Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Christmas Tour 2009

NY Christmas

Can you guess which gifts came from the pilot?

(Old Jeppesens)

NJ Christmas

Atlanta Christmas

(Elmo hands)

It was a very blessed year indeed.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Caramel Chocolate Popcorn

My office doesn’t do a lot of gift exchanging which I’m happy about. It’s one less pressure to deal with, but I like giving some token of appreciation to my immediate team members. This recipe is pretty simple to make and presents well. I also made some to give to our neighbors.  

These cost less than $5 a piece to make (shhh). I purchased all my materials at Walmart without any coupons. If you're truly thrifty you could do it for even less.

Here’s what they looked like wrapped up.

Chocolate Caramel Popcorn modified from
20 cups popped popcorn
1 cup roasted peanuts
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 teaspoons canola oil

1. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and coat with non-stick spray cooking.
2. Place popcorn and peanuts in a paper bag. Set aside.
3. In a double-boiler, combine sugar, butter, corn syrup, vanilla and salt. Stir continuously until bubbly. Stir in baking soda. Pour over popcorn mixture and shake bag to coat.
4. Spread the coated popcorn onto the cookie sheets in a thin layer
5. In a microwave safe bowl, combine dark chocolate and 1 tsp. canola oil. Microwave 90 seconds, stirring once, until melted. Drizzle over popcorn mixture. Repeat with white chocolate.
6. Let cool before serving. Store in an airtight container.

Can We Get a Break Here?

"I'm just one stomach flu away from being at my ideal weight". Emily from The Devil Wears Prada.

So the stomach flu hit our household Monday night. At first we both freaked and thought I was coming down with a kidney infection (my last dose of antibiotics was Sunday), but then M came down with the same symptoms. Miraculously E made it through unscathed. Although we think she may have been the source of it. Daycare mentioned she'd had a couple of vomiting episodes in the morning, but appeared to be ok otherwise.

It's been a rough couple weeks. One positive to come out of it all, I'm wearing my favorite old pair of jeans today. 

Monday, December 21, 2009

Catching Up

I drove the full 360° of the Perimeter this weekend, and then some, to finish up our Christmas shopping. Everything I had planned on accomplishing last weekend got tacked onto this weekend’s list, so we methodically made our way around checking off each item as we went. There are couple gift cards for E’s daycare teachers to pick up and that should be it. I’m exiled from shopping because every time I go into a store I walk out with yet another thing that E or M just has to have.

I didn’t get to run this weekend after all. It would have cut into our day. Instead I did a glorious 70 minutes in the elliptical both mornings, followed by a quick core workout. I got up early (on my days off!) to workout before E woke up. There’s enthusiasm for you. I was expecting to feel stale, but didn’t.  However, my heart rate averaged about 8-10 beats higher per minute, which was telling of the rough week I’d experienced.

So I’m going to try something new today, and run for 45 minutes before I pick E up from daycare. I should be able to do that, shower, and make it to daycare before it closes. Might have to cut it shorter…we’ll see how it goes.

What’s that noise? Oh, just the flaming arrows of Mommy Guilt darting towards me. 45 minutes for myself isn’t too much to ask. I don’t know. Is it?

I feel guilty leaving her there longer than necessary, but I can’t push her in the stroller in good conscience. The roads are winding and we don’t have sidewalks in our neighborhood. The sun is already setting as we leave the house making it too risky to run on the shoulder. E’s going through the attachment phase, so having her chill next to the elliptical is out of the question. It was great setup while it lasted. As soon as I put her down in the play yard she starts crying and reaching for me. It’s heartbreaking. M tells me I need to let her cry it out bit. Riiiight. You bet he’d rush over to pick her up if he was there to see it.

January is another month of four day trips with “weekends on”, meaning I need to figure out what to do on those two weeknights (Still shooting to run that half-marathon at the end of January.) Mornings aren't an option. I already wake up at 5. It’d be nice if this turns out to be feasible.

Where's Santa???


Love it. From JETWHINE

Friday, December 18, 2009

Getting My Groove Back

I know I’m an addict. I’m craving a run so badly right now. I’m feeling much better, and I’m giddy with anticipation to go tomorrow morning.  This is the worst time of year not to be able to workout. (I’ll let Jaime break down the reasons why for you)

Leading up to the surgery, I had my best week of running in a while ….32 miles in 5 days! I haven’t seen that kind of mileage in quite a while.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to workout this week, so I pushed it hard last week. It still wasn’t enough to stop me from turning into a lump of human mush, and the feeling is unbearable. One step forward, two steps back. Time to get back into the groove.

I’m in the minority, but I like winter so much better than summer. It’s supposed to be sunny and in the 40’s this weekend. Perfect. It would be nice to get in 7-8 miles on Saturday and Sunday, but you know what they say about the best laid plans…..we’ll roll with it and see how it goes.

Ever since we started dating in 2003, we’ve traveled around the country to see Dave Matthews play. This was the first year we didn’t make it to at least one concert. We sorta made up for it by seeing the Dave Matthews 3D movie last night. There were 3 other people in the entire theater with us. We knew we were going to a part of town where there wouldn’t be many DMB fans, but still. The ticket taker asked us who “Dave Mathis” was.

It was great though. We were free to stand up and dance around like bunch of loons. We brought E with us and it was a blast. She was a ham. Clapping and bopping along. Most of the concert was stuff from his new album with a medley of old songs at the end. They also played a cover of “Burning Down the House”. It’s been part of their playlist the past couple shows we’ve attended, and I think it’s a fun tune.

Little Miss E would concur.




Thursday, December 17, 2009


Thank you for your encouragement yesterday. I needed a place to vent. 

I begged the doctor to let me come in this morning to see what was going on. A KUB (kidney-ureter-bladder) x-ray showed the stone was gone (YIPPEE!), and that the stent had slid down and was coiled in my bladder. That's what was causing the unusual level of pain.

So long story short, the doctor removed the stent in the blink of an eye, literally, and I'm a happy camper again. There's still a slight burning sensation but the barbed wire effect is gone. What a relief to have this behind me now.

Bring on the Holidays!



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On the Mend???

The lithotripsy procedure was on Friday morning was a breeze. I felt a little cramping in my back that night, which I assume was stone fragments passing, but that was it. No bruising or any other pain they had warned me about.

The cystoscope on the other hand…YOWZA! I never would have agreed to it had I known how painful it was going to be afterwards. “Mild discomfort” and the “ability to return to normal activities the next day” are the words I recall being associated with cystoscope. It was like the fire of a thousand suns in my bladder afterwards.

The pain from the cystosope gradually increased throughout Friday and Saturday. By Sunday morning I couldn’t get out of bed. I called my mom and she hopped on a flight out of Philly to come and help me with E (M had already left for a 3 day trip). I called the on-call doctor twice and was told a little discomfort was to be expected. Thanks. I didn’t even take pain killers after my c-section and Vicodin wasn’t touching THIS pain. My mom took one look at me when she arrived at the house, and put me in the car to go to the ER.

I spent 4 hours there getting IV antibiotics and pain killer. The ER doc was in disbelief that I that I was prescribed such an old-school, first generation antibiotic. According to him, most strains of UTI bacteria are immune to it. He wrote me prescriptions for some new meds which seem to be working. I’m entering into the “discomfort” phase now. And discomfort is a relative term….I still feel like I’m sitting on hot coals.

After notifying my doctor’s office I’d gone to the ER, I didn’t even get a follow-up call to see how I was doing. I’m so done with them. The staff has been rude and disorganized from the start. After not doing their due-diligence to schedule my procedure correctly the first time, leading to its last minute cancellation, I should have been done with those clowns. Their office is located in mid-town, and they’re affiliated with a hospital a few blocks away whose name begins with an E and ends with a Y.

Keep that in mind if you’re looking for a urologist NOT to use in Atlanta.

For now runblondie26 is waddling like a penguin until the “discomfort” is gone.

Yes, I'm an angry little penguin today.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

My TV Reality


Confession, I’m a reality show junkie. I, myself, appeared on the WB show “Change of Heart” when I was in college…ya’ll remember that one don’t cha? The episode was pretty tame, and it was a fun experience, so I’ll own up to it. It makes for good cocktail party conversation. (I’m not holding out on you. I’d totally link to the episode if I could, but I can’t find it anywhere out there in cyberspace, lol). 

The Bachelor is one of my favorites. M teases me every time he talks to “my boy” Jake in the crew lounge. I always ask if he was able to get some details about the show. M tells me no, he doesn’t talk to Jake about the show because “he’s not gay like that”. Ok, whatever.

ABC has titled the season “On the Wings of Love”. Gag. I’m anxious to see how they portray his lifestyle on the show. What are they going to do to glam it up? In the promos they’ve been showing him in a generic uniform in front of corporate jet. I’m sure there will be plenty of conversations about fidelity on trips, if he dates flight attendants, etc. Are they going to divulge the realities of being a pilot (especially a regional), and that it’s not all Catch me if you Can?  TIVO space has already been allocated.

I caught the premier episode of Jersey Shore on MTV, but couldn’t stomach it to the end. That’s rare. I've got a tough stomach. Those people are not from around Jersey, they’re from another planet.

I like Heidi and Spencer on The Hills. I don’t think they’re bad people, it’s just a role they play. Reality shows are heavily manipulated by the producers and those two know how to work it for the camera. If MTV is willing to pay them six-figures an episode for their shenanigans, then more power to them.

Please don’t hold this information against me.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Today's 5K Race - We Jingled All the Way

Normally I wouldn't bother running a 5K with E. It's too short of a distance, and I can't run fast enough with the stroller to really be competitive. Today's "Jingle Jog" was scheduled at decent time in the afternoon in order to precede the tree lighting and Christmas parade downtown. M was working today so it was my job to entertain the kiddo, and I thought she'd really enjoy that part. Since we were already going to be there anyway, it wasn't any trouble to throw in the race as well. I thought I'd give it a shot.

We had snow flurries this morning in Atlanta! It was an unseasonably brisk day, but the sun was shining. There was a wind so strong at the start of the race it took my breath away. I had the kiddo wrapped up really well in 2 layers of fleece, plus a Bundle Me, and a blanket so she was snug and content. I love listening to her giggle when we go roll over bumps. She's my sweetie alright.

I got some fun comments along the way. Most of them were the standard ones like "Got a motor in that thing?" or "Can I hitch a ride?" A couple guys asked if I'd ditch the stroller before I crossed the finish line so their wives wouldn't see us. They'd never live down getting beaten by a stroller.

According to the announcer there were about 450 runners, but it was a family race so I'd say only about half that many were truly out to race. We finished in 37th place overall and 1st for my age group. My time of 24:58 is nothing for the record books, about 5 minutes off my PR, but it wasn't much of a struggle either. It's been about 2 months since my last solo race. I'm curious to know what I'm actually capable of running at this point sans stroller.

Geez, I can't believe she has teeth in this picture. They grow-up so fast.

Time: 24:58
Pace: 8:02
Overall: 37 /?
AG: 1st /?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Walmart Santa

We were there. He was there. The picture was free. It certainly is a one-stop shop.

E didn’t freak out, but we couldn’t get her to crack a smile either. I think her expression tells the whole story.

Are you guys kidding me? My first visit with Santa and you give me WALMART SANTA?!

Ok, sorry honey. The premier mall Santa in the ATL is 45 minutes from our house. We’ll get it right next time. Maybe.

This is the first year I'm free to decorate with total abandonment. It’s my prerogative to put as many nails in the walls as I like without the fear of losing a security deposit.

I’m excited for Christmas, yet I have zero interest in decorating. M asked me what my deal is. I feel like I’m in a never ending battle against clutter. The thought of bringing more stuff into the house gives me anxiety. He’s moving ahead full steam though.

He spent a good portion of the past week planning (complete with scaled diagram), then stringing up the Christmas light extravaganza out front. Watching him climb a ladder gave me heart palpitations. I insisted on doing it, but he wouldn’t let me. I have a desk job, so it’s less likely an injury would be career ending for me. That was my biggest concern. How messed up is it that I think that way?

M’s been scoping out Christmas tree farms online to make sure we go to the best one to get our tree. He even dug out the Christmas hand towels and hung them in the bathrooms. It was a hoot watching him stand back and adjust them so they’d hang just right.

Holy crap, M has 8 days in a row off starting on December 22nd. I’m going to take a full week off too. What are we going to do with all that time? We keep changing our minds. We'll definitely be going up north, but can't decide when. We like the idea of waking up in our own home on our first Christmas with E. That also means being alone in Atlanta for the most important parts of the holiday, and I don’t think I can handle that again.

Last year I was too pregnant to travel, so we spent the holiday here. We were living in the crash pad at the time making it all the more weird special. We tried our best. It was still a bummer. There are too many traditions I’m accustomed to sharing with our family, so it felt like any other ordinary day not being there. We’ll have the ability to travel at off times, so non-revving should be doable for whatever we decide.

So do we stick with old traditions or create some new ones of our own?

(Hope you enjoy the fresh background. It's more festive in here already :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

RE: The R.E.

Wow, I've been writing a lot about doctor visits in the past few months. Nothing's life threatening, so please excuse the outpouring of TMI if you're growing tired of it. The procedure for my kidney stones is rescheduled for December 11th, so god willing I'll be completely out of material after that.

I tied up the loose ends with my RE this morning. We had a conference call to discuss the results of the blood-work and tests I had done last month. All the tests indicated hypothalamic amenorrhea. That’s good news I guess. My biggest concern was premature ovarian failure or an ovarian reserve issue, and that was ruled out. My doctor reiterated once again it’s not PCOS either. My FSH, TSH, T4, prolactin, and testosterone levels were within normal limits. My estrogen was very low and my progesterone level barely registered.

So in conclusion, I have a sensitive pituatary.

That's a new one, huh?

Some women can run 100 miles a week, be underweight, and not have any problems. I run a maybe 25 miles a week, have a healthy BMI of 20, and that's too much stress for my body. It seems like measly amount to me, the doctor reminded me it’s still a good amount of activity. She also reminded me I had a BMI of 22.5 when we finally conceived E. My body is more sensitive to variation, and that’s just the way it is.

Her recommendation….stop exercising completely, gain some weight, and see what happens.

Um, no.

She didn’t think that would go over well, especially since we're not actively trying to get pregnant right now.

So plan B is to go back on a low dose BC pill, despite the fact that I have a copper IUD. Silly me thought I'd need it back in April. The artificial hormones from the BC pills will protect my bone health and trick my body out of all the good stuff that comes along with menopause.
We already know that turning into a couch potato is no guarantee the HA will resolve itself. I gained 20 pounds when we were trying to conceive E, and that wasn't enough. I still needed a mega-dose of clomid to get things going. We know that works, and we'll try it again when (if) the time comes.

I can’t deny I'm tempted to start training for a full marathon in the spring instead of a half. Since the effects of running 25 miles seem to be no different than running 50 miles, I no longer have a reason why I shouldn't go for it Ok, the full time job, infant daughter, and husband that's gone 3-4 days a week....those might limit me.

Running makes me feel good, and it’s something I enjoy doing. I’m a competitive person, and like challenging myself to go harder, faster, farther. I’m also about 7 pounds away from my goal weight and fitting into my all pre-TTC clothes….basically the bulk of my wardrobe. I wouldn't mind shedding the weight.

Call me vain, selfish, whatever. I’ve been on that guilt trip already. Everyone’s got their something, and those are my personal hang-ups. I’ve made a lot of progress in recent years.

E has been the greatest blessing. I’m cool with one kid. Some people have walked a much harder road than us. I don’t want to get greedy, but I would like to preserve my chances should baby fever strike again. I feel at peace knowing I took proactive steps by seeing the RE now.