...my child sold your honor student the answers to the test...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Diet Diary: Week One


Like the multitude of ants I kill trying to infiltrate my house for sustenance, I find myself constantly trying to find a solution to my weight. Now knowing that I have hypothyroidism, I at least have a sense of peace as to why I gained so much weight so quickly. That does not mean I have to lie down and accept that my pant size has grown by three sizes. Oh hell no, I refuse to go down ( or up ) without a fight.

I've tried cutting calories. No go. I've tried a liquid diet. Nothing. I've tried intense workouts five times a week. While my stamina is much better and I can Zumba anyones pants off, my scale still laughs at me. Bastard. I've tried a bunch of things that haven't worked, even with my new thyroid medicine ( granted its still new and I'm sure will need adjusting at some level, but I'm an impatient bitch).

But recently I found something new that actually seems medically logical to work. I'm not here to advertise it, so if you want more info, you can email me. But the logic behind this plan seems, well, logical. It's a plan that combines a lot of things both J and I have heard over the years to help with healthy weight loss and a healthy lifestyle all wrapped into one.

Essentially, it states that most of the food we eat nowadays is filled with high fructose corn syrup, and other fatty things, that are hard for your liver and colon to digest. Because of this, over time, your body stores a lot of fat that it can't deal with, because the liver and colon start to get clogged and can't keep up. Or something like that. Bear with me, I'm working on the barest of caffeine here.

So in order to effectively lose weight and get healthy, you have to clean out your liver and colon first.  Once that is done, you then work on eating organic foods, or foods without the additives, with cheat days built in so you can still eat yummy, fat inducing foods once in awhile.

There are three phases: raw diet, cleanse, and undiet. Phase one takes two weeks. Phase two will take three days, and phase three is for six months, or however longer you wish to continue.

This is a seriously hardcore, life changing thing to try, so J was kind enough to do it with me. Without him, I probably would have fallen off the bandwagon after day one. It involves multiple trips to the health food stores, trying new things, and being mentally strong enough to not nibble at the boys hamburgers while we sit there and crunch on radishes.

I waited to blog about this until we had gotten halfway through Phase One to see if it was something we could stick with, and if it was even worth blogging about. We hit our halfway mark this morning with decent results ( and no cheating!!!) so here is what we've been doing.

Phase One is a vegan raw diet, only we can not have grains of any kind. All we are allowed to eat for two weeks are organic veggies, fruits, nuts, and cooked beans from scratch. No dairy, no grains, nothing cooked ( except our beans ). No coffee, no alcohol, no salad dressing, unless we concoct our own using the only two oils allowed, extra virgin olive, and coconut oil.

We can eat as much as we want of these things, while drinking water and herbal tea. It sounds simple.  It is simple. But after the excitement of trying something new wears off, roughly five hours and your stomach is yelling at you, it gets boring. REALLY boring. Despite the plethora of fruits and veggies out there, there is only so much you can do with them without using your stove. I love love love asparagus on a regular day, but I refuse to eat them raw. And broccoli without dressing dip? Thanks, but I'm all set. For the last few days I've been living off clementines, walnuts, spinach leaves, and beans. Breakfast? Usually a cup of beans with a touch of garlic powder and pepper, a water bottle of filtered water, nuts, and a teeny tiny clementine. You know, the ones you feed to dolls when you play house.  Lunch is a salad with homemade dressing. Dinner is a handful of apricots, maybe some beans thrown in if I'm starving.

It's not pretty folks.

It's a war tactic to force your body into shock, while at the same time trying to rewire your brain into the belief that 14 bean soup is as yummy as your chocolate stash when you have Aunt Flo coming to visit in the next day or two. Waterboarding has nothing on this diet in regards to torture.

The first four days were excruciating. All I fantasized about was fried chicken, and I dreamt of cheeseburgers floating into my mouth, while fries danced on the sidelines, whipping their starched hair in fountains of soda. The headaches from lack of caffeine were killer, as was my mood. I had zero tolerance for rough housing mornings without my cup of coffee. But the worst was when we went to a Trunk or Treat and our favorite, mouth watering butcher shop was there, offering freebies of the steak tips my whole family would kill over. Right off the fucking grill. It was devastating to watch the boys down their juicy tender hunks of perfectly grilled meat and we couldn't even have a nibble. It took all the will power we parental units had to not cheat and quietly scarf that last piece of perfect beef that Soren decided he didn't want to finish.

However, I knew I hit a mental mile mark the other day, as I was cooking up Hamburger Helper for the boys. As I started browning the meat, I noticed my nose wrinkling at the smell wafting towards me. By the time I was stirring the faux cheese and milk into noodles and burger, I was quite nauseous. I came to the conclusion, as I stood there, arms out as far as I could go and still stir the concoction, that I would probably never view Hamburger Helper the same way again, let alone eat it. The situation reminded me of when I was pregnant and couldn't deal with certain odors.

And the other bonus was that I got to measure myself last night, after a week of food hell, and lost both an inch in my waist and chest, but also five pounds. Not too shabby for only a week. It was at least enough incentive for me to continue on this journey.

I'll keep an update going on my progress. I've got one more week on this raw diet before I do the next phase: The Cleanse.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Family Wedding Escapades

To all you bloggers it there: do you ever find yourself wishing for some new technology in which you could place a sensor on your temple that would record your thoughts and place them on a word document that you could retrieve later to help you write? I swear I get my best blogging tidbits when I'm heading to sleep, can write  some of the most humerous quotes ever (in my insomniac mind at least ) but wake up and can't remember shit.

You techies out there, chop chop.

J and I had quite the interesting weekend. We had a family wedding to go to in the freezing corner of the country ( also known as Michigan ). What made it SRM worthy of being titled interesting was a couple of factors. The first being that I was going to see family members I haven't seen since I was eight years old. I was very excited to see my cousin Michael, who was the first to teach me how to play Simon. The ORIGINAL Simon.

Oh yeah baby. My first intro to gaming.

Second, my brother and I were going to see our father, with whom we do not really get along with. Ok not quite accurate. If he wasn't our father, I think we'd get along with him pretty well. We all have a very similar and quirky sense of humor. But he was a craptastic father in every sense of the word. Still is. I haven't seen my father in over seven years, when my grandfather died, and one of my aunts insisted that I have three year old Xavier call my father Grampa. As far as I'm concerned, that's a title you earn, not automatically get by having unprotected sex. The kids have a grandfather thankyouverymuch.

 With that in mind, adding into the equation a lot of pent up anger on my brothers end, vast quantities of alcohol, and the fact we Barans (my maiden name) are all obnoxious, equated to the possibility of an interesting weekend.

Last, but definitely not least, was the fact that while J and I have been together for 16 years, married for 13, no one on my fathers side of the family, aside from my cousin getting married and her twin sister, have ever met J. If you know one thing about me by now it's that I say what I want to say. That rings true for everyone who has Baran blood. We're all loud, social, and say what's on our mind. Annnnd, if you know J by now through my blogs, you know that he is as anti social and introverted as you can get. He hates being the center of attention, he hates small talk, he hates being surrounded by strangers.

This was going to be fun. For me, at least.

Because so much happened over the weekend I'm going to streamline it and add fun photos so that you, my fine readers, don't fall asleep while reading. Ready? WAKE UP!!! Ok, now are we ready? Good. Here's the recap:

Friday Night:
After two 30 minute delays for our flights from Raleigh to Detroit (and by the way may I just say that I hate US Airs? I am so spoiled using Jet Blue for my travels) and stuck in stop and go traffic for a good hour, J and I arrive to our destination, the Bavarian Inn Lodge, located in Frankenmuth.

Think of a town that is modeled after mini Germany, and that's where we stayed. After dropping off luggage and freshening up, we headed to the Brewery where the rehearsal dinner was at for my first glimpse of the Baran family all together under one roof in over 20 years. 

As we walked in, we were surrounded by cousins, aunts, uncles, etc, whom many I have not seen since before I had braces (or went through puberty for that matter) and J never met at all. The most common comment we received was that it was good to see that J was in fact, a real live person. It made me wonder if anyone had ever tried to pass off a blow up doll as a spouse. In my family, I wouldn't have been surprised.

My father stayed off to the sidelines, but even surrounded by multitudes of people, J looked me in the eye after he caught sight of my paternal parental unit. I stopped by to introduce the two of them while stifling a giggle. 

My father was dressed as a pirate. 

Can't make this shit up folks.  Blowing blouse open down to mid chest with golden necklaces and black breeches, my father and husband finally met. A few drinks later, while tucked away in cozy quiet corner, J turned to me and whispered " I think I finally get you now." Thanks love. Kiss kiss.
Photo rendition of my father

Following the rehearsal dinner we headed up to someones room for an after party, which consisted of a lot of alcohol, my father pulling out a guitar and singing about vampires, and a lot of partying.


J and I hit Oma's Restaurant for home made German food for breakfast. While there, many of our family members wandered in looking bright and shiny eyed, with no traces of hang overs. I think I get that one particular trait from them, as it's rare I get a hang over. Yay! I found out that we left the after party a bit too soon, as my brother and father headed to the Fun Room, and proceeded to challenge one another in fighting a punching bag. From what I gathered, both of them lost. I would have paid mad money to see that happen.

We stopped by the local village shops to find souvenirs for the boys, grabbed some coffee with Baily's from the Gift Shop ( all gift shops should offer coffee with Baily's) hung out with some cousins, then got ready for the wedding.

My cousin Michael (the one who taught me Simon) officiated over the wedding for my cousin Emily. He started out with the familiar marriage quote from Princess Bride:

Can I just offer props to him for getting that accent down absolutely perfect. I wondered how long it took him to practice in front of a mirror.

After asking the groom if he knew he was marrying a Baran and would entertain the crowd for a bit if he wished to reconsider this ultimate decision, and after Emily growled out through clenched teeth that she would "submit" to her husband, the two love birds were finally hitched and we celebrated.

Congratulations Emily and Kevin!

Try and imagine me, multiplied by 20, partying in a giant room ready to celebrate a very happy occasion. Try and imagine 20 of me, with loud music and a big dance floor. Try and imagine 20 of me surrounded by free alcohol.

Now you can get a clear idea of what the reception was like. Surrounded by spouses and other stranger people who do not share our genetics, my family ripped up the dance floor, turned the wet bar into a desert, and had a ball.  My father even dressed in a seventies tux, to which my brother and I asked if it was the same one he married our mother in. He couldn't recall. And we didn't stop partying when the reception was done. Oh no. We headed up to my brothers room to continue the party.

 I stole my brothers Marine hat. He kept leaving the damn thing on my chair.

J and I were headed there ourselves except we ran into a tiny snafu. While I went outside to have a quick smoke, J ran to our hotel room and somehow found himself locked in the bathroom. I got a phone call from him, asking to grab the hotel staff. Of course the first thing I ask is if he tried the door handle. because yes, we were THAT drunk. He had.

30 minutes later, we've got an impromptu party down in our room, drinking alcohol and cheering on the maintenance guy while he tries to rescue my husband. My brother, hosting the after party, left his party to come down and support J, while also trying to get the hotel staff to let us have the door knob as a souvenir. They politely declined, but once J was safe (huzzah!) they did give us a bottle of champagne. Which we took to the after party and celebrated until dawn. Or 3 am. I lost track of time.

And that, my friends, was our crazy family wedding weekend. 

One cool thing that came out of this crazy ass weekend was that we of the younger generation realized that seeing one another every few decades kind of sucks. We've only gotten together for weddings or funerals. unfortunately by now, everyone is hitched, and we'd rather not wait for someone to kick it. So instead of waiting for one of those occasions to happen, we proposed a family reunion. Since we all live scattered across the country, from San Fran, Denver, Detroit, Omaha, and here in Raleigh, we're setting it for 2014 so everyone can get their finances in order. It should be interesting to see if we actually get off our asses and do this. I'd love to sit on the beach surrounded by my crazy family, drinking margaritas while the kids bury my father under the sand.

Friday, October 12, 2012

SRM Promotion for ADHD Product

I don't normally do these types of blogs but today I am going to make an exception.  Two months ago, I was approached by Ben Caron, son of Dr. Caron, a psychologist who specializes in ADHD. Since I have blogged about Xavier and our issues with his ADHD, he asked if I would be interested in reviewing and discussing a product of theirs, which is an informational video that helps parents and children to understand ADHD, and offer tips to help out.

I couldn't refuse because ADHD is a big part of our daily life and I know how difficult it can be when raising a child with it, not to mention suffering it myself. I remember how many questions we had about ADHD, and how we still have hard days, even after working together as a team for over five years. So I agreed to check it out before I blogged about it.

Of course life takes over, and when raising three kids, it gets pushed back longer than you hope for. But. Now, with the two bus at school and things are starting to get back to "normal" I can sit down and tell you about this product.

 The only reason I am blogging about it is because frankly, I loved it. When it arrived in the mail and I saw the front, bearing Dr. Caron hanging out with a wooden marionette, I admit, I started second guessing this idea. I hate clowns and puppets. Hate them. They give me shivers and make me want to look over my shoulder. So realizing I was going to have to sit down and watch an hour long video with talking marionettes made me long for a bottle of wine to calm down my crawling skin.

So for me to say that I love this video, despite marionettes is saying a lot.

I would recommend this product to any family who is either already dealing with ADHD in their family, has just gotten the diagnosis, or even thinks that ADHD is a strong possibility. This video starts out by discussing exactly what ADHD is, clearing up a lot of popular misconceptions, with very clear examples to make it easy to understand. All done without feeling that you are being talked down to.

It goes through all of the different options to help your child live with ADHD, including the option of medication. I really appreciated how this articulate segment was written, as I know that one of the biggest hurdles we parents face when learning about options is whether or not to use medication as a way to help ADHD. I remember when that was brought up to me after learning about Xavier, and feeling like a failed parent. That was NOT the case as I now know, years later and more knowledgeable. But this video really helps to explain all of it to parents new to dealing with ADHD.

Aside from the information available to parents, this video talks to the children themselves. It has segments specifically for kids to watch, and they follow the story of Elwood, a nine year old marionette, who learns that he has ADHD. Kids can watch and relate to Elwood, as he and Dr. C. Learn about ADHD, and different tricks and tips to help Elwood deal with it both at school and at home. Using catchy songs, and word play, Dr. C. makes it easy for even young kids to learn along with Elwood.

Even as a parent who has been dealing with ADHD for years, I was still able to pick up some tricks that have worked when implemented with Xavier.

If you are a parent who is interested in this video, check the top of my blog for a link to the product. I will be promoting this video for the next six months.

Thank you Ben, and Dr. C. for bringing this informational video to my attention. We at the SRM household did appreciate it. Even with the dreaded marionettes. If you are interested in more information, check out the graphic link on the top right side of my blog.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Parental Crafting Emergency

As most of you know, Ashe is obsessed with the Legend Of Zelda. Halloween is fast approaching, and he has delighted me in choosing once again to be Link for that fabulous holiday. Well I was pleased, until Ashe accidentally left his Link hat at the hospital. Then I panicked.

It took me ages of searching for a Link outfit last year. It's not like they have them in the stores, and most of the ones I found on eBay were made for cosplaying adults that cost hundreds of dollars.  So to lose a vital piece of his outfit is a huge huge deal.

We all know I suck at crafts, but lately I have been on a Pintrest binge, ever since J mentioned that we might, just might, be able to look at purchasing a real honest to goodness home next year instead of renting. I nearly fainted with joy at that proclamation. And while I look for things I want to implement in our new future fantasy home, I also started looking at DIY crafts.  I even went out and purchased a bunch of craft things to make some crafts. So I may suck at them, but I am enjoying this new, domestic aspect I'm linking into.

So when Ashe lost his hat, instead of frantically searching yet again on eBay for one that would fit him, I decided to try to make him one myself. Even though I don't own a sewing machine. Even though the last lesson I had in sewing was in first grade. Even though I still have clear memories of trying to make the kids stuffed animals by hand.

Call me optimistic. Delusional fits too.

With Ashes costume in hand, we headed to the local fabric store in search of the perfect green material. We were fortunate to find a near identical match that didn't break the bank. At home, I measured Ashes head with tape. I know some of you crafty parental units are sucking in their breath right now thinking "oh no she didn't!" Oh yes, I did. Phbhbhbhbhbhbhbt.

I free handed the pattern (OH YES I DID!!!) with a sharpie and cut out the two pieces. And with thread and needle, I got down to business.  I stitched that thing to the best of my six year old knowledge and it took a total of three hours. And you know what? It looked awesome!

My leet hand sewing skills

It was tight stitched with no gaps, and looked just like his old hat. I was so impressed while also realizing that if I knew how to use a sewing machine it would have taken me five minutes instead of three hours that I am contemplating the purchase of one. Not that I know how to use one. But I could maybe learn?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sarcastic Saturday

With my favorite holiday approaching, I am dedicating all of this months Sarcastic Saturdays to Halloween. Mainly funny costumes, both for adults and kids. Some this month may be NSFW so open at your own discretion this month. Hopefully most of you don't work on Saturdays anyways. If for some reason you do, that sucks. Tell your boss I said to bite me. S/he can come here to bitch at me if they feel the desire to. It will amuse me =)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Bet

I'm not one to normally egg on people to bet, especially my kids, but we had a situation occur the other week, in which I think I taught my kids that betting was cool. I'm not sure if I am going to regret this in the future or not. However, it was just too good to pass up.

It was the boys first day of track out, and we decided to hop in the car and drive to Grammys house for the day.  It was a gorgeous day and I did something that pissed the kids off. I forced them to play outside all day. 

After a bit of bickering, Ashe and Soren set themselves up in the mini pool, and we adults pulled up lawn chairs in the backyard. Xavier, feeling too old for the kiddie pool, moodily joined the adults, which included myself, my mom, her husband, and my brother, fondly known as Uncle Brad.

Uncle Brad is in the marines and its a rare treat to have him home on a weekday where the kids can see him. He took the boys on lawn mower rides, and while the younger boys were "swimming" started up a conversation with Xavier about games. 

I sat there with my eyes closed, enjoying the feel of sun on my skin, when I realized that the conversation started to sound a little heated. I perked up to listen in. 

Now you have to understand that the gene of stubbornness runs rampant in my family. I blame my paternal grandfather who was the most stubborn asshole to ever live on this earth. He was an amazing man, but definitely a stubborn asshole. My brother and I received this gene, along with many aunts, uncles, and cousins. I of course, passed this gene down to my boys. All of them.

So when I started paying attention to the conversation, it came down to the fact that Xavier was insistent that his favorite online game, Minecraft, has only been out since the year 2010, whereas my stubborn brother insisted that he played Minecraft when he was Xavier's age. Neither was willing to give in.

With the absolute belief he was totally in the right, Uncle Brad, in a pique of inspiration blurted out "Fine! Lets make a bet. If I am right, you have to give me back my lawn chair (which Xavier had stolen because it was the best chair out there when Uncle Brad went to get a refill on his drink.) and if you win, I will give you my change bag."

Uncle Brads change bag is no laughing matter. Every night he cleans out his pockets and puts all of his change into a Crown Royal bag. It hasn't been cleared up in months. That sucker must have weighed a good five pounds. Knowing this bet was going to go down whether I approved or not, I decided to be Xavier's mentor in this matter.
"Take the bet, Zavi."
"But that's not a good deal!"
"Trust me, kid, it's a great deal. Take the bet."

So he did. And thank goodness for phones with Internet service because I quickly googled for the answer, and waited patiently until everyone was satisfied with the terms of the bet. Once everyone was happy and waiting for the answer I read it out loud.

The creator of Minecraft started it in the year 2009 and it was released in 2010.

"BOOYAH!" Xavier yelled, and jumped up to do the happy dance. Brad looked flabbergasted as he looked at me and said "I swear I played that game when I was a kid."
I looked at him and asked "Did you maybe mean the game Minesweeper?" And a look of horror passed over his face as Brad realized his mistake.

But he was a good sportsman, and the two of the trooped into the house to get Xavier's prize.

We still haven't finished counting out all of the coins, but we do know that there is at least $25 in quarters alone. I keep telling Xavier we should take the money to Coin Star and take a photo of him and the final tally and send it to Uncle Brad.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Magnet Chores

Having a family of five means that, no matter how hard you try, it is improbable to keep your house looking spiffy all of the time. In fact, I don't recommend even trying. You would miss out on too many things where your family is concerned.

Having three kids also means that you, the parental unit, are constantly trying to teach your kids RESPONSIBILITY. This is a life lesson that is continuous, never ending, and from a teachers perspective, sucks to teach. Because let's face it folks, kids in general would rather learn about cool shit like how storms are formed, how ice turns to water and back again, how Darth Vader could really be Luke Skywalkers father and did he pay child support. They don't want to learn that money does not grow on a tree, therefore they cannot get whatever fancy toy floats by their dilated pupils. I have even thought of planting a dead tree outside with pennies glued to the branches, just to prove this point.

However, I came across a cool idea that I decided to try and implement with my kids starting this week. It involved magnets, chores, and money. I called it Magnetic Chores.

After hitting the local craft store and purchasing magnets and little wooden circles, I sat down and brainstormed all of the different random chores around the house that are not already a part of the kids "family duties". I thought of chores that could be done throughout the week, chores that the two older boys could do. And then, J and I picked a monetary value for each chore completion.

Once finalized, I wrote up each chore and corresponding monetary value on a wooden circle, then stuck a magnet on the back. Then, I popped them onto the fridge.

My Magnetic Chores

Knowing my kids, and how they will misinterpret any direction given unless written out and copied in triplicate, I sat down to write out very detailed instructions on the following:

  • What is expected to complete each chore
  • When the chores are available
  • What happens if a chore is not completed
  • What happens if the kids suck up something into the vacuum and break my precious Dyson

The pages were stapled together, put in a folder, and into a drawer near the fridge so that the kids can read what is expected for the chore they decide to choose.

The way I figure, the kids are constantly asking for new things, and each weekend we hear whining on how they want a raise on their allowance. Our household rule is half their age in monetary pin money per week. But, it's like herding wet cats to get them to help around the house unless there is something in it for them. Now, they have family duties that are expected no matter what and they don't count for money. Things like cleaning their rooms, bringing down their dirty laundry, cleaning off the table both before and after meals, picking up the living room. But the chores I chose to offer are choice only with incentives to choose. My choice of chore and monetary value may differ from yours. I live on a three story town house where the laundry room is on floor one, and our bedrooms are on floor three. I'll happily pay a little extra cash than the average mom if the boys are willing to lug the clothes all the way upstairs for me. Or why I offer $2 to vacuum or sweep the stairs. It's a pain in the ass to do two sets of stairs.

So here is what I offered, with the understanding that homework and family duties need to be completed before these are available:

  • Dishes $1
  • Clean kitchen counters $.75 
  • Wipe kitchen appliances $.25 
  • Wipe windows $1 
  • Dust middle floor $.50 
  • Bring up laundry $.50 
  • Sort laundry $2 
  • Vacuum upper floor $.75
  •  Vacuum middle floor $.50
  •  Sweep lower floor $.50 
  • Vacuum stairs $2 
  • Middle bathroom $.50 
  • Kids bathroom $1
  •  Parents bathroom $1 
  • Office bathroom $1
 ***note that tubs are not included in price, but there is an option to earn an extra dollar per tub they clean*** 

I also added two "Wild Card" additions, to be used by parental units discretion only. They can be used for any random chore that may need to be done at that point in time.

In total, including the addition of tub cleaning, it is conceivable that the kids can earn more than an extra $15 per week on top of their regular allowance.

When the boys arrived home from school they immediately noticed the magnets and the mason jars on display as their piggy banks. After going through all of the rules, the boys excitedly started making plans on who would get which chore. Ashe has already earned a quarter and my kitchen appliances look awesome. Soren even earned a nickel through the Wild Card system, by bringing down a box of Bounce to the Laundry Room.

Yeah, I think this is going to work out just fine. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Track In

My apologies for the lack of blogging lately. As the kids are in year round school, we just finished up  three weeks of all boys home terrorizing their parental units. Needless to say it was pretty impossible to blog at regular intervals (see the definition of ever) when I had three rambunctious and crazy XY chromosome children running around.

It was a pretty crazy track out. We had an asthma attack that brought Ashe to the hospital for a day. We had Ashe fall into a lake from a paddle boat. We had J leave for a business trip. We had ice cream dinners and a Plants vs. Zombies marathon (Xavier finished the game). We had lawn mower lessons, park picnics, and regular lazy days.

But they are over now. School is back in session until December. And while I now have to chug my morning cup of coffee in order to make carpool, I am enjoying the fact that my kids are off somewhere having knowledge crammed into their tiny pink brains. And the quiet at home. Oh, how I love the quiet.