Thursday, March 31, 2011

Marching Out!

Friends, my March goals didn’t go so well. I ended up being so busy and so diverted by family stuff that I just didn’t do a great job meal planning. Also? Trying to do more fish during Lent ends up being a tad expensive.

But life is pretty good ‘round these parts. That dietician I went to? Kind of awesome. I lost 6 pounds in two weeks! Here are some of the changes I made:

1. Switched my butter. I now use almond butter instead of peanut butter on my English muffin. It’s higher in unsaturated fats (those good ones) and fiber than the peanut butter. Trader Joe’s makes an amazing one with sea salt. Score!

2. After school snacks. I usually eat a snack around 3, but this time I pushed it back to closer to 4. I set out something like: pretzels with hummus, trail mix, or nuts and graze a little bit while cooking. This way when Scott gets home from work, starving, we have a little snack ready. And it’s okay then if we eat a little bit later.

3. Watching my weekends. The dietician asked me to track and print out my weekend eating. I always thought I ate fairly decently on the weekends. I surely did not. I ate the same things I ate during the week, but about 10 times the portion size. Being accountable about this has been a game-changer for me.
I have a follow-up visit shortly after I am back from my VACATION. Hopefully I can keep the weight gain to a minimum while I am eating my way through San Francisco.

Before I leave, I’ll share with you one of my favorite new recipes and a few of my favorite blog posts from other blogs. Also? Stay tuned next week for some guest posts!

I mentioned this enchilada last month and finally took some pictures. Not sure if it sells the story, as they don’t look overly attractive. But TRUST, this one is excellent.

Turkey Enchiladas by Cooking Light

2 teaspoons stick margarine or butter

1/4 cup chopped onion

3 tablespoons chopped pecans, divided

1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon fat-free milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

2 cups chopped cooked turkey breast (about 1/2 pound)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

6 (8-inch) flour tortillas

Cooking spray

1 1/2 cups fat-free milk

1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeƱo peppers

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed reduced-fat, reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup, undiluted

1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Melt margarine in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and 2 tablespoons pecans; cook 3 minutes until onion is tender and pecans are toasted. Remove from heat.

Combine cream cheese, 1 tablespoon milk, salt, and cumin in a large bowl. Stir in onion mixture, turkey, and cilantro.



Spread about 1/3 cup turkey mixture onto tortillas; roll up and place, seam sides down, in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Combine 1 1/2 cups milk, sour cream, jalapeƱos, and soup in a bowl. Spoon soup mixture over tortillas.


Cover with foil; bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle with mozzarella and 1 tablespoon pecans. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts.




Nutritional Information

Calories:376 (27% from fat)

Fat:11.1g (sat 2.8g,mono 4.4g,poly 2.9g)

Protein:27.8g

Carbohydrate:38.7g

Fiber:1.9g

Cholesterol:46mg

Iron:2.4mg

Sodium:977mg

Calcium:320mg

Confession: I didn't use pecans. It kind of freaks me out. This time I made it, I forgot the cilantro and that made a huge difference, so make sure to include that, or basil if you're not in love with cilantro.

Finally, here are some of my favorite blog posts in March:

Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva defines what behaviors are by assholes and what ones are by toddlers.

Beta Dad digs in to how you address the naughty bits with toddlers.

Itzy's Kitchen Demystifies Risotto

Monday, March 28, 2011

Make a U-Turn When Possible

So, my brother got married this weekend. I got a new sister and it all went off quite beautifully. Particularly because after her non-walking flower girl duties were over, we left Wee ‘Burb with Scott’s sister and we had the night to ourselves to dance and imbibe a few adult beverages and just generally relax.

We managed to keep our drinking to a reasonable volume and get to bed at a reasonable time. We both woke up like two different people. I said to Scott: “Seven hours of sleep uninterrupted by dog and baby is like seven weeks of sleep!”

Giddy, we decided to partake of the overpriced brunch at the hotel. In the middle of my eggs benedict, I had a bad feeling in my gut.

I looked at Scott and whispered: “I think I left my GPS sitting out in the car.”

Guys, I NEVER leave my GPS out. EVER. We have a real problem in Suburbia of cars getting broken into for GPS and iPods. So I’m cautious. I usually carry it in a case in my purse. But Cous Cous ate the case. Yeah, I don’t know, either.

Also, I have a blown fuse and so one of our doors doesn’t lock with the automatic keychain thingy. That was the door where we had hung our suit and dress and such. I doubted highly we remembered to lock that when we were carrying luggage, the baby, and precious clothing.

Scott kind of rolls his eyes and does his I need to be patient with my paranoid wife voice and says: “Stephanie, nobody cares about GPS anymore, that’s like old technology.”

I shrug, let it go. Get to the car and stare at my very empty GPS holder. I look at Scott. He convinces me to check around the car. I start to get really upset, feeling ooky and violated.

So then I go to plug Scott’s phone in the charger and realize…they left me the GPS charger and took my cell phone charger. So now I’m doubly pissed because I have to buy a new GPS, and now a new car charger.

And then we’re driving and I get that feeling again.

I look at Scott and say: “we have our home address plugged into the GPS.”

So let’s just say I didn’t sleep well and today has been a rather edgy day as I wait for these criminals to come and grab me and my virtue along with my GPS charger.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Confronting the Future

Confession: I once visited a psychic. It  was something I had always wanted to do, and yet been totally scared and dubious. It’s like magic: I know I’m being tricked, I don’t know how, and I just dislike the condescension of it all.

Anyway, my sister-in-law invited me and I was so flattered she asked me out with her friends, I agreed without hesitation.

Her friends had gone before, and had pronounced this mystical woman “eerily accurate.” There was a foundation of belief and seriousness beyond the sort of giggling “I hope she tells me I’ll get skinny soon” sort of talk.

The psychic offered two options: you could go up with a friend and have that friend record everything for you, or you could go up alone.

I chose alone.

Of course I was terrified that she would say something horrible and I might cry or freak out.
First of all, the woman was like the picture-perfect stereotypical psychic. Right out of central casting with her long black hair, pale (even for Minnesota) pallor, and huge brown eyes that rarely blinked. She hovered near our table, pretending to recognize one of the girls. I snorted derisively. So that’s what she does! She hovers over tables, gets the scoop.

It’s my turn to go up and I start to get the stomach flips. Please don’t tell me something bad, I just say over and over.

She starts simply, gives me a lot of mumbo jumbo about my work life taking a drastic change and me getting more power. But there are jealous people out there who want to take my power, and one of them will sell me out.

Um, that’s a Monday in corporate America, right?

Then things get weirder. She turns over a card with the bars of justice. She shakes her head and shrugs a little, says “you’ll be in court, but not for something you did. You’re innocent? No, wait, you’re there in some other capacity. You’re not a lawyer, are you?”

Nope.

But I was scheduled for jury duty for the following week. Which is a post in and of itself.

Then, guys, it got downright freaking weird. She says “you’ve been offered a truck by a father…wait, no, it’s not your father, but a father figure. You don’t want to take the offer.” I kind of look at her and shake my head involuntarily. She says “good, you shouldn’t. It would be a bad decision to take the truck.”

You guys, not a week earlier, Scott’s dad had offered to trade trucks with Scott because his dad’s had a backseat capable of holding a carseat and I was a few months pregnant. I had told nobody because I was uncomfortable with the offer. His truck was worth considerably more than Scott’s. We were both working, had made a very conscious ridiculously planned decision to have a baby, and the charity felt somehow wrong.

I repeat: nobody knew of this offer except Scott and I and his dad. I hadn’t even told Scott’s sister!

So I get kind of quiet and sit down with the girls and of course they’re all fishing for the details. I gave them some highlights: oh she said I’d have a boy born on a Wednesday (or a girl born on a Thursday, can’t get ‘em all right), the baby would have lots of hair (so right on), and while I would gain a ton of weight during the pregnancy (not really), I would lose 60 pounds afterward and be in my best shape ever (the latter part, maybe, but so not up to even close to the 60 pound mark).

I told my sister-in-law as an aside about the truck. She confirmed she had no idea that offer had been on the table. Like me, she thought it was especially peculiar that the psychic had said “truck” and not “car” or “vehicle” or something more generic.

The other girls were smart and went up with friends to record everything.

One girl was traumatized because the psychic was also a healing dietician or some such and spent a bulk of the 15 minute session discussing how her food aura was disgusting or something. Basically: calling this poor chick a fattie and taking her $50.

The other girl was told her marriage was a sham and someone was cheating. She told my sister-in-law she’d be getting a new vehicle and she’d just purchased a new car that week. She told the last girl she’d be pregnant in a year, and that girl is now due in June.

I don’t know what to make of the whole psychic thing.

A friend of mine wants to go and I’m not going to lie, I’m intrigued to do it again. And have someone up there with me remembering all she says. But then the way she was accurate on some things creeps me out enough to feel like if she had really seen something bad coming, I’d be forever on guard for the bad voodoo to rear its ugly head and deliver me a cheating husband or sham marriage. And then do those things become self-fulfilling prophecies?

So what about you? Have you seen a psychic? Do you believe in horoscopes and the like, or just look at them as fun? Have you ever taken psychic advice or astrology advice to heart?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Intersection

The other day I was traveling somewhere with Wee ‘Burb, and this woman pulled this spectacularly scary driving move. Two lanes were turning left. I was in the right of the two lanes, behind a woman who was very slow to turn left.

I honk.

She stops in the middle of the intersection.

I honk again.

She is still.in.the.intersection!

Five or six cars are going by in the left-most lane and she’s just sitting there. I wonder if she’s stalled, but I don’t see any signs of distress.

Before the light turns, she makes a U-turn.

A U-Turn across two lanes going left.

I was enraged. I wanted to take her license plate number. I wanted to follow her and get out and shake my fist and tell her of all the terrible things that could have resulted from her complete inattentiveness to anyone’s safety. I wanted to ask her if getting to her destination 12 seconds faster was worth risking the life of me and my child.

And I was gut-wrenchingly thrown back into a time about 15 years ago when I WAS that careless driver.

I was driving from my part-time summer job, and was late meeting people for dinner. There was a lot of traffic and I knew that I could sit quite awhile trying to make a left into the restaurant parking lot. I saw an opening and I took it, barely missing a car that was turning right from a parking lot further down. We almost collided in one of those sickening moments where you inadvertently close your eyes, sure this is death.

We were both fine.

Or so I thought.

I grabbed my purse and was two feet from the door to the restaurant when the woman in the other car pulled up. She was hugely pregnant, and had two children in the backseat. She was crying and telling me how irresponsible I was.

In my heart, all I wanted in the world was to crawl in that car and tell her how sorry I was, to hug her children and her and tell her how reckless I was, how incredibly self-absorbed I was to think getting to that restaurant sooner was worth more than her children.

That’s in my heart now.

I regret that at the time, I rolled my eyes and fought the urge to say “seriously, lady, chill the eff out!” I gave her a snotty “Sorrrrry” in the vein of a 3-year-old faux-apologizing to a child whose toy he’s just blatantly stolen. And intends to keep.

She threatened to take my license plate down and I’m like “do what you gotta do.”

The truth is, I think of this woman often. When I was pregnant, I was almost in an accident that surely would have been fatal were we not in an amazingly new rental car with incredible anti-lock brakes. I immediately though back to that moment, how just one second of inattentiveness could have changed so many lives.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up

I thought this would be our first appearance of spring here in Minnesota. It lasted about three hours, I think.

I don't know for sure because I didn't really leave the house on Saturday. The roommate and hubs ran a 7k downtown. We'd had a less than stellar tantrum week with Wee 'Burb so I opted to stay home with her. I also opted to stay inside because she had an epic meltdown at Target and I was too gun shy to take her out of doors in her current state.

In exchange for a day full of baby 'burbdom, Scott took her over while I went to my first BLOGGER MEETUP! It's so lame how excited I was to meet Small Town Mommy, her friend from Redhead Ranting, and my blogger bestie Tenaciously Yours. We met up for an awesome buffet at Santorini. I adore their feta and chicken salad, it might be the highlight of my weekend other than hanging out and talking cooking with these awesome ladies. Please go read their blogs if you don't already!

I love to hang out in my jammies in the rain, so as soon as I got home, I jumped into sweats and settled in with coupons. Until all hell broke loose.

Last night, Scott had to work late and at 1:30 a.m. I heard banging in the bathroom. The door had been sticky all week, and it finally held tight. I had to put all my (half asleep) weight into the door to bust him out. So he set out to Home Depot to purchase new doorknobs.

All was cool until he started to do the work. Wee 'Burb wanted to help. I had to stop her from helping. Often.

Cue about 2 hours of tantrums. She'd be fine for a second and then literally FLING herself around the house, sobbing hysterically.

One said fling took her face-first into a drawer on the coffee table.

She immediately grew a goose egg that made her face look like those kids from The Hills Have Eyes. I panicked for the normal Mom I-hate-when-my-kid-is-hurt reason. And then a rather vain reason.

She's supposed to be a flower girl in my little brother's wedding next weekend. As it is, she's not walking. Now she'll be the girl who sits in her flower girl dress with a) a ginormous bruise on her little face or b) a ton of makeup a la Toddlers and Tiaras because I freak out and cover her with concealer.

But for whatever reason, this knocked her into a better attitude. And we even got this far with the whole "on your feet NOW, girl!"


You can't see the bruise, right? RIGHT? Lie to me, people!

That's her standing with no help! Oh, and tearing apart my house in her insane rages.

So how were your weekends? Have you done Blogger Meetups if you have a blog? I was very nervous meeting all these people I read all the time, but actually hanging out with them was even more fun than I had imagined.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ramen Like It's 1999!

Are you a spring cleaner?

I have great intentions of doing this every year. Purging, organizing, de-cobwebbing, washing windows inside and out. I usually get through a room or two and give up.

The sheer amount of STUFF just puts me in a funk. It’s hard to clean when you’re depressed by the vast array of crap you need to clean.

But there is one room where I do constant spring cleaning: the kitchen. I’m obsessed with keeping up with my kitchen. I clean out my fridge and cabinets once a week. I make notes of what’s nearing a due date and check out my trusty SuperCooks website to see what I can make with it.

Now, I’m not perfect. An errant fuzzy eggplant or stinky spinach has escaped my grasp in my crisper drawer.

But I have no explanation for this.



Everyone in my house denies culpability. We moved here in 2008. I’m 99.9% sure that the cabinets were empty when we moved in. I recall giving them a good scrubdown.

And yet. 1999.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Where I Begin to Question if I am Just a Luddite



Lately I seem to be taken over by machinery that’s far too complicated for my simple mind.

It started when we moved in and Scott bought this fancy schmancy washer/dryer combo. All the features he listed by way of explanation of why he had spent a small fortune on said machinery made me shudder: it has a feature where it turns the dryer off when the clothes are done, you can set the water levels, you can set it to do jeans specifically, it has a setting for whites. On and on and on.

What the hell happened to delicate and permanent press? High medium and low dryer settings?

I studied the manual as hard as I studied for the SATs, so afraid was I that I would break the damn thing. About two months in, the washer flashed at me “F-22.” I had to search through the manual to determine that “F-22” meant that I had put too many clothes in the damn washer. I mean, the door closed, nothing was hanging out. But it had done its washer computation and determined the size of the clothing would not work with the water levels I had pre-set.

I am ashamed to confess I muttered, more than once, “eff you F-22” in my investigation.

Also? I’m very resentful that this machine thinks it knows better than me when clothes are dry. So many times I’ve set the dryer and gone out and run errands or something, come home to grab a pair of pants and find out the bottoms are still soaked. And yet the “clothes dry” light is blinking.

Oh my God, you guys, the lights! It’s like an effing NASA launch in my utility room!

It took me weeks to figure out how to disable the beeps, because that about drove me to the looney bin. One beep for when the cycle is almost done, one beep when it is done, another beep if you’ve left the clothes in there for an hour (if I leave them in there less than three days, I consider that an efficient week, never mind a freaking HOUR).

More recently, my mother-in-law bought me a new electric toothbrush. You guys, I’m a girl that gets excited about coupons, so you can guess what something like this did to me. I freaking love practical gifts, and my precious electric toothbrush had broken 6 months ago, prompting me to spend those 6 months complaining about how rough the manual toothbrushes are made these days, and constantly licking my teeth, swearing they felt fuzzy even when I had brushed them multiple times.

So I open the box and there’s like 50 pieces to it! And 3 manuals. One for the setup, one for the toothbrush itself, and one for this gadget that’s like…well, I’m not sure. A GPS unit?

The manual says it will monitor optimal brushing pressure, time how long I brush (which actually would be quite useful, as my concept of time goes out the window at night when I just want to hit the pillow), and locate hidden planets in the atmosphere.

It took me about 20 minutes to set up the actual toothbrush and I am ashamed to admit the extra part sits in the original bag, so afraid I am of somehow rendering the whole thing useless by attaching it.

What do you think? Are machines running or ruining our lives? Or am I just turning into a Luddite in my 30s?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Lonelies

A friend once described to me the depth of her Sunday Lonelies. Sunday, being a typical family day, was a challenge for those of us who were single, away from our families, and childless, and didn’t wish to be so. You could try brunch and TV movies and keeping yourself busy with tasks for the week ahead, but those Sunday Lonelies lurked, culminating in that pit in your stomach and overall numbness that just bordered on tears.

When she and I discussed this, I had recently ended a bad relationship and was smack dab in the middle of “what now?” I am a planner, a plan had just dismantled in very dramatic fashion, and I was just left floating around. In a constant state of Sunday Lonelies.

I realized how much time I had spent in that relationship, and others before and since, that so closely mirrored that Sunday Lonelies feeling. Not even just with men, but at various times when I would tie myself to groups of women, never feeling secure that they really wanted to be my friend, saw me as worthy of being a part of them. I vividly felt so many times that feeling in the pit of my stomach saying, urging, I don’t want to be here. That feeling was so much lonelier, somehow, when it happened among other people.

I was thinking about this as I was reading a book to my little girl. I smiled and looked down at her. The truth is, my Sunday Lonelies ended when I met Scott. I think in some small way that’s how I knew he was THE ONE, as they say. I never feel lonely around him. I never get bored of him.

And now, of course, Sunday IS family day. And I cherish that. But as I looked down at my daughter, I wondered: how do I tell her that if she gets that feeling, that lonely feeling, she’s in the wrong crowd, she’s with the wrong person? Would I have understood that and taken it to heart if someone had told me long ago? The me who was so positive I was unlovable, unkeepable, uninteresting? I hope with all my might Wee ‘Burb will never feel that way about herself, but I also understand the world and a growing girl’s often uncomfortable place in it. So instead I will just hope she finds someone who makes those Sunday Lonelies disappear.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Part of this Complete Blogfast

Working title: I DID IT ALL FOR THE COOKIES, FOR THE COOKIES, YEAH!

Durst fans out there? No? Ok, moving on.

So on January 1, I got news that I had to do yet another biometric screening to earn credits for NEXT year’s insurance. So of course the screening came back that life is good as far as blood goes, but my BMI is still high. They recommended more nutritionist calls.

Now, it’s not that the calls I had last year were bad. In fact, since I was overweight and not obese last year, I only had to have one call instead of 3. It was a half hour out of my life, I could deal. But they weren’t all that informative.

Anyone who works on weight as a lifestyle change (versus fad dieting) knows the basic rules of nutrition. You eat every 3-4 hours, get a lot of protein, lower intake of red meats, up intake of fruits and veggies, and drink loads of water.

So, once I kind of told the nutritionist I knew all that, plus I work out correctly (circuit training and walking, varying workouts week to week), he was a bit stymied on how he could “help.”

I wasn’t looking for help, I was looking for insurance credit. A little of my hard-earned benjamins back in my plus-size pockets, ya know?

But now? Guys, I’ve been stuck losing and gaining the same 3 pounds since October.

OCTOBER.

 
My arrogance over my nutrition knowledge is waning. So when the BMI came back high, I just wasn’t really terribly interested in having another one of those calls. I felt I needed help! So I asked the guy setting up the health coaching and he suggested I see a dietician. It turns out they’d just hired some at an on-site clinic at one of our company’s offices.

I didn’t have high expectations, really. My friend saw a great nutritionist and got some good recipes, but used her more as someone to be accountable to.

A skinny blond (shocker in Minnesota, huh?) greeted me at the door. I braced for judgment, but she listened intently and then…I got praise!

You guys, I am so 12 years old sometimes, especially when it comes to praise. I so wish I got grades like I used to. The oldest sibling perfectionist in me just craves constant positive feedback.

She told me I was right on in the timing of my meals and called me an “advanced label reader.”

Woo! I am the valedictorian of label reading, people. Suck it!

Sorry.

Anyway, she showed me how to go slightly deeper into reading labels, particularly in my snacking. What we discovered was that my snacks were tasty and portion controlled (chocolate pretzels and 100 calorie packs), but not necessarily filling.

So while calorie-wise I was doing ok, I had some room for improvement in how I used those calories. She explained focusing on fiber and good fats could help me get over this plateau I’ve been experiencing.

I wanted to share some things I learned because even you skinny people out there know it’s important to be healthy. And for those of you struggling like me, there may be an eye-opening detail here that helps. I sure hope so.

Also? Please share your own experiences/suggestions in the comments. I would really love to get hints from those of you who are out there losing it:

  • For anyone in their child-bearing years, anyone pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, they are now advising 600 mg of folic acid, not 400. Check your vitamins. Most One-a-Days only have 400.
  • For those of you like me who are less in love with water (though hypnosis has changed this somewhat for me), try adding fruit or lemon to water. Otherwise, did you know decaf tea counts as water intake?
  • Stick to 300 mg of sodium or under per serving. The biggest offender? Canned veggies. Use frozen instead. Our biggest offender is beans over here. Rinsing beans can reduce 40% of sodium, but they are still pretty high. Still, soaking them overnight and cooking them? Probably not going to happen. So it just means we have to keep our eyes on sodium elsewhere.
  • Focus on fats, but in a good way. I see a lot of snacks out there that seem so high in fat, I never pick them up. I did not take into consideration what kind of fats they were. The rule of thumb I was given is no more than 3g of saturated fat and trans fats (that’s the naughty naughty kind). Your poly and mono unsaturated fats are actually the good fats, and while you don’t want to eat them all day, snacking on them is actually a good way to get them in. These fats help digestion and are actually anti-inflammatory fats.
  • Also focus on fiber. We all know it keeps things running in terms of digestion, but did you also know that it reduces triglycerides? Items with more than 5 g of fiber are considered high-fiber and will be labeled as such. You should make sure your breads and grains should have more than 2g of fiber (per slice of bread/per serving).
 So, what do you foodies out there have to add? What tips have worked for you?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Random Humping and a Plea for Guest Bloggers

So, I just have loads of randomness for you today. Photos included, kiddies!

But first, might I do a little begging? I’ll be in Sunny California April 2-9 and I would so very much love to have a few guest bloggers fill this space. Interested? E-mail me please at stephanieinsuburbia at yahoo.

Okay, so first of all, yesterday marked about 2 weeks since the poor dog has been outside. So I took her to the dog park so she could get her run on. I stepped over the many, many mud puddles. She did not.

Which resulted in a messy car. Thank goodness I had one of Wee 'Burb's baby blankets there, since I didn't think to bring a towel.



An even messier puppy. Which resulted in this.





Cous Cous always looks so traumatized when I bathe her. She’s good and sits in the sink, but she just looks so abused.

That same night Wee ‘Burb came home with THE WORST diaper rash ever. She’s had some unpleasant ones, and she never cries. But this time, the second I touched her she screamed to the point I started crying.

So I did the old-school thing and let her “air it out.”

I texted my roommate “beware nekkid baby and ninja dog.”

We call Cous Cous “ninja dog” when we take her collar off because we purposely left her tags noisy. You know how you can buy those plastic collar silencers so they don’t jingle? Well a week after we got her, we realized that jingle was all that was standing between us and dog pee somewhere in the house. So for a few hours after her bath she gets freedom from the collar.

So you’re sitting on the couch and enjoying an adult beverage when all of a sudden something hops up next to you. You spill said adult beverage, scream at the ninja dog, and then don’t know where she goes to pout. It’s all dangerous, people.

So yeah, my roommate and husband come home to a bare naked baby and a wayward silent dog. Y’all, could we BE more backwoods?

The naked baby? Resulted in this.





This morning I had an appointment with a dietician. It was actually really interesting. But I was so flustered when I got there.

First, I was harangued by the front desk lady about my ID badge. I haven’t worked in an office in years. I only showed her the badge because I couldn’t remember my license plate number to register as a guest. Since my information hadn’t been updated since 2005, she shoved me over to the security department and I got to see my fat face updated with my new name. Or, well not really new since I got married two-and-a-half years ago.

Then I spent like 5 minutes using my badge to try to enter the clinic. It’s set inside the office, so I assumed I had to use it. A woman finally comes to rescue me. “You just have to push, not pull.”

Awwwkward.

Anyway, while I waited for the dietician they gave me an iPad to play with. If you’re new here, I am not a fan of the Apple.


A sample of my hatred from that post:

I make it there at 12:00 and am greeted by another iPad, who tells me “One of the Genuises will be with you shortly…or is it Genui?” Hardee har…shut it, Face Pubes.

I’m told to wait on a bench. I should say here, in these stores the Genius Bars are elevated about 20 feet. The benches are practically on the floor. Remember when you grew up and your parents would be like “oh they’ll all be working for you someday?” These are those kids. We’re not working for them, necessarily, but we are going to bow before their ability to get us mobile entertainment at our fingertips.

This was a bunch of diet apps, I guess. I twisted it and turned it and then kind of wondered what the point was. If I found a recipe I liked, what was I going to do with it? Anyway, I am comfortable with my decision to not do anything with Apple. Other than my previously purchased iPod.

Stay tuned for a post on the stuff I learned at the dietician, a very impressive visit.

So I was at Target, and Chaz was ringing me up. He totally looked like his name. He kept smirking, and at first I thought it was because of the feminine products I was purchasing.

I remember when I used to be all embarrassed about buying that stuff. BICOAK (Before I Crapped Out a Kid). Then he kind of giggled. He goes “you wanted me to super pack this, right?” I had given him a cloth bag and told him to fill it to the top. I nodded, and he kept smirking.

I think somehow he was overly pleased with himself for packing 10 pounds of groceries in my little bag. I was slightly annoyed, and then he packed this together, and it amused me.



Bananas Packed in Wee 'Burb's Monkey Easter Basket.


So that’s it here. How has your week been? And please remember to let me know if you want to guest blog!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Waking at the Carwash, Yeah!

So for those of you not following me on Twitter (for shame, people!), I had a bit of that pesky Momnesia that's going around.

So my first Tweet came while I was waiting in line for a car wash.



Allow me to explain. Last week was the Perfect Storm in suburbia. Scott had a work trip, my roommate was dog-sitting, and my daycare provider was on vacation. Yeah.

Thank God for my mother-in-law who dropped in to help me in the afternoon, because after starting a new job in January and planning some time off in April, work wasn’t going to be super keen on me taking a week off so my daycare lady could go to California.

My mother-in-law took Wee ‘Burb EVERYWHERE. Which was great, except that the kid was so wired when the days were done, there was zero chance she would take an afternoon nap.

Which meant right around 4:00 she was so punchy, it was like living with a drunk. A happy drunk, but still a rather out-of-control-needing-to-go-to-bed-break-into-giggles-at-the-word-“off” kind of drunk.

So it was important to me on this day that she actually nap. And so I’d figured even if it was a half hour, it might stave off the sillies.

As we pull into the wash, I start to freak out a bit. I had forgotten just how loud those things are when those washers get going!

I turn to look and see if she’s disturbed. Just as I let out a sigh of relief, I see her jump up and look at me like I had smacked her. Not because of the noise. But instead, well, see Tweet 2.



Yup, somehow the window didn’t roll up all the way with the shade and my baby was now wearing my $8 extra soapy carwash.

I climbed back as fast as I could to get the window closed before it came back around, breaking the shade in the process. I looked at her, she grinned. I tested her. “Off?”

Insane giggles.

Long night, people. Looooong night.

Never been so happy to see my daycare provider as I was this morning. Now she’s her problem.

I mean, uh…no, you know what? I mean exactly what I wrote.

It was a long week, people, a looong week.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Balls, Massages and Pink Shirts

I promise you don’t have to like or even care about sports to get some level of humor out of this post.

But for those of you who don’t know, I am a humungous ridiculous sports fan. Specifically, baseball and football. Specifically, the Red Sox and Patriots.

I am not so much a fan of basketball. But my poor Boston transplant roommate is. Living in Minnesota is tough if you’re a sports fan, for so many reasons. Crappy fans, crappier stadiums, even crappier teams. It’s tough to get excited about it. It’s one of the things I miss most about Boston. And this is a point on which we often have joint commiseration sessions.

So her solution to our football depression this year was to get tickets to Girls’ Night Out at the Timberwolves basketball game.

Let me just stop here for two seconds. Scott is a basketball fan, the one sport he actually likes, though doesn’t follow religiously. While he was laid off he got offered a very cheap package of tickets if he went by himself. Which he did. After his first game, he got a call from a dude named Tony who proceeded to offer him a free suite for Scott and some of his friends. Their tickets would be free. Couple things: 1. Scott had spent practically NOTHING on his package, so he was not some high roller; 2. He couldn’t get four guys to agree to go…with a FREE ticket…to a FREE suite. That’s how bad they are. Tony stalked Scott all season, offering him upgrades and free drinks…I think maybe at one point it was possible Scott was going to coach the team, I can’t be sure.

So anyway, there are a lot of these gimmick nights. On Guys’ Night Out, the guys get to meet the cheerleaders and have their calendars signed.

No, Girls’ Night did not involve meeting the players. Or the mascot. Or even the cheerleaders for that matter.

But it did include free parking, two free drinks (they made a point to say including wine), and a free massage.

I balked at going at first. I said to her: “isn’t this a little pink hattish?”

For those of you not familiar, the pink hat girls are the ones who attend games in their full pink jerseys and hats. Typically (yes, I know there are exceptions and so please don’t barrage me with hate mail), these girls are the ones in the really good seats who text through the entire game while their boyfriends try to cajole them into paying attention. They’ve taken hours to achieve this “sporty casual” look that involves more makeup than Bette Davis in What Happened to Baby Jane.

I’m cool that these girls exist. I am not cool with them pretending to be fans.

I was concerned of hitting this level of poseur.

Anyway, eventually I agreed to go on the condition that we not wear anything pink and an agreement that if either of us drank anything but beer, the other could publicly humiliate them in some painful way.

Luckily it didn’t come to that. We figured out that between the parking and the beer, we had already more than paid for our tickets. We hadn’t even ventured into the massage.

So the massage area was…interesting. I kind of pictured a suite, or even a little tent like they have at marathons. Not so much. It was 5 massage chairs lined up across from a beer stand, a stone’s throw from the condiment shelves. Ah, yes, relaxing.

Even more relaxing? You get to sit so you’re ass is exposed for all the dudes buying drinks behind you.

After your five minutes of exposure, you get a gift card, a discount card, and some free samples. Seriously, the Wolves were paying US to be there at this point.

I remember very little about the game. I remember the pretzels being really good. And a plethora of pink shirts with a lot of discussion about how good the players’ butts looked. In baggy shorts?

Anyway, I will think of this day fondly now that I am booking my massage with my coupon and gift card, courtesy of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Hopefully in an actual room and not on the half-court line of the next game.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Love Affair Renewed

Confession: I am resuming a love affair from my teen years. It started innocently enough, just a taste of the former compatibility, but then…well, then it turned into an obsession. When I remembered how we were together, how we completed each other in ways no other could do.

Oh I had tried others, many others, so many others. People would say “hey, that one’s good, too” but I returned with open arms because…well, they weren’t good, too. Not as good, not even close.

I’m back in love with Neutrogena.

I’ve bemoaned my skin problems here and of course the whole Funky Friday episode.  And I thought I had found the perfect solution here.

But, right before a major work trip and after an ill-advised chapstick switch, I ended up with the worst breakout I’ve had since I was a teenager. If you read my Funky Friday post, then you know it was an unpleasant time for me.

I tried my mint julep masques and other things that had worked in the past. I tried just using Cetaphil products. It just got worse and worse.

A week before my trip, I was losing my mind. I thought about seeing a dermatologist, but I was still reeling from my last visit costing me $500 after she casually said “while you’re here, why don’t I go ahead and remove this mole on your back?”

I asked the pharmacist at Target (the actual pharmacist, not the 12-year-old in a red shirt and khakis who asks me EVERY TIME if I am sure I have the right insurance card because my prescription would actually cost less with cash) if they have anything with more salicylic acid because I want to get nuclear on this face.

Nada.

So I read label after label. I kept coming back to Neutrogena. Back in the day, Neutrogena and Almay products were the only ones allowed to touch my face. But back in the day, they didn’t have 400 choices, or an entire aisle called “ACNE” in Target. An aisle I am just so very pleased to be in at frigging 32 years old, thanks.

After hemming and hawing, I chose this



I figured the fact that it was a 7-day intervention and that was precisely how long I had until my work trip felt cosmically bound. Oh and I had $30 to my name, and this was $20. SOLD!

After two days, I almost cried when I looked in the mirror. Gone were the red angry welts. I still looked like I had broken out, but it was almost coverable by makeup. After two days!

Day 4, my skin looked better than it ever had. Not only had my skin completely cleared, but it was looking healthy again, almost dewy!

Day 7 I entered that airplane confident and secure in my skin…something that’s priceless to me.

Have you tried Neutrogena? Do you have a favorite go-to product when your skin is extra sensitive?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I've Got No Strings To Hold Me Up!

Guys, I've solved my whole getting Wee 'Burb to walk thing. Check this bad boy out!


Does not look at ALL like a baby marionette, right? How do you explain that hernia to your chiropractor, exactly?

Also, I'm the last person in the world to join Twitter. So come find me at suburbansteph.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Goal Gut Check: February

It’s time for a goal gut-check, my friends. Did you guys lose steam like me? February was a tough month for me because it involved some very last-minute work travel. For most people, that’s no biggie, but for someone who has been living in her work pajamas the last few years, it presented more than a little challenge.

So here is my run-down.
 
Goals for February:
  1. Make up a meal plan every Sunday night. I got two Sundays out of the month. I give myself a C on this because when I did make the meal plans, a lot of the week I didn’t feel like making what I had planned. I got in a mega food funk. Do you ever have that? Where you are hungry, but nothing appeals to you and nothing satisfies you? Not good times. 
  2. One vegetarian meal a week (can include fish). This I did if you include english muffins with peanut butter vegetarian? Yes? I did have an excellent almond lemon fish dish that I will surely repeat. And I did BUY some orange roughy which I’ve yet to attack. And I have started replacing our sides with veggies instead of starch. So I’m giving myself a solid B on this, for at least sticking to the intent. 
  3. One new cookbook recipe. I am so sad I did not take a picture of this one, guys. I made turkey enchiladas that were OUT OF THIS WORLD! I have a favorite turkey chimichanga recipe that may have just been replaced. I want to take a picture, though, before I share the recipe, because the recipe looks bizarro. A+ for me on this one! 
  4. Declutter bathroom closet.  FAIL
  5. Try one new workout class or video. I did try a new workout video on our Exercise TV On Demand. It was a Red Carpet Makeover one with Stephanie Vittorino. I liked the workout, but she had a very distracting camel-toe situation in the beginning that made it a teensy bit difficult for me to pay attention. What? I’m 12 years old sometimes, I can’t help it.
Goals for March:

 
  1. Meal Plan around coupons. I let a lot of coupons expire this last month because I wasn’t organized. I need to try to incorporate coupons when I can to keep our grocery bill on goal.
  2. One fish dish a week.
  3. One new slow cooker dish. I recently made a slow cooker meatloaf and it was great. It made me realize that I don’t use that little bad boy enough. And also, it made a huge difference in my day. Typically I cook after I pick Wee ‘Burb up from daycare. She’s very lovey and snuggly after not seeing me all day, so I am often trying to hold her and cook at the same time. Having it prepped and in the slow cooker made our time together a lot better.
  4. Declutter bathroom closet.
  5. Do one 45-minute workout a week. Because I usually work out on my lunch hour, I usually only do 20-30 minutes, but as I have a wedding coming up, I need to get cracking. This may mean getting up early…dread.
     
So, spill! What are your goals for March? Do you ever feel stifled by meal plans or go through food funks?