Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Food Blog Post: Seitan

I love food blogs. The pictures are so cool. I've been wanting to post some food-blog type entries, so here's one about seitan.

So far I have made two dishes using seitan. It's "chicken-style" so it's very easy to use and the kids thought it was chicken.

The first dish I made was Stir-Fry. I chopped up red onion, red peppers and broccoli while the seitan was "browning" in the skillet. Then I removed the seitan and put the red onion and fresh garlic in the skillet. I added the peppers after a few minutes. Once they got soft I added in broccoli and the seitan and sprayed on some Bragg's. I served it over brown rice and it rocked. The kids loved it. My husband was grossed out when he saw me remove the seitan from the container, so he wouldn't even try it. I'm grossed out by the Thanksgiving turkey carcass, but I still eat turkey, for now. Geeze. Here's my lovely dish:

So, then the children got a DVD from the library of Maurice Sendaks stories and poems with a segment called "The Nutshell Kids" with music by Carole King. It came out in 1985, so Will and I remember them. I remember "Chicken Soup With Rice" very well, while Will remembers them all. After getting Seitan again, I decided to make Chicken-style seitan soup with rice. I did use Free-range chicken broth for the authentic taste and because it was on-sale at the organic market. I cut corn off the cob and used left-over green onions and rosemary as well as a variety of dried spices like basil and oregano and whatever I thought smelled like it would be tasty in soup. I cut the seitan into small pieces and kept half of it for use in another stir-fry this week. Here's the process, missing many steps, in picture format:

The verdict? Kinda bland. But still good. Best with toast. Even Will ate it, though he said he knew in the back of his mind the chicken wasn't right. Later, for dinner when the leftovers contained no broth, I wrapped the rice/corn/seitan concoction in a wheat tortilla with chopped avocado and it was soooo good!

Chemicals, chemicals everywhere

I've been slowly changing my mindset concerning health, cleanliness, and the environment. While striving for health, cleanliness, and taking care of the environment are no-brainers, exactly how to accomplish these tasks and what they REALLY mean is another story.

For one, I used to think medicines were usually the way to go to be healthiest. After 2.5 years on a drug that kept my daughter from getting enough sleep, doing who knows what damage to her brain, I will never just accept drugs without much research and questions and will always think about medications concerning behavior.

Cleanliness and the environment go hand-in-hand. Much of what we use to stay "clean" has negative affects for our environment. Chlorine bleach! Ugh. I've switched to Seventh Generation products which contain no chemicals that are harmful for people or the environment.

Chemical Free Kids is such a great book! I thought it would just tell me things I already knew, like using safe cleaning products, and removing shoes upon entering the house. But it gave so much scientific information about chemicals in our food, and it's not just pesticides, and how they affect our bodies and minds. There is a whole chapter devoted to pesticides with some pretty horrible stories of bad things happening to children and families exposed to these chemicals, including a little girl dying. Other than that much of the information is very positive and not meant to scare the crap out of you. The information is so good, I'm going to read it again because I'm sure I missed things the first time through.

Now, present day dilemma: My 6 year old daughter S used to get little cuts and sores in her mouth. I thought they were maybe from chips cutting her. Then, when she had a canker sore at the beach, my mom pointed out that lots of people are sensitive to SLS in toothpaste and SLS can cause sores in the mouth. So, we switched her to SLS-free toothpaste and she's been free of sores since! A few days ago I noticed she had a very flaky patch on her scalp with terrible dandruff in her hair. Here is the proof that it's difficult to change how we've grown to think. My first thought was, oh, now I might have to get her some Head n' Shoulders. But, since I just finished the aforementioned book, I immediately thought, wait, what could be causing this? I went and looked at our shampoos and saw they contained a relative of SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), SLES (sodium laureth sulfate). I've researched it online and found that it can cause inflammation and irritation of the scalp. I'm pretty sure that's what has caused this patch on her. I even read that men and women suffering from hair loss shouldn't use shampoo with SLES because the inflammation it causes can damage hair follicles leading to hair loss. I know I pull out big clumps of hair much of the time when I wash. I assume it's because I don't brush my curly hair, but it could also be because of SLES. My husband gets a patch of flaky skin on his scalp in the front and we've noticed that it has also gotten thinner there in the last couple years. He thought washing his hair MORE would help get rid of the itchy, flaky patch, but that hasn't helped. I have heard and read that hair should be washed less frequently than most Americans do to have a healthier scalp and healthier looking (since hair's dead) hair. But if we got rid of the damaging chemicals in shampoo, then we could wash every day without worry!

Now I'm searching the net for SLES/SLS-free shampoo for ALL of us to use. Why should we continue to put unnecessary chemicals on our skin. Some sources even say it can be absorbed by our skin and is not easily metabolized by our livers, which leads to a build up in our systems. One source said it's linked to increased levels of oestrogen which has been linked to cancer. Of course, everything that is possibly unhealthy eventually gets linked to cancer in one way or another. I'm not getting worried about that, because cancer is such an enigma when it comes to causes and cures. What I am focused on is keeping known chemicals from entering mine and my family's bodies. It's amazing how much is out there and marketed to children as safe, fun, and healthy. Blech.

Another tidbit of information from the book: Noxzema and Ben-gay can be used as mosquito repellent! I always hated spraying bug repellent on my kids and have only done it maybe 3 times because it's sooooo poisonous!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Stevia, overly processed?

I recently saw a commercial for Truvia. Have you seen this? It says they pick the leaves from the Stevia plant, steep the leaves in water, which removes the sweet compound Rebiana, then further purify that to make Truvia. It also has "naturally fermented sugar alcohol."

According the stevia.com, Stevia extract made by various natural food brands is pretty similar, if not the same as Truvia.

So, Truvia may be the first brand of Stevia to be FDA approved as a sweetner, maybe. Until now FDA has allowed Stevia to only be marketed as a dietary supplement. Looking at the box I purchased I would have had no idea it was a sweetner. The only clue is that it says it's aspartame-free. My mother's naturopathic doctor told her about it, so I tried it.

I don't like it as much as sugar in my coffee. It's okay in tea. I've made hot chocolate for the kids with it and they enjoyed it just as much as ever.

One difference with Truvia is that it will be packaged to tell consumers how to use it compared to sugar. However, I've found Stevia conversion charts, so I didn't really need a big name brand to tell me that info. It's sad that it takes a big company like Cargill to market a food item under a name brand. It's weird. Sugar isn't called something made-up by different manufacturers. No matter who makes it, it's SUGAR. So, why is stevia being named Truvia, like sucralose is called Splenda? It just seems like this Truvia stuff cannot be the same as stevia extract. More info is circulating now than ever before, so hopefully we'll all get some answers. There's even information out that Stevia is dangerous, though the general consensus is that it's completely safe. Splenda, aka sucralose, however, I've never trusted and don't consume.

What do you use?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Update on Singulair

Since stopping Singulair, G has been going to bed so well! She falls asleep within 10 minutes. She is still allowed to look at books in her bed. I think she used to look at so many books before because her mind was so stimulated from the Singulair. Sometimes she'd look at books for an hour or more. Now she looks at one or two and lays down to sleep. So great! I know I'll never take that drug again either. I really think it attributed to my depression in the past.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The feeling of relief

Before the holidays, my art department chair at my university gave me the number of a woman who had called looking for someone to illustrate a children's book. Since I had done a children's book for my final advanced studio class, he thought of me right away. Well, I got together with the woman and looked at some of her ideas for her book. It's about God's creation of Heaven and angels and Lucifer and the war in Heaven. This is one site where she showed me the depiction of the walls of heaven. At the meeting she didn't want to get too into her actual manuscript, so she left me to read it.

I'm feeling relieved right now because I just called and told her I couldn't do the illustrations. I told her she had a wonderful manuscript and I could tell she needed a lot of detailed illustrations to bring it forth and at this time in my life I just couldn't devote the time needed. She was very understanding and is a very warm person, so I'll just be mailing her manuscript back.

Even though when I first spoke to her and she gave me her basic idea of the book I had trepidations about the religiosity of it, I thought, it's work. But it's a very long manuscript and it's for middle school age children, so it needed more realistic drawings and that's not how I operate. Most importatnly, I just don't agree with the basic subject content. Catholic Encyclopedia explains why. It gives the historical basis for much of the content of the Book of Revelations. Catholics do not interpret the Bible literally and understand that it is a reflection of the points in history in which it was written. They do interpret the Bible. And that's how I was rasied. So, I couldn't work on a project that was meant to teach children that there is LITERALLY a walled-in Kingdom of Heaven where a river runs through and doors are giant pearls. I couldn't actually draw God based on His description in Revelations. It's just absurd to think we could possibly know what God looks like.

So, now that Must See TV (is it still called that? probably not, but those 90s were good times) is about to start, I'll go sip my wine (which probably helped me make that phone call this evening!) and enjoy my relief. Aaaaahhhhh. So goooood.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Application Happy

I'm getting kind of obsessed with appying for jobs. I've applied to school systems, of course. But now I'm applying to Charter Schools that accept applications directly and also to positions at community colleges. I just got an application done for a summer camp to teach art. I have another summer camp to apply to. It's one my sister worked at last year, so that could help me. I finally have another little glimmer of hope. If you don't remember, I had an interview in November at an elementary school in MD, but didn't get the job which was supposed to start in Dec. There is a new public school starting in Balt. next year that will only have kindergarten the first year and then add a grade each year. I emailed the founding principle about their need for an art teacher and she said she'd love for me to apply but would like to call me Thurs. or Fri. about what the job would be like. I guess she'll tell me it's only a part-time position since they'll only have 5-6 classes of kindergarteners. However, how awesome would that be to have the position of THE art teacher at a new school? I'd be set! So long as the school was a success. It's a public school, but it's sort of a charter school, because it's run by a non-profit organization. I have high hopes for its success, though, because they already run a middle/high school that is very successful in the city. I would definitely take such a part time job and then search for other part time employment such as at private schools which could be competitive with public school pay.

So, would you please send me positive vibes, prayers, whatever you do that I get a summer camp job lined up AND a job for the school year. Now Will just has to get his apps going. He's got a couple in the works, so hopefully he will get something lined up before graduation as well.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My baby... on singulair

I don't like to be overly concerned about medication side effects and the news about meds can certainly scare you, so I take it with a grain of salt. But today's blurb about singulair being linked to depression made me take note. We have recently narrowed G's meds down to singulair. So, I decided to research it. As I read some of the posts from other patients and parents I recalled reading information like this when she first started taking it. However, she was about 1.5 and she hadn't had much time to develop a personality after being sick from allergens in breast milk her first year of life. She had never slept well because of the allergies. So, her continuing to be difficult to put to bed most nights and her refusal to take naps didn't concern me. The reports of singulair side effects in young children had to do with terrible misbehavior, violent temper tantrums, words and expressions of anger and hate. G didn't have these. She didn't say "I love you" voluntarily until close to three years old, but who knows why that is. She was always a very clingy baby and toddler and hugged and loved in a physical way. Her speech may be more delayed because of fluid in her ears until 2. This year at three years old she has become such a loving child. She's still clingy, especially when I work and she's very affectionate with kisses and hugs and tells us she loves us. However, two problems have lingered: her hyperactivity and difficulty sleeping. She is getting better with going to sleep soon after being put to bed these days and she is less hyperactive as well. But it's not completely gone. Last November my mother visited for a few days during the week. She witnessed Gillian's terrible bed time habits which may have been worse because she was there, but were sometimes that way when she wasn't. So, I didn't know. But she was difficult that week. She stayed up till 11 pm one night looking at books in bed, playing in her room, getting up to see where I was. If she takes a nap, which she sometimes will do on the couch or if Will was home and could see she was exhausted he'd put her to bed, she will stay up until at least 9 pm when bedtime is 7pm. She usually wakes between 6 and 7 am. It seems the more tired she would get at night the more active she would be. Just sitting on my lap she would constantly move her legs like someone with restless leg syndrome. She would crawl off my lap, walk around the room, come back to me. This was all after 8 pm when she was totally exhausted and should have been sleeping. As I've said, it hasn't happened as much recently, but looking at singulair's possible side effects, I can't help but wonder if that little pink pill is responsible for her hyperactivity, insomnia, agitation, and irritability. She can be a very whiny, cranky child much of the time. Like not recognizing her allergy sooner, I feel guilty about this, too. Who is this little girl? How has her behavior been shaped by her health and medications? We've limited activities where she'd be sitting for a long time because she couldn't keep quiet or still. I'll be stopping the singulair and we'll see how things change. She always looks tired and only sleeps about 10-11 hours a night with no naps. That's not enough for a three year old who should get more like 14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Under Pressure

I probably fret way too much about that lasting damage I do to my children. I wonder what kind of people they will date or sustain long-term relationships with based on the type of behavior Will and I exhibit. I also wonder what kind of parents they will be or partners they will be. I probably place more importance on myself in shaping their complete character than is warranted. Still, I feel immensely guilty this evening due to a nasty episode earlier. What happened? Well, I want to lay it all out there. Give you all the excuses such as being home over a week without working and the children being tired. Bottom line, I crossed it. There's no excuse. It's understandable, yes. Millions of mothers and fathers can relate. But I said something that I can't take back. I did something that I can't take back. And I hate it. I'm so angry at myself.

S is more verbal, so that's why I attacked her verbally. After a terrible evening with S which culminated in her spilling water on her homework, I called her an idiot. I immediately said, you're not and I shouldn't have said that, but I'm at the end of my rope here. I made amends before dinner and we ate. Then as dinner was ending, G started throwing food. After she picked it up and sat back down she did it again. I took her out of her seat intending to put her in time-out away from the table as per our bad manners policy, but the fit she began throwing infuriated me and I smacked her butt. God I hate spanking my kids. I've done it with both of them before and it's always out of frustration and anger and I hate myself every time it happens. Fortunately it's a rarity and not a daily thing. Immediately I hugged G and told her let's calm down now, I'm sorry.

I'm always sorry. It doesn't take it back. I still remember my mother smacking me across the face for back talking her one time too many. She was at the stove cooking dinner and I was about 9. I immediately saw the pain in her face and ran away crying and I know she cried too. We made up. We had dinner. I didn't hate her. S doesn't hate me. I told her how I couldn't take back what I said and I'm a human and humans make mistakes. Truthfully, when she ran to her room crying after the name-calling she was more upset about getting in trouble at school for ruining her homework than she was about getting yelled at by me! I related her mistake to my mistake and she understood that her teachers wouldn't be upset with her.

And the underlying problem is living in uncertainty. Will has one more semester...there are no jobs here. We want to move where there's more opportunity. We need health benefits for our family. It's a lot and this economy shit makes it so much worse. We're living under pressure. And now the kids are feeling it, too.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It was a blast...

...an email blast! So, that's what it's called now? No more mass email? I guess that had too many negative connotations such as mass suicide or mass murder or mass is at 10:15 so don't be late. Blast is a much more upbeat word. Unless you're talking about being blasted with a shotgun in the face or otherwise or blasted with snow while en route or having your eardrums blasted out or you're blasted by a reporter. Bulk email was a term in there at some point. But bulk is not a good thing in our society of skinny bitches, so it didn't take off.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Holding hands not encouraged

During the summer we become more lax about attending mass. During the school year S goes to Sunday School and so that basically keeps us committed to attending mass. Late in the summer we missed a couple weeks in a row and when we returned, no one held hands during the Our Father. A few weeks later my in-laws visited and after mass they asked what had happened. Everyone used to hold hands and I mean EVERYONE. People would reach across the aisles to hold hands and the entire church would be linked. It was very nice and comforting. I especially liked seeing my daughter's shy smile as she took the hand of an elderly woman next to her (we have a pretty old congregation) and then the smile on the woman's face as my daughter over eagerly raised her hand up during the last part.

There have been other changes...other changes on a more conservative path, such as using the bells during communion, bowing more, genuflecting because the tabernacle was moved to the alter. The bells I understand. I can say to S that when she hears the bells that tells her the body and blood have been consecrated. But, I still don't like it.

I grew up in a liberal church. A church that had a "folk group" during the "family" mass. I love the music and singing praise is what makes church worthwhile for me. I'm pretty sappy, so sometimes when my current church plays a song I know from my childhood I get a little teary. I also get very annoyed when familiar songs are played too slowly by the organ, which apparently has precedence. The Church may eventually lose us if it goes much further.

I said to Will, it's as if the bishop declared there to be no hand-holding. Low-and-behold that's exactly what happened. Apparently there's this document called "General Norms" and it tells exactly how to do mass in a particularly diocese. Here's what it said about the Our Father:

"79. While it may be a custom in some places to hold hands as the Our Father is prayed, this gesture is not encouraged as the reception of Holy Communion is the sign and bond of unity of the Church at prayer."

I can just see our Deacon announcing this. He seems to be a very intolerant person, so I can imagine him taking joy in this. A mean statement, but I'm pretty upset about this. I actually cried when I read Number 79. It's just disgusting. The offering of peace has gotten shorter as well. It used to be you could offer peace to everyone around you, as long as they were trying to do the same, but now it's much shorter and people don't try to get more than a couple people or maybe even just the people they know. Community is basically the main reason I decided to stay connected to Church. If I walked into my church for the first time tomorrow I'd hate it. I'd feel it was a cold, unwelcoming place where the people aren't very friendly (though many are). I mean, when I looked around and saw families not even holding hands... no one... it was so sad. I will not stop holding hands during the Our Father. It wasn't forbidden, just not encouraged. But even if it were forbidden, it wouldn't stop me. Silly though it sounds, changing these little things are big steps backwards and I don't want to take them.

The Crazy

I really can't see this person as an intelligent human. Recently she said this:

Next year this time, we'll find out if our new "Halfrican" president is really black or just another white liberal. If he's black enough to say the "brothers should pull up their pants," surely Obama can just say no to Kwanzaa.

Basically, she's an intolerant bigot. She should not be allowed to speak on news networks and the NBC ban should remain, though it probably won't. She should not speak for Christians or Christianity because she does not uphold the teachings of Jesus. When I hear her speak of Jesus and Christians it makes me want to completely separate from the Church. Fortunately she doesn't like Catholics, though. Probably because many of us tend to be liberal. She should be happy about the church becoming more conservative of late, but that's my next post.

Watch clips of her interviews and you can see the interviewers are incapable of understanding how she can speak the way she does. She IS the definition of bigotry.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The tree

Have you taken down your Christmas tree yet?

It's a no here. I've gotten to like seeing it again, but I still don't want to do the work of putting the ornaments away.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Why Vegan?

So this whole vegan thing. I'm trying to wrap my mind around it. Why do I want to go vegan? I have yet to read the China Study, but reading about it is interesting. It talks about how animal protein leads to disease. I've also read about the benefits of eating plant life. So here is a list of reasons why I am going vegan (slowly, I'm not just jumping into this):

1. Genetics are not on my side (family history of heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol)

2. My immune system used to SUCK. I got sick a lot, got sinus infections.

3. My digestion was awful(i.e. chronic constipation) when I consumed dairy. TMI warning: I was having bleeding and mucus in my stool. It was bad. (This also impacts immune system since much of it works in the digestive tract.) (This also goes into family history of colon polyps.)

4. I was feeling very lethargic last school year through early summer. I had mild hypothyroidism which can cause constipation and lethargy and sensitivity to the cold. Apparently diet can help mild hypothyroidism (and most conditions/diseases).

5. My youngest is allergic to dairy and egg. While she tests negative and can consume it rarely without too much trouble, if she has too much of it in a food item (like egg and milk in pancake) then she gets very upset digestion. So, we avoid it completely for her.

6. My oldest also gets constipation from dairy. The change has been difficult for her, though.

7. I believe that eating vegan gives the most health benefits and makes me feel more energetic, happy, and good about my body as well.

Where am I really? I still eat poultry and fish. I don't see myself giving up fish. It may happen in the future, but I can't see that happening. I still consume dairy in small amounts, such as in ghirardelli chocolate and other chocolate candies. What do I usually eat in a day? English muffins/bagel, salad, fruit, veggie burritos, veggie wraps, green juice, fruit and green smoothies, rice milk or hemp seed milk, nut butters, cereal, granola, raw nuts, Larabars, goat cheese pizza, tuna over spinach. Some days I eat completely veg. Today I had a couple bites of G's leftover chicken nugget, but that was the only meat. I still use mayo or ranch sometimes.

What am I doing for my kids? I give them Tyson chicken nuggets and other chicken I cook. They also get tuna sometimes. I allow my oldest to have organic ranch because she loves it on salad. She can also have eggs. On days where they don't get meat, they get beans at dinner. They also eat Sunflower seed butter or other nut butter. I bake breads and muffins for them with whole wheat or spelt flour and lots of ground flax seed. I pretty much offer them fruit when they're hungry between meals and a veggie at every meal. They both eat salad readily and other veggies cut up with hummus. They are very healthy eaters.

The best advice I've read on feeding kids is from Raw Food Detox Diet by Natalia Rose. She said let the kids participate in food fun, or they'll feel too restricted. At parties, let them have a slice of regular birthday cake or even a hot dog. It's not something they get at home, and they understand it's just for the party. And chances are, if they are used to eating natural, whole foods, junk food will just make them feel too full and bloated. They won't want it anytime soon. So, that was the attitude I had over Christmas break staying with family. They had sausage and eggs at breakfast and we all indulged in my mom's delicious stuffed shells. Mmmmm. Not to mention the cookies! My mom made vegan cookies for my youngest, which was so nice. I brought banana oatmeal cookies and they just got thrown away because no one wanted them with all the other sweets.

I was on a raw kick for a while and I still think about food combinations as per Natalia Rose, but I'm not focusing on raw right now. I eat raw most lunches, but dinner I like to cook for my family and eat warm meals in the winter. In the summer, I'm more likely to eat raw.

This embarrassing mom made Baked Samosas

Thanks to my sister's gift of a Border's gift card, I got You Won't Believe It's Vegan and made Baked Samosas today. I used tortillas made with corn and wheat and they were so good I had 5. Will said that was the number at which they stopped being healthy. Good thing because I was pretty full by that time. G was in a non eating mood, so basically she had a 0 calorie dinner because she only ate 5 pieces of cucumber and maybe an eentsy taste of samosa. S loved them and had two and will be having the last two in her lunch tomorrow. But not to worry! I have extra filling so I can make myself some more freshly baked samosas tomorrow! YAY! It will be very delicious after-gym food, as long as I don't get a sub job. Food after a workout is always better. Why is that? I can't believe I used to actually get fast food after working out. ICK. I am so much happier I broke that addiction. I was seriously addicted to burgers. Gross. I'm down to poultry and fish for my meats now and I couldn't be happier. I'd do turkey burger, but I'm afraid I would just start a worse craving for burgers.

The kids are back to school tomorrow which means no more sleeping in for me and W. It's been wonderful to just sleep in and let the children play in the morning. We still hear them through our snoozing and G checks on us often sometimes snuggling up with me--love that. She is such a snuggly, sweet, loving girl these days, giving kisses and vocalizing her love for me.

As for the OTHER one, the SIX year old, apparently I "embarrass her wherever we go." Those were her words. My metaphorical heart was both broken and swelling with pride at the same time! I knew the day would come. At two she would tell me to stop talking to myself when I thought out loud while driving. I'd just tell her I was allowed to talk to myself while I thought and to stop bossing me. It's nice that she fully understands embarrassment now because I told her on Friday while shopping that she was embarrassing me with her behavior. That made her think. See, in stores where she's bored she gets all weird and walks crazy and spins around and I don't want her bumping into other people, or me.

I got to visit my first Dave and Barry's which was a mess and mostly empty because it's going out of business. I tried on two pairs of shorts. One was Dave and Barry's and one was Bitten by Sarah Jessica Parker. The D&B's fit, but were just a little too snug on the waist, which sat right on my hips. The Bitten pair was the same number size, but was huge in the waist! What is with sizes these days? I've found that when shopping in misses sections of department stores I am now a small, where before I was always a medium. At Old Navy I'm usually a medium, which is the size of the jacket and sweater I got there, but the shirt I'm wearing right now, that I got for $5, I had to get in a large. Strange.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy 2009

My in-laws, being on vacation in London, called at 7 to wish us happy New Year, so that's pretty much when I rang it in, too. I was asleep by 10pm. I had a good reason: Cardio BLAST! at the YMCA. I'm just braggin here. I did it. I set my alarm and got up at 7:30 (okay, 7:45--I've been sleeping in embarrassingly late recently) had breakfast and got out to the Y to start the class at 9. Four instructors were there to each take a half hour. The first hour was all step aerobics. The third part was kickboxing and the fourth was ab work and some weight lifting and cool down. It was awesome. I've come to find I'm not a big sweater. What's that about? I used to sweat so badly during puberty, that sucked. I see women with wet hair, sweat spots on the backs of their shirts, but I don't get sweaty like that anymore. I get all red in the face... all over really, and itchy. Someone told me why that was, but I forget. I think if I were working out like that in hotter weather I'd be sweatier. Actually, recalling stroller strides through the summer, I was sweatier and it felt good. It's way too cold in the Y, especially in the summer, and they run fans in the room. It's better for the muscles for it to be warmer. At one point during the last part we were alternating between sitting on our steps lifting weights and laying back on our steps doing crunches and I laid down and saw stars at my peripheral vision. I stayed still until they went away and it only happened that once. I wonder if my blood pressure got a little high, or if it was just the changes between sitting and laying after doing all that cardio. I don't suffer from high blood pressure, but it runs in my family and I had preeclampsia during my last pregnancy.

Anyway, go me! I want my husband to exercise, too. I tell him about all the men I see in the classes and the married couples. But he has to want to do it and he doesn't really want to. Not really, though he says he does. It's more likely he wants to WANT to. You know how it is.

My New Years resolution: To keep focusing on MY health and the health of my children. I can control what I eat and how much I exercise and I can offer my children the best food for their health.