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Is Chocolate Keeping Me From The Life I Want?

Recently I’ve made some big changes. Most of the summer I was pretty sedentary. I went from working on my feet most days to chilling with the kids, driving them to places, sitting, and doing housework. I tried to work in some swimming with them and some dancing, but for most of the summer I didn’t do a lot of exercise.

Since August 3rd, I’ve started walking. I’ve logged 33.5 miles in the 11 days I’ve walked.

Since August 1st, I’ve cut gluten out of my diet, in hopes that it’ll help my thyroid issues.

I’ve been eating fairly healthily since then. No late night Cheez-its. No mindless snacking on pretzels during the day. No bread. No pasta. No flour tortillas. No cookies. No pancakes, brownies, sandwiches, muffins… none of my husband’s homemade buttermilk biscuits.

My husband said to me “You’ll lose weight without gluten!”

You’d think so, right?

You’d think that between cutting out gluten AND walking 3-4 miles several times a week that I’d at LEAST lose a pound or two.

Nope.

I understand you, Betty.

I understand you, Betty.

I don’t get it. My only vice right now is chocolate. I eat it every day.

Is that enough to KEEP me from losing weight?

Is that enough to screw with my metabolism?

I think I’m going to have to give up chocolate – at least for now.

What’s weird is I’ve had NO problem giving up Gluten. Maybe it’s because I am doing it for my health, not to lose weight.

Maybe if I have a legitimate health issue, I can give up chocolate.

I do wonder if I gave up chocolate (and maybe even sugar), would my headaches disappear? Would I feel less sluggish? Would I sleep better? Would I lose weight?

Or would I just look like this all the time?

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Any opinions? Any first hand knowledge you’d like to share?

~Genevieve

 

Is It THAT Time Already?

School, glorious school. It’s already back to school time. It’s AUGUST 18th. Are you serious, school district?!?!

When I was a kid, we didn’t go to school until the day after Labor Day. We got out of school around mid-June. This seemed like a perfect situation – at least when I was a kid.

2 of my brothers and me on the first day of school, circa 1980.

2 of my brothers and me on the first day of school, circa 1980.

Just 5 years ago, my kids were starting school – not just in September, but – mid-September.

Now, we go back in August. My first question is… why? Someone told me that it’s so we stay on the same schedule as colleges. COLLEGES. Really?

The UC system starts September 29th.

Cal State classes start anywhere from 8/19 – 9/25.

Stanford starts end of September.

Harvard starts September 2.

Cal Tech starts September 29.

MIT starts September 3.

So, I’m not totally convinced this is why they’re starting us so early.

Is it so we can go on vacation and hit theme parks before the summer rush?

 

Disneyworld

Disneyworld

Doubtful.

Is it because they want to make sure the kids are in nice air-conditioned classrooms when it’s so hot?

Not likely.

I’m not entirely sure why.

What I am sure of is that true summer isn’t over for another month and change. What I am sure of is it feels wrong to be in school when it’s weeks before labor day and you’re not a year-round school. What I am sure of is it’s harder and harder to be a kid these days, and starting school in the middle of summer isn’t the best way to help that.

The upside is that we haven’t increased our school year by number of days in school. At least in California, the length of the school year has been 180 days since the 60s. I suppose it’s just the early start that bums me out – it’s still summer.

Nevertheless, here are my kids on their first day this week. Fortunately, the first few days have gone really well. They’re all glad to be back with friends and they all like their teachers. Here’s to another year in the books!

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Why blog?

Why do people blog? Is it to share information? To connect with other people? To have a platform for practicing your writing? To hear yourself think?

I started blogging when my kids were little, partly so I could remember the cute things they did, partly to share parenting stories with other parents, partly to share these moments with friends and family. Here’s an excerpt from my first blog post in 2004:

“Despite making his sister a bird, he is patient, shares everything, and is very attentive with his sister. He lets her play with his most prized possessions, holds her hand, plays “Ashes Ashes” and runs around the house with her, laughing their heads off. I have to remember this when they’re teenagers, fighting over the phone or the car or the bathroom.”

I do have to say that although at least 50% of the time they argue, the other 50% is pretty good… so far, anyway. :)

this is a face that mostly her brother and I get to see. :P

this is a face that mostly her brother and I get to see. :P

In that first blog I talk a lot about not only the cute stuff, but the minutia. The day to day of parenting, the adjustment to parenting two children, the trials of dealing with other moms who sometimes think they know best, or tell you outright what you’re doing isn’t as good as what someone else is doing. (No, I no longer subject myself to people like that.) The blog moved to topics of recovering from a scary visit to the hospital and adjusting to mothering 3 children, things I’m thankful for, and post-baby bodies.

 I was posting about my WW progress after having Maddie. Look at my camera! lol

I was posting about my WW progress after having Maddie. Look at my camera! lol

I left that blog and started a new one mostly for grandparents to check in on the kids without needing to read about my own trials and tribulations. At some point, I started blogging about knitting. Then I blogged about current events and did a “week in pictures” section, and a section where I’d review local places to take the kids.

milestones, like first sports teams

milestones, like first sports teams

I like to connect with people. In a world where we are all on our cell phones and hardly talk anymore, I often feel like the computer is the only real connection I get with most people. This makes me sad. When I’m actually in the company of other parents at school, I really enjoy it. I like talking to people – I’m an extrovert by nature – but I rarely see anyone over the summer. I hear about other people’s meals, outings, and even vacations with each other and can’t help but feel… unconnected. I know it’s something within myself that needs to reach out more, but if you aren’t sure the people you’re reaching out to will respond, it’s hard to make that first move.

I don’t pretend to think that everything I say is so important everyone should read it. I like to write and relate to people. If someone out there can relate to something I write, that’s great! If I can give someone some encouragement, or some ideas for taking the family on an outing, or review a product, or introduce them to a new tradition, then I feel my “job” as a blogger is done.

~Genevieve

 

What do YOU blog about? Why do you blog?

Mork Calling Orson

The first time I ever saw Robin Williams, he was in Milwaukee, Wisconson in the middle of Richie Cunningham’s house.

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I was 8. I thought it was HILARIOUS when he sat in the chair on his head with his butt up in the air.

When he got his own show, I was all in!

Iconic

Mork was an innocent, well-meaning, sweet alien who always had a message in his calls to Orson, his superior. He portrayed Mork in such a real way without making him seem stupid.

Over the next few decades, I saw a lot of Robin Williams’s movies. I saw Popeye, Good Morning Vietnam, and Dead Poet’s Society. I’ve been wanting to rewatch the latter for some time now. I loved him in that. I loved how he inspired all those students. Perhaps it’s the teacher in me. Perhaps it’s the human in me. Either way, he was amazing.

Oh Captain my Captain

O Captain! My Captain!

I saw Awakenings, Dead Again, Hook. I saw Aladdin.

I loved him in Aladdin. Loved. But it wasn’t until at least 10-12 years later that I really, really got to know that character. My son embraced Aladdin when he was 2 or 3. He loved everything about that movie, and the genie was just mesmerizing. It was wonderful to get to revisit that character, not only through my own eyes, but through the eyes of my child.

Mrs. Doubtfire, The Birdcage, Jack, Father’s Day, Flubber. And then came Good Will Hunting. Such a wonderful performance. I was so happy when he won the Oscar.

Patch Adams, Robots, Happy Feet, and Night at the Museum. There couldn’t be a better Teddy Roosevelt!

Sadly, I didn’t see most of his recent work. When you have kids, you miss a lot of movies. Sometimes, however, you see an older movie years after it’s made and it touches you. What Dreams May Come was probably one of the most depressing movies I’ve ever seen. I cried so hard. He broke my heart in that movie.

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I’ve heard news of many celebrity deaths throughout my life. Sometimes I’m shocked. Sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I’m really sad. Sometimes it makes me shake my head.

The death of Robin Williams yesterday hit me harder than most celebrity deaths. At first it was shock. Then sadness. Then I saw this picture one of my friends posted and I started crying. I’ve had several crying jags since then.

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Robin Williams brought a lot of joy and inspiration to the world. He showed that he could be brilliantly ridiculous and ridiculously brilliant. He brought a real depth to all his characters – whether it was John Keating or Mork from Ork.

And this brilliant man had a sadness that was so deep, most people can’t imagine. So many of us were so shocked because how could someone so brilliant and so funny and full of energy and life be so sad that he felt that was his only way out?

I’ve struggled with depression at different points in my life. I’ve even had fleeting thoughts that people would be happier without me being here. But I never once thought that I truly had no other option than to end things.

And then I came close to death after my youngest was born. When I came out the other side, I truly, truly was thankful I was still here, and I realized how my life did affect other people. It’s something I hold onto, even on my bad days.

I can’t imagine how his family feels, but I can only assume it’s what we all feel times 1000.

Good Night, Robin. You will be missed. <3

~Genevieve

Week In Pictures – Sun, Sand, Suspense, and Legos

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Getting indoor exercise on a hot day – Just Dance

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Introduced the kids to one of our favorite movies – Rear Window

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Our car

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At the beach, we found what the kids said was “our car’s less geeky twin.”

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The glorious Pacific Ocean.

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It’s been far too long since we frolicked on the beach.

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I love this kid – and his dimples.

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These two are at each other’s throats so much these days, it was lovely to see them get along all day!

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The only bummer about going to the beach is the traffic coming home.

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We watched this in 2 parts. I just love Edith Head and her amazing costuming on the lovely Grace Kelly.

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Daddy took a day off and we headed down to Legoland.

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The Star Wars Miniland is really fantastic!

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It’s the details.

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One of our favorite places – the Hollywood Bowl

The same thing, only 8 years ago.

The same thing, only 8 years ago.

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The closest my kids have been to New York – me, too.

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Apparently there were whales in the water at Skipper School.

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Lego wolves

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Visiting the set of “The Lego Movie”

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You know me and Fairy Tales…

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Some kids are better at humoring Mom than others.

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We stayed with my parents and they introduced us to a place called EAT, that caters to Paleo and Gluten-Free diets. This was delicious.

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Yarn-bombing in Temecula.

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We stopped at the Farmers Market, where I bought myself a pendant made from a typewriter key.

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Said pendant, with said typewriter key.

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Dad and Mad

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My three sunkissed babes.

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We finished the week with some sushi and some School of Rock.

We have ONE. MORE. WEEK. before school is back. I’m sad. We’re going to try to cram a few more fun things in this week… I can’t believe it’s already time to go back to school…

How was your week? What are you doing to get the last bits from summer?

~Genevieve

Checking In – Has My Epiphany Changed My Life?

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Most years, people make New Year’s resolutions, and never revisit them again. Most years I try to make a few and fail. Some years I decide that they’re not worth making. This year I didn’t so much make resolutions, but rather realized that there are things about my life that need to change and improve.

7 months ago I posted about changing my life for the better in THIS post.

I said that these things are what I need to work on in order to feel better. I’m going to do this like a progress report and give myself a grade.

Get more sleep – 5-6 hours isn’t cutting it for me – 

In the last month, I have gotten an average of 5.9 hours of sleep. This definitely isn’t okay. I did get a few nights of 7 hours and a few of 6.5, but I’ve had some insomnia and am clearly not getting enough. I give myself a D.

Drink more water.

I have been trying to get more water, though I haven’t been keeping good track of it. I’ll give myself a C.

Eat better.

My meals are better. My snacks are chocolate. Since I’ve started cutting out gluten, I think I’ve been eating better, but overall, I still need improvement. C.

Organize my life.

I have worked very hard to organize my house in the last month. My house looks better, I’m keeping better track of things, and in the last week, I’ve gotten back to regular exercise. I’m giving myself a B, only because I strive for an A+ and I know I’m not there yet.

Get regular exercise – this is huge. I think if I could carve out at LEAST 30 minutes a day to get physical it would make at least a little bit of difference.

Finally, last week I had had it and started up again. Since Friday of last week, I’ve clocked 17 miles walked through the hills of my neighborhood and isometric exercises at home and with small weights. If I can manage to get to bed earlier, I can get up earlier and continue this even while I’m working. I give myself a B again, because I’ve gotten a great start, but have a long way to go to keep it up.

The first steps on my walk last Friday. The first steps are the most important?

The first steps on my walk last Friday. The first steps are the most important?

Learn to Meditate – a friend of mine tells me she used to have headaches all the time til she learned to meditate. I’m not sure where I go to do this, but I think it’s something that would be good for me for all aspects of life.

The closest I’ve come to meditating is yesterday at the beach. :P I suppose I get a D on this, since I haven’t really made progress.

My view yesterday. So peaceful.

My view yesterday. So peaceful.

 

Overall GPA in self-improvement? 2.0. Yikes. If my kids brought home grades like this, I’d be very disappointed, because I KNOW THEY CAN DO BETTER.

 

So, I’ll keep plugging away. I do feel like I’m more motivated than I’ve been in YEARS, so this is something that can help me. I’ll check back in a few weeks and see if anything’s changed (hopefully the answer will be yes).

 

How about you? Did you make any resolutions? How are you doing?

~Genevieve

 

 

What Does Your House Say About You?

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When I was a kid, I lived in a tract. If you lived in Orange County, California, this will sound familiar. All of the houses resemble each other. There are maybe 5 or 6 models (some simply the same floor plan, mirrored) in several streets in the same little area.

An aerial shot of my old neighborhood.

An aerial shot of my old neighborhood.

Our current house was built in 1949, as were many of the houses in this neighborhood. There are stamps on the concrete sidewalk that establish that as well. Apparently an architect named Edward Fickett (according to Wikipedia) designed most of the homes in this area. While a lot of them look like 50s style Ranch houses, they don’t seem quite as cookie cutter as tract homes are these days. Perhaps it just doesn’t seem like it, since they’re older homes and people have most likely remodeled them over the years. While this sets the homes slightly more apart than a typical tract, the homes are still fairly homogenized. It’s hard to find too many homes in our immediate neighborhood that have a real personality. Our house, being a ranch house among a sea of ranch homes, has a few little touches. Like red trim. Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 3.10.59 PM   We also traded in our dying grass for native plants. I hope that says to passersby that we’re at least a little fun, and maybe conservation-conscious. Regardless how similar a lot of the homes are, I just need to walk up the street to find all kinds of home styles. Here are some of them I’ve seen on my morning walks this week. I wonder what the styles of the homes say about who lives inside the walls…

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Longing for the East Coast? Or the beach, perhaps…

 

Pretty cool 1960s modern. I imagine they are hip people who enjoy a lot of light - look at those great windows!

Pretty cool 1960s modern. I imagine they are hip people who enjoy a lot of light – look at those great windows!

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Fans of Colonial tradition, maybe.

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“Brady Style” – maybe the dad (or mom) is an architect and they’ve got a ton of kids.

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1920s Art-Deco – Someone who likes the old school version of modern homes?

Asian-inspired?

Asian-inspired – perhaps these folks are serene.

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Arts & Crafts traditional yet fun

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Spanish – perhaps they long for vacations in Spain, complete with Sangria.

and of course… good old fashioned 1950s Ranch.

I like the vines on this one.

Us Ranch homes have to stick together… we get a bad rap.

What kind of neighborhood do you live in? What does your house say about you? ~Genevieve

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