Tuesday, May 29, 2012


It's been about a week since I started on my new health plan. I've been doing well with my eating, and I'm working on incorporating exercise. 

Here are some things I've learned so far:

1. After keeping track of my food intake, I totally understand how I gained a few pounds over the past few months. If I stick to my regular meals and snacks, I'm generally okay. But, lately, I've been snacking excessively before and after dinner. That combined with what I was snacking on (usually cheese, crackers, and salami), greatly increased my caloric intake pretty much every day. This is the same with adding a brownie to my lunch or grabbing a bag of chips and a pop for a movie snack. It all adds up quickly. I really have to moderate myself when it comes to such treats.

2. For this to work, it has to be a combo of eating well and exercise. Adding exercise will be harder, though, because it takes time (I was already spending time on eating!). I'm very excited about my kayaking lessons, and hope that it will motivate me to get fit. I also took my bike in for a tune-up, but I won't get it back until the end of this week. Plus, when I exercise, it means I can eat more!

3. Doing light weight exercises for my shoulders, back, and chest has helped already! I do a circuit which takes a whole 5 minutes each morning, and I haven't had nearly as much pain as the past few weeks. 

4. Making substitutions will be key. I have peanut butter on my toast in the morning. Instead of chunky, I bought whipped, which is 30 calories less per tablespoon. Instead of eating canned peaches in juice, I've switched to canned peaches in water, saving 20 calories per serving. It sounds like nothing individually, but the differences adds up. I'm all about finding ways to eat more but take in less calories :)

5. My lifestyle change is rubbing off - DH is also starting to become more conscious of what he's eating.

We bought a new scale that measures BMI, body fat %, etc., so it will be nice to have other numbers besides weight to keep track of. Unfortunately, this scale adds about 5 pounds to what our old scale says.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Safe (For Now)

A few weeks back, I wrote about how my job may be in jeopardy because of federal budget cuts in Canada. A couple days after that, we heard through the grapevine that our grant was not going to be paid out for its final year (we still haven't received an official letter, to which they are contractually obligated to provide - but that whole side of things will be the subject of a future post).

My bosses assured me that they would do all they could to keep me on board and, in the meantime, they would be able to guarantee me a job until the end of the summer in some capacity. They lobbied various uppers at the university for weeks, but I also began to look at job postings and put together a couple applications for teaching positions. 

Finally, after weeks of living in the unknown, we got word from the Faculty of Science that they are willing to pay my salary through the end of the contract we had with the CSA (March 31, 2013). My role may change slightly, and it still leaves us with the problem of finding funding for after that date, but I'm happy to still have the job I love and it gives us time to seek out other funding options.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Circle of Mystery

Over the past few weeks, five shirts have been ruined by a mysterious circle, or circular object. This includes two of DH's shirts and three of my own. Luckily they are all "at home" shirts, and nothing we care about too much.

But, we can't for the life of us figure out what is causing the circles.  It's like we have our own private crop circle mystery. 

The stain has no color, but does not come out in the wash, so we're thinking there is some sort of oil involved somehow. It also appears in a similar location: for me right near my belly button, and for DH on the right side of his stomach. So, perhaps it's something we're leaning on, but we have combed the house and cannot figure it out.

Now we're trying to remember to do a circle check every so often while at home in order to hammer down what is causing this phenomenon. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Enough is Enough

Throughout my life I have been a moderately active person. I never ran marathons or anything, but I played intramural sports, went to the gym on a regular basis, played golf, rode my bike here and there - that kind of thing. 

That is, until I got pregnant with Evan. Since then I have been less-than-active. I've noticed recently that the lack of exercise - coupled with getting older and adding higher stress recently (due to my unknown job situation, which is still up in the air) - is really starting to catch up with me. I have had neck and shoulder problems for years, but it has become much worse in recent months. I've also put on a few pounds in the same time period.

This past weekend I have decided enough is enough. I just can't go on like this. I'm only 33, but I feel much older lately. I want to have a healthy lifestyle, so I'm not in pain, or out of breath, every time I try to do something. I also want my clothes to fit better again (especially after dropping quite a bit of cash on a whole new wardrobe last year and 10 pounds ago).

So, I've made a plan, and I fully intend to stick with it because I'm at that breaking point where things just need to change. This is one reason why I'm writing about it here - so other people know about it and I feel more accountable. Here is what I plan to do:

1. I will get my bike serviced this week to make sure it's safe (it hasn't been used in a few years, and there's something funky with the back wheel). I'll then bike to work at least once per week.

2. I bought a small pair of hand weights so I can do shoulder/back/chest strengthening exercises. I can even do this in front of the TV if I want!

3. I will watch my food intake by using an iPhone app called "Lose It" (I can also input my exercise, so I know my net calorie intake each day).

4. I have signed up for kayaking lessons for June, which includes a membership to the local paddling club. After my lessons are complete, I will have free access to the equipment, so plan on going out kayaking every-so-often.

I know this doesn't sound like much, but my hope is that if I can start out slowly and get all these things going on a regular basis that I can add on as I start feeling stronger and more fit.

Any tips from people who have moved from couch-potato to being more active? What worked for you? What didn't?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I know it's a phase...

...but I'm hoping this one ends soon.

Evan is definitely a toddler - with his manic-depressive states (laughing his head off one minute and then screaming the next), toddler fits (where he lies down on the floor face first), and lots and lots of "no's" and head shaking. 

He's also asserting his independence, which would be great if it wasn't so scary. Most toddlers will run off, yes, but will look back at their parents to make sure they're there. With Evan, not so much. And he always wants to be where he shouldn't - like on the road, on the soccer field during DH's games, or invading people's personal space. 

I know it's important for him to go through this, and that it's good for his development, and blah, blah, blah....but holy crap, this parenting thing is hard!

I long for the days when he was 4 months old and crying his head off. I knew if I walked with him long enough at a certain pace and singing a certain song he would eventually stop and fall asleep. Now, I feel like I have no idea why he's upset most of the time (I don't think he does either), and have no idea how to fix it.

Thankfully, he has good days every so often that remind me what it's like to have a happy Evan around.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Vacations (make you think)

After a bumpy start (DH got rear-ended two hours before we wanted to leave - luckily it was minimal damage and we ended up leaving on time), our vacation last week ended up being amazing. I even went in with high hopes and was not disappointed.

We stayed at a cottage in Port Stanton, Ontario, and it was beautiful (the cottage and the location). We spent a ton of time outdoors, going on hikes, playing shuffleboard and basketball, or just hanging out at one of the playgrounds or on the beach. Evan even learned how to make forts out of couch cushions! In the evenings we watched hockey or our favorite shows, read, enjoyed the jacuzzi and hot tub, and I did some knitting. We were almost entirely unplugged - we could only check our work email - which was glorious. 

Glorious enough to get me thinking. One of my 2012 resolutions was to spend less time on the internet and watching TV, and I've been doing a horrible job with it. Having that time away from Facebook, Twitter, blogs (both my own and my huge RSS feed), and various other sites I keep up with was eye-opening. It made me realize that a) I don't wind down in the evenings if I'm on the internet and that leads to not-so-great sleep, b), it means I don't read or knit as much as I would like, which is much more relaxing, c) when I have access to the internet I feel obligated to keep up with specific sites and I can't just read things here and there - I have to read it all: all status updates, all blog posts in full, etc., and d) my blog has become a bit of a chore lately and I think this is mostly because I have tried to keep a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule no matter what.

Now, I'm not going to go crazy here - I'm not going to completely disengage from the internet or anything. But, I really want to make a concerted effort to cut back. I'm going to shut down my computer by 8:30pm each evening. I'm going to stop blogging on a schedule and just do it when I feel like it. I'm going to pare down my RSS feed (or at least try to stop having to ready every single post in one sitting). 

So, not only was our vacation wonderfully relaxing and fun, but hopefully it will help to kick my butt into gear too!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Knit Bomb

I've heard of knit bombing, but never seen it until now:

Meanwhile, we're going here for the next week:


See ya later!