Sunday, October 12, 2014

Apple Picking at Cider Hill Farms, Amesbury, MA

Like many other New Englanders, we went apple picking today.  We chose Cider Hill Farms for their awesome apple cider donuts and choice of apples.  The apple trees were quite picked over but some of the trees had a bunch at the top.  Luckily, they give you apple picking poles (which I had never seen before) and those worked great!  We filled our bags with Macoun, Honeycrisp and Early Fujis.  I now have apples for 2 months!  I'm psyched.  They taste so good fresh from the tree.  The kids had an absolute blast.  They enjoyed picking (and eating) the apples and 2 donuts apiece.  They had fun on the hay ride and LOVED jumping around the hay bales that the farm set up.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Happy New Year - L'Shana Tova!

It's high holiday season.  L'Shana Tova!

Also?  Autumn!

Ian popped up from his seat so that he could help Rabbi Jay carry the Torah.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

2014 Title 9 Women Only Sprint Triathlon, Hopkington MA

This past Sunday, I participated in the Title 9 Women Only Sprint Triathlon in Hopkington, MA.  It's a .25 mile swim, 10 mile bike and 3.1 mile run.  I trained by doing each activity individually but only twice did I do some running after biking.  And never once did I practice swimming in open water.  I trained only in the pool.  The course was MUCH more challenging than I expected.  For some reason, because it was a women-only event and there were going to be a lot of "newbies," I had assumed it would be easy.  Wrong wrong wrong.  The bike didn't have a single flat spot.  Thank god the last 1 mile of the run was flat.  My overall time was 1:21:25.  Here's the break-down:

Overall placement:
Swim:  26/610; 3/92 in 40-44 year old division
Bike:  122/610; 26/92 in 40-44 year old division
Run:  85/610: 16/92 in 40-44 year old division

My swim was decent but I thought it could have used improvement.  For one, I needed to actually swim in the 2 weeks prior to the triathlon.  My local pool closed during these 2 weeks and despite good intentions to visit another pool, I didn't happen.  And now my back is really sore!  Also, I needed to sight my swim pathway more often.  I kept swimming towards shore instead of swimming in a straight line and once almost ran smack into a huge orange buoy.  When I do another triathlon next year, I will need to practice some open water swimming.  I will also plan to buy a swimming wetsuit so that I can do some ocean swims.

I felt good on the bike, despite the hills.  I averaged 15.0 mph, which I thought was pretty good given the challenging course.  That being said, it was clearly the worst of my 3 legs of the race.  I definitely held back a bit knowing that I had to get through the run.  I think I was at 90% instead of 100%.  As I do more triathlons, I will hopefully get a better sense of how to pace myself.

I was really proud of my run.  I averaged an 8:26 min/mile pace which is REALLY fast for me.  When training, my fastest average was roughly 8:45 min/mile pace and usually it was slower than that.  I didn't have any more to give on the run and so I know I gave it 100%.

I can't wait to sign up for some more races next year.  I found out that my neighbor also is interested in doing them and so I'll have to coordinate with her.  I plan on doing an Olympic distance triathlon next season (.9 mile swim, 25 mile bike and 6.1 mile run), which will require more dedicated training.  And I need to figure out how to get faster on the bike.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ian's First Day of Kindergarten!

Ian had his first real day of kindergarten today.  He was so proud of himself and I was so proud of him!  While he has been in "school" for almost his entire life, this is the first time that he was out of the daycare environment.  As usual, I didn't have to worry about his transition to kindergarten.  He has always been happy to make upward changes (ever since he was in the mobile infant room at daycare, banging on the glass door because he wanted to get into the adjoining toddler room).

His schedule is a bit nuts since public school kindergarten in our town is only a 1/2 day.  So he is going to public school kindergarten every morning during the week.  Then every day except for Wednesday, KinderCare picks him up and he does their afternoon kindergarten program and after school program.  On Wednesday, he'll be going to our local temple for their afternoon kindergarten program and then religious school. What is nice about that is that he's getting his "Sunday school" experience during the week so we don't have to try and force yet another activity into the weekend.  If he really likes the temple experience, we might send him twice a week instead of once a week.

I'm still sort of amazed, shocked and awed that my first baby is already in kindergarten!  This kid is going to knock their socks off - he's already reading complex sentences and words without much effort.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Achieved My Weight Loss Goal

I've been wanting to lose those last 5 pounds of baby weight for a long time now.  My little girl is about to turn 3, I'm going on a week-long scuba diving vacation shortly and I'm turning 40 next month.  So I decided to kick the weight loss program into high gear.  I've been exercising more (4 times a week) and doing high intensity bursts.  I've been mixing up my workouts too (bike, run, swim, and cardio training with body weight).  I've also tried to eat healthier (although I'm already a fairly healthy eater).  I stopped eating rice/potatoes as side dishes and traded them for roasted vegetables, like squash, cauliflower and brussel sprouts.  And I did it.  According to my weight loss app on my phone, I started at 147.2 pounds 2 years ago and today, hit my goal of 140.0 pounds.  So hooray for me.  It's what I weighed just before getting pregnant with my son in 2008.

But, I'm still not totally thrilled with what I see in the mirror.  I used to have a flat stomach and now I have a bump where my stomach is.  It's not flabby or mushy, but it's not flat.  So I'm going to set a new goal of 135 pounds and see if I can achieve that.  My guess is that my stomach will look the same even with another 5 pounds gone.  I think it's a combination of age, genetics and the fact that I had 2 babies in my latish 30s.  It may just be that I'm stuck with it.  And if that's so, that's okay too.  I just want to see if another 5 pounds make a difference.  I'm 5'5" so being 135 pounds certainly isn't too skinny...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Well-Child Visits and Stats

Today, I took Ian and Sammy to the doctor for their 5 year old and 3 year old checkups.  They were pretty well-behaved and Sammy was definitely more comfortable being at the doctor with her big brother there besides her.  Here is a photo of them poking each other while we waited for the doctor.

Here are their stats:

Ian (5)
Weight:  43 pounds, 8 ounces (68.54%)
Height:  44.29 inches (76.21%)

Sammy (3)
Weight:  29 pounds, 6 ounces (39.32%)
Height:  38.0 inches (71.20%)

Thankfully, Sammy's ears checked out fine.  She only recently stopped a 10-day course of amoxicillin after suffering from a double-ear infection.  This was her first ear infection since she got tubes placed into her ears when she was 1 year old.  In one ear, the tube was totally gone and in the other ear, the tube was no longer in the ear drum.  I was so worried that we were heading down the pathway of needing a second set of tubes, but it looks like the antibiotics worked!  I guess she's 2 years older, her Eustachian tubes are bigger, the drug dosing has changed and the bacteria are different.  I hope she doesn't get ear infections too often because she was a miserable wretch for about 5 days.  She didn't complain that her ears hurt but she wasn't eating or sleeping well and was super crabby during the day. I really missed my smiling happy little girl.  But she's back!  Hooray for antibiotics that work!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

So Long Crib!

Yesterday, we took our crib, which has served us so well, to the dump.  It was an old drop-side crib first used by my nephew, who is now 14.  My brother's kids used it and our kids used it.  I would have loved to have donated it, but they don't take drop-side cribs anymore because they're no longer considered safe.  I thought briefly about free-cycling it, but I couldn't bear to think of a child injured or killed because of my crib.  But at least I free-cycled our crib mattress, which was only 3 years old.  

We transitioned Sammy out of the crib and into her big girl bed over the course of a week, just like we did for Ian.  It really was no big deal at all.  We put her twin mattress on the floor for a week to let her get used to not being in a cage.  She loved it because we dressed it all up in Hello Kitty bedding.  Here are the many different forms of a sleeping Sammy:

I love the picture of her sleeping with her head hanging off the mattress.  I had to stifle my laughter as I took that photo.

And here she is in her big girl bed.  She's so proud of herself!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Florida Swimming - Videos

Although we didn't take any pictures of the kids in the pool in Florida, we took a bunch of video.  I pieced together the best parts.  Boy, do the kids LOVE the pool!

Ian - Almost 5

Sammy - Almost 3

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Florida Vacation - January 2014

We just returned from a fantastic vacation in Florida.  As always, it was wonderful to visit my parents and my sister and her family.  The weather wasn't superbly warm - it was in the high 60s and lower 70s for most of the time.  But at least it didn't rain and we were able to make it to the beach at the end of the trip.  And my parents' community pool is heated and so even when it was 68 outside, we went to the pool.  It was nice and warm (84 degrees) in the pool - just freezing to get out.  The kids adored the pool.  Ian would have stayed in for hours if we left it up to him and the only reason Sammy got out was because she got cold.  Here are the best pics from the trip:


Ian and Sammy had a blast with their older cousins.  Ian seemed excited to sleep over at my sister's house but at the last minute, when he realized that he wouldn't be with his mom and dad and his grandparents for the night, he changed his mind.  I love my sensitive boy!


Since the weather was a bit too cold for the pool when we first got to Florida, we went to this place near my sister's house called Flamingo Gardens.  It was a bit like a zoo in that they had some animals in cages. But the big attraction was that the birds just wandered around and you could feed some of them. The peacocks were gorgeous!


The kids had a great time at my parents' house.  They played with their LeadPads and watched cartoons.  We went for a bike ride almost every day.  One day, Sammy and Ian both rode about 1.5 miles to the pool, which really impressed me (especially my little Sammy!) My mom got a ton of books out of the library and read to them quite a bit.  She also had great stickers for them.  


We visited Wakodahatchee Wetlands, which is pretty close to where my parents live.  We go there every time we visit.  It's a really nice boardwalk through the wetlands where you can see tons of birds and turtles and the occasional alligator.  This time around, we saw a huge alligator and we also saw 4 big iguanas sitting in a tree - pretty neat!  The kids mostly liked running ahead on the boardwalk and my husband was lucky enough to capture some pictures of them holding hands!  Sometimes, they can bee so sweet with each other.


We didn't take any pictures of the kids in the pool (although I will post some videos in a separate post).  But there is a little man-made beach by my parents' community pool and the kids had fun playing there.  This first picture is freezing-cold Sammy warming up with Hoopie after some fun pool time.


By the end of our trip, the weather had warmed up nicely.  The day before we left, it was probably 78 degrees (although it felt much warmer in the sun).  We decided to go to the beach in the morning and I'm so glad we did.  It was absolutely beautiful out.  I though the ocean would be too cold to go in, but Ian basically threw himself in and started body surfing on the waves.  I was really impressed with him - no fear!  His only complaint was that the ocean didn't taste very good.  Sammy was a bit more fearful of the waves but she was very happy to jump around in them while holding onto a grownup.


And then, sadly, it was time to go home.  I was very proud of my kids on the travel days.  Both behaved very nicely.  They either played with their LeapPads or watched the TV which is so conveniently offered by JetBlue.  I LOVE JetBlue for traveling with the kids!  We're guessing that the tube in Sammy's right ear has fallen out since she had some pain during the descent (which was easily solved with a lollipop).  I guess we'll find out when she has her 3-year checkup.