Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day 3 of Insanity

Day 3 (last night) was horrible.  I stuck with the cardio the entire time, but then there were a lot of moves that involved being in push-up position.  My shoes were dusty from the garage, so I kept slipping everywhere.  I found it horribly frustrating and was super pissy afterward.  Travis really wants me to stick with this (I'm trying not to take it personally) so he took the time to mop the garage.  Ha!  He would have just hosed it out, but it would have required moving all Aiden's toys out of the way.  Mopping was quicker.  

Giving Day 4 a try!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


So sad I can't stand it.

My Foray into Insanity

I wasn't going to admit to this, but Travis and I have started the Insanity workout.  Here's the thing - I've never been one for exercise.  Every once in a while, I feel guilty about my inactivity and start some sort of a workout (jogging, walking with friends at lunch, going to the gym, etc).  It's usually short lived because I despise it so much.  In the past, I have had people offer to loan me the Insanity or P90X disks.  I was always quick to say 'no thanks!'  This time, Travis got a hold of a set on his own, so there's no avoiding it.  

I don't usually talk about exercising because I hate telling people that I'm doing it, only to quit a month later and have to admit it.  This time I've decided to talk about it.  Though make no mistake, my goal at this point is to make it three days.  We have two days down, so if I can make it through tonight, I'll have made my goal.  If I'm still into it, I will lengthen my goal periodically.  

The workout involves a lot of movement.  Our living room is fairly small and has hardwood floors, so all our jumping would probably shake the house and disturb the kids.  So Travis set up a TV and DVD player out in the garage.  An additional bonus is the cold concrete so I can pass out on the chilled floor whenever I feel like I'm going to overheat.

The first night was just the fit test.  You have a minute of some exercise you do repeatedly, then a minute of rest to drink water and write down how many you were able to do.  We are supposed to do this every two weeks so we can see how much we are improving for motivation.  It was ridiculous.  I was like, "This is just a test??  It's not even the workout??  I'm DYING."  I made it through each workout and wrote down my numbers as we went.  Travis on the other hand, was going bat shit crazy and couldn't even keep his head straight enough to count.  Sooooo he has no baseline to go from.

We brought the baby monitor out to the garage with us, but we can't really hear if Aiden gets out of bed.  The next morning we found out he had wet the bed.  When we asked him why he didn't go to the bathroom like he always does and he said he tried to tell us, but we were hiding from him.  I guess he tried to come out while we were in the garage.  I felt horrible.  But then I remembered he had snuck out of his room to get a toy that was in our room and fell asleep with it (caught red-handed).  He has no problem sneaking out for toys, but not to use the toilet.  Not sure what that was about.

The second night (last night), we showed him how to call for us through the baby monitor.  We went through our normal routine and had him go pee before bed (like always) and then we headed out to the garage.  15 minutes into our workout (cardio and plyometrics) and was calling for me through the baby monitor.  I went inside and brought him to the bathroom so he could take care of the few drops he mustered up, then sent him back to bed.  The whole time I did high knees and butt kicks outside the bathroom door while I coached him to hurry.  

I think the second night was harder.  Travis thought it was easier.  I think he just learned to pace himself a bit.  I honestly couldn't keep up for the last 8 minutes.  I half did what was asked of me, but I knew if I got down in the high plank position one more time, my arms would give out and I'd have to explain a bruised chin at work today.

The beginning of the workout is okay.  I want to die by the end of it and afterward I feel faint and honestly a little pissed.  I don't know why all the people on the video are smiling, yelling and high-fiving.  I wanted to high five Travis in the face when he lifted his hand for our own celebration.  Outside of that, I don't mind it.  I'm sore today and honestly I like it.  The workouts are about 45 minutes long and it's in my garage which means my travel time (as opposed to driving to a gym) is amazing.  I hate that my only free time is now filled, but it seems to be a good exchange.  Now let's see how long I can do this...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Internal Battle

Last night I stopped at Walmart on my way home from work to pick up some items we desperately need for the week.  As I was walking through the store, I was sucked into the Mardi Gras display since we are going to the parades on Saturday.  Every year we go up to the Seawall in Galveston and hang out at our friend's RV.  There are other kids around so Aiden is entertained and of course there's lots of food and drinks.  Back to my trip to Walmart... I was checking out the random things you pretty much use once, then discard.  I  picked out a few items, mostly entertainment for the kids, and continued on my way.

At the checkout, I was standing in line and noticed the cashier.  He was over 6 feet, heavy set, balding, but with long, stringy hair.  My first instinct was, EEK!  Serial killer!  I quickly felt guilty because I do not know this man.  He might be a really great guy for all I know.  I loaded my groceries on the belt and stood in front of him while he rang everything up.  When I got closer, I realized his hair was stringy because he was sweating profusely.  Droplets were beading at his head, falling down the strands and landing on his shirt.  I had a little ick factor about the fact that some drops made their way to my reusable grocery bags.  He started to make some small talk about loading the bags and he seemed to be genuinely sweet.  I felt horrible about my initial reaction towards him.

Then he starts ringing up my Mardi Gras gear: shirts for the kids, stick on mustaches, a headband, light-up glasses.  

He said, "Oh ya.  Mardi Gras."  

I said, "Ya!  It really snuck up on me!  I totally forgot about it until my friends mentioned it a week ago."

"Ya, well, personally I think any city that celebrates Mardi Gras is similar to Sodom and Gomorrah."

Blink, blink.  "Really?  You think it's all bad, all the time?"

"Well, no.  God said if there is even one good soul left in the city, then it is worth saving.  But cities like New Orleans, it sounds like it's year round there, so..."

"Huh.  Well, that does sound sad..."  Give me my receipt, give me my receipt, give me my receipt...

He hands me my receipt, I give the woman behind me in line wide eyes and make a beeline for the door.

What the heck??  WHY?  Was he so socially awkward that he didn't see how rude he was being?  I was purchasing Mardi Gras items, which means I am probably going to celebrate accordingly.  Otherwise I'm convinced he hates everyone and takes any chance he can to judge and bring down those he thinks are doing wrong.  I'm not a religious person, but I know a few things, so please see here.  I felt a little bad for the guy though.  What was his upbringing that he became so inept at casual conversing? 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Never Again

Whoopsie!  I totally forgot to post about our road trip to Illinois.  It was pretty horrific, so honestly I think I was just trying to block it out for sanity reasons...

The drive TO Illinois wasn't anything extraordinary.  We left the area by 7, after a full day of work.  Ariel, Travis and I were supposed to share the driving responsibilities, but an hour into Ariel's first turn threw that out the window.  She got pulled over because the license plate lights were out on the truck (we had no idea).  She was mugged a while ago and has never gone back to get her license renewed.  I don't really understand why, but that's how it goes.  She's been using her Passport as a photo ID in the meantime.  When the cop pulled up her driver's license on his computer, it turned out her license was expired.  He was really nice and let her off with a warning, but that took her off the drivers list.  Less sleep for Nikki.  We stopped at the first truck stop we passed and bought replacement bulbs so we wouldn't get pulled over again.  The entire trip took us 17.5 hours.  Before kids, the trip took us 16 hours, so I didn't think that was so bad.

The drive back was a horrific nightmare that easily competes with the Hurricane Ike evacuation.  Here's a quick overview of the Ike drive: 4 humans, 3 dogs, 3 cats (One of which was mewling incessantly and peed all over herself.  After the Benedryl she drooled all over her cage as well.)  Two hours into our hungover ride back, all the luggage fell off the roof rack into traffic on the Interstate.  Imagine all the headache/nausea-ridden people chasing down suitcases before a semi ran over it.  Good times.

But this trip may have been worse.  I think it was because it lasted three times as long.  The drive back from Illinois took us 22 hours and here's why:  We left at 5 pm and I was the first to drive.  It was POURING rain, so we had covered the bed (with all our Christmas presents, luggage and Ariel's new moped) of the truck with a giant tarp.  The radar on showed a giant red rain cloud over our entire route.  We decided to change our path so our entire drive would not be in rain.  

Two hours into our trip (still in Illinois), all traffic was being directed off the Interstate.  All of it.  No cars going, no cars coming.  We stopped at a gas station for dinner and to see what was going on.  When we got out of the truck, we noticed the tarp had split in half and all our belongings were soaked.  No tarps for sale at the gas station.  Traffic was being redirected because there had been a hazmat semi accident/chemical spill TWO DAYS PRIOR and they were still cleaning it up.  I remember saying, "Starting this trip off with a bang."  There was no advance warning about what we were supposed to do.  How hard is it to get a road sign out there?  We were redirected onto some tiny two lane road without street lights.  Because it was so late, it was mostly 18-wheelers out on this winding, dark, wet road.  SO SCARY.  Three miles later, we were back on the Interstate headed to the nearest Walmart for a tarp (20 miles away).

It was 45 degrees out and we weren't up for spending the remainder of the trip soaking wet, so Travis picked up some rain ponchos when he got the new tarp.  My hands were numb by the time we got the tattered remains of the old tarp off and the new one on.  That stop took us an hour and a half.  Three hours later we stopped for gas and noticed the second tarp had tore in half as well.  We gave up on it at that point. 

Travis and I took turns driving 50-60 mph in the torrential down pour.  It finally let up when we got to Mississippi.  We made a stop for gas at some point.  Aiden had to use the restroom so I took the time to check Mila's diaper.  At some point unbeknownst to us, she had a complete poopy diaper blowout.  I couldn't believe none of us smelled it.  Maybe it was packed under her well enough we didn't notice?  Maybe we were all too stressed to notice anything aside from the task at hand?  Thankfully I had an extra set of clothes for both kids in the cab of the truck.  I threw Mila's clothes directly into the trash since I knew the stain would set before we made it home.  I didn't want to carry her through the gas station, so she got a bath by baby wipes in the parking lot.  Between cleaning her and her car seat I think I used half a pack of wipes.

Back on the road again... I think it was 7 am when we stopped for breakfast at a Waffle House.  The kids were both awake (Aiden didn't sleep much) and I wanted to give them a chance to stretch their legs.  We had a greasy breakfast, refueled the truck and got back on the road.  About an hour after breakfast, Aiden decided it wasn't sitting well with him and regurgitated the entire meal.  Thankfully he complained first so I had a bag handy, but some of it made it down his front despite our efforts.  Stop #352.  Wipe bath #2.  Hoping there were no more stops for clothing changes or our kids would drive the rest of the way naked.

That was it.  I think.  Travis, Mila and I were all on the tail-end of horrific colds during the drive.  Ariel was on the front-end of her's.  Aiden made it through it all without ever getting it.  We hadn't slept all week because Mila was teething, so she thought waking up between 4 and 5 every morning was necessary.   Needless to say, it was the worst drive of my life.  I was absolutely exhausted and thankful I had taken Monday off from work to unpack and do laundry.  I was hoping to take a nap that day, but of course I didn't.  I took a couple breaks to read though.  

I think, at this point in the kids' lives, the longest road trip we will tackle is 4 hours.  When they get older, perhaps we'll try it again.  I remember taking lots of road trips when I was a kid and I remember them fondly.  Though most of them were in an RV, so we had room to sprawl out.  No different than being stuck inside on a rainy day at home, really.

See why I was blocking it out?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Whirlwind Week in Illinois

This past week we drove to Illinois to celebrate Christmas with our family.  It was easier than previous years because we were able to split up the celebrations so there was one day per family (both our parents are divorced which equates to FOUR Christmases).  In the past, everyone wanted to celebrate ON Christmas Eve or ON Christmas Day.  That meant splitting up the visits into 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours in the evening on both days.  Crazy.  

It's been three years since we were in our hometown.  It was Alex' high school graduation.  Aiden wasn't even a year old yet.  It was strange to see the area.  It has changed so much since we were there last.  Tons of new construction.  It was sort of like playing an old video game.  I had some muscle memory about how to get around, but I couldn't lay out a map of the area in my head.

I spent a couple days with my friend Chrissie, who I miss dearly.  We have been best friends since I was in 3rd grade (she was in 1st).  We both live busy lives filled with work, family and a social life, so we don't spend a lot of time talking on the phone.  What I love about her is we can go months without talking, but when we do find a moment when we are both free to chat it's like no time has past.  Neither of us holds a grudge against the other for being out of touch because we are in the same chaotic boat of life.  It's the same way when we see each other.  We can immediately talk to each other about anything.  No limitations, no judgement.  It's liberating, really.  I hate that we don't get to do that every weekend. 

Thursday night Travis and I left the kids with my dad and went out for dinner and drinks with Alex, his girlfriend Laura, Chrissie and her husband Jordan.  We had SO much fun.  We went to a Mongolian barbeque place called 301 Mongolia in downtown Champaign.  Its a stir fry buffet where you physically pick out what you want (rice vs noodles, veggies, meat, sauce) then hand it to the cook.  The server brings it out to you when you're done.  After dinner we walked down the block to a bar where we drank more wine and played pool.  We skipped over to a pub at some point and tried a few fancy beers.  We finished the night at some greasy diner.  Despite both of us having a terrible cold, we were able to really enjoy ourselves.  It was fabulous.

I will have to post separately about our drive there and back.  For now, here's the rest of the week in photos:

Aiden, Travis, Alex and Callaway played in what little snow they could find.

Grandpa Ken and Mila really hit it off.

Aiden showed everyone his new LeapPad from Gpa.

Gaga and Mila meet.

"Christmas" dinner at Dad's

All bundled up with places to go.

Aiden and his Uncle Sean were best buds.

Damn smokers (Travis is just faking)

Christmas at Gpa's - his place is tiny, but it's homey.

Chistmas at Grandma Carol's - great food and tons of grandchild spoiling.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Nutshell is 5 Years Old

Five years ago today times were very different for me.  If Blogger ever shuts down, I will be very sad to have lost all these archives of my life.  Enough so that I might just look into a way to transfer everything.

Monday, January 14, 2013

If you had 8 hands...

...and then laid on the piano...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Excuse me while I go all dorky on you

Every once in a while you hear about how amazing something is, but it's not readily available.  Why not?  Conspiracy theorists say the government is holding it back because they get money by supporting the alternative we currently use.  Years ago, corn fuel (AKA ethanol) was a good example of this.  Why aren't all cars run on ethanol?  It a renewable energy source and we wouldn't have to rely on foreign countries to get it.  Of course, since then some negative side effects have become known: higher VOC's than gas and it creates more carbon dioxide during combustion.  Trade-offs, I suppose.

Thorium is the new corn fuel.  In the past decade, a lot of research has been conducted to determine if it would be a good replacement for uranium in nuclear reactors.  It's cheaper, more stable and more abundant on Earth.  Read more here if you're interested.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Monday, January 7, 2013

Childhood Games

I used to jump over cracks in the road while I sat in the front seat of the car.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy Holidays!

I haven't had the mental energy to sit down and put my thoughts in any coherent order.  Instead, I will show you some photos from our Christmas break.  We got a new camera that I'm still trying to figure out.  It's not a big fancy Canon SLR like I want someday, but it's still nicer than the last camera we had.  So far I like it!

Mila, at 7 months old
Christmas Eve PJ pic

Stocking goodies!

Auntie Ariel bonding with Mila
There were LOTS of presents from Grandma Brenda and Grandpa Rich!

We spent a lot of time in front of the TV watching Christmas movies.  It was guiltless and wonderful.

Matching shirts on New Year's Eve with Zach, Linsey, the kids and Michelle.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Zombies on the Brain

Why do I look at these photos and think of zombies?