Thursday, April 28, 2011

Come Join Us...

I'm moving my blog to!
The really exciting part is my dear friend Dayl has joined me there. Please stop by and let us know your thoughts!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Weight a Minute... Why isn't this working?

While I was visiting my doctor about my naughty Achilles tendon, I took the opportunity to ask her if she had any ideas for me for losing weight. I was so successful losing all the baby weight before Anna was a year old, but it's been a roller coaster of up and down since I had Eric. Exercise and watching my eating have worked in the past, but even with running several times a week and not being too stupid about my intake, I can't seem to lose.

Frustrating. I don't even want to go to parties, because all my cute party dresses are about 20 lbs too tight. {Not go to parties? Who is this person, and what have you done with Krista?}

My doctor is awesome, and she had some valuable insight for me. So I thought I'd share it...
1. Write down everything you eat.
OK, I knew this from Weight Watchers, but I haven't been doing it. Her reasoning is this: There is a really big window of food intake to maintain weight. There is a very small window of food intake to lose weight. The difference between losing weight and maintaining weight can be as few as 300 calories. If I'm not tracking everything, I won't know that, and a couple snacks or an extra glass of wine might be holding me back. {If only it were only one extra glass of wine!}

2. Our bodies will tell us we're hungry for the heaviest we've been in the last 2 years. TWO YEARS. So even when I've lost weight, my body tells me I'm hungrier than I should be. I have to maintain my real weight for TWO YEARS—and be hungry some of the time—in order to convince my brain of my new, lower weight. {And by "new," I mean back to pre-baby!}

3. Running long distances may be thwarting my weight loss.
WHAT? That's so counter-intuitive.
But yes, our bodies learn quickly how to conserve energy. She suggested I add some sprints into my training runs to shake things up. That makes sense!

So what will I do with this information?
Well, I guess it's back to Weight Watchers.
And I need to adjust my thinking that it's just going to be ok to be a little bit hungry for a few years. I know having snacks like raw veggies and fruit around will help, I just need to take the time to prepare for each day so I'm ready. I'm anxious to try the speed training as soon as my dang Achilles heals!

What do you think? Good information?
Have you been on a weight loss journey yourself? If so, what works when you're successful?

Friday, April 15, 2011

I Found My Achilles Heel. Literally.

I gave myself acute Achilles tendonitis because I didn’t know when to quit. A sports massage therapist said, “What have we learned here?”

“That I have bad judgment?”

He was kind enough to say, “No, we’ve learned that your body is trying to tell you to slow down a bit, and you are learning how to listen.”

My body has always been here for me, and I’ve been grateful. I’m strong. I have a high pain threshold. Ask my dad. The day after he witnessed me give birth to my firstborn with no drugs, the nurse asked me what my pain level was. I said 4. Dad said, “Yes, but her 4 is a 10 for most people!” I’m proud of that.

I knew I needed to slow down when my Achilles felt like it was on fire. I rested and iced it for 4 days, then set off for a long run ~ 9 miles. I told myself repeatedly, “If it starts to hurt, I can turn back.” But I’m so freaking stubborn. It started hurting at mile three. I ran another three miles. Finally, at mile six, I couldn’t go any more and walked the rest of the way back. But it was too late. I should have turned back at mile three, but my stubbornness wouldn’t let me. I thought I could push through it.

Argh.  No amount of icing and resting worked this time. People saw me limping and told me horror stories of rupturing their tendons, or straining them so badly that they were in casts for weeks. It got so I was afraid of going up stairs for fear of rupturing my tendon.

I was really distressed that I had let my desire to finish a 9-mile run possibly put me out of commission for running the half marathon with Dayl. But even more than that, I started realizing that my body is getting older and I need to take better care of it. There are consequences to pushing myself too hard.

What if I hurt myself permanently and couldn’t every run seriously again? OK, there may have been a little melodrama going on in my head as I lay around not running.

I finally saw my doctor today and she reassured me that it’s “just” tendonitis, as opposed to a more chronic condition like tearing. However… I have to take it easy. Massage (not so bad), an ankle brace (ick), a lot of stretching and then… when I’m pain-free I can slowly start running again.

I really hope I can manage this so I can run the Hippie Chick. But at least if I’m not ready for that, I know can do the next one. My body is here for me, I just need to take a little more care with it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday • Snow White was here?

Now to Find a Way to Shrink Myself...

I'm building a fairy garden with my kids and one of our neighbor kids. I should say, I'm building it for me and occasionally I remember to try to include them. They are all loving it, actually, and I'm looking forward to us having this project to tinker with all summer.
It started with some cutesy little flowers I picked up at the Trillium Festival a few weeks back. When I started adding them to the trillium, columbine and maidenhair fern I bought at last year's festival, it all seemed so delicate and whimsical. And a fairy garden was born...
Half the fun has been seeking treasures and found objects to add to it. I raided my "I'll fix this someday" box of broken jewelry and pulled out some treasures that I know I'm not really going to fix.

Here's our progress so far. I have to agree with our neighbor girl and co-creator when she says, "Now I just wish we could make ourselves small so we could play in the garden!"
The "Great House" meeting hall (in process), with earring chandelier & jeweled bracelet fence and the beginning of the twig boardwalk.

We chose these little white flowers because they look like perfect fairy dresses. I. Love. Them.

While we were working, a little ladybug flew in to enjoy the garden.

Working hard!

Yashi made this for us, and it's perfect in the fairy garden, nestled between grape hyacinth and a tiny red tulip.

That's a hammock back there, and the beginning of a beaded path in the lower right corner.

The twig path leads from the Great Hall to the center of the garden, then the blue glass stones lead to the "Dance Circle"

The Frog Bard, waiting to serenade some dancing fairies.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thoughts on Running

I became a runner in 2003, though I didn't actually start running until 2004. Brian and I were driving over Mt. Hood in late August, heading off on another camping trip with the dog, when we saw all these crazy people running down the mountain.
Hood To Coast.
Brian completely echoed my thoughts when he said, "I'd like to do that someday."
So I decided then and there that we would run Hood to Coast. And we did! I formed a team of mostly zoo people. Our team was called, "Not Cheetahs." Tagline: "Cheetahs are the fastest animals on land. We are Not Cheetahs." Clever, eh? Our main goal was to finish. Minor secondary goal: don't finish last. But really – if we finished last – we weren't going to beat ourselves up about it. I started training for the event in 2004, and realized I LOVE RUNNING. Now, before this experience, I would have placed myself firmly in the non-runner camp. Not only did I not run, but I really had no interest in running. But the thought of completing this tremendous ordeal of running this giant relay turned me in to a runner. I guess at that point I should have realized a bit of my competitive nature.
Anyway, we completed Hood to Coast and had a BLAST.  Fast forward 6 months, and I was completing the Shamrock Run – and drinking copious amounts of beer afterwards – not realizing I was pregnant with Anna. Wondering why I was so so very tired...
Fast forward one year after that... Mother's Day, 2006. Five months after having Anna, I ran the Hippie Chick. Such a feeling of empowerment and control! I think it was then that I realized that running is something I really enjoy. Running through the trees at Champoeg Park with perfect music playing on my iPod... I have lingering happiness, even 5 years later.

SO... what is that I like about running?
Here's what makes it more pleasant for me:

~Start slowly • You can't pick up and run a long distance without building up to it. Run short distances or 20 minutes, and slowly –week by week– build up to longer distances.

~Music! • It's amazing to me how much more pleasant a run is when I have background music. I like to have a combination of superfastgetgoingrunfaster songs and  j u s t r e l a x  songs. I find it helps regulate my speed a bit.
FASTSONGRUNRUNRUN!  s l o w s o n g t a k e i t e a s y.
I particularly like sing-along-songs because I imagine I look and sound pretty silly running down the street belting out, "Can't hold us down!*" at the top of my lungs. For some reason, several songs from the James Laid album really get me going.
One caution: never have your headphones so loud that you can't hear cars or other signals of danger around you.

~Friends • I so value my early morning runs with a couple of neighborhood mamas. As a working mama (out of the house that is... all mamas are working mamas!), I have a tremendous amount of guilt about spending any additional time away from the family. So I'm so grateful for the 5:30 a.m. runs with my girlfriends. My family is still asleep, and not only am I getting valuable exercise time, but the chatting, catching up and parenting/marriage advice ("Peanut-shelling time" as my friend Annie's grandma called it) that we share have become indispensable to my sanity! Likewise, I'm training virtually with my BFF Dayl. We live more than an hour away from each other, but we keep track of each other and periodically run our long distances together. Our plan is to run the Hippie Chick Half Marathon together on Mother's Day, and I'm so looking forward to having that quality time with her. When we run together, the miles really do fly by as we talk about everything and nothing under the sun. That's a good friend.

~Nutrition • I make sure to get up a solid 45 minutes before my runs. I typically drink a cup of coffee and a protein shake mixed with berries or EmergenC. I like the Aria brand protein powder from Trader Joe's. Most mornings, I simply mix it with 16 oz of water and a packet of EmergenC. If I'm motivated enough, I'll blend all that with a handful of berries.  Water is so important THE DAY BEFORE. Hydration doesn't begin right before a run, it's important to be drinking plenty of water all the time.
I can't believe I got to 40 before learning this, but the recovery meal is crucial! Apparently, eating some lean protein and some carbs within 30 minutes after your workout helps build muscle and mitigates some of the build-up of lactic acid (which causes soreness). I've been doing this for a couple months now, and I've noticed a HUGE difference! Why didn't I know about this before? I don't know, but I'm telling as many people as possible! • If you really want to know how far you're running (I DO!), visit this site. You can find routes that other people have mapped out near you, or create your own maps. I had no idea that the neighborhood mamas and I were running 3.5 miles 2x a week until I mapped it out. Honestly, I thought it was about 2 miles each time. That's probably because we were talking the whole time, so the miles flew by!

I'm temporarily out of commission until my Achilles tendon heals (please, take it easy so you don't have this problem). I can't run this week, but writing this makes me feel better and hopefully I'll be back at it by next week!

*Christina Aquilera, btw

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The most basic of soups

I asked the Girlchild what we should make for dinner tonight, and she said, "Basil potato mushroom soup!"
I was pleased that she didn't say, "mustard custard," which is a dish she's been promoting for a few weeks now. I've managed to dodge that particular iron chef challenge.

I initially thought we'd do a potage parmentier and add mushrooms and sprinkle basil on top. We didn't have any fresh basil (fancy that in Oregon in April...), and the spirit of the kitchen took over (also known as spontaneity), and we did this instead:

Soften in dutch oven:
*1 onion, chopped
*2 carrots, peeled & sliced
*3 potatoes, peeled & diced

Allow the veggies to soften for about 5 minutes, then to the sides of the pan, and brown:
*1 lb ground turkey, with salt & pepper

Add (in no particular order)
*1 quart beef broth (or whatever kind you like, I like the full bodied flavor of beef broth sometimes)
*2 cans of tomatoes. I used one can of stewed tomatoes and one can of diced, because that's what I had.
*3 cloves of garlic, minced.
*I also added some of my favorite shallot salt from Penzey's Spices. Dreamy stuff, really.

Allow that to simmer until the potatoes are almost all the way soft, then toss in:
*1 lb of mushrooms, sliced. The kids love to slice the mushrooms with a butter knife. (helpful and safe!)
*Green veggies. We used a pound of asparagus, because it was in the fridge, plus about a cup of frozen peas.

Simmer a bit more until the latest veggies to join the party are ready, and it's all set!
{I'm sorry I didn't pay attention to the times of each step, but the whole process took about an hour.}

I love it when my kids eat veggies, and of course they're more likely to eat them when they've helped prepare the meal!

Girlchild on her second bowl. This is the first time I've ever known her to eat mushrooms.

We thought about making biscuits, but settled for grilled cheese on Dave's Killer Bread instead. Something about that bread is perfect for toast or grilled cheese.

For more family-friendly healthy recipe ideas, visit Disney's Magic of Healthy Living. I'm not typically a recipe follower, but they've got some good ones over there.

Well heeled = well, healed!

OK, I think this is a stretch, but I'm willing to try it. I seem to have inflamed my Achilles tendon during one of my training runs last week. I rested it and iced it most of the week, but I probably shouldn't have run 9 miles today. But I did. So now it's more ice and more rest, of course, but I thought I should do a little more research on how to properly care for this and make sure I don't put myself out of commission long term!
I found several sources of information, mostly saying that this is a common condition of "middle-aged recreational runners." Great. Now I'm a middle-aged recreational runner??

Everyone suggests ice and rest. But here's something extra useful I found on
"A heel wedge can be inserted into the shoe to minimize the stress on the Achilles tendon. By lifting up the heel of the foot, even by a small amount, a significant amount of force is decreased on the Achilles tendon."
A wedge heel, you say? I can totally get down with that!
I'm all over this... DSW is sending me a gift card to replace the shoes that Jack ate.
Boo, Jack! Yay, DSW!
Since I'll be heading there anyway, and wedges are practically medically prescribed, I thought I'd search out a few more options.

I love the flirty bow on these:  

Miss America Whitney Wedge at DSW
 I'm a sucker for white linen, and I think these would be adorable with a white sundress. 
Or shorts. 
Or anything.

These next shoes are fairly boring in comparison, but cuter than flip flops ~ and I think they would be perfect for our weekly walks to the farmer's market:
Aerosoles Guava Plush Wedge at DSW
Sensible, no? Also... who wouldn't love a shoe with "Plush" in the name? Sounds so comfy and therapeutic!

Finally, I had to include these because they're so very adorable, and would be perfect with the bold colors and 70s vibe going on in fashion right now:
Impo Tipper Espadrille Wedge at DSW

I do feel the need to point out that I don't think these wrappy strappy espadrilles would look good on me. I have fairly large calves— I'm not complaining, they're fairly shapely— but I think my legs look better if you can see my ankles. 

What do you think? Am I on the right track to heal my heels? 

Pineapple Pasta (???)

While I was out running this morning, our friend Yashi helped the kids make lunch. They LOVE it. I'm a little surprised.

Here's the Girlchild talking about their creation:

She just told me, "This Pineapple Pasta creation is brilliant. I want to have it for lunch every day."

I'm not so sure.

*note about the penne: we only ever buy whole wheat pasta. 
The kids don't mind it because it's all they get! :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Getting To Know You... UBP11

It's time to party like a blogger...
Welcome to my humble corner of the blogosphere!

I started this little blog because so many of my friends and family would tell me how much they enjoyed reading my facebook posts. It finally occurred to me to create a better forum for sharing!
So I'm a late bloomer...

I write about my family and our adventures. I experiment with and write about food. I have a hard time sticking to recipes. My five year old daughter, the charming Girlchild, likes to invent recipes. She throws out a list of ingredients and my challenge is to turn it in to something edible. I have a three year old flirty boy and an awesome husband, along with three snuggly kitties and one lazy puppy.
My family makes me laugh and cry and scream and I never knew there was room for this much love in my heart. I want to write more about fashion, but I'm a little intimidated by all the amazing fashionistas out there.

I have a problem with thinking rules don't apply to me, but I'm working on it because I have to.
I get overly annoyed by grammatical errors and passive aggressive behavior.
I've realized lately that I'm more competitive than I previously thought, and since turning 40 I'm wondering what I want to be when I grow up.

I believe in the power of good shoes and wine.

I am inspired by nature, by unnecessary kindness, by women who make fitness a balanced part of their daily lives, by Cupcakes and Cashmere and This is Glamorous.

 I'm halfway through the process of migrating this little blog to It's been a bit of trial and error, but I hope to have it live in a couple weeks. Blogger has been good to me, but it's time to take the leap! The most exciting part about the migration is my dear friend Dayl is going to start contributing with me. She has some amazing stories and is one of the brightest stars and kindest humans I've ever encountered. I can't wait to expand Mostly Mommyhood to include the adventures of Dayl and her family.

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave me a comment to let me know you were here. I look forward to getting to know you!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Trillium Festival

I did not draw this, BTW.

I've always had a special place in my heart for trilliums. I remember spending what seemed like hours drawing them when I was a kid. I'm not sure if it was the rarity of them or the perfect symetry, but I just love them. My notebooks from 6th grade Outdoor School were littered with trillium sketches. Perhaps part of the allure is that they're found out in the woods... a place I like to be!

Last year was our first to the Trillium Festival at Tryon Creek State Park. We loved it so much, we joined Friends of Tryon Creek and bought several trilliums and other native plants. Here's one of our little trillium from last year, signaling that it's time to get back out in the woods:
Trillium with some columbine and an industrial-ish fairy house built by one of the neighbors.
Today the kids and I met my parents out at Tryon Creek State Park to enjoy the Trillium Festival again.
Our adventure took us on an hour and a half-long hike through the park, on the look out for trillium, wood violets, licorice ferns, Oregon grape, and salmon berries.
We found the perfect Pixie Hollow!
Today pushed all my happy buttons: fun with the kids, exercise, nature, my parents, education... it's all there. Plus, I stopped by the native plant sale and came away with these beauties:
so pretty, right?
I hope you can get out and enjoy some nature soon, too!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Girlchild's Quinoa with Pancetta & Peas

Anna likes to invent recipes – a hobby I whole-heartedly support!
Here's how it goes: She lists a bunch of ingredients and gives me a format (dessert, dinner, etc) and I have to turn it in to something edible.
While we were at the Disney World, we had the pleasure of attending the celebration dinner for their Magic of Healthy Living contest winners. It was pretty awesome to see the mighty power of Disney focused on helping families lead healthy lives. My kids were skeptical of the ultra healthy dinner that was served, but it got us talking about healthy food, which led to the following recipe:

"You take smashed up peanuts and some peas, and pancetta and add all that to quinoa, plus three tablespoons of chicken broth. And olive juice, honey and a squeeze of lemon. And then you add a little parmesan cheese, garlic and arugula."

Here's what we actually did:
Cook 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups of chicken broth.
Bring to a boil, then cover & simmer until liquid is almost completely absorbed. While there is still a bit of liquid, add about 1 cup of frozen peas.

Meanwhile, lay the pancetta out on a baking sheet. Broil until crisp, flipping each piece about halfway through the process. Total broil time is only about 4 minutes. Warning: never walk away from anything under the broiler! I usually grab a glass of wine and sit on the floor watching it, which the kids seem to find amusing.
broiling pancetta

Let the pancetta cool on the sheet, and grate about 1/4 cup of parmesan.
Mince a garlic clove and add to the juice of about 1/2 a lemon.

When the quinoa is done (liquid is about all absorbed), add the lemon juice & garlic and stir in. Turn heat off, and stir in parmesan. We then put that whole concoction in a bowl and crumbled the crisp pancetta over the top. I was afraid if we mixed it in, it would get soggy.
Crisp pancetta = awesome. Limp pancetta = meh.

You'll notice the peanuts, honey and olive juice didn't make it in to the recipe. The arugula kind of did, as we made my all-time favorite salad: Arugula with hearts of palm & shaved parmesan. The dressing is one clove of garlic, fleur de sel, fresh pepper, the other half of the lemon from earlier, emulsified with some fruity olive oil. Lemon juice + garlic + olive oil, as my dear friend Gwenn says, "emulsify like nobody's business."
 We served the quinoa and salad with some broiled mahi mahi and toasted Pugliese bread.
In fact, after we removed the pancetta from the baking sheet, I rubbed the bread around on the sheet and then toasted it. Mmmm. Pancetta drippings.

The Girlchild was very pleased about her recipe, and how the whole meal came together. I love cooking with her, and of course she ate everything because she helped make it. My kitchen ended up a bit messier than if I had just made dinner myself, but I wouldn't trade this time together for a cleaner kitchen, that's for sure.

Anna was more smitten than usual with the hearts of palm. In fact, she claims our next cooking adventure will be a "Hearts of Palm Custard!"
OK. I'm not sure what to do with that, but I'm sure we'll come up with something!

I attended the 2011 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at Walt Disney World. Although we paid for our own trip to Disney World, the conference fee included 3 nights at the Grand Floridian, the conference and meals for me, several amazing meals for our entire family, park hopper passes for each of us, and some other fun perks. Disney did not ask me to write about this event, and all opinions are my own.

Run baby run

I'm running a half marathon on Mother's Day. It will be my first b i g run since Hood To Coast in 2004. I did run a quarter marathon on Mother's Day in 2006, five months after Anna was born. But that's pretty much it for b i g runs. I've been really happy to run 3ish miles several times a week with some hot mamas in the neighborhood, but we really haven't been running together much for a month or so.

so anyway... I'm nervous about today.

According to our training schedule, I should have run about 10 miles, broken out into three runs throughout the week. I ran three miles. One time. That's it.
Today we run eight. 8 miles. 8 miles when I haven't been keeping up on my training for two weeks.
I know I'll be fine if I warm up sufficiently and take it slow. I know I can get through it – that's not the issue. I don't want to cause an injury that I have to live with the rest of my life! Ok, now I'm being dramatic.

After my three miler earlier this week, Girlchild says, "Mama, why is exercise only for grown-ups?"
«cue sound of tires screeching to a halt»
Obviously, I need to do more to incorporate "exercise" into our daily lives.

Sure, they get a lot through their regular activities. Just yesterday, Brian had them playing at the park —running, climbing, jumping— for 2.5 hours. But I think there's something more important than just doing the activity. If my kids are to grow up fit and strong with a commitment to healthy living, then they need to realize that exercise is important and know that it's just something you HAVE TO DO every day.

Like brushing their teeth and reading books. That doesn't mean it can't be fun. But we need to call it exercise, so it becomes habitual and normal. Wouldn't that be so much easier than trying insert "exercise" when they start going to the (oft-dreaded) PE classes in school? I'm heading over to Disney's Magic of Healthy Living site to see what they say about it. Disney has committed to providing families with healthy living resources, which we learned about at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.*

I'd be interested in knowing how other parents handle this, though. Do you set aside "exercise" time, or sneak it in with everyday activities?

*I attended the 2011 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at Walt Disney World. Although we paid for our own trip to Disney World, the conference fee included 3 nights at the Grand Floridian, the conference and meals for me, several amazing meals for our entire family, park hopper passes for each of us, and some pretty incredible swag items to take home. Disney did not ask me to write about this event, and all opinions are my own.