Sunday, January 15, 2012

I Was A Sitcom Cliche!

Finish this scene:  A man is starting a new job at an office.  He is dressed in a tie and has to shred some papers.  What happens next?

Of course the man goes to shred the papers, leans over the shredder and his tie gets stuck.  It's so common that they even have stock photos of it.
I think you are supposed to pay for these, but I don't mind the logo on the picture and I think of this as free advertisement for  Go to for all of your stock photo needs!  

I don't wear ties and I am not a man, but I did pretty much duplicate this scenario today.  I could piss off a bunch of feminists and say I did the female version of this, but I won't.  (But I just did...see how I did that?)

I was cold after I got out of the shower today so I put on a scarf that I crocheted myself.  It's a little long, but I was never known for my accessorizing abilities.  Rory had eaten a donut in my room yesterday and the stale crumbs were sticking to my feet as I was trying to get ready, so the first thing on the agenda was to vacuum.  I'm sure you already know where this is going, but I'll finish the story just in case you have problems connecting the dots.  I was vacuuming and leaned over to pick up a hair elastic before it got sucked up.  The minute I did it, I knew I had made a horrible mistake.  The fringe on my scarf got sucked up, tightening the scarf around my neck and causing an extremely loud grinding sound to come from my vacuum. 

I have a Dyson and their big selling point is that they never lose suction.  I can attest to that.  It was actually the roller that grabbed the fringe, but the suction pulled those little pieces of yarn towards the death roller.  Ryan was out running and I had this brief image of him coming home and finding me on the floor, strangled to death while the kids were obliviously watching cartoons in the living room.  My first instinct was to just stand up as hard and fast as I could - kind of a clean and jerk action.  It was only after I felt the scarf tighten even more that I decided to drop the stupid hair elastic and use my hand to pull the scarf out. 

Did it occur to me to turn the vacuum off?  Of course not.  In fact I just continued to vacuum and I'm still wearing my scarf noose.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

He's Lucky He's Cute

Rory will be 3 years old on March 3rd.  He's just a little guy - barely able to wear 24 month clothes and still wearing t-shirts that he got when he was an infant.  However, his personality is HUGE.  He is a feisty little guy and at times can be really difficult. 

My kids almost always behave in public and that leads people to believe that my kids behave the same way at home.  Any parent knows that isn't the case and unless my kids know you extremely well, they don't tend to show their true colors. 

The last few days have been especially trying when it comes to Rory.  He's still potty training and although he's doing a pretty good job, when he does have an accident, it's not really an accident.  For example, he peed in his carseat the other day.  I know he could have held it until we got home, but he peed and then laughed as he told me.  He kept saying "That's funny, Mama."  Other times he has stood right in front of me and peed.  Just like Regan in The Exorcist except he doesn't tell me I'm going to die up there and he's not possessed, at least I don't think he is...

We are also cutting out Rory's naps.  I know he still needs a little one everyday and I let him sleep, but I don't actually put him down for a real nap like I used to.  He would easily sleep for 3 hours and then be up for just as many hours that night.  So now I just let him crash wherever he lands and let him sleep for at most, an hour. 

And finally, once Rory turns 3, he no longer is getting his binky.  I won't let him have one during the day at all, but he does still have it at night.  That has probably been the biggest obstacle as of late.  Usually he would get upset about something, go find his binky and his "B" (his blanket) and settle himself down.  Now that he doesn't get binky, he just gets more pissed off. 

All of these things have resulted in a lot of crying, tantrums and screaming in our house.  Some coming from Rory and some coming from me.  Kamryn has been trying to keep Rory in check and I usually don't stop her because she speaks the truth.  It's kind of funny to listen to her say "Rory, if you don't stop crying, I won't let you play with any toys and mommy is going to put you in your room."  She says it in a really sweet, sing-songy voice and he listens to her.

After a few particular frustrating conversations about snacks and when they would be administered, Rory climbed up on my lap and fell asleep.  I love holding sleeping babies.  They are just so peaceful and it was a nice reminder that my Little Buddy is just little buddy.

Sorry for the boob shot - just focus on the cute little boy.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Runner's Guide For The Non-Runner Part Deux

After I published my post yesterday I thought of a bazillion other tips so I thought I should make it easy on everyone - namely me and my daily blogging quest, and do a second post about running.  The first thing I want to point out is that if you read my post yesterday and were thinking "Amy, that is common sense.  I'm not a moron."  I consider myself to be of above average intelligence and those were all mistakes I made.  So stuff your common sense in a sack!  (Name that reference for a cool prize*.)
  • I have asthma and while I rarely have any problems with it anymore, I usually take a couple of hits off an inhaler before I run.  The only time it really poses a problem is if I have a cold.  My lungs kind of hate me when I try to run when they are filled with phlegm and mucous.  But again, start slow and don't take off like you're running the 100 meter dash with Carl Lewis and you will fair much better if you also have this affliction. 
He doesn't even touch the ground!  He's 50 years old now, but he would undoubtedly still kick the ass of everyone I know. 
  • Be careful when running with music.  You may think you want that energetic song that keeps you going, but you may tend to run with the beat.  And by you, I mean me.  There is a website,, that will lists songs and their beat per minute so you can find the best music to listen to if you want to run a specifically timed mile, ie 9 minute mile.  I have mixed feelings about music and running.  If I am running on a treadmill, I find music to be absolutely necessary.  However, outside, there is enough going on where I don't feel like I need the distraction.  I did take my phone with me a couple of weeks ago and it has some music that was downloaded from my laptop.  I have a lot of random songs on my laptop for different reasons - some songs I just like, others I download to listen to while on the treadmill and others I have downloaded and added to videos that I have made.  I was absolutely thrilled, however, when the theme from Chariots of Fire started playing.  I wanted to pretend like I was running in slow motion and throw my arms up in the air at the end, but I refrained.
  • Vaseline is your friend.  Lube yourself up wherever rubbing occurs.  I bought some new shoes a couple of weeks ago and they are rubbing on my big toes.  I have two blisters that just won't go away, but with the magic of Vaseline, I am still able to run without putting Band-aids on my feet.  

  • Say "Hi" to your fellow runners.  You know how motorcycle riders always do that low wave to each other when they pass on the freeway?  I think it's absolutely crucial that you give your comrades on the street a nod.  Actually, I like to say "Good morning!"  The reason I feel it's so important is because when I have offered out the greeting as a way to say "Hey, look at us!  We're both running!" and the person hasn't responded, it makes me feel like they think they are better than me and my slow pace and obvious fatigue doesn't warrant an invitation into their club.  When I get an equally enthusiastic greeting, it brightens my spirits and for the next few feet, I have a smile on my face.  Try to stop running when you are smiling.  It's impossible.  It's like trying not to blink when you sneeze.  Or not opening your mouth when you put mascara on.  Or not thinking collaborate and listen when someone yells, "STOP!"
  • When you get to the point where you don't think you can go any further, run to the next corner, or the next tree or the next light pole.  Pick something and push yourself just that little bit.  Eventually, those extra steps will turn into yards and eventually, you'll decide to run an extra mile. 
  • If you ever need a little motivation to run, I find watching a race always gets me in the mood.  I have absolutely no desire to run a marathon, but watching people run one makes me want to get out there and go for a jog. 
OK, I think that's all I have.  Tomorrow is my running day so if I come up with any more tips, I'll be sure to pass them on.

*There really isn't a prize, but if someone guesses correctly and takes the time to comment, I just may come up with something.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Runner's Guide For The Non-Runner

Wait...huh?  It's true.  There are runners and there are non-runners.  I think of myself as a non-runner.  And by that I mean I do run, but I don't have that nice, easy stride, I have to constantly remind myself to relax my shoulders and arms, and until recently, I was always gasping for air.  You could probably hear me breathing before you could see me.  I could barely blurt out a one word answer if someone asked me a question in the middle of my run.  This is what I mean: 

The last couple of months, I learned how to run, but I don't feel like I look like a runner yet.  I see those people and they just are gliding along with little to no effort.  I'm still a little like the picture above, but I can get out an actual sentence now and my body is a bit more relaxed. 

For all those people who claim they can't run, I'm here to tell you that you can.  I don't think I need a disclaimer here, but I'm not a doctor or trainer, these are just my opinions and things that have taken me 35 years to figure out.  I'm not going to BS anyone here, these are real problems I had and my solutions.  I'm guessing I'm not the only one and if I am, then you might find the following kind of funny and or disturbing.
  • First things first - get some gear.  You don't need to spend a lot of money, but get something comfortable to run in.  I always wanted to run in shorts, but due to the size of my thighs, my shorts would creep up and I was constantly pulling my shorts out of my crotch.  Solution:  Biking shorts or compression shorts.  I also got some Under Armor shorts that my friend, Heather recommended and for whatever reason, they don't ride up.  If you are worried about what you look like in tight shorts - get over it.  No one is looking at you.  Here is what I look like...Yeah, Baby, Yeah!  I normally can't stand anything pulled up this high, but I think I would actually like running in Spanx because things don't move around as much.  These are Danskin - I got them at Walmart.  I hate spending money on clothes that I'm going to sweat in.
Rory insisted on being in the picture.
  • Start slooooooooow.  If you have never run before, don't expect to go out and run like you did when you were a kid.  I always thought I had to go as fast as I could right out of the gate.  I would run for about 10 minutes, get exhausted and thus end my workout.  Once I started slowing down and not worrying about how fast I was running, I was running 30 minutes without a problem and actually deciding to go further than I originally intended.  My once 10 minute limit is now a much easier 30 to 45 minute run.  That means a lot more calories burned.
  • It doesn't matter how much you weigh.  I used to run when I weighed 165lbs and now I weigh 145lbs.  I do notice that it's easier to run now, but when I was running with an extra 20lbs, I don't recall it being that much harder. 
  • Learn to recover while you are running.  I used to just stop and walk when I got tired.  That would totally throw me off.  I would feel like I failed and didn't even see the point of starting up again.  If I did start running again, it was hard to find a good pace and the next thing I knew, I was back to walking - feeling even more defeated.  Now, when I'm running down any kind of hill, I recover.  I slow down, catch my breath and get back to a level where I can keep on going.
  • Run by yourself or find a running partner who won't push or compete with you.  This is hard.  Ryan and I ran a race together 7 years ago.  We haven't run one together since.  Ryan liked to encourage me, but his encouragement sounded insulting to me.  I know he didn't mean it that way, but when I'm huffing and puffing and just trying to take my next step, I don't want or need someone telling me "Keep going!"  Ryan is 6 feet tall.  I'm 5'5" on a good day.  Somebody is going to have a longer stride and it isn't me.  You don't have to run as fast or as long as someone else.  Work at your own pace.  The last thing you want to do is get discouraged the first time you run.  The great thing about running is that you can always compete against yourself.  You can try and run faster or longer than you did the time before.  You could argue that it's not bad to have someone push you, but if you are going faster or harder than you are ready for, you risk getting hurt and then you are done running.
  • Don't avoid hills.  Oh hills. Those mother f'ing hills.  I am surrounded by hills.  Unless I decide I'm going to run around the block 15 times, I can't avoid running up a hill.  I used to think I had to maintain my pace up the hill.  DUH!  Now I understand I can slow down, take shorter steps, pump my arms and make it up the hill without dying.  Not feeling limited where you can run is nice.  I used to actually get nervous before I would start my run if I knew I was going up certain hills.
  • Accept that not every run is going to be a good run.  Some days you just feel off and even a mile seems endless.  Other days, you feel AWESOME.  On those days, take advantage of that feeling and just keep going!  I don't have those awesome days very often, but regardless of how my run was, when I get done, that runner's high kicks in and all is right with the world.
I know I'm forgetting more of my tips and tricks that have made me close to calling myself a runner.  Maybe in a couple of months I'll be effortlessly running and someone will be admiring my stride from afar and saying "I wish I could run like that."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tomato Soup

The only tomato soup I have ever eaten has been out of a can or a carton.  My go to tomato soup was always Campbell's.  For some reason, when I get condensed soups, I have to get Campbell's.If I'm eating the carton soup, I feel like I'm eating gold - it's the Cristal of soups.   
I thought I had learned to make the condensed stuff the best it could possibly be by adding half and half to it instead of milk.  My friend, Katie, thought I was disgusting by mixing my tomato soup with any kind of milk.  I found her to be equally disgusting for mixing it with water.  Why not just drink some V8, Katie?  Yeah, that's right, I said it.

Tonight I made tomato soup from scratch.  I literally cut up tomatoes - I didn't use tomato paste or tomato sauce.  I used real tomatoes.  Ironically, the recipe does call for tomato juice, but I felt that was ok since I added 3lbs of tomatoes to two cups of juice.

Below is the recipe I found at  She used her crock pot everyday for a year and blogged about it.  The soup was awesome!  Will I eat canned soup again?  Yes.  As easy as this soup was to make, it did take 6 hours to completely cook.  It was better than the carton stuff and about a quarter of the price.

--3 lbs of vine-ripened tomatoes
--1 med onion, chopped
--2 cups tomato juice
--1 cup cooking sherry
--3 T granulated white sugar
--1 gluten-free chicken boullion cube
--2 T chopped fresh basil

to add later:
--2 cups heavy cream
--salt and pepper to taste

sour cream and/or Parmesan cheese for garnish

The Directions.

Use a 5-6 quart crockpot for this soup.

Wash all of your tomatoes, and cut them in quarters. Nope, we're not going to peel the tomatoes, yay! To save your counter top from tomato gook, put your cutting board on a cookie sheet with sides. The juice will then stay inside the cookie sheet.

Put all the tomatoes in your crockpot.

Chop up the onion, and add it. Cover with the tomato juice and sherry, and drop in the boullion cube. Stir in the sugar and chopped basil.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

If you'd like your soup to have chunks, go ahead and stir in the cream. If you'd prefer a chunk-free soup, CAREFULLY use an immersible blender to soupify, or blend in small batches in a traditional blender. Then stir in the heavy cream.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Barbie Is Psycho!

Kamryn is rarely scared of things.  Sometimes she claims to be afraid of something only because she thinks she should be, but in reality, she isn't at all.  For example, if we are watching a movie and there is a monster, ghost, mummy, vampire, etc, she'll grab on to me, shutter and say in a trembling voice "I'm scaaaaaared!"  Then, the minute I look at her she starts laughing.  She asked me to put a nightlight in her room recently, but only because I put one in Rory's room.  I had to put something in front of it so it wasn't so bright.  There is no doubt that if I took it out of her room she wouldn't even notice.

She used to be my spider killer up until a few months ago.  Now, she won't kill them, she insists that I catch them and set them free (unless they are daddy long legs - those I can kill).  As a child, I was terrified of spiders and truth be told, I am not much more comfortable around them as an adult.  I had to catch and release a spider that looked exactly like this:

It was about the size of a quarter with it's legs.  The odd thing about this situation wasn't that I had to catch it and release it, it was only after Kamryn played with it that she wanted me to throw it outside.  She wasn't touching it, she was watching it and tapping on the window that it was crawling on.  She didn't call me to retrieve it until it crawled up on her stuffed animals and she couldn't reach it.  Eeeeeewwwwww!

Today while we were eating lunch, Kamryn told me she had the worst nightmare in her whole life.  I like hearing about her dreams - they are usually about her playing with her friends or talking to princesses.  The only other nightmare that she has ever told me about was around 3 months ago.  In her dream, she got out of school and I wasn't there to pick her up.  Obviously, a pretty scary situation for a 5 year old, but she did say that I showed up - I was just late.  And let it be noted that I have never been late to pick her up.

The nightmare she had last night totally trumps the previous dream. 
I was in my room playing and my Barbie head starting talking to me.  It said I could only have one Barbie so I ran out to find you and you were doing your things so I went back in my room.  When I got back in there, it started saying I could only play with one Barbie again.  I didn't like it!

I don't know about you, but that sounds absolutely horrifying.  It's a little Poltergeist-y and a little Woody in Toy Story telling Sid that he has to be nice to his toys.

As a precaution, I have put this...
Psycho Barbie Head
  out of sight. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Filler Menu Post

I was going to post about how awesome I am at potty training my kids, but Rory peed in his pants 3 times today after being accident free for almost a week.  Hopefully you'll be reading that post soon.

Instead, I'll give you my weekly menu from last week.
Sunday:  Beef Tips with Rice - I kind of made this up as I went along.  I coated about 2lbs of beef tips in flour, salt and pepper.  I cooked them until they were slightly less than medium in a pan in a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Once I got it to that point, I added a can of beef stock and about a cup of red wine.  While that was cooking, I had the rice going on another burner.  I then sauteed some green peppers and mushrooms in another little pan.  When those were done, I threw it all together, then added a little milk and cornstarch mixture to thicken up the sauce.  It was pretty good - the kids liked it too.

Monday:  Fish with Quinoa, Spinach and Tomatoes - This is another one I kind of made up.  I make the quinoa with chicken stock.  While that is cooking, I prepare the fish.  I didn't feel like turning on the oven because it was hot so I just cooked the fish in a pan.  I used pollack, I think - it was really cheap.  I salt and peppered it and cooked it in a couple of tsps of olive oil.  In another pan, I cook a can of diced tomatoes and once they are bubbling, I add a bag of baby spinach.  Throw in some garlic, salt and pepper and cook until the spinach is all wilted.  I layer the quinoa, then the fish and top it with the spinach and tomatoes.  The kids are not big fans of this one, but I really like it and it's pretty healthy.  I also made some Caprise Salad.

Tuesday:  Turkey Burgers and fries - nothing fancy, just exactly what it sounds like.  The fries were frozen.  I just add random things to my turkey when I make burgers.  This time I threw in some poultry seasoning and it kind of made them taste like stuffing.  I liked it.

Wednesday:  Big Salad - Again, it's exactly what it sounds like.  It's a big ass salad.

Thursday:  Chicken Cordon Bleu - This is so easy and I think it's really good.  I don't think we will ever eat plain chicken breasts again.  At the very least I can throw a piece of cheese and a piece of ham in the middle.
This is my personal stock photo of my chicken cordon bleu.  I did finally get around to spending the $.99 for some toothpicks so I'm not using drink skewers.
Friday:  Tacos - I decided tacos are one of my favorite foods.  I like them from almost everywhere.  They can be authentic street tacos, homemade with the seasoning packet or from Taco Bell.  I have a special place in my heart for all of them.  These were the seasoning packet ones.

Saturday:  Sushi - I did not make this, but I wish I could.  Oh, I love sushi!