Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hell Yeah For Summer Vacation!

First things first- did everyone check out my debut on Skinny Mom? I'll be on there every Wednesday and Friday, so you can hit me up over there all the time. Tell your friends and tell your enemies.  And then leave me a comment telling me (and the editors) how much you love my posts.  Please and thank you. 

Ok, now. Let's talk about more important things.  Like the fact that I am on summer vacation!!  And it has gotten off to a great start. I've had a week full of playdates, field trips, cleaning the house, swimming, showering, and working out. (And yes, I know that last cross-out is grossing you out.  Sorry.  Not-showering much is happening.  I'm aiming for once a day.  Whether it comes 5 minutes after a run or 12 hours after is another whole issue.)   

I know I've said this before, but early morning runs are good.  It's not always easy to get out of bed on a non-work day to strap on the sneakers and move your legs, but it's *always* worth it.  By Monday morning at 7 AM, I had already run 2 miles and done a load of laundry.  I thought, "Wow, I might actually be productive over these next couple of months".  On Tuesday morning, I slept through my alarm.  Oops. But I did walk 4 miles with the stroller.  That counts, right? (Even though I stopped at my sister's house 2 miles in and ate some strawberry shortcake? Just kidding, that didn't happen.  Ok, fine, maybe it did.)  Maybe "productivity" will take on a few different personalities this summer.

Anyway, moving on.  Strawberry picking happened on Monday, too.  Fun!  This is the last week for strawberries around here, but the first week for raspberries.  The boys had fun gorging themselves on berries straight off the plants, and my mom and I collected as many as we could. Since Monday, we've had them sliced, in parfaits, frozen in smoothies, in shortcake, and as stovetop jam.  Yay strawberries! 

 CJ got to see some of his preschool friends for a sweaty playground playdate (and Ty got to be totally miserable cuz his brother dissed him for a while). My spoiled kids have gotten to swim, ride bikes, go to a (kindof weird yet oddly entertaining) singing/drumming show put on by a crunchy guy with bare feet and an animated face, meet a totally bootleg Superman,  and play at the gym while I've worked out.  And it's only Thursday!  I'm already tired of this entertainment s*#t.   There's gotta be a camp or something that starts soon.  After all,  I need to clean my house sit down.

Happy Summer everyone!!  What fun things are you doing to get this season started??

Have a healthy day,


PS- pics to come.  I know you're anxiously awaiting their arrival.  My camera battery is dead.  Chill out, they'll be added soon.

Friday, June 22, 2012

This Girl's Going Pro

Big news, Friends. Big, big news. 

Ok, well, maybe it's not as big to you as is to me. So just indulge me for a couple of minutes, will ya?

Should I start at the beginning, or should I just jump right in and tell you what I'm up to?  Ok, sounds good. The beginning it is. 

Some people document their babies' lives by creating beautiful scrapbooks, others write things down in neat little baby books.  I am neither organized nor crafty.  I don't have the time, energy, or desire to maintain scrapbooks or baby books.  Hell, I can't even remember to take the pictures off of my camera and stick a few in frames.  But what I do have is a degree in English.  And as my kids started doing memorable things, I started thinking, "I should really tell people these things". As as they became older and funnier, and I became even crazier, I thought, "There is NO SHOT I am the only mom going through this". And that is how Naptime is the New Happy Hour was born.

No, CJ, you cannot paddle this fake boat.  That is my job.
Now stop being mad.  You're ruining the photo op.

And much to my surprise, not only did people read it, but they liked it.  And I thought, "Wow.  I really like blogging.  I wonder what else people might like hearing about?"

 I mean, my kids are cute and funny and all.  But my life (much to some people's surprise) is about more than just them.  I actually do other stuff besides attempt to maintain my sanity as a mother.  I am a wife, a teacher, and a fitness instructor. I strive to learn as much about nutrition as I can so I can be healthy and fit. And that is how Healthy...With a Side of Ranch was born.

And again people read it.  And (I think) they like it.  And now here's where the big news comes in. 

As I've started to navigate this whole blogosphere, I've become pretty obsessed with interested in other people's blogs.  And along the way, I stumbled upon a pretty cool site called It's a compilation of blog posts written by moms all over the country.  Food, fashion, fitness, family... it's all there. 

And... drum roll please... I get to be a part of it! 

Yes, that's right, starting next week, I will be a regular (twice a week) contributer to Skinny Mom!!

So make sure that you check it out.  And don't stop there- "like" the posts, leave me comments, share them, tweet them, email them, shout about them out of your office window. 

Oh, and one more thing- my name over there is Hot-Mess Mama... for obvious reasons.

Have a healthy day,


Thursday, June 21, 2012

She Runs With Her Mama (A Guest Post)

Almost 5 years ago, our nanny at the time needed to cut her hours, and I set off on a desperate search for someone who could spend a couple of hours a week with my baby.  Pure fate put me in touch with today's guest blogger.  Although she had a full-time job, it just so happened that she had a couple of mornings available each week.  This girl has since watched my boys grow up, and is always gracious enough to hang with them when I'm in a pinch. (Even though at this point she is well established in her career, is planning a wedding, and may start popping out her own kids at any moment... does that mean it's inappropriate to ask her to babysit?)  Ugh, ok, fine. 

Anyway, I love this chick.  She is funny, smart, and fit.  And with no further ado, here is her inspirational story. (Complete with some super-fab internal dialogue. I love it!) And I promise she had neither a hangover nor a potty mouth in front of my kids.  Or maybe she did... hmmmm, I will now be excusing myself to go check the archived nanny cam footage.

But Mom, I Don’t Wannaaaa.

My mom is crazy.  Crazy in the most insane, fun loving, adventure- seeking -nut way that I still don’t think I can fully appreciate.  She is approaching 55 (Eep! Don’t tell her I told) and in April, we both ran our first half marathon, together.  Let me back this train up and give you the Reader’s Digest version.

It all happened 2 summers ago, while my family and I were strapped to total strangers in a SUPER UNSAFE PLANE  a little weird plane for skydiving.  We were zipping up up up to 15,000 feet.  Ready to throw it all away for a chip thrill – Happy Birthday Mom, thanks for the GREAT idea (enter sarcasm here).  After an amazing and scary trip back down, the FIRST thing my mother says to me is, “Let's run a  half-marathon next!”  Ok sure Mom, just let me take my stomach out of my throat, my fat a$$ off the ground and run some 13.1 miles.   WTF was this woman talking about? She hasn’t run a day in her life- except to the mall. (And I did see her sprint into Nordstrom’s, but only once. Hey – it was the biggest shoe sale of the season!  No judgment there.)

Over the course of the next year, we started training.  We ran our first 5k together, the Sunset Harbor 5k .  I totally crushed her and beat her slow old a$$ by nearly 5 minutes!  But I realized that this wasn’t about me winning for once – I missed my mom!  This was something we wanted to do together, and my selfish, must-win-at-all-times-or-else-I’ll-cry self felt bad.  I vowed to never do that again – she was the reason I was getting into shape anyways!
Our next run, a localTurkey Trot had a little different tune to it.  EXTREMELY hung over from the best party night of the year, (don’t worry health nuts, I was drinking vodka and pineapple! Yay fruit!) We embarked on a hilly 4.4 mile course.  I ran next to my mom the entire time, half to make sure that if I fell over and died, she would notify authorities; and half because she is the best motivator on the planet.   Moving at pace along the track, she kept pushing me, herself, and the others around us to just keep going.  Ok, so this running thing isn’t so hard, we got this.  We finished together, holding hands. 

Feeling extremely high from our kick butt run on Turkey Day AM, and having probably 4 too many glasses of wine, we decided our next running triumph would be the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in Washington Dc.  Ok, now this was getting serious.  As an athlete for the better part of my first 22 years of existence, I can run for 40 minutes no problem.  But 10 miles!? 10 miles!?  And on America’s proudest ground? With super-fast Kenyans? I don’t know about this one Mom.
We trained, hard.  We took this experience very seriously and come race day, we were both a few pounds lighter, tighter, and ready to take on this Race! Boo ya bitches, move over for the Mother-Daughter duo from New York!  We’re here and ready to kick some ass!  And then, we walked into the Expo the day before and our dreams of winning this 22,000 person race were shattered. People Experienced, professional, and BETTER trained runners, were all around us.  OMG, Bill ___, the guy who won the Boston Marathon, twice, was to our left!! A flock of Kenyan’s to our right – hell they looked fast just STANDING there.   Oh man, we are out of our league.  Shit, can we go home?
My mother, being the motivator that she is, gave us a great pep talk to night before.  We worked hard and deserved to be there.  We were going to run our pace, stay focused, and run this thing the best way we knew how- together.  And together we did.  A relatively flat race, coming around the last ½ mile was a massive hill.  Well played DC organizers, well played.  My mother looked ready to collapse; I could see the finish line ahead and was feeling strong. Supportive spectators cheered us on. And she stopped.  My mother flat out stopped not 80 feet from the finish line.  OH HELL NO.  I grabbed her hand and literally dragged her across the finish line.  We did it, and we did it together – again.   Are we done yet?
About 2 months later, my mother (who must have been suffering from temporary amnesia), suggested we run the Central Park Half Marathon.  13.1 miles. 3.1 more miles that what we had just accomplished, on a very hilly course.  All women, in my favorite city and park in the entire world.  Ok, lets do it.
Fast forward to April 2012.  Donna had been training like a mad woman, running great distances and hills with ease.  I did yoga. And drank beer.  My procrastination had definitely gotten the best of me.  I made a secret plan to ditch out of the race 4 miles in, hang out at a bar, and meet my mom at the finish line.  Yes, the woman who forced me to jump out of a plane, get a tattoo, and scuba dive with freaking sharks.  Ok, better look to plan B - actually running?  Oye. 
The first 5 miles were ok, great people and scenery to take it- catching up with old mom while going for a nice stroll- awesome, I got this.  Around the 8th mile and 110th Street my greatest fear came to fruition- a mountain the size of Kilamanjaro in the middle of Central Park.  Who the F put this here???  We slowed down to our “survival shuffle pace” and with each other’s support, got to the top and to the 9 mile marker.  Ok, I can do this -almost there.  Around mile 10, I looked at my mom with a huge smile on my face, thinking back to how far we’d come and exclaimed, “Mom, we got this! A measly 5k left!”  With that, I was ready to finish strong and so was she – too bad my legs were not.
Having not trained, seriously, like at all, my legs betrayed me and felt like 608 pound bricks.  My breath was ok, but my legs could not move.  I looked to my mom, so proud to be almost done with this challenging battle for which she had worked so hard, and here I was about to crush all of that for her.  I know my mom, and had I stopped, she would have stopped too, which would have killed her. She worked so hard and my lazy ass would be the reason she wouldn’t finish within her goal.  I dug deep. Real deep. Like the time she bought me that Barbie Mansion, sent me to super expensive cool summer camp I wanted to go to, the care packages in college, and taking an entire weekend to help me paint my apartment in July with no air conditioning deep, and found something inside me to push for her.  And that I did.

As we came around the .1 mile to the finish line, my mom grabbed my hand and we crossed, again, together.  I’ve never been so proud of her.  She was glowing.  This 55- year- old woman who used to smoke 2 packs a day killed it.  Changing her lifestyle changed both of our lives and I couldn’t be more proud to have an overly ambitious mother on my team.  Running with someone who makes you WANT to run is the only way to do it.  We live 5 hours from each other –but every time we visit, we always find a race or a park to run in.  It has become our new way to bond.  I love my mom and am so proud- for the both of us!

PS- we are signed up for the Flower City half in September! YAY!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The All-American Nastiness

Are you ready for this?  (Are you sure??)  Ok, here goes:  enjoy today's feature film. (Just click on the link.)
You're welcome. 

Now, just in case that wasn't enough to stick with you as you make your meal choice at the next cookout, here are a couple more facts about those weird red links of meat:

1.  The average hot dog has over 14 grams of fat.  Please, people.  That's really gross
2. That "natural casing" is made from pig intestine.  Sick.
3. If you're from around here, you have probably ingested a white hot or two in your day.  Those, my friends, are made not only made from the standard pork, beef, and chicken, but also include veal.  Awww, poor baby cows.
4. Does the package say "variety meats"?  Well, that means that your hot dog contains the part of the animal(s) that could never be sold on store shelves.  Think hearts and liver here. 

And just in case you skipped over my enlightening video clip because you saw that it was 5 whole minutes long, let me reitirate the highlights:

1. Hot dogs are made from meat trimmings.  As in, leftovers from the cuts they package up for the grocery stores.  As in, the parts that would otherwise get thrown away.  As in, the parts no one should eat.

2.  All of the meat is blended together and then squeezed out of a huge tube.  It looks like Play-Doh.  Ew.  Meat should NOT look like Play-Doh.  EVER.

3.  Thousands of hot dogs can be made every minute.  Why in the world would you ever want to consume something that can be thrown together that quickly in a factory?  Let's think about sanitation, here, ok?

4. Hot dogs contain corn syrup.  Really?

And finally, just in case you are still craving a hot-diggity, (or in my case, if it's the only cut of "meat" your children will actually agree to), here are some things to keep in mind:

1.  All-beef Kosher are the way to go.  It's seriously all-beef.  And Kosher warehouses have stricter sanitation codes than do everyday factories. 

2.  Look for packages that say "no by-products". That ensures that you're only eating the edible parts of these animals.

3. All parts that are used must be listed in the ingredients.  Become a label reader. 

And with that, have a healthy day,


Monday, June 18, 2012

Getting Back On Track

We made it through our crazy weekend relatively  unscathed. Summer vacation is so close I can smell it, and my cellulitey (yes, I just made that word up) thighs are terrified, as they should be.  Bottom line- I HATE THEM, and have decided they need to be gone.  Enter Operation: Buckle Down. 

Two birthday parties, a neighborhood party and Father's Day meant that our weekend was filled with food, drinks, lack of sleep, being totally stressed out, more food, more drinks, and zero gym time.  We had fun and it was absolutely worth it.  I mean, seriously, how could you not have fun when cupcakes, presents, and Dude Club shirts are involved?
Wearing this girly-looking fuzzy hat was not his favorite party moment.  Yet he
still let me take his picture.  It may have had something to do with the fact that I said,
"Put the hat on and act like you enjoy it, or I'll eat your cupcake myself."

Let's not talk about the fact that the personally requested RED frosting
actually turned out looking kinda pink.  Nor should we talk about the fact that
the venue we picked ended up being the biggest waste of money ever.

Look at these guys... I am so lucky.

We ate, we drank, we were merry.  Good times.

And this morning I got this week started on the right foot.  Or maybe it was the left. Whatever.  I got up at 5:30 and went running.  It was hot and I was sweaty within about 3 seconds.  I wasn't sure if I could make it, and I pretty much hated every second of it.  But I hate feeling fat even more.  So I kept going.  And after about 20 minutes and 2 miles it was over.  Going to work with a workout already completed is such a great feeling.  I'm thinking about running another 5K on the 4th of July.  Totally doable, don't you think? 

Between that little run and the Power Body class I'm teaching tonight, my online food journal (another way I'm getting back on track this week) told me that I've earned an additional 688 calories!  How awesome is that?!  20 minutes of exercise before work, plus a class that I'm getting paid for, and I get to eat 688 calories and still be on track!  Yes please. Another totally doable plan.  

And with that,  here are some of my goals for the week: 

1. 5 morning runs
2. Online food journaling every day
3. Sign up for one of the million races that are happening around here on the 4th.  

What are you doing this week?????

Have a healthy day,


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Writer's Block

I haven't forgotten about you, I promise.  In fact, it's quite the opposite.  As I go through my days, I am constantly thinking, "oooh, this will make a great blog post".  I usually forget to tell you about it though, but hey- at least you know where my intentions are. 

I've got a major case of writer's block today.  I think it has something to do with the 8 million other things that I have to get done before the end of the week.  Here's just a quick snapshot of this week's tasks:
  • Order cupcakes for the big birthday bash this weekend.  Make sure they look like zoo animals. After all, you ARE SuperMom, and the kids will OBVIOUSLY care.
  • Devise a plan for Father's Day.  Make it seem like you are actually on top of things, so that Husband-slash-Baby-Daddy feels as appreciated as he actually is.
  • Do some laundry so that you don't have to recycle gym clothes...again...
  • Admit to yourself that you actually went through with the plan to invite people over to your house on Saturday night, because 2 celebrations for a 5-year-old just aren't enough.  
  • Shop for said people.
  • Clean the house for said people.
  • Tie up loose ends at work.  Because, you know, people have to actually *earn* their paychecks.  You are not exempt from this little sticking point, and your school year is not techinically over yet.
  • By and deliver gifts for the multiple babies who have been born recently, one of whom lives clear on the other side of the city.  (But babies are cute, so why is this one stressing me too?)
  • Take CJ to visit his new school.  Pray that Ty doesn't act crazy. Remember to brush your hair before you go.  There will be people there you've never met.  Don't let them know you are a hot-mess at all times.  Let them figure that out on their own.
  • Don't forget to take CJ to his 5-year-old check up. Tell him that the 12 shots he has to get won't hurt.  No, bad idea.  Instead, play dumb when the nurse tells him he has to get 12 shots.  Then bribe him with candy or ice cream or both.

Ok, I gotta go.  I may or may not drive off the nearest bridge before the day ends. 

Have a healthy day (being stressed out is a great way to stay perfectly healthy, right?!?!!?),


Friday, June 8, 2012

This One's For The Boy


Where were you five years ago today?  I was in the hospital, recovering (painfully slowly) from the most grueling, intense, painful, exhausting, rewarding, emotional 38 hours of my life.  But it was totally worth it.  Because this was my prize:
Yep, that's right- my kid is 5 years old today (well, on the 6th, and by the time this posts I think it'll be the 7th).   And I'm having a slight panic attack over the whole thing. So I'll just write a nice post in his honor. And then I'll go breathe in to a paper bag.

This guy was one of the happiest, most beautiful babies I had ever seen. 
And now that he is growing up, he is turning out to be one of the most amazing little guys I have ever met.  (And I've met a lot of little guys. They're not all amazing.) Here are five facts about this boy named Connor. (But don't call him that or he'll get mad.  It's CJ to you.)

He likes to do things to make people laugh:  
Like wearing afro wigs. That's some funny s*#t on a baby.

He enjoys having water squirt directly in his face.

Sucking his thumb may be his all-time favorite thing to do.  I have done nothing to stop it, and probably never will.  I do not care. 
Getting his picture taken is favorite pastime #2. Obviously.

He enjoys riding his bike and wearing a cape.  Preferably at the same time.

Baseball. He enjoys baseball.  He picked out the red cleats all on his own. 
"Mom, it's my first day of baseball.  Make sure you take a really clear picture, ok?"
And his mother loves him more than words will EVER be able to say.

Happy Birthday to my sweet, funny, smart, athletic, loving, sensitive, creative, inquisitive, clever, and thoughtful 5-year-old. (And no CJ,  I will NEVER forget that you put me through 38 hours of labor.  So it's probably in your best interest to stay on my good side.)

Have a healthy day,


Monday, June 4, 2012

Where Has The Time Gone?

How is it possible that I haven't posted since Wednesday?  Sheesh, my bad.  Oh well... new week, new me.  So here goes. 

"Mom, food with no nutritional value just isn't getting it done... Please. Go. Shopping."
I was thinking about giving this post the title of "How To Healthily Survive a Pizza Hut Lunch Buffet", but seeing as how the boys and I gorged ourselves silly on Friday afternoon, I clearly don't know the answer to that.  You see, they have been so well behaved lately, that I thought they definitely deserved a special treat.  Either that, or I hadn't been grocery shopping in months, so they were actually STARVING.  Ok fine,  you win.  Well, you kind of win.  Yes, it had been a (long) while since the last shopping trip.  But they are pretty well behaved when they're not crying for no reason, punching each other, tattling, or otherwise throwing fits. And the three of us kind of LOVE Pizza Hut, so it was a no-brainer.  (As in, I am way too ashamed of how much I am eating at a greasy buffet right now to take a picture for my blog on how to live a healthy lifestyle type of no-brainer).  Anyway, there is my confession for the week:  I ate Pizza Hut, and I liked it.  I do not regret it.  There, I said it.  And, I may or may not have eaten a piece of ice cream cake later that night.  Wow, I'm on a roll.  Let me stop now before I bare my soul.  This is too much truth for one little paragraph. 

So yeah, that totally happened.  And not going to the gym happened too.  Oh well, life will move on.  And I'm thankful that I can start over today.  Onward and upward.  So here's something cool that happened this weekend: 
Wow, the people who live here must really love working out.
I'll bet they never eat Pizza Hut.
The hubster turned part of our porch in to a workout space!  He was planning on painting the garage this weekend instead, but since it rained both freaking days, he did this instead. Truthfully, this is probably way cooler for him than it is for me, but I still think he did a great job.  He had all of the stuff except for the core ball and the legit looking mats before he started this project, but it was all mixed in with the rest of the crap  boys' valuable stuff out there, so now it's nice and neat in its own little spot.

Here's something we haven't done in a while: Goal Setting Monday!!  Have you figured out what's on the week's agenda yet?  Here are some of my goals (in no particular order):

1.  Teach a great class tonight despite the fact that I am sore as hell from the crazy yoga class I took yesterday.  I went to relax for a minute and stretch out and not focus on the fact that I hadn't been to the gym since Wednesday.  That plan backfired, however, as soon as the teacher announced that "today's class will be pretty intense.  Remember to breathe it out."  Ummmmm.... I was literally dripping in sweat within 10 minutes, and I'm pretty sure that at some points my breathing was more like panting.  The 2 mile walk I took with the stroller when I got home did nothing to help.  Every muscle in my body is sore today. 

2. Clean my house.  I hate to clean, and my house is gross.  I will clean it even though I would rather nap and/or watch TV.  Boo. This goal is not fun, but it will be fun to make a list of each room in my house, and then cross them off as they get done.  Crossing things off lists is fun!

3. Donate clothes to Goodwill.  There are three bags of clothes that are packed and ready to go.  There is a Goodwill collection bin literally within walking distance to my house.  In fact, I think I may be able to see it from the upstairs window.  Said bags have been sitting on the dining room floor for at least a week.  Do you think either of us has grabbed them and dropped them off on our way to work?  No, of course not.  This week, that will change. 

4.  Not eat crap.  I will eat healthy things this week like bananas and Kashi Go Lean.  I will refrain from Pizza Hut.  I will drink a lot of water and will not give in to temptation when things like this show up on my kitchen counter after it has been discovered that baseball practice has been rained out:

And no, I did not eat one of these.  I didn't even have a bite.  And for once I am telling the truth. I have so much willpower.

And there you have it.  I think that's enough for now.  Here's to a productive week! 

Have a healthy day,