Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Excuses, Excuses: Part 2: What I am going to do to actually achieve my goals

In part 1 I gave you a pretty good list of why I am not getting out exercising/walking the dog/etc and why I am doing crappy at achieving my New Years Resolution of losing my baby weight and getting back in shape. So now it is time to get a plan together that will keep me focused on getting where I want to be.

Let me start off by setting goals and explaining my reasons.
I have 3 weight goals:
  1. Get back to my pre-pregnancy weight for LB (~30 lbs). 
  2. Get back to my pre-pregnancy weight for Monkey (~45 lbs from where I am now). 
  3.  I would like to be closer to weight I was when I quit competitive swimming in high school, but this goal is more long term and less defined at the moment. 
I have a couple fitness goals:
  1. Be able to do a chin up by the end of 2013 (kind of silly, but I used to be able to do them and it would be nice to do them again).
  2. Be able to swim 3km in less than an hour (I used to be a competitive swimmer, so it should be doable)
  3. Be in good enough shape to snowboard next winter.

It is about 150 days or 21 weeks until my brother gets married. This is my major motivation right now, I want to look more toned and thinner in the photos. Also, it would be healthy to lose the weight. I would like my children to be active, which is a lifestyle I should be demonstrating to them because Monkey See, Monkey Do (and soon LB See, LB Do Too!).

Awkward High School Photo.  Long term target shape/weight

First trimester pregnant with Monkey (weight goal #2)
Here is the plan:
  1. Do something active for a minimum of 30 minutes everyday. Hitting the gym, taking kiddos swimming, walking the dog, yoga, skating, xc skiing... lots of options out there. Since deciding to blog about my fitness goals I found MyOnlineYoga which for about the same price as Netflix gives you unlimited access to hundreds of yoga and pilates class videos. They range in length from a few minutes to a couple hours so I can do a short class while kids nap! I could also dance along with the kids videos we have for Monkey.
  2. Just before getting pregnant with LB I saw a personal trainer and she gave me 2 sets of exercises I could do at home with almost no equipment. I will call these Set A* and Set B*. She designed the 2 sets to be done alternate days, a hard day (Set A) and an easier day (Set B). If I go through do 3 rep of the whole set it takes about 40 minutes, I work up a good sweat and it feels pretty good.
  3. Part of losing weight will be to eat better. Smaller portions, more veggies, less chocolate cake. I am going to be tracking calories using Livestrong's MyPlate. MyPlate allows you to track almost any food you can buy, and allows you to build meals that you regularly eat to make tracking easier. I'm not sure I will have time to track everyday, but it should help me get a better idea of how much is the right amount to be eating for my target weight.
  4. I currently drink my coffee with 2 milk and 2 sugar. I am not going to give that up on the first cup of the day just yet, but I will try to drink the rest of my coffee for the day black. Or drink more water instead. Also, if I was really hardcore I would give up chocolate, but that is not feasible because if I try to tell myself "No chocolate" it is all I want to eat.
So I think this is a good start. I will do a check in update in a couple weeks. 
Here is photo from today. I think it is good to have a before photo just to reference any progress being made:
Feb 27th, weight (not a number I am happy with)

I'm off too start changing my bad habits!!

*Note: Some of the exercises below with odd names can be found here
Set A

  • 10-15 squats
  • 10 walkouts 
  • 20 toe taps/leg
  • 10 lunge pulses/leg
  • 30-45 sec plank
  • 20 birddogs
  • 10 push ups (start with knee ones and advance to full ones)
  • 10 mountain climbers/leg
  • 30 jumping jacks
Set B

  • 20 Wide leg squat pulses
  • 15-20 curls with tubing (or resistance bands)
  • 12-15 Bench dips
  • 30 toe taps/leg
  • rotating plank (10sec/side to start)
  • 20 supermans
  • 15 lateral raises
  • 20-30 heel raises

Update (Feb 28, 2013): After posting this initially, I was sent this photo and I think it fits well in here.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Excuses, Excuses: Part 1: Why I have not got anywhere on my New Year's Resolutions

Like most people when the clock struck 12:00am on January 1st, I kissed a loved one (GeoDaddy) and pondered the coming year. What would change through the year, what would stay the same, goals, ambitions, and resolutions.

As a couple our goal is to not get pregnant this year. (Laugh if you want, but I had my kids 15 months apart and they are both still under 2).

Personally my resolutions were to get in better shape again and lose all the weight I gained during my pregnancies. 

So how I am doing on these goals? Crappy. 

Now for my list of excuses:

1. I don't get enough sleep, and am too tired to get out walking/exercising.
2. To go to the gym for 45 minutes takes me nearly 2 hours if I take the kids to the childminding center there. 
3. Kiddos inconvenient nap schedule. LB needs a 1-2 hour(s) morning nap starting between 8 and 10 depending what time he wakes up. Monkey needs a 2 hour nap at noon-ish. LB's second nap happens around 2-3 hours after the first one, which is often right near the end of Monkey's nap. LB needs a third nap between 4 and 5. So to sum up, the good times of day for me to go places with kiddos is anytime before 8 am or after 3 pm. 
4. Limited options for what to do with kiddos before 8 am. After 3pm most places have too many 'big' kids and my toddler gets overwhelmed.
5. Nursing LB. He nurses about every 2 hours. Makes the time windows for going places short. Very difficult to keep up with Monkey while LB is nursing. 
6. Hard to get outside for walking because my double stroller that is good on snow is at home, and I am staying at my Mom's. I also can't handle walking my dog, Tycho, and pushing the stroller because Tycho thinks she is sled dog and is terrible on a leash.
7. I am a stress eater. I know this. I want chocolate when Monkey is acting her age. Almost the 'terrible twos'. 
8. I would rather sit and drink coffee than go through the fight of getting kiddos dressed to go anywhere. (And listen to the tantrum if we come back too soon)
9. I don't like exercising in the evening/ the neighborhood I'm in isn't great for walking in at night.
10. I feel guilty taking 'me' time when the kids are awake.
and once in a while...
11. I don't want to go exercise because my gym clothes are dirty from last time.

Ok enough excuses for one post. I am going to go exercise and then write out my plan of how to achieve my goals.


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Let me set the scene:
Sunday afternoon at Grandma's house. Grandma is vacuuming the living room. LB is on GeoMama's lap on the couch. GeoDaddy is on the loveseat finishing his coffee. Monkey is helping to push the vacuum and making vacuum like sounds 'bbbbbbbbssssssssssshhhhhhhhhh' or something like that. 

Grandma vacuums near GeoDaddy, GeoDaddy lifts his feet so she can vacuum under them. Grandma vacuums near GeoMama, GeoMama lifts her feet so Grandma can vacuum under them. 

Monkey runs around. Grandma gets near Monkey with the vacuum. Monkey sits down on the floor and lifts her feet so Grandma can vacuum under them. 

This reminded me how much children learn from watching the world around them. Monkey was keen to start using her potty because she watched me using the toilet. She went through a faze where we had to trade forks at dinner because she wanted to use mine. She wants a travel mug (of water) in the morning while GeoDaddy and I drink coffee. She wants to put diapers on her stuffed animals, and wants wet wipes when she changes them. When the dogs barks outside she runs to patio door and bangs on it, wagging her finger at them . Back at home if we let her into the fridge she would open the crisper drawer to get peas out, then try to push it shut with her foot, just like she has seen us do countless times.

Today was just a healthy reminder to keep what I do to things that I wouldn't mind seeing repeated in public by Monkey (and eventually LB) and to model behavior that I want them to repeat.


Saturday, 23 February 2013


There are so many actions that we do every day as adults that we take for granted. We walk, we stand, we sit, we drink from a cup and use spoons and forks to feed ourselves. All these skills we learn in our first couple years of life.

It is not just as simple as picking up a spoon and eating from it. Babies must learn to swallow things other than milk or formula. Not an easy task. Once they learn how to swallow, they can gradually move to foods that are thicker, pureed veggies and fruit. Then chunky foods, and maybe some easy to chew and dissolving things like rice crackers or arrowroot cookies. But still they lack the motor skills to effectively feed themselves with a spoon.

Anyway, this week LB took his first sips of rice cereal off a spoon. Most of the cereal ended up on his bib, or chin, but a little bit was swallowed. The second day more than on the first day. Its a big step towards growing into a busy toddler like Monkey.

Monkey has been eating off a spoon for 15 months now. She doesn't need my help anymore, but hasn't completely mastered it. I know she will with time, you don't see many adults that dirty after a bowl of yogurt.

LB's first day eating off a spoon

Monkey 15 months of eating off a spoon. Clearly she has not mastered it.

So while spoons may look like the simplest of utensils, remember that we all started out not having a clue how they worked. 

I need to go make sure I have some clean wash cloths before I feed the kiddlets again.


Friday, 22 February 2013

A silly little project: hexagons

Since the sewing machine is out for repair I think it is time to start a hand sewing project. I enjoy hand sewing, but don't do much of it. I have been thinking that it would be nice to have something small to work on when I have a few minutes while kiddos nap or while I am watching TV.

I want vibrant colors, which I think this set of fabric will cover (Artisan Batiks: Elementals Collection-Geos by Lunn Studios) . This is a set of 40 2.5inch wide strips of fabric. Should be easy to work with for my project.

So many fun colors... maybe I will started with the yellow.

All set and ready to get started cutting
I am going to be doing some English Paper Piecing. You can't just easily sew hexagons together with the sewing machine, so to start you make some paper hexagons to fold the fabric over. I found some great tips hereherehere and here. Then got to cutting my paper templates (1 inch hexagons) and my fabric (2.5 inch squares). 

I only cut 60 paper templates and 34 fabric squares, but it should be enough to get me started. I basted one together just to see how long it might take me. First one was super slow.

Stack of fabric squares, stack of paper hexagons and one basted fabric hexagon!!
I doubt I will update often on this, I think it is going to take a long time before anything noteworthy is produced from these little guys.


Thursday, 21 February 2013


I didn't feel it was scientifically accurate to state an equation until I had more than one case study. Luckily LB is ready for the Jumperoo now.

LB at 5.5 Months 5:30 in the morning

Monkey at 8 months (1 year ago)

So here is my Jumperoo Theory:

Fussy Baby + Jumperoo = Happy Baby + Very Poopy Diaper

So Happy. So Poopy.
It is hard to be mad that you are up at 5:30 when these are the smiles you get.

Off to try and get some stuff done before the first early nap of the day and before Monkey gets up


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Poor Elna

Elna Supramatic  
I have been using my Grandma's Elna Supramatic Sewing Machine since coming to visit my mom. The  thing is a beast.

57 years old and still running great... or was running great.

I managed to break the gear on the rotary hook (the thing that goes around the bobbin to catch the lower thread). Sewing machines are just big paper weights without a rotary hook, so I have taken it to the repair shop.

Good news, it can be fixed. Bad news, it will be about a month before I am sewing with it again. They don't keep parts in stock for machines this old.

Anyway, here are some of the good things about the Elna:
Knee control... way smoother and easier in my opinion than a foot pedal
Power ... this machine can handle anything.. lots of layers of flannel
Color ... industrial green just screams awesome
Cam disc system to get different stitches
Age ... it is 57 years old.
History ... My Grandma bought it before she was married. $300 dollars was almost 2 months salary for her. It was a top of the line machine. My mom and her sisters all learned to sew on it.

Cam discs that guide the machine on how to stitch the different stitches
Anyway, over the next little bit I will have to find something else to keep me occupied.


Work in Progress: LB's Quilt Part 2

When I left off in part 1 I had told you I had found the pattern to start working with. To summarize the pattern:

My quilt will be 6 columns by 8 rows, broken down into alternating large squares and blocks with 2 small squares and a rectangle. For those math geeks in my audience... that equals 48 total blocks, 24 large squares, 24 rectangles and 48 small squares. Now each block has both a front and a back, as well as batting in the middle.. 96 fabric squares + 48 batting squares. Lets just say it was lots of cutting and it took me a couple evenings. 

Next was making the fabric 'sandwichs'. Two of the fabric pieces with a layer of batting in between with a X sewn through the corners. Again.. 96 of these.. it took a bit of time, but it was worth it.

After all this it was time to decide on layout. I had 7 different fabrics and no end of options of how to lay everything out (Mathmatically speaking there is a finite number of arrangements, but I am not about to calculate that today). The only criteria I wanted to follow was to have a random arrangement and not have any blocks that are touching be the same. 

I made myself a temporary 'design wall' with a twin bed sheet hung from paperclips screwed into the unfinished opening between the living room and dining room at my Mom's. Then started designing the layout by placing the big squares randomly into the 6x8 grid. Next was the rectangles. 
Big squares and rectangles up
 I was going to start with the small squares that same night, but ran out of pins. I only brought some of my sewing stuff with me from home, so it was off to the store to get some more.

Once I had all the small blocks in place I took some pictures and played with the color settings to see if I had a fairly even distribution of values and patterns. The first one here in black and white made it really obvious that I had hardly any of the darkest fabric at the top
All the blocks up - Notice that the bottom of the quilt looks like it has more dark squares... thats not quite right
Closer to how I want it

After I was happy with the arrangement, it was on to sewing the small blocks into pairs and then attaching them to the rectangles. I made labels for each block showing their position and orientation (ie: R1C2, dragonflies and blue over waves)
Label block all sewn together... not pretty on the edge... but it is a raggy blanket and the edges will fray

A few of the blocks together back in the grid on the design wall

All small square/rectangle blocks back on the wall.  

Now its time to sew the rows together, and then join the rows together... almost done.


Sunday, 17 February 2013

Work in progress: LB's quilt part 1

As I mentioned in my first post (The first blog) I made curtains for Monkey's room before she was born. Since LB arrived I have been thinking that I need to make something for him as well. Since we only have a 2 bedroom house the kids will be sharing when LB moves out of our room and I do not need another set of curtains for him. So I am making him a slightly big than crib size quilt.

It took me a long time to find the right fabric. There is tons of cute flannel, but most of it is either really girly or really gender neutral. Very little flannel that is good for little guys. I had looked online as well in quilt stores that I came across while traveling around Christmas time.

Finally after a couple months on the hunt I found this line (Reptile Rumpus by Northcott) in a shop near where GeoDaddy grew up. Woohoo... it was perfect!!!! I had a pet lizard growing up, I love the color orange, its boyish but not typical (cars, trucks, robots, etc).

The next part of the hunt was on. I had the fabric, I needed a pattern. Monkey had 2 Great Aunts make her raggy blankets out of flannel, and I really liked them, but felt that with all the blocks the same size I would lose alot of coolness of lizard print of the fabric line.

Week old Monkey napping with me under one raggy quilt.
4 month old Monkey napping on the other raggy quilt.

I went searching the wonderful internet and came across this tutorial ( Make it:Rag Quilt for Baby) by Jenae at I Can Teach My Child. Her instructions were clear and easy to follow with lots of nice pictures to help along the way. 

I gotta go, kiddos are waking up from their naps. More to follow on LB's quilt.

Friday, 15 February 2013

My children drive me to

Now don't go getting yourselves in a huff because I am mother who drinks because of her kids. I do have days where I think a beer would be great at the end but they generally drive me to drink coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

As I mentioned in my first post, Monkey is not a good sleeper and LB is gassy in the mornings. Last night was both and one of our worst night in a couple months. Here is how it went:

7:30 - LB into bed and asleep
8:00 - Monkey gets ready for bed
8:45 - Monkey finally asleep
10:00 - GeoDad went to bed
10:30 - GeoMama went to bed after nursing LB
1:00 am - LB nurses, Monkey wakes up (Grandma sits with her for a few minutes, until I go in)
2:00ish - Monkey still awake... wants to go potty. Pees in the toilet. Lays back down in her bed, wants to hold my hand. Tosses and turns
3ish - Monkey still awake. LB wakes and wants to nurse again. Too gassy to lay back down. I sit holding Monkey's hand in her bed with LB on my lap sitting until he falls asleep.
4ish - Monkey asleep. LB asleep. Ahh, I get to go back to bed at last.
4:10 - Monkey awake again. Too thirsty and hungry to stay sleeping I guess. I get her a glass of water and a banana. She enjoys both and wants to go potty again. Finally she is ready to lay back down and try sleeping again.
4:50 Monkey asleep. I crawl into bed.
5:00 - LB wakes up. Grunty/gassy/needs to poop. I try to settle him and cuddle him in our bed. No luck
5:30 Take LB downstairs and let him play on his tummy on the floor. He poops, a bit. Still gassy and now wide awake.
6:00 I turn on some Baby Einstein for LB, this way he can sit still on my lap and maybe get tired.
6:30ish LB and I finally fall asleep on the couch.
7:45am Monkey wakes up, GeoDad gets her breakfast and sends me up to bed. LB stays awake.
9ish - GeoDad brings LB up to me to nurse and have a nap.
11:20am - LB wakes up from his nap. I figure it is probably time for me to get up and start the day.

Needless to say my 2.5 hours of sleep at the beginning of the night and my 4 hours in morning don't add up to a proper night of sleep. I need coffee.

It turns out that sleep as broken as last nights can't be fixed by a single cup of coffee... GeoDad and I finished one pot since I got up and he is out on a coffee run for some lattes.

GeoMama is off to drink another cup of coffee before kiddos wake up from their naps.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The first blog

For someone who hated writing all through school I never thought I would be one to start a blog... but alas here I am. I have been spending the last couple months caring for my kids (more about them later) and when I get a few spare moments cruising the internet looking at fabric, patterns, quilts and other sewing projects that I would love to tackle someday. This has led me to a ton of really cool blogs by other sewers and quilters. I have found some great tutorials and some general tips. Anyway, since I want to be cool too I think I should be blogging about my quilting/sewing and some of the other things that occupy my life.

Monkey out in the snow
First off, I am currently a stay at home mother of 2. My daughter, nicknamed Monkey, is 20 months. She is strong willed, strong tempered, a poor sleeper and generally exhausting, but she more than makes up for the trying things in cuteness and smiles. My son, nickname LB, is 5 months. He is a great little baby, lots of smiles, lots of cooing and he thinks his sister is great and funny to watch. His downfall is his gassiness which wakes him up too early most mornings (I know if he ever reads this he won't be impressed that I talked about it). 
LB laying on his playmat
The ridiculously remote place I was when I figured out I was pregnant

In my former life, before kids, I was a exploration geophysicsist in Northern Canada. I worked mostly outdoors and mostly in very remote areas. Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon, and a fair bit in Alaska.  In 2009, I had a long job in Alaska, the conditions were miserable, but one of my coworkers helped me keep my sanity by being funny, smart and taking care of me when I got bad flu. Over the course of the 3 months together in camp we went from being pals to much more. Anyway... fast forward to 2010, I had another job with him in Alaska and more miserable conditions. I had moved in with him in Whitehorse, and we talked about starting a family. We got a dog, then I went back to NWT for another field job. A few days into that job I started feeling very nauseous, and the talk about starting a family was coming into reality. GeoDad continues to do field work in the exploration industry, but I hung up my hiking boots for some desk work before Monkey arrived. 

One panel of Monkey's curtains
In the weeks leading up Monkey's arrival, I was at home and decided I needed a hobby. I had sewed a bit in high school, but nothing since. I took a quilting class and made a table runner that has only been on our table a couple times. But it gave me enough of a refresher on my sewing machine that I was able to make curtains for Monkey's room.  

So anyway, the quilting class and making curtains got me hooked. After Monkey was a few months old and I was starting to feel closer to human again (from getting more sleep) I found I needed 'non-baby' activities to occupy some of my time. Some geophysics work and some quilting kept me occupied until LB arrived this last fall. I made a quilt for our bed, GeoDad even helped pick the fabric.
The queen sized quilt I tackled on my second quilting project
There, now we are mostly caught up in my sewing/quilting history and you have a brief intro into my life. Some other topics I may cover in this blog are cooking/baking, exercising, coffee, dogs, more coffee, parenting, science, geology and books, I do enjoy reading when I am not doing all the other things I do.

Bye for now