Monday, August 30, 2010

Hard Days Ahead

Today I would be at 34 weeks and 3 days - the same gestational age I was when I had my firstborn.

I've actually been doing a lot better emotionally. My hormones have stabilized, my postpartum depression is almost gone (had it with both boys and started feeling better when they were about 4 months old), and I've been getting better at guarding my heart around expectant and new moms. Even though it's still hard at times.

I've also been extremely busy with homeschooling - prep and day to day learning alongside my boys, and getting our house ready to sell - hopefully someone will buy it soon!! (We would like to move to another home in our town for ministry reasons.) So, honestly I haven't had a lot of time to think about it - which is ok. I think that's the process we all go through when we've grieved a loss, there is a time when we think of it constantly and everything around us is a reminder of who we lost. And then you reach the point where you're not thinking about it all the time and then you realize "Wow, I haven't thought about that in a while. I feel kind of bad." But with the due date quickly approaching more and more thoughts about the baby will be flooding my brain.

Like today - I would be at the same gestational age when I had my firstborn. I reminded my husband of that on our date last week. And then it hit him - we'd have another baby today - three kids - a family of five. All the excitement and anticipation would be here and we'd be rejoicing over another life - another arrow in our quiver.

So, if you see me around the next few weeks you can just ask me how I'm doing and if you can, pray that God will grant me peace and hope over the next few weeks. That would be wonderful. Thanks.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

School Days - Tools of the Trade

We have officially started preschool in our house. And it's been a fun three days so far. I was worried that I wasn't going to be ready, but as my friend Sue said, "It's only preschool - it's not college." And another friend said if you don't go ahead and start because "you're not ready" you never will. So the next few posts will be a "series" on my favorite tools, the curriculum/books I'm using this year, the workbox system, and extras (file folder games, activity bags, printables, and more).

I've been having fun with all my tools - new and old re-purposed. Here are some of my favorites and most-used:

Label-Maker - Brother P-Touch Electronic Labeling System
I got this from my husband for my birthday several years ago. And I love it. I've labeled lots of things in my house and now a ton of school things - file folders, pencil boxes, books, storage containers, binders, and the list goes on and on. I do have pretty nice penmanship but the label makes everything look so uniform and I really like that.

Laminator - Scotch Thermal Laminator (up to 9in wide)
Again, this is my new favorite. I've really had fun creating with this. There are lot of free resources online and when printed on card stock and then laminated they're pretty much childproof. And it's really a neccessity when you're using workboxes - for the labels at least. It's been fun.

This has been so helpful. I used to use this for scrapbooking but since I have too many "helpers" to really scrapbook (and no time) I've re-purposed it and am so glad I have it. Cutting all those labels (before and after laminating) would've taken me so long with a scissors and they wouldn't all be the same width (I know, I'm a little crazy). So this tool has saved me a lot of time and frustration.

Sheet Protectors
This is a great thing to use with workbook pages that you want to use over and over again. You can just use a dry erase marker and then you have a re-usable workbook. I've only done this with a few workbook pages and some printouts that I've made. But it saves on paper.

Computer Printer
This is definitely a necessity. And colored ink - you can't forget that. It's been great to print my own materials and with colored ink I don't have to take all the time to color things in to make them more exciting. Our printer has been getting quite a workout.

I came across the workbox idea when I was browsing blogs about homeschooling. It's a wonderful system and already my four-year-old is doing a lot of work on his own. I was surprised at how quickly he picked up the system. Sue Patrick started workboxes and has a great book that explains it all. And there are a ton of free workbox resources online (I'll be sharing more of those in another post). It's been a great system for us and I'm sure we'll continue to use it through the years.

Paint Chips
This has been a great free resource. We've used them in many games and there's a great post about word families where paint chips are the main resource - that and a Sharpie. Again, this is another wonderful free resource. Just make sure you're spending money other places in the store if you use these a lot. ;)

Again, one of my most faithful assets. What would I do without the internet? free resources? inspiring ideas? free printables? good advice? great encouragement? I would be lost. Thank you to all of you out there with blogs that share your wonderful ideas with the world. I'm so glad you did.

Stay tuned for my next post on our "curriculum" for this year.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Book Review: Firstborn

I think this book is overdue at the library so I thought I'd better get a post up before my fine is so high that I might as well buy the book. ;)

Firstborn by Robin Lee Hatcher is another story about redemption and forgiveness. In this Christian fiction book Erika is happily married to her high school sweetheart and has a 16 year-old son when she finds out that the baby girl she gave up for adoption over 20 years ago has located her and is moving to town. The only problem is Erika has never told her husband, her father, her son or the father of her daughter - who is her husband's best friend. Yes, this is quite a story. I appreciated the rawness of the story as Erika deals with her father before and after her daughter is revealed, how her husband, a believer reacts to the news, and how her teenage son shows his true colors. It's a great story and I recommend it.

Short and sweet. Now I can return my book. ;)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Swagger Wagon

Thanks to Financial Stress Peace University we are celebrating the 1st anniversary of us owning our Toyota Sienna. It's been a great year and to celebrate here are two videos that make us feel cool. ;)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Protein Bar Review

I've been eating protein bars when I'm on the go since starting this new diet way of eating. Goals in Motion focuses a lot on the nutrition part of their program which is great, but hard for a foodie like me. I've been doing pretty well and not splurging really at all. I have a bite of a treat here and there, but as for no carbs after 3p I've been doing really good since the evening was my big eating time.

Anyway, back to the protein bars. I never thought I'd be eating these things and I have to be careful and pick times when I absolutely have no other option because they're kind of expensive. But when my in-laws were visiting last week they let me pick out a few bars to try and they paid (thank you!!!). That way I could find some that I really like and not have to worry about the money end of it. So, on to the review.

Think Think Chocolate Covered Strawberries
This bar is very sweet. Almost too sweet. You might want to have a cup of coffee or tea to tone down the sweetness. The flavor was ok but too sweet and I'm not really much of a "sweet-tooth." Definitely would not buy this again.
(200 cal, 70 fat cal, 7g total fat, 3g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 115mg sodium, 21g carbs, 1g fiber, 0g sugar, 15g protein)

Power Crunch Protein Energy Bar Cookies and Creme
This bar was ok. It had a weird aftertaste and it really made me enjoy drinking all 16oz of water. ;) I mentioned this aftertaste to my coach and she said that they don't taste good because they're good for you. Being a foodie, I don't think that way. I want to enjoy the things I put in my mouth. I don't think I would buy it again.
(205 cal, 105 fat cal, 12g fat, 5g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 75mg sodium, 115mg potassium, 10g carbs, 1g fiber, 5g sugar, 14g protein)

iSS Oh Yeah! Protein Wafer Chocolate Peanut Butter
This bar was super delicious. It probably helped that I had the Think Thin bar first, but still it's good. It's like a Kit-Kat bar mixed with a Twix. And there's two wafers in the packet so you can enjoy both at one time or split them up into two servings. It's my favorite so far and I will be buying this again.
(210 cal, 117 fat cal, 13g fat, 6g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 2mg cholesterol, 140mg sodium, 8g carbs, 2g fiber, 2g sugar, 14g protein)

Rockn' Roll Hi-Protein Nut Roll Bar Nutty Peanut
I got this bar at GIM after a workout when I knew I wouldn't get home for a while for breakfast (even though I'm not really supposed to do that - I need to eat a real breakfast). It's VERY chewy and made my jaw tired. Maybe it was because I just worked out but it was a lot of chewing. But it was good. Kind of like a Snickers or something. It has the most sodium and the most protein of all the bars I've tried before. I may be buying this one again mostly out of convenience.
(290 cal, 150 fat cal, 16g fat, 3.5g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 5mg cholesterol, 350mg sodium, 150mg potassium, 25g carbs, 6g fiber, 2g sugar, 21g protein)

If you're eating protein bars, what kinds do you like and why? I need all the help I can get. ;)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Goals In Motion

I just completed my first week of Goals In Motion 9-week Challenge. And it's hard work - just like it should be. When you sign-up you get a 30-page manual about the workout program and a nutrition guide. I would say there are 4 main components:

1. Nutrition
2. Kick-boxing
3. Resistance Training
4. Teams and Coaches

The nutrition has been the hardest for me (although the workouts are killer). I'm just not used to eating anything until about 1:30p. I just get "too busy" to eat in the morning and I like to enjoy my lunch in the peace and quiet while the boys are sleeping. I think I've been selfish about that and I'm working on it. I've been eating more than I have in a long time, just different foods at different times of the day:

6:15a - breakfast
9:00a - snack
11:30a - lunch
2:30p - snack
5:30p - dinner

There are three components to this new way of eating: 100oz water per day, a protein at every meal, and no carbohydrates after 3pm. They keep it simple yet challenging. The manual gives you some recipes and lists of veggies, fruits, carbs, fats, proteins that you can choose from. It actually gave me a lot of hope.

Kick-boxing is our cardio workout which we do 3 times a week. And it's hard. work. And I mean hard. work. I finished my mile run on 7/24 in 13 minutes 54 seconds. With all the cardio we're doing I'm hoping I can beat that time at the final review. And I can't wait until I'm strong enough to really beat that bag. It will be fun when I'm punching and kicking with strength instead of just trying not to quit.

Resistance training is also really hard work. The instructor constantly reminds you to be working toward your "10" - your hardest level. I even went up on weight today from last week and plan on increasing some of the weight on Wednesday. My lower body is stronger and therefore I require more weight there. Kind of fun.

Now for the teams and coaches. This is a great part of the Goals In Motion challenge. The coaches workout with you and help you with your form, check if you need heavier or lighter weights, and for the first 2 weeks you email them everything you eat. That's right, everything. They go over what you've eaten and encourage you where you made good choices and instruct you where you went wrong. It's a really nice system and it really keeps me accountable.

The program is only as hard as you make it. You set goals with your coaches and work to achieve them. They can be strength goals, cardio goals, weight goals, fun goals, whatever. Personally, I'd like to lose some weight with this program but I need to keep in mind that my thyroid will be taking this working-out-thing personally so I need to keep tabs on that. And also, I hope my family helps support me instead of telling me that I should just eat what I want - so you better be supportive. ;)

So far, it's been a good week. I need to get to bed on time but that's never been easy for me. I think Goals In Motion is a great motivator and I'll let you know how I'm doing as we go along.

Goals In Motion has three locations in Central Iowa.