

Immediate pain, fire, and brimstone began to pulsate through my right ankle.  This is what I get for attempting to talk and walk down the stairs at the same time.  I know what my capabilities are, and evidently accomplishing those two minor tasks simultaneously are not among them.

Oh, and these were my in-laws’ stairs I fell down.  Alissa was staying with my mother-in-law for the morning, because school was out for parent-teacher conferences.  I had merely run by to pick Alissa up from school; we were leaving the house to get Ashley from her school.

All I had to do was navigate three steps out from the house to the garage.

As I lay on the garage floor, assessing the damage and thinking about how I REALLY needed to get my work pants dry cleaned now, my mother-in-law went in to call Brad.  He would come get me and take me to the doctor.  Meanwhile, she would collect Ashley from school for me.

I managed to crawl into the house and drag myself to the couch, convinced I had broken something.

Turns out, nothing was broken.  Just a mild sprain.  The swelling subsided after a week.  The bruising is finally starting to fade.

The half-marathon training, however, has been nagging at me.  It’s been two weeks since my little accident, and I haven’t run a step.  I needed to get back out there, take my ankle for a spin.

I told Brad I was going to run.  “I think you should wait another week,” he said.  I told my sister-in-law I needed to get back out there.  “Maybe you should give it more time,” she suggested.

“Pish,” I sniffed.  “Posh,” I scoffed.  I’m made of stronger stuff than this.  I need to get back to training.

Yesterday I hit the track at the Y.

After 1.5 miles of WALKING, I had to admit:

It was too soon.

Pain was radiating across the top of my foot and into the bottom of my leg.  I resorted to the bicycle, where I seethed.  Anger fueled my 30-minute ride.

I was angry at myself for my carelessness.  For not paying attention.

I was angry at the situation.  Here I had finally committed to doing this, and I’m sidelined with injury.  I was angry that I spent $53 and I’m not sure I’ll be ready for this event.

Sure, I still have 2+ months to train.  Sure, I can always stop and walk if I need to.  Thing is, my confidence level was high before because I was allowing myself plenty of time for training.  As a fluffy non-runner, lots of training time was very important to me.

Still, frustration was creating anger in me.  I was letting my circumstances dictate my attitude.

In the middle of the night, as I tried to go back to sleep after getting up with Ashley, I realized something: I was putting too much pressure on myself.

As usual.

Running a half-marathon is a great goal.  But it shouldn’t be stressing me out.  It’s not like this is the ONLY ONE I’ll ever have the chance to do.  And I *can* always walk part of it and I *DO* still have 10 weeks to train.

In the middle of the night, I decided to start dictating my attitude.  I’m not going to let my little date with gravity drag me down.

Cheers to everyone who is out running this morning.  I’ll be joining you soon.

may not be there yet

 

February 23, 2013 at 8:21 am Leave a comment

Read this book!

Defending JacobAndy Barber is 1st Assistant District Attorney in the affluent Massachusetts town of Newton, a suburb that is rocked when a fourteen-year-old middle school boy is found stabbed to death in the local park.  Andy’s instincts point him the direction of local child-groper Leonard Patz as the killer.  He is pursuing that lead when he is stunned by news from his office: Andy’s own fourteen-year-old son, Jacob, is accused of committing the murder.

Did Jacob do it?  Andy tells us over and over that he is convinced of Jacob’s innocence.  Yet Andy has carried around secrets for decades, secrets that may plant a seed of doubt and hinder the acquittal of his son.

Part murder mystery, part psychological exploration, Defending Jacob explores the unraveling of a family as they face devastating truth head-on.  The story is told through flashbacks, bookended by Andy’s testimony during a deposition before a grand jury.

Author William Landay’s style reminds me of John Grisham’s best writing, with a touch of Jodi Picoult-ish storytelling thrown in.  (However, Landay’s style has much less handwringing and overtelling than Picoult’s latest books.)  I could not put this book down once I started reading it.  I highly recommend!

View it on Amazon.

February 15, 2013 at 2:14 pm Leave a comment

What’s playing in Amy’s ear?

A friend of mine was recently looking for workout song suggestions, and I realized I haven’t done a post like this in over a year!  I’ve added a lot of new songs to my playlist since then.

Here’s what I’m listening to on my runs these days.  If I seem to have a weird and disparate collection of songs…well, I do.

(Click the song title to go to the Amazon page for a music preview.)

January 24, 2013 at 4:57 pm Leave a comment

Hey, look! Blankies & Booboos isn’t dead!!

So, um.  Hi.

Did you think I’d forgotten about the blog?  It HAS been a while.  Apologies to my faithful readers, all 5 of you.

Things got a little crazy around mid-December.  Alissa’s last day of school was December 14th, and she had 2.5 weeks off.  I took a few days off from work as well, visions of leisurely mornings and lazy days swimming in my head.

Not exactly how it went down.  Instead, we spent most of those days running around crazy-like.  By the time school started back up again on January 2nd, I was glad for the regular routine to resume just so things could slow down.

What’s going on around here?  Let’s do a little run-down:

We bought a new car.  Well, not a NEW car, but a new-to-us car.  Wasn’t really expecting THAT little Christmas gift, but my 2003 Ford Escape was needing lots of TLC.  After conducting a thorough cost-benefit analysis (sorta) we decided that it was more effective to get a vehicle now instead of waiting a year or two like we had planned.  We ended up with a 2007 Ford Edge, fully loaded.  It’s a zippy car.  I like most everything about it, except for the zippy payment it came with.  I have to admit, not having a car payment for a while has been nice.

And since we have a new car payment to make, I’ve added more hours at work.  Okay, so the car payment wasn’t the real reason that I did this, but it was nice timing.  My work load and responsibilities have increased, and adding more hours was just a necessary thing for the growth of the business at this point.  I’m still only working part-time; my current set-up is a nice balance of work hours and home hours.

In comedy news, I’ve decided to run a half-marathon in 2013.  (I’ll wait for the laughing to die down.  Done?  Okay.  Let’s continue.)  I set that for my big goal of the year.  Brad’s question for me was “WHY?  Why do you feel like you need to run a half-marathon?”  And my answer for him was this: Just to see if I CAN.  I have watched and been inspired by so many other women – women who are my age-bracket, with jobs and kids and life responsibilities.  They are women who have pounds to lose, women who aren’t going to win any of the races but find victory merely in finishing.  I want to see if I can join that group.

There’s a half-marathon here on May 5th and I plan to enter.  I have already started training for it, because I am going to need allllll the time I can take to prepare.  I may come in dead last, and I may have to walk across the finish line, but I will finish.  And since the race is on Cinco de Mayo, I plan to follow up my race that day with all-you-can-handle margaritas to dull the pain that comes from running 13.1 miles.

As a preview, I plan to do a weekly training wrap-up here on the blog, just to a) keep me accountable and b) motivate anyone else who might be thinking about taking a similar journey. Look for those wrap-ups once a week, probably on Mondays.

In related news, the other goal I’ve set for myself is to track everything I eat in 2013.  I’m not saying I’m going to stay on track every single day, but I’m going to log the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I use myfitnesspal.com, if you’re interested in doing something similar for yourself.  It’s a handy web-based tool that also has handy apps for convenience.  So far, we’re two weeks into the new year and I’ve logged everything.

Other than that, things are pretty dull around the Blankies & Booboos household.  We have lived in this house for six months now, and we’re still working on making it our own.  There are so many projects to finish, projects that seem little on the surface but always open up a pandora’s box of five other things that need to be accomplished.  Both the girls are thriving in school, and Alissa is starting to get involved in activities like Daisies.  Soccer will resume in the spring; right now, though, we are enjoying a nice lull in the activities.  I suspect that this is our last year before we really get sucked into the whirlwind of kids’ activities and sports.  I plan to fully enjoy the fact that we are still in command of the majority of our time, because I know that it won’t be long before our time is dictated by outside forces.

I hope to be more diligent about updating the blog this year.  I know you are all waiting breathlessly for each new post.  :)

January 14, 2013 at 5:04 pm Leave a comment

It’s day 30 of 30. So what now?

Today is Day 30 of my Whole30.

I never imagined I would make it past day 1.  Instead, I went three whole weeks without a cheat.  Day 22 was a disaster, but I managed to pick myself up, dust myself off, and move forward.

I’m not done.  Day 22 proved to me that I still have a lot of work to do.  I’m going to treat tomorrow as a new Day 1, and I’m DETERMINED to do this without a cheat through Thanksgiving Day. I had originally decided I was going to go until my birthday on November 20th, but since it’s only 2 days before Thanksgiving this year, I’ll just wait until that day.

Only 27 days until Thanksgiving.  Easy, right?

Here’s what I’ve learned over the past 30 days:

  • I can survive without sugar and Diet Coke, the two things I previously wanted to be stranded on a desert island with.
  • Eating lots of protein keeps you full and keeps the snackies at bay.  Not exactly breakthrough research, but I can testify to the staying power of protein.
  • I actually like sweet potatoes.  Who knew?
  • It is very, very difficult to eat out and stay on plan.  And we do a lot of eating out as a society.  It’s no wonder we’re fat as a society, too.
  • Eating this way takes work.  My family eats processed foods because a) they are easy; b) I am lazy; and c) I am not a good cook.  Which leads me to…
  • Planning ahead is the key for success.  The days I struggled were the days without a strategy.  The first three weeks, I spent Sunday afternoons prepping breakfasts and lunches, and putting together my eating plan for the week.  Those were the easiest weeks for me.
  • I am surrounded by the greatest group of cheerleaders a girl could have.  Friends and family have supported me, motivated me, yelled at me (via the computer – Jacque!), and picked me up when I fell down.  I hope I can repay the favor to all of you.

As for the physical results, they are mixed.  Certainly, I have reduced my cravings for junk.  My pants are fitting better.  The first two weeks, I slept GREAT, better than I have in years.

On the flip side, my sleeping has been fitful at best these past two weeks.  I wonder if my hormones are still struggling to even themselves out, especially after I disrupted the progress with my dive into forbidden territory on Day 22.

I’ve lost 4 pounds.  Which is great, right?  I keep trying to see it as FOUR POUNDS!!  Instead, I see it as only 4.  Harumph.  I know there are other factors at work here; my broken sleep, especially, is probably hindering me in this regard.

I’m going to make some tweaks over the next 27 days.  I am going to start tracking on MyFitnessPal again.  The point of the Whole30 is to focus on quality; now I’m going to focus on quality and quantity.

Fruit and almond butter are both crutches for me.  Bananas, especially, got me through many sugar cravings.  I’m going to cut back on both of those items, limiting myself to two servings of fruit every day and almond butter just three times a week.  The bananas are going to be eliminated entirely.

I would highly recommend this way of eating to anyone who is looking  to get rid of the sugar / carb / junk food cravings and start eating in a more holistic way.  If you’re interested in learning more about it, the book It Starts With Food is a great place to start.  Or visit the Whole30 website to get more information about the eating plan.

October 25, 2012 at 1:09 pm Leave a comment

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