Posted by: OHgalinSoCal | February 4, 2014

Six Years as Your Mom

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Dear Adam, 

Today is your day! Happy 6th(!) Birthday my dear, sweet, first-born baby boy.

On this day, six years ago it was a Monday. It was the day after Super Bowl. I distinctly remember watching all the SuperBowl commercials being aired again, and laughing so hard at a Tide commercial as I was in the middle of a contraction. I remember my doctor telling me at 9am that you would make your appearance by dinner time. 

After an uneventful labor, and 3 hard pushes, you made your bright appearance on a dreary winter day, right before the hospital staff brought in my dinner tray.

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Your dad and I thought you were just perfect and beautiful. As a matter of fact, we both looked at each other and said, “He’s so cute! And not just because he’s our baby cute, but legitimately cute!” You had such a calm, yet alert demeanor. You only cried when the nurse gave you your bath. And that first night in the hospital, you slept the whole night! You were born a good sleeper. 

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You were such an easy baby. You did everything right. You rolled, crawled and walked your way through every milestone with ease. Everyday your dad and I would say how blessed we were. 

As you’ve grown and gotten bigger, so has your smile and personality. You love having fun and being goofy. But you can be quiet and thoughtful. You enjoy playing with your brother, cousins and friends, but you also enjoy your moments alone doing your own thing. You crave attention and love being front and center, but you get stage fright. You are strong, athletic and competitive. And you are oh, so creative. You’re an amazing Big Brother. You are just fun to be around. And I feel so blessed to be your mom. 

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Your 6th birthday marks my 6th anniversary of being a mom. Your mom. And Adam, by being your mom, you have taught me so much. About you. About life. And about me. 

You have taught me that there is no greater sound than that of a giggling child. You have taught me there’s no bigger heartache than watching your baby suffer from a fever, or a scraped knee, or a booster shot, or hurt feelings. 

You have taught me that without even a millisecond of hesitation I will jump in front of a Volvo to keep you safe, and I wouldn’t think twice about doing it again. 

You have taught me that I am capable of doing all kinds of things at once without (completely) losing my mind- getting you a snack, while unloading the dishwasher, while cooking dinner, while checking homework, while re-building the Lego motorcycle, while telling you where you left your shoes. 

You have taught me that I like Candyland so much better when you win. 

You have taught me that it’s important, and necessary to abandon chores, errands, emails and my phone so we can play superheros at the park, or race scooters up and down the driveway. 

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You have taught me that finger prints on windows, dirt tracked across the floor, cracker crumbs on the carpet, plastic sharks haphazardly left in the tub, Hot Wheels cars strewn everywhere and grass-stained knees are the sign of a happy childhood. 

You have taught me that with a little bit of encouragement from someone who loves you so much, you can accomplish anything. Like last week, when came with me on my run, and you rode your bike for 4 miles! Amazing! I was so proud! Or yesterday, when you wrote 2 sentences using 4 of your sight words. You are so smart!

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You have taught me that no matter what I accomplish, I will always be prouder of your accomplishments. 

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You have taught me that I love and appreciate your dad, and all that he is, and all that he does so very much. He is hard-working, self-less and nurturing. And without him, there would be no you. 

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You have taught me patience and the art of breathing deeply. 

You have taught me that holding grudges is silly. That forgiveness is a beautiful gift for both the other person as well as yourself. 

You have taught me that while I have been helping to mold you into a kind, brave, compassionate person, you have actually been making me a better person. 

You have taught me what it’s like to really feel. I didn’t know what it was like to experience extreme joy. To be paralyzed with fear. To be frustratingly frustrated. To beam with pride. And to love someone so much that their safety, happiness, and well-being would forever trump mine. And I don’t want to go back to a time where I don’t get to feel this gamut of emotion, every single day

But most importantly, Adam, you have taught me that I can’t live without you. Even though I had been walking the earth for 29 years before your existence, it hasn’t been the same since you arrived. I had a great life before you were born, but it has been so much better since I became your mom. 

When you become a parent, all the parenting books preach how much kids need their parents. But what they fail to mention is how much us parents need our kids. With the very first fluttery kick, to that tiny little newborn cry, to the first smile, the first “mama”, to the giant hugs, the I love you‘s, the games of pretend, the hand-drawn pictures and the good-bye mom’s on the first day of school, I discovered I would never be able to live with out you. 

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Adam, having you changed me. Having you made me want to be better. Having you taught me more than I ever learned in pre-mom years.

These past 6 years have been an amazing roller coaster ride. I’ve buckled in, and I’m ready for more up’s and down’s, turn’s and twists. 

Thank you for being you. Thank you for being my son, my buddy, my student and my teacher. You definitely carry my heart in the palm of your hand. 

Happy 6th Birthday Adam! I love you so dinosaur much! 

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Posted by: OHgalinSoCal | February 3, 2014

Popsicles in the Winter

Hello All! Happy February! 

And I’m a tad late here, but Happy New Year! How are your New Year’s Resolutions going? I’ve been working on mine, but I’ll save that for another post. 

I wanted to share with you a recipe we’ve really been enjoying in my house. 

We have a very abundant lemon tree in our backyard. So abundant in fact, that I’m pretty sure the tree has been throwing the lemons at my kitchen window, encouraging me to come out and pick them. I’ve also taken some lemons to my classes and pawned them off on my students. I’ve encouraged my gardeners to take some. And I traded some with my neighbor who has an orange tree. A very abundant orange tree. 

So I now have an over abundance of lemons and oranges. Let me just say this, my family is so OD’ed on vitamin C that if any of us get even a sniffle, I will be so mad!

We have made lemonade, freshly squeezed orange juice, citrus chicken, lemon vinargettes and dressings….we have citrus recipes coming out of our ears! But we needed a dessert. (Before I went gluten-free, I used to make an amazing lemon cake, and lemon-ricotta cookies with a lemon glaze. I just haven’t given those recipes the gluten-free try yet. But that’s next!)

So my husband suggested creamsicles. Great idea, honey! 

While all my family and friends back in Ohio and Michigan have been experiencing the Snowmageddon Polar Vortex, we here in SoCal have been enjoying endless amounts of sunshine and up until a few days ago, unseasonably warm temperatures. (Ya know, like 80 degrees warm. Yes, I’m bragging. I know, I know, my Ohio friends don’t even want to hear this right now.) 

What better way to cope with enjoy the warm temperatures, than with creamsicles! 

And that’s just what we made! We made both lemon and orange creamsicles. Both were very good, but the family consensus was we liked the orange ones best. They tasted kind of like a Push-Up. You know, that orange sherbet that came in those blue and polka-dot tubes. (Do they still have those, or is that just a child of the 80’s thing now?)

Here are both recipes. You decide which ones you like better, and let me know!

Lemon Creamsicles:

  • 1c Freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice
  • 12 oz non-fat plain greek yogurt (I used 2 6oz containers of Chobani)
  • 3tbsp Truvia Natural Sweetner Baking Blend

Directions:

Warm lemon juice and sugar together (I put it in the microwave for 1 minute), then whisk together to blend. Allow lemon mixture to cool, then whisk in greek yogurt. 

Pour into popsicle molds (ours made 8 popsicles), and freeze overnight or at least 4 hours. 

*For best results for removing from the popsicle molds, I recommend running warm water along the sides and bottom of the mold. We just used our kitchen faucet sprayer. 

Orange Creamsicles:

  • 1cup freshly squeezed and strained orange juice
  • 12 oz non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1tbsp Truvia Natural Sweetner baking blend

(Our oranges were very sweet, so we didn’t need as much sugar as we did with the lemons.)

Directions:

Same as the lemon creamsicles. 

 

Then just eat and enjoy! 

 

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Posted by: OHgalinSoCal | October 31, 2013

A Birthday Stolen

“There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft…” ~The Kite Runner

In case you didn’t catch my last post, yesterday was my birthday. Friends, it was not a great day. It was a bad day. The fact that it was a bad day on my birthday, well that just made it worse.

Before I tell you what happened, just let me say it could’ve been worse. I know it could’ve been worse. You’ll know it could’ve been worse. Now knowing that it could’ve been worse, please refrain from telling me it could’ve been worse.

I am a rather “let’s look for the bright side” kind of person. I don’t like to be down. I don’t enjoy having bad days, so I will try really hard to focus on what is good versus what is bad. But sometimes there are just bad days. And it’s perfectly okay to just accept that it’s a bad day. And that’s what I had to do yesterday. Just chuck it up to being a bad day.

When people are having bad days, bad moments, I personally don’t think it helps them to tell them, “it could be worse.” I feel that is a rather unsympathetic response. You know it that does? It makes them feel worse. Because now they think they’re an a**hole for complaining about their bad day when there are kids dying of cancer. Not cool.

Unless of course it’s someone complaining that they only won $80 million in the lottery and not $120 million. Then you can tell them it could be worse!

Otherwise, I think the more appropriate thing to say to someone who’s having a rough time is, “Wow, you’re right, that sucks. I hope it gets better.” People don’t always need you to fix their problems, but they sure do appreciate someone who will listen.

So, now that we all know it could be worse, let me tell you about my day….

Yesterday I woke up happy and excited. It’s my birthday! I was excited to see what the day would be, and ready to start another year.

Sadly, my youngest son was sick. He had been fighting something for a few days, so I thought it was time to take him to the doctor. Unplanned trip to the pediatrician’s office on my birthday. No big deal. My babies come first.

When I picked my oldest son up from school he told me his belly was upset. I asked him how long it had been upset and he told me, “I drank some of my friend’s chocolate milk at lunch because he told me to, it tasted funny and now my belly feels sick.” Yuck. Upset bellies are no fun. Poor kid. Once again my babies come first.

I then received a phone call from my parents telling me that the box they were sending me, that was supposed to be there sometime in the afternoon wasn’t going to be showing up. The box that my mom had meticulously packed with all my birthday presents (that she took the time to individually wrap), some Halloween decorations she was passing on to me from my childhood, as well as the boys’ Halloween buckets and treats, had been stolen. And not just stolen, but someone at UPS had taken the time to open the box, remove all the contents including a bracelet my sister purchased for me from Italy, and then re-tape the box and still try to have it shipped.

Dear Jerkface UPS worker, you suck. 

Now if you know me at all, you know that I am not a materialistic person. I don’t care about stuff, and I don’t hold value in things. I cherish my people, and my special moments with them. So I could care less about the stuff that was stolen. I care more about the fact that my mom is devastated. That my dad is furious. All the time, effort, thought and money they put into that box to surprise my boys and me, is gone.

What I’m upset about is the fact that this person stole our moments. They stole my moment of being excited as I opened the box, removed all the contents and got to ooh and ahh over it. The moment where I got to pull out each Halloween decoration my mom was handing down to me to share with my family, and get all nostalgic at the memories it brought back for me. The moment where I called my parents to thank them as they got to listen to my boys squealing in the background at all the cool Halloween treats Grandma & Papa sent them. Those moments were robbed by some person who felt they were entitled to our things.

Theft is more than just taking another person’s belongings. It’s about stealing their moments, memories, confidence, safety and trust.

Now I know how my mom is. I know she will march her sad, angry self back to the mall and re-purchase everything that was in the box (with the exception of the bracelet from Italy from my sister, and the Halloween decorations), she will wrap all the replacement purchases, and I will still get a birthday box.

I just feel bad that my parents now have to fight with UPS on their missing contents, itemize receipts, and now forever be paranoid when shipping something to me. Not fun for them, at all.

After the whole sick kids, UPS debacle, my husband felt sad for me so he thought I should get out of the house for a bit. I decided I would go exchange the running shoes he got me as a birthday gift for a different size. As I was waiting to pull in a parking spot at the running store (which is a very tiny lot with very few parking spaces), a very impatient woman didn’t want to wait for me to pull in the spot so she decided to block traffic by pulling around me, blocking in the person who was pulling out of the said parking spot. Even though her lack of patience and sense of entitlement put her in the wrong, she decided to yell some unpleasantries at me. She felt compelled to tell me, when all I was doing was waiting for the parking spot, that I was “fu*#ing brain dead”, I was being a “stupid bitch for just sitting there” (ummm, waiting to pull in the spot lady!), and that I was “a waste of human space and just needed to DIE!” That was the fire on top of the candles on top of the icing on top of the gluten-free birthday cake that I never even got to eat. Friends, the bad luck of the day caught up to me. I pulled in the parking spot (once the previous occupant was finally able to pull out once the mean lady was finally gone), and I just cried. Now I know that woman clearly has much bigger issues that just being mad at me for waiting for a parking space. I know her issues are not my fault. But those were some harsh words! They were downright mean! I mean seriously, over a parking spot?! Dang! What if some one actually does something on purpose to her? I feel really bad for any customer service rep who ever has to deal with the wrath of her!

After that, I decided birthday or not, it was just not my day. So I safely retreated home with some gluten-free pizza, The Nightmare Before Christmas and my three favorite guys. And that was the best part. Being safe and sound at home surrounded by the love of my husband and two little boys.

Happy Birthday to me!

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Posted by: OHgalinSoCal | October 30, 2013

Happy Birthday….to Me!

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Today’s my birthday.

I love birthdays. I love my birthday, I love my kids’ birthdays, and I even love your birthdays. How can you not love birthdays?! It’s the anniversary of the day you were born. The day you were brought into this beautiful, scary, wonderful world. I’m glad you’re here. Heck, I’m glad I’m here! Let’s celebrate! 

Birthdays are for having fun, spending time with your loved ones, opening presents and eating cake. Or gluten-free cupcakes in my case. It’s for balloons, flowers, special dinners and birthday wishes from those around you. Or at the very least majority of your Facebook friends. They’re for celebrating and appreciating you! Hopefully you spend your day feeling special, feeling loved. Hopefully you float through the day with a smile plastered across your face, and warm fuzzy feelings tingling your whole body. 

Birthdays only come once a year (at this age, thank goodness!), and I believe you should enjoy that one day a year. Because let’s face it, those years are going to keep passing. That whole “another year older” thing is going to smack you right in the face. So embrace it. Love it. Have fun with it! 

Growing up, my parents always did a wonderful job making me feel loved and special on my birthday. They would fill my day with all kinds of treats and surprises. Well mainly my mom. My dad loves me and all, but let’s be honest….it was mom’s idea to hang balloons and streamers above the fireplace. Not that I’m discrediting him. He helped by blowing up the balloons! He also was the one to tell me “Happy Birthday” first. Being that my dad has always had to be to work before the sun rises, he would always call me to wake me up in the morning and start my day with birthday wishes. As well as sing the “Happy Birthday” song in Polish. Which at 6:30 in the morning just sounds like a bunch of gibberish. 

Since I was born the day before Halloween, my mom has always called me her “Little Pumpkin”. Every year she would give me some sort of pumpkin birthday treat. She would fill a pumpkin shaped mug with candy corn (although she recently finally realized, I don’t like candy corn. It’s the thought, it’s the thought!), or send me flowers in a pumpkin shaped vase. Since I’m not a huge fan of cake, she would get me a cookie-cake and have them decorate it like a pumpkin. One year for my (6th or 7th) birthday party, she handmade all my birthday invitations to look like jack-o-lanterns. 

I’m pretty sure she loved me. Still does, even! Unfortunately as a kid you don’t realize how special all those things are. It takes becoming a grown-up, and often times even a parent, to fully appreciate everything your parents did for you. So, thank you Mom and Dad! Thank you for all the years of balloons, streamers, cakes, birthday parties, scavenger hunts (another one of mom’s ideas), thoughtful presents, and special dinners at my favorite restaurants. Each birthday has been amazing. Even now, separated by 2,700 miles and 3 time zones, you still find a way to make it special. Thank you. I love you guys. 

My husband and two precious boys have also taken part in spoiling me. I got handmade cards (aren’t those just the best?!), store bought cards where my husband took extra effort in choosing just the right one that always seem to describe us in the most perfect way, thoughtful presents, coffee and breakfast made, dinner, and even a little “me” time where I got to treat myself to a pedicure. Right, I am such a lucky girl?! All these people who love me. My cup runeth over. 

In addition to getting spoiled on my birthday, I also like to take the opportunity to recall, reflect and refresh. Most people tend to set new resolutions on New Years. I like to do it on my birthday. I like to reflect on everything that’s happened the past year, hang on to what worked, tweaked what didn’t, and let go of what was no-good. 

This past year has been a rather bumpy ride. But this is what I can say about it…. I have lived, loved and at times even loathed my way through another trip around the sun. But most importantly, I have survived, and learned a few important things about life, and myself along the way. And that’s what growing up/older is all about right? Learning, growing and changing. 

Here are some of the things I’ve discovered about myself: 

I am stronger than I give myself credit for- both physically and mentally. (Cue Kelly Clarkson’s “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger”.) 

While I am a “social butterfly”, I really enjoy quiet and private time. I love to read (not a secret to anyone who knows me well), and I love, love, LOVE yoga. I love the way it makes my body, mind and soul feel. Namaste

I’ve learned that perception can be reality. And I want to feel happier and less stressed. So I should walk into situations with a smile on my face and perceive things to not be so stressful. Especially since I’m a strong person (see earlier paragraph), and I know I will survive it. 

I recognize and appreciate that I am a caring, giving, empathetic person. I just want those around me to be happy. I am also very much a people-pleaser, and hate to disappoint people. This can be both good and bad, because often times I put “pleasing” others before what I need or want. 

This last statement leads me into things I want to work on, my resolutions, if you will.

I want to be kinder to myself. The golden rule says “Treat others the way you want to be treated” and I believe that is important, and I feel I do a good job implementing it. But I’m going to work on treating myself the way I want others to treat me. I tend to have a self-depricating sense of humor, and I’m sure I always will. I believe if you can’t laugh at yourself, what can you laugh at? But I am going to stop putting myself down. Stop criticizing myself. 

I also want to work on recognizing and honoring my needs. Am I tired, do I need to take a break and rest? Am I stressed and worn-out, do I need to take some “me” time? If I want to be my best for those I love, I need to love myself to give my best. It’s kind of like the oxygen-mask analogy. You have to put your own oxygen mask on before you can help others with theirs. 

Overall, I like myself. I like the person I’ve grown to be, and I’m excited to see the person I am yet to become.

 I’ve been through my share of trial and tribulations, but I always come out alive. Not necessarily unscathed, but definitely alive and still smiling.

I am thankful for my life. I love and appreciate everything about it. Every lesson I’ve learned. Every person who has walked in, walked out, and chosen to stay.

I am confident in the woman, wife, and mother I have become.

I’m very much looking forward to what this next year is going to teach me.

Time to blow out the candles, make a wish, say a prayer, and strap in for another wild ride.

Happy Birthday to Me!  

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Posted by: OHgalinSoCal | October 28, 2013

Be Happy, it’s Monday!

Good Monday Morning! 

Fall has finally hit SoCal. It’s a beautiful, crisp, slightly overcast morning. I love it! I love Fall! 

On days on cooler Fall days like this I know a lot of people want to stay in bed all cozy with their blankets. I like to get out there and enjoy the weather. It’s perfect weather for going for a run or a walk. It’s a gorgeous day to go play at the park with my kiddos. It’s a great day to run errands. I would rather go grocery shopping on a cooler, overcast day than a blistering hot summer day. It’s much easier to drag myself, my kid(s) and groceries around in cooler weather, than miserable sweltering hot temps. 

In addition to being a cooler Fall morning, it’s also…..Monday. I think just saying “Monday” induces moans and groans from people. Another reason people want to stay cuddled in bed with their blankies. 

I know, the beloved weekend is over, and it feels like forever until you get another one. But it’s Monday! It’s the start of a brand new week. Whatever happened last week, stays there. You get to do it all over this week. But you get a chance to do it better

I really like Mondays. I am probably my most productive on Mondays. I like to wake up and get sh*t done. It sets the tone for my week. And this week friends, it’s going to be a really good week! I can just feel it! (And it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that it’s my birthday week, and Halloween. Ok…..well maybe a little.) 

Instead of waking up on Mondays and being all grumbly and growly that you have to make it through another week, approach it the other way. With a different perspective….”Good Monday morning! I get another chance this week, this day, this minute. I am going to make the most of it, and give the very best I have.” 

Think back on all your previous weeks. When Friday finally rolled around, were you all Ugh, thank gawd it’s finally Friday. It has been such a long, awful week.”? And if you were, how did you start your Monday of that same week? Was it with a growly, grumbly, “Dammit, it’s Monday. I hate Mondays!” attitude? Do you think the two just might be correlated? 

So maybe, just maybe if you start your week on a positive note, embrace your new Monday instead of loathing it, your Friday might look a little different. It might be more like, “Yay, it’s Friday! What a great week! I’m so excited to enjoy my weekend!”

Life is all about perspective. You will see what you keep telling yourself is there. If you keep telling yourself you’re having a bad day, you have bad luck , or that the universe is out to get you because you hit every dang red light on the way to work, then guess what, you will make yourself believe you are having a bad day. All the while you may be missing all the wonderful things that are happening. While you’re busy bitching about the red lights you might miss and not appreciate the laughing, energetic elementary school kids crossing at the crosswalk (causing your red light), as they go start their new week, their new day of learning something new. You might have totally disregarded and not offered a “thank you” wave to the person who let you cut in front of them while trying to merge in traffic. 

You receive what you put out there. You reap what you sow, we’ve all heard that one. So if you’re the person who always gets the grumpy barista, or the rude cashier maybe consider the common denominator- you. People reciprocate what they receive. If you’re less than pleasant to them, well you should be prepared for them to be less than pleasant to you. Others are nice to “happy” people not because the “happy” people are lucky, but because they’re nice! People will be nice to people who are nice to them. 

We’ve all been taught the golden rule. A very important rule we should all know and practice. “Treat others they way you want to be treated.” It sounds simple enough. Sadly, so many people still fail miserably at implementing this.

Maybe it’s because of Mondays. If we were less grouchy towards Monday, maybe Monday would be a little nicer to us. Then Tuesday through Friday would have no choice but to follow suit. 

So there ya go friends, be nicer to Monday. Be happier to see Monday. Embrace and enjoy Monday. It just might change your day. Your week. Even your life. 

Helllloooooo Monday! 

Now go out there and enjoy the new start to your new week! 

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Posted by: OHgalinSoCal | October 25, 2013

I’m Back in the Saddle Again!

Happy Friday!

Oh thank goodness, I’m back! I’m so happy to be back to blogging. I’ve missed my OhGalinSoCal blog and readers. And unfortunately no, I didn’t abandon my blog for any exciting reason like back-packing through Europe, building clean water wells in Africa, or picketing for fair labor laws for the elves at the North Pole. It’s a rather sad and boring story.

A little over a month ago my oldest son accidentally spilled a water bottle on my computer. Boo! After multiple trips to the Apple Store (those geniuses were no help, let me tell ya) and another computer fix-it store, it was determined my computer could not be fixed. Boo, again! Well let me rephrase that- it could be fixed, but for double the cost of what I even paid for the computer. No thank you.

The good news, all of my data and information was able to be retrieved (thanks to the other computer fix-it store. Now they’re the real geniuses in my opinion!). Yesss! So with a thoughtful donation from my parents and subbing extra classes over the past month, I was able to invest in a new (used) computer.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my ever so supportive and generous parents, all my fellow fitness instructors who subbed their classes out to me and Amazon.com for having a refurbished MacBook in my price range. 

Oh happy day! I’m back! I have some recipes to share, a trip to Disneyland to recap, some exercises, and of course, adorable anecdotes from my precious boys!

For now, I have to jet to go teach another class.

Enjoy your Friday!!

Posted by: OHgalinSoCal | September 4, 2013

A Cold in the Heat

Ya know what is no fun? No fun at all? Colds. Colds are zero fun. And then to add insult to injury…..a cold in triple digit heat is even worse! I’m speaking from first hand experience. 

I’ve been battling a scratchy, sore throat and cough for about 2 weeks now. But yesterday, I woke up in full on head cold mode. And I was so mad! When I feel like I’m getting sick, I fight those germs with all my might. I take extra vitamins, I think positive thoughts (mind over matter, right?), I make sure to rest (well, as best a mom of 2 small boys can), and I’m diligent about handwashing- mine and everyone else’s (I’m referring to you, small children of mine). So when I actually do get sick, I take it personally. As if I’ve failed at something. I eat right, I exercise, I take vitamins, I’ve never smoked. I mean come on, I’m a good kid. I shouldn’t be getting sick! <<<side note: I’m well aware that good kids get sick, too. I know that germs and viruses don’t discriminate against good or bad kids. I dedicate that moment of illogic to my generic store-brand cold & flu medicine.>>>

So here I am, afflicted with all the symptoms that make up one helluva cold. A sore throat so terrible that even drinking coffee pains me (a personal hell for some of us, I’m sure). A hacking cough so loud and persistent that one of my students told me yesterday that I should consider switching to menthols (once again, I’ve never smoked). A nose that one moment is running like a faucet, and the next is so stuffed up it feels like a pair of throw pillows have taken up residence in my nostrils. 

And let’s not forget the unattractive part of being sick. You hear things like, “Are you ok? You look like you’re upset. Have you been crying?” Well no, I haven’t been crying, but the idea hasn’t entirely escaped me either. Or then there’s “Are you sleeping alright? You look really tired.” I’m sleeping as well as some one can when their nasal passage is dysfunctional majority of the night. And let’s be honest, these questions are really just the PC terms for, “Dang girl! You look like shit!”  Yep. And that’s exactly how I feel. 

But you can’t really blame people when they say these things, can you? I mean you are walking around looking like a mix of a hungover person who just went through a really bad break-up, with the distinct smell of Vicks Vapor rub and Halls cough drops wafting off of you. You have that sad, watery, half awake look to your eyes. Due to your stuffed up nose, you are now rocking the mouth-breather look. Which is causing dry, chapped lips. And let’s not forget that your ears are also stuffed up, so you can’t hear a damn thing. So you keep asking them (really you’re shouting because you can’t hear your own self talking) “WHAAAAT?” over and over again in your “sick” voice. Your “sick” voice sounds like the love child of a hungover college frat boy who just woke up, and a 1-900 number adults-only phone operator. 

Yep. That aforementioned description describes this sexy hot mess yours truly. I know, like I tell him everyday, my husband is a rucky, rucky guy. 

And to make matters worse, it’s so freaking hot outside. It’s 105 degrees out. No thank you. I don’t wanna. You know how when you’re sick you just want to lay on the couch in sweatpants with your favorite blanket? Yeah, I would like to do that too. Instead I have to opt for boxer shorts, a tank top and cool washcloths while laying directly in front of the air conditioner. At this point I don’t know what I want to go away first, the heat or this stupid cold. It’s a toss-up, really. 

And when I get sick, I need some one or something to blame. Was it the gross shopping cart handle at Target? Nah, I use those disinfectant wipes on the handle. Could it be from the weights at the gym? Possibly, but I always use antibacterial gel and/or wash my hands after I use them. Could it be that Big Brother is now in kindergarten and he and his fellow classmates all convened at the lunch table, pooled together all the germs they could muster, then packed them in their lunchboxes to bring home to their unsuspecting moms? Likely, very likely. I think we’re getting warmer. Or could it be from cute, blonde Little Brother who visits Kids Club daily while I’m teaching my classes? Could he have caught some other toddler’s yuckiness, let it live dormant in his body, and then pass it on to me that magical moment when he sneezed in my face while I just happened to have my mouth open? Ding, ding, ding. I think we might have a winner. 

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Conclusion: No matter how cute they are, kids are gross. 

So now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go search Craigslist and see if there’s any low-budget horror film looking for stay-at-home-mom zombies. I think I’m exactly what they’re looking for, mouth breathing and all. Good thing I live in LA. And good thing Halloween’s coming. 

Also, I have to go take another round of these

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Stay healthy, my friends. 

Posted by: OHgalinSoCal | August 29, 2013

Let’s Talk Moves

Happy Thursday! 

It’s good to be back! My internet is back up and running after being down for a couple days, and it looks like we are getting into the groove of kindergarten. 

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And since it’s been a while, we’re going to talk about moving and grooving those bodies. And not in that uncomfortable Miley Cyrus twerking way. I think I’m still washing my eyeballs after seeing that mess. 

We’re talking working out. Exercising. Gettin’ your sweat on. 

Yesterday, I went for a 3 mile run around the Rose Bowl. While pushing my little blonde cutie in the jogging stroller. At 9:30am. In 88 degree heat. Friends, I’m not going to lie, it was kind of a struggle. I don’t do well in heat. But right when I was feeling all whiny and in “I want to quit and go get froyo” mode, I saw another mama running with her jogging stroller. Also in the same 88 degree heat. But her jogging stroller had THREE little blonde cuties in it. Yep. Her rockstar self was chugging along with her triplets. So I sucked-it-up-buttercup, told that mama she was ah-mazing and finished my hot, sweaty run feeling a bit humbled. 

After that I took my Little Bit (my term of endearment for him since he’s so tiny) to the park to play. Playing at the park with your kids is a great way to sneak in a little exercise. We were climbing the ladder to the slide, climbing the stairs up into the play structure, crossing the monkey bars and even crawling through the little maze that’s under the play structure. I may or may not have hit my head while doing this. He was having fun, I was having fun, it was a good time had by all. Minus the head bumping part. 

Even with all the outdoor activities, I still wasn’t done yet. During my little guy’s nap time, and while catching up on my DVR’ed episodes of Real Housewives of New Jersey (don’t judge), I did 3 rounds of 10 exercises. 

It looked like this:

  1. 50 Jumping Jacks
  2. 25 Squats
  3. 1 minute Plank
  4. 30 Alternating Forward Lunges (15/leg)
  5. 10 Push-ups
  6. 20 Jump Squats
  7. 15 Chair Dips
  8. 50 Bicycle Abs
  9. 30 Alternating Reverse Lunges (15/leg)
  10. Side Plank (30 seconds/side)

I took a one minute break between each round, and repeated it 3 times. I would have done it a 4th time, but my little one decided it was time to wake up from nap. 

It was a full body workout that got my heart pumping, and I had fun doing it. You can do as many, or as few rounds as you feel up for, or your time allots.

You can do this at home, at the gym, or even in your office. Well, I guess as long as you have a private office. Unless of course you want to get your cubicle mates to join you, that could be fun!  

The only equipment required is a chair, bench, ottoman or even the foot of your bed for the tricep dips. 

You can do this rocking out to music, watching your favorite trash TV, while you’re waiting on hold for the Psychic Friends Network to take your call or first thing in the morning to get your day jumpstarted. 

Give it a try, and let me know how you did. Happy Working Out! 

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Posted by: OHgalinSoCal | August 20, 2013

Big K for My Big Kid

Hello everybody! How are you all doing? 

So we’ve have been a bit busy in my house. We’ve been experiencing some changes. 

My husband has been really busy with work. I’ve been subbing and picking up extra classes in addition to my own, so I’ve been really busy at work. Little Brother has been busy acting like a 2 year old. And Big Brother, well he’s been busy too. 

Friends, Big Brother has started KINDERGARTEN! Yikes! He’s in the big leagues now. He now goes to school all day. From 8:40am-3:10pm. All.Day. Monday through Friday! It’s crazy! 

This is not only an adjustment for him, but for me as well. My first born baby boy is not with me for majority of the day. In his five and a half years of existence, this is the first time we’ve been apart for that long of a duration. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been having a bit of a tough time with it. I miss him. I miss eating lunch with him everyday. I miss reading him books before naptime. My house just seems so quiet now that it’s just Little Brother and me. 

Dang it you guys, why do they grow up so fast?! 

So I’m sure it’s going to come as no surprise when I tell you that I cried on the first day of Kindergarten…….three times. Yep. I think it’s funny how I didn’t shed one tear when I started kindergarten as a kid, but I was all emotional and sappy all day on my kid’s first day of kindergarten! 

I mean look at him, he’s so big. Already! 

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First Day of Kindergarten

We’re are all getting used to this new schedule of ours. Things have been shifted- lunch times, nap time, bedtimes, and even playtimes. Instead of going to the park in the late morning before lunch, we now have to go in the late afternoon before dinner.

But we’re all getting into our little groove of things. Once things settle down, and we feel like we’re settling into a sense of “normal” (whatever that means for the moment), then I’ll get back into a regular scheduled program of blogging. I’ve been a little sporadic with it lately, but I’m sure you understand, getting Big Brother ready and adjusted to a new routine, new teacher and new friends has been my priority.

I’ve got some fun stuff coming up, though. I have to finish my highlights and review of my Toledo trip. I have some book reports from my summer reading. I have some food porn new recipes to share with you. Of course being a fitness instructor, I have some workouts to tell you about. And last but not least, we have our summer bucket list to talk about. Plus all kinds of other randomness that I’m sure will pop up! 

Merry Back to School Season! 

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Is Back to School season happening in your house? And if so, who’s going back to school, you or your kids? Or both? DId you cry the first day of kindergarten?

Posted by: OHgalinSoCal | August 13, 2013

The Adventure of LAX——>DTW

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Patiently waiting to board the plane

In case you missed my last post, I did a photo recap of my trip back home to Toledo. Now it’s time to start filling in the stories. First up, the airport story. Yes, there is one. Getting to Toledo was quite the adventure.

Now that Little Brother is 2 and we have to pay for his seat, I booked my first direct flight to Detroit since moving out here. I used to like to have a layover mid-way to get off the plane, let the little one(s) run around, grab a bite to eat, change diapers, etc.

But since I wasn’t going to have a small child camped out on my lap the entire time, I thought let’s just get there without stopping.

Our flight was at 9am. Which means to avoid sitting in crazy L.A. traffic for forever and a day, we left our house at 6:15am. Avoiding traffic, we got to LAX at 7am.

Before we left the house I checked our flight status- on time. After we got to the airport and checked-in/did baggage drop, I confirmed the status again- on time. I got myself and the boys through security, walked to our gate (the first one after security check), and in those 5 minutes, the flight status changed- delayed 2 hours. *sigh*

I called the Husband and then my parents to let everyone know we’d be hanging out at the airport longer than expected. I got myself a coffee and the boys a blueberry muffin to share, found an empty gate and let them run around.

Our flight ended up getting delayed 4 1/2 hours. I booked a direct flight thinking it would make our travel day shorter, it’d be easier on the boys and we would get into Detroit at a decent time (original arrival time was 4:20pm eastern time). Yeah……not so much. We ended up having a 12+ hour travel day between the drive to LAX, the airport and flight time, then the drive from Detroit to Toledo.

Through it all, my little buddies were troupers. They were no tantrums or meltdowns, from them or me!

I bought overpriced coffee (for me), snacks (for them), and little toys (again for them) from the giftshop that was located by our gate. Then found an empty gate that wasn’t being used a few down from ours, set up camp, and let them run and play. Heck, at that time we had been at LAX for 4 hours, had another couple hours to go, and then a 5 hour flight. Run it off kids, run it off.

That was when we experienced a little hiccup. In the form of a tall, handsome, 50-something year old man dressed in a suit, armed with his laptop. He came, grabbed a seat and went to work on the laptop right across from where the boys and I had set up our fishy-cracker, granola bar and Hot Wheels camp. Mind you, at that moment, the boys and I were the only people using the empty Gate A11. There were plenty of other open rows of seats to choose. But he chose the one right across from us.

Now Mister, what exactly do you expect when you set up shop by a woman traveling with two small children? Friends, can you see where this is going?

My little buddies were having a jolly ol’ time playing with their new airport toys, and running around playing tag. While they were laughing and playing together, they weren’t yelling, screaming or crying. They reserve that behavior for home. They also weren’t touching anything or anyone. They were keeping to themselves, while playing and having a good time. All the while being trapped inside LAX waiting for Delta, Delta, Delta to get us on a dang flight to Detroit. In other words, they were being kids.

Now Mr. Suit on the Laptop apparently had enough of this childish behavior, and started to berate me over my  little (they’re 5 and 2) kids playing. He went into a tangent telling me my kids were “out of control”, “being absolutely ridiculous”, “were so disruptive”, and he couldn’t believe I was letting them behave this way.

My jaw hit the floor. I was dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to say.

Now if you know anything about me and my parenting style, I am a strict, yet loving, no-nonsense kind of mom. I have zero tolerance for misbehavior from my children, especially in public. So please believe me when I tell you my kids were not doing anything wrong. As a matter of fact, it was making my heart burst with pride and love to see them playing so nicely together, and behaving so well considering our delayed flight circumstance.

All I could stammer out was an “excuuuuusssse meeeee?!”. He followed up with, “Don’t you think this behavior is ridiculous?”

I could feel my Irish/Italian blood start to boil. My response, “No. No, I don’t. They’re little kids. We’ve been at this airport over 4 hours because our flight keeps getting delayed. At this point we have no idea when we’re going to leave, and we still have a 5 hour plane ride and 45 minute car ride to get through. So NO, I don’t think them playing and running around is being ridiculous. I think they’re having fun and that makes me happy considering how they could be behaving in this type of unexpected circumstance. And we were here first. If you wanted a quiet place to work, you shouldn’t have chosen a seat right next to a mother traveling with two little boys.”

He then had the audacity to look me square in the face and say, “Well, I still have a 5 hour plane ride to get through as well, and you don’t see me running around acting like that.”

Friends, this is what was going on inside my head:

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Instead, I pointed out to him, “Yes, but you are a grown man. You are used to sitting still that long. In case you haven’t noticed, they are just little kids!”.

At that point, my Grandma Z up in Heaven must have sent me a little help. I hadn’t noticed but there was another 50-something year old man who grabbed a seat a couple rows down from us. He jumped up out of his seat, yelling “Is there a problem here?!”. He startled me speechless.

Mr. Suit must have thought this kind sir was coming to his aid. He looks at this short statured, baseball hat clad man and says, “Yes, there is a problem. Look how she’s letting these children behave. It’s ridiculous!” (he very clearly enjoys the word “ridiculous”). Mr. Baseball Hat looks at me then at Mr. Suit. He angrily points his finger in Mr. Suit’s face and states, “No, you’re the problem! If you don’t enjoy children at play then maybe you should get up and leave!”. Whoa.

Once again, my jaw hit the floor. I mouthed my airport knight in shining armor a “thank you”. He looked at me, shook his head and loudly announced, “Some people were never kids. And personally, I’m enjoying and am quite entertained by their company (pointing at my boys)”.

Thank you Grandma for sending the nice man who stuck up for me against the mean man who was rude to my kids. 

Lesson here, please be nice to mothers traveling with little kids, especially if they’re traveling without back-up their spouse. You have no idea how the day may be going for them and their children. And believe me when I tell you that no one is more stressed out about the traveling with kid thing, than the mom is! We have to make sure we have every last bit of kit and caboodle packed (books, crayons, toys, dvd player, favorite blanket, etc.), everyone has gone potty, there are plenty of airplane friendly snacks, and they don’t disrupt those sitting around us. How I don’t need a Xanax every time I travel still marvels me. Maybe it’s because I started traveling with my kids when they were both really little. Big Brother was 8 weeks old his first cross-country flight, and Little Brother was 5 months old. We’re all old pros. : )

Once we all recovered from Mr. Suit’s rudeness, I decided it was time to take another trip to the restroom, use our $6 meal vouchers Delta gave us for the inconvenience, and camp out at our own gate in hopes of soon getting on a plane.

And for the record, Delta can we please not call those $6 vouchers “meal vouchers”. They’re more like snack credits. There is absolute NO WHERE in LAX or any airport for that matter, where you can get a meal for $6. You can’t get a bottle of Dasani and pack of M&M’s for $6.

So finally at 1:30pm (California time), after hours of delays, a good chunk of change spent on coffee, snacks and toys, running around, getting yelled at by Mr. Suit, and numerous trips to the restrooms, we finally, finally boarded our flight.

We got all situated, met our friendly flight attendants, and thank goodness, had a smooth, uneventful 5 hour ride to Detroit. The boys must have worn themselves out doing all that running around. : )

After all that jazz, we made it to Detroit. My little buddies couldn’t wait to get off the airplane and greet Grandma and Papa at baggage claim.

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Little Brother helping Big Brother with his carry-on.

And I honestly believe one of the most beautiful things to witness is an airport reunion between grandchildren and their grandparents. (I might be a bit biased since their my children and my parents)

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Big hugs and kisses from Grandma & Papa.

After our adventures at LAX and our long day of travel, it all was forgotten as soon as we saw my parents. On the car ride from Detroit to Toledo, the boys slumbered in the car as I re-capped the day’s events for my parents and we laughed about it.

Then we got back their house, made ourselves comfortable, and the boys got right down to business.

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Reunited with the toys at Grandma & Papa’s house.

Play time at Grandma & Papa’s house.

Do you have any airport adventure stories? If you have kids, do you travel with them? If so, what’s your best piece of traveling advice for other parents? 

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