Thursday, February 27, 2014

Just Add Water

Today Linda took Penelope to the library for their Thursday playtime. When they pulled into the parking lot, she yelled "Look, Kevin and Ryan's car!" They didn't see Kevin and Ryan (her friends), but they did see another friend from church.  She recognized the car, just got confused who it belonged to. They just missed Toddler Story time, so instead they tried preschool story time. She actually would have done OK, but decided in the first 5 minutes that she NEEDED an APPLE RIGHT NOW for she would faint from hunger.  It didn't seem like a good idea to bring the snack bag out in the library story room, so they left and found a comfy place to read some books while she snacked.  Penny's new favorite books are actually the same ones that her Daddy and Aunt Tierney used to love; Richard Scarry word books.
Penny was fascinated with this page in particular.  She loved the rolling pin, sink and best of all, the pan with the eggs and bacon in it.  They had to keep turning back to the page because she asked "Nana, where did the eggs go?"

Linda stopped at the local pet store to get a bigger bag of the food we love so much.  This small bag makes 66 pounds of dog food!  How crazy is that?  When you mix the dehydrated food with water, it grows like those magic pills that turn into spongy animals.  Instead of animals, you get full size peas, carrots, veggies and oats. 
Linda used to love these when she was little! I wonder if she ever swallowed one.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sun Snow

I wish this picture was better.  It was snowing really hard yesterday but the sun was shining bright and warm.  This morning, schools weren't canceled or delayed (great for Linda being able to teach her morning classes!) but it was snowing really hard when she had to leave for the gym.  Our road is a good size hill and it hadn't been treated or plowed.  The little Kia made it up the  hill, but the rear of the car was a little sideways.  Once Linda got to the main road, it wasn't too slippery. She usually has about 25-35 people in each class but today only 1/2 that showed up.  The snow is gone from the roads and sidewalks now, so the afternoon classes should be back to normal.

We are trying out this new dog food that Linda found on sale.  She was skeptical since I hate anything different in my bowl.  Surprise!  I love it and lick my bowl clean.  Chimi took a couple of feedings to get used to it but now he is fine.  Linda mixes in a little chicken (or you can use any protein) and a dab of olive oil. 
Good for you food
This little bag of dehydrated flakes makes over 8 pounds of dog food.  There are peas, sweet potatoes, oats, zucchini, carrots and other healthy things that grow 10x the size when mixed with hot water.  She only bought a small bag just in case we hated it.  Today before church she'll stop at the pet store and buy the larger bag.   By the way, Chimi doesn't love his fire hose toy.  He'll only play with it if Linda tosses it around or plays tug of war with him.  Lately, he wants to just snuggle under the blankets and nap.
90% of his day is spent just like this
There hasn't been any new food recipes or baking in a few days.  The giant container of salad greens Linda bought on Sunday has an expiration date of March 1st, so lunch and dinner have to be a salad until its gone.  (Oh, and the reheated pizza wasn't any better the second time.  There is still another meal left of it and she is not wasting food.  It looks like soggy, bland pizza with her salad for dinner again tonight.)

Monday, February 24, 2014

3 Fails

Linda is in a huge cookie slump.  For some reason, every time she tries to make chocolate chip cookies, they come out flat.  Every time.  She has tried 3 different recipes and each time, totally flat as a pancake cookies.  The one she made today had specific instructions: Cream butter, sugars with paddle of stand mixer for 3 minutes... add egg one at a time, mixing 1 minute between eggs..etc, etc, etc.  She was super careful to measure properly and get the eggs and butter to room temp first.  She chilled the dough.  Used cool cookie sheets.  Preheated oven. Parchment paper instead of spray Pam.   All the right steps didn't help.  She even googled "why are my cookies flat" to find some answers. So frustrating.
She is also failed at pizza for dinner.  Tonight she cheated and used a crust that comes in a tube.  Actually, that was the only tasty part of the pizza.  The toppings were blah and the diced tomatoes made it too wet and soggy, even though she didn't put too many on  It wasn't totally gross tasting and she is definitely going to eat it the rest of the week.  Maybe it can be salvaged when she reheats it.
2 out of 5 stars
Sarah sent Linda the most adorable video of Penny tap dancing in the bathtub but she can't figure out how to post it.  The video won't process properly so all you get is the thumbnail.  Third fail of the day. 

Sunday Funday

It's a good thing Linda got out on Sunday to run, because the Polar Vortex cold is supposed to be coming back this week.  Yep, light snow predicted for Wednesday.  Sadness. 

Sunday used to be her push-as-hard-as-you-can running day, but not anymore.  It was just too stressful and there is absolutely no reason why Linda should even do that.  There is nothing but pride on the line to beat her last time (and we know how that goes!)  Running fast makes it hard for her to teach her 3-4 classes each day without getting injured.  For awhile, she is just going to run for fun.  Sunday mornings run was just that, super fun!  She got up at 5:15 a.m., but since she was going to run in the woods on the trail, it was smarter to wait until it got light.  (You know...Lions and Tigers and Bears..OH MY!) 

Instead, she had some great quite time and devotions, did laundry and read until it was light enough.  The weather was still chilly starting out, but she was soaked through when she got back. She still had time after the run to shower, change into nice clothes, meet Tierney for breakfast and be at church by 9:30 a.m.
A few of the stream crossings were tricky since the water was flowing over the top of some of the stepping stones.  She has slipped off more than once, and even landed on her butt! Chimi has fallen in a bunch of times because not all of the stones are equally spread.  He gets going and sometimes misses a step.  You would think that would scare him, but he doesn't seem to mind getting wet.  So far today, he has displayed just about every one of these scared signs while Linda cleaned the house.  He hates the vacuum, mop and when she empties all the smaller trash cans into a large garbage bag. (The plastic bag monster is one of his worse fears.) 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Spring Teaser

It has been so long since Linda has done her daily 3 miles outside that she forgot how to work her Garmin watch.  After pressing all the buttons multiple times, she figured it out.  Instead of dragging Chimi along and getting frustrated she just did half with him at his pace, then dropped him off at home to finish alone.  Here is the funny thing.  It took 38:30 minutes total and that's with the first 1.5 miles walking fast with Chim (and even stops for him to sniff around.)  He was so happy he didn't have to run.  Linda was able to wear short sleeves and shorts (64 degrees!) but she still had to jump over snow piles and take some detours.  Unfortunately, it's supposed to get really cold again this coming week.  Just.Done.With.Winter.
RIP Snowman
Our local roads are so full of potholes that Linda has to have some mad defensive driving skills so her front end alignment doesn't get all whack.  There are 3 bad potholes in a row on the way to the gym that she keeps forgetting about.  It was kind of nice to see that the trail maintenance people actually repaired the potholes so people don't break an ankle running.
Look how much weight Chimi has lost.  He's looking really skinny.
We'll see if this new non-destructible toy actually lasts.  It's made out of real fire hose material.  Chimi loves it, but there has never been a toy that he hasn't totally destroyed in less than one day. 

Flipping Eggs and The Amazing Musical

Linda is so glad she saved some of Tierney's toys.  Penny came over last night and had a blast playing with Littlest Pet Shop and all of the mini-groceries.  If Linda can find the old Polly Pocket toys, she'll be able to retire a rich woman.  One article said that collectors will pay up to $700 each.  Tier had about 20 of them!   

Her favorite activity of the night was making breakfast for the pets.  These are tiny, tiny replicas.  Penny was able to flip the eggs, put them on a plate and then use the even smaller knife and fork to pretend feed the animals.  Of course Linda might be biased, but she thinks that is amazing motor skills for a 22-month old toddler.
It was long overdue, but Linda gave me a conditioning bath and spent the last hour combing out my undercoat and brushing me until I was silky-soft. We are able to sit in the sun on the deck.  I almost feel asleep while she was doing it because it was so warm and relaxing.
Before... a hot mess

Drying.. looking pretty cute

After...rocking the Lion look

Tierney loves to walk around the house pretending her life is just one big musical stage production.  Even when she was a young girl, she would sing about losing her boots or eating her cereal.  We don't want to hurt her feelings, but it kind of scared both Chimi and I!  (I don't know why the second video says "chimi singing." It would have been pretty funny if he started howling along though.)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A day with the crocodiles

We've had two days of temperatures over 50 degrees and it has been wonderful!  There is still snow on our deck and in our yard, but at least its melted enough that we can walk and have more room to roam around the backyard. It was so nice out today that Linda was able to take Penny to a park next to the Mall.  They had so much fun! 
"Where's Capt. Hook Nana?"
Before they left for their outing, Linda was reading her a Peter Pan story book.  One of Penny's favorite pages is where the crocodiles are swimming after Capt. Hook.  When she saw the crocodile at the park, she was beyond excited. 
This time Linda didn't get motion sickness from the merry-go-round.  It's so weird because every time she has ever taken Penny on the ride, it made her sick for the rest of the day.  Today she got just a little queasy while it was moving, but no head spinning or vertigo when she got off.   Maybe it was because it was such a special ride.  They got to share the carousal with a group of Alzheimer's and dementia patients from a local nursing home.  It made Linda tear up a little bit watching their smiling faces and seeing how much they enjoyed themselves. The nurses that were with the group were so sweet and caring. 
Linda will have to take Penny to the National Zoo one Thursday.  The apparently have a crocodile on their carousal!  How cool would that be Penelope?  Aunt Tierney will have to come because she would love to ride the flamingo wearing one of her Lily dresses. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pups in a blanket

Yay!  Chim didn't get sick at all today.  No expensive vet bills or giant messes to clean up.  He ate a few small meals today and seemed to be back to his normal neurotic antics.  The main thing Linda is working on with him is his digging.  Not digging in the dirt like a normal dog, but his digging on the couch, bed or blankets.  She has no idea what is going through his mind while he is digging.  Since he has been a newborn pup he has wanted to sleep under blankets.  
This is how Linda finds him every morning when she wakes him up to go outside.
To be fair, I sleep under blankets too!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sick Pup

There was less than 1/2" of snow last night, but schools were delayed this morning.  You know what that means... schools delayed=no classes at the gym.  Linda woke up at 5:00 a.m., looked outside and just had a sinking feeling she wouldn't be working again.  Yep, all  morning classes canceled.  At least she was super productive at home and got lots done. 

Chimi has been sick all day, but he is acting like he feels better tonight.  Linda cleaned up seven pukes (no photos this time, don't worry!) So far he has kept his dinner down.  He'll have to go to the vet tomorrow if he is sick again during the night.
"Sorry for making such a mess"
There was one more homemade pizza dough left, but instead of making a pizza, Linda made a calzone for lunch. She stuffed it with all sorts of yummy veggies and her favorite fresh mozzarella cheese.  It would have been even better with spinach.  Next time.
It was so filling she only ate one of the pieces and saved the rest for another meal. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Now this is a photo...

Almost every single one of the photos on this blog are taken with Linda's iPhone. There are no filters or edits.  Linda is a point, shoot and upload photographer.  (There is that one post where Tierney and Linda were models for a friend starting a photo business. I can't find the link to the site that they posed for, I'll edit this when I do find it.)  Sarah was asked by a different professional JamieRomaezi to model for some shots to include in her portfolio.  Linda only saw one of the photos so far, but it is just beautiful. 
She looks like an Ice Princess!
Sarah is the kind of girl who wouldn't whine at all about trudging through the snow wearing a one shouldered gown while she is 7 months pregnant.  (Linda can barely walk to the mailbox when its cold!)  Hopefully we'll get to see a few more photos from the session soon. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Just Chillin'

So Cozy and warm snuggling with Nana
Penelope came over today after church for lunch and some playtime while her parents enjoyed a special post-Valentine's Day brunch.  She loves riding in her Nana's red car and gets so excited as soon as she recognizes the neighborhood.  After lunch, they played with some of her toys and chased Chimi and I around the house until she was worn out.  They chilled on the couch watching Curious George and reading books waiting for Taylor and Sarah to pick her up.  She was so tired and would have fallen asleep if they had been 15 minutes later.

On Friday, Tierney and Linda went out for lunch to their favorite pizza joint.  There is a Starbucks across the street and since Linda still had a gift card from Christmas, they each got a salted caramel cakepop (ha! she typed camel but caught the typo in time.  A salted camel cakepop would be interesting.)   The first thing Linda said when she saw the picture was that her hands looked scary.  The arthritis in her knuckles has made them swollen and the joints are sore, but she never realized they looked funny.  Right after taking this selfie, Tierney got the cutest haircut ever.  She is making a funny face because she wasn't sure she likes it. You can't tell in this picture, but its also a pretty shade of red.   I LOVE IT! She looks so adorable.
Tierney has a gazillion followers on her blog and Instagram account.  More people read her blog in one day than read my blog in a month! Yay Tierney!!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Be Mine

Thanks for the Valentine's Day treat Tierney! 
Penny liked the little Valentine's Day prize bag that Linda put together for her.  There was a Thomas the Train water bottle, some Dora bath toys, Minnie Mouse big girl panties (she is going whole days and some naps with no accidents!) and a Little Mermaid coloring book with crayons. 
Oh Penny, you aren't supposed to color your face! Silly Girl.
Penny made a card for her Nana.  She loves to trace her hands with her crayons any chance she gets.  Sarah cut it out and they made a sweet card.  Penny is really good with her crayons.  Now she says things like "Nana, gonna color the shoes." She'll try her best to color inside the lines and stay totally focused until its all filled in. 

Hand Made by Penny!
It's been a long time since Linda has talked about her running program.  Running to Linda has always been for fun.  When she started really focusing on increasing her speed, it became stressful for her.  All of a sudden she was too intent on finishing faster than the last run and she stopped enjoying herself.  She is still teaching all her classes, but has decided to stop running for a few weeks.  For the last two weeks (except the 3 days she was sick) she has set the treadmill speed between 4.5-5.0 and increased the incline.  That is walking speed but at 5.0 she can also jog easily if she wants.  Instead of running for 30 minutes, she is walking/jogging between 45-60 minutes.  The temperatures are going up to the high 50's; so maybe being able to run outside will psych her up again.  Yay for warm weather...but too bad for Penny and Sarah's GIANT snowman!

Isn't this the biggest snowman ever? 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dear Mr. Snowplow man

Thank you Mr. Snowplow man for being so great at your job.  You've been going back and forth in front of the house since 5:00 a.m. busily pushing your plows.  Although about 50 (no exaggeration) of the passes have been on totally cleared blacktop pavement which is a little confusing. 
Don't worry, in another hour this big pile will be moved back to the other side
What's the deal about moving the snow from one side of the street to the other? Guess you are just bored and waiting for the next round of snow to start.  The last time she was shoveling (4th or 5th?), Linda actually waved you down to ask why you kept moving the same big pile of snow into her driveway from across the street.  Sorry if she embarrassed you and put you on the spot.  There are many neighborhoods who haven't even seen a snow plow yet. There have been at least 10 different trucks, sanders and official looking supervisors going past our house once ever 5 minutes for the past 13 hours.  Please don't think she isn't thankful, because she is.  Over plowing is way better than no plowing.

Seriously? (updated)

While Linda wasn't looking, some sneaky snowplow driver did the dirty deed!  He pushed a huge pile of snow into our driveway!  She doesn't know if it was the same guy or someone different, but she was faced with another even bigger wall of snow to shovel.  This time it wasn't all fairy-dust snow, it was icy and heavy snow that was crusty.  UGH!  Since she was already bundled up and sweaty, she finished the old-couples sidewalk and did their whole driveway.  It was so sweet when the old man who lives there came out and said "there is no words for appreciation I feel."  It made her angry mood go away in 1 second.  She felt so happy she shoveled the next neighbors walkway too.

All that shoveling worked up a huge appetite for her favorite salad.  She makes this every single day.
 If you have never tried the Panera fat-free Poppy Seed Dressing, you must go buy it right now. (Target sells it.) It's probably not the healthiest dressing in the world, but hands-down it is her favorite dressing in the world. 

While she was cleaning the house earlier, these yummy chocolate Recee's PB cup brownies were baking in the oven.  A big gooey piece for dessert was the perfect snowstorm treat. 
Dessert after lunch?  YES!

Update:  Um... maybe Linda is being paranoid, but she is sure the plowing men are out to get her.  Not 20 minutes after she was done shoveling for the second time, the trucks came through and blocked the driveway again.  It's almost like they are taking the big pile of snow from the other side of the street and pushing it into our driveway.  (Even though she gave the evil-eye to the first guy, there is no way he could have actually seen her face.  She was wearing one of those pullover hats with a covered face and a big scarf.)  It's a good thing there is a big pan of brownies because she will definitely need another one when she is done.

Big Snow and Penny Crocker

Every blog or FB post needs the obligatory pictures of snow on the deck, right?  There was even a segment on the local news that asked people to send in photos of the snow piled on their decks.  The very first thing Linda has to do (before coffee or breakfast) is to throw on boots, gloves and a hat and shovel a path on the deck, all the steps and an area in the yard for us to "go out."  Since she was already dressed, she did the entire job.
Oh wait, that is a picture of Linda on the beach in Cancun
Try again...
This actually doesn't look so bad.  The last giant snow storm was much deeper.  You couldn't see the table or chairs.  I think our area got 10" last night, but more is coming. 

Even Penny helped her Daddy shovel this morning.  The snow pile snow is taller than she is!

Shoveling is something Linda actually enjoys.  Since the gym is closed and all her classes were canceled, shoveling will be her workouts today.  Usually she sets a time limit, plays peppy praise and worship music on her iPod and gets going.  Today's time was 1.5 hours (still an hour short of the time she would be actually exercising today, but more snow is coming later.)  Start time 7:30 a.m.- finish 9:00.  That got the deck, backyard area, front steps, driveway, car cleared, a path to the mailbox, all of our front walkway and some of the old-couple neighbors sidewalk.  This afternoon, she'll finish the neighbors and redo any new snowfall at our house. 
The snowplow men in their pick-ups were out early too.  She had to give the kid the evil-eye glare when he came up the court hill to push the snow into a pile in front of our driveway she was clearing.  He was smart enough to turn the plow blade and avoid getting pelted with snowballs that she was already thinking of throwing at the truck.

The sad part about the snow is that Linda won't be able to go to Penny's for their tea party.  
Penny has been obsessed with having tea as her afternoon snack. She watches Mommy drinking her tea and wants to copy. Yes, she is sitting on her potty, but that was the only little chair Sarah could find.  
Oranges and raisins.  The perfect tea snack!
Guess who made their first apple pie?  (Of course Sarah cut the apples for her, but Penny put it all together and rolled the dough.)  I wonder if Betty Crocker made a pie when she was only 22-months old!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

All Better

Yesterday Linda found out she had to recover from recovering.  She didn't leave the house from Saturday morning until Monday afternoon.  Even though her stomach flu was over, she had zero energy to do anything. Walking up the steps at the YMCA in the late afternoon to teach her TKD classes left her breathless and lightheaded. When she got home in the evening, her head was swooning. She is eating more calories and drinking more water to compensate for the weekends flu hangover.  Today's Sculpt class went OK. The real test of if she has her energy back will be tonight's hard back-to-back classes.  

"If you're eating more, that means you have to feed us more too!"
There is still some leftover pizza from the lunch Sarah and Taylor bought her Sunday and she made this Mexican crock pot soup. A snowstorm is predicted for later this week, so she'll have to go to the store some time today since she is all out of salad fixings.  It's weird, because years went by without ever once making a salad, and now she makes one every single day.
Added cheese quesadilla strips for the win
When it's cold and snowy, Linda always looks at their Cancun vacation pictures to warm her up