Archive for June, 2010

Backyard birding

Again this year, we have a houseful of wrens—a mother, father and what sounds like roughly 38 babies. I have no idea how they all fit into this house (and more importantly, I have no idea how their parents keep their collective bellies full!).

Wrens make me particularly happy: I distinctly remember my late grandmother telling me she could hear the wrens sing as Bryan and I exchanged vows during our outdoor wedding. I wonder if this little guy knows that I often depend on him as much as those babies do.

Scootin’ along

Olivia Fix

My “No blood, no Band-Aid” policy isn’t very popular.

Ava Fix

This one goes to eleven

For the past 11 years, Bryan has written me a poem for our anniversary. Here’s an excerpt from today’s:

Another year of heaven
Way past four, five, six and seven.
This one here goes to eleven

Just try to find a card referencing Spinal Tap at Hallmark. Can’t be done!

We have been joking that the eleventh anniversary is the concrete anniversary because we have some rather costly sidewalk repairs slated for this month. I suggested carving our initials into the wet cement in commemoration, but Bryan dismissed that idea—something about diminished resale value.

Besides, the traditional gift for the eleventh is steel. Maybe we’ll spring for rebar!

Why I quit at week five last time.

What a way to kick off week six!

This morning, I followed up my successful 20 minute run with a bit of a failure. I thought today’s run would be easy, at least comparatively speaking:

  • Run 5
  • Walk 3
  • Run 8
  • Walk 3
  • Run 5

Instead, I found myself seemingly near death during the last five minutes. I made it around the track once, and with nearly two-thirds of that last five minutes remaining, I just shut down. I kept telling myself that as awful as running felt, quitting would feel worse. And yet, I did. I can’t figure it out—why was today so hard?

On another, related note, I signed up for the Scale Down Challenge today. It’s a community-based weight loss tournament. You pay $50 to register, $5 for each of 10 weekly weigh-ins, and $1 for each pound gained. At the end, if you are in the top half of competitors in the terms of percentage of body weight lost, you break even or win up to several thousand dollars.

I’m hoping to fall squarely into the “break even” group. I’d like to see a 20 pound loss over 10 weeks. I’m about 10 pounds higher than my normal weight, and about 10 lower than my all time high (a point at which I conveniently ended up pregnant with Olivia. She was worth it, but that was not fun.)

So, 20 would put me at a decent place, and one that might make running a bit less awful.

Spoils of the season

We are really enjoying the crop share this spring. By far, the best item in the haul has been baby red and white potatoes. They were smaller than golf balls–very tender and sweet. We tossed them with a bit of olive oil, salt and rosemary and roasted them for about 40 minutes.

Trust the program

Every time I express my sincere doubt that I will be able to complete a 5K in under 45 minutes and/or while running, Bryan says, “Trust the program.”

For days I have dreaded the first full 20 minute run—no walking—and I have honestly doubted whether or not I could do it. But, I woke up to gorgeous (and cool!) weather, and I drove myself over to the high school track.

This was my first workout in a week that didn’t involve the treadmill, so I was concerned that once my choice became something other than “run, or fly off the treadmill and hit the wall behind it,” I’d falter.

Nevertheless, I gave it a shot.

I was extremely happy to find the track to downright cushy, and I ran the entire length of time with almost no pain in my shins or feet. I still believe that the whole thing would be much easier if I could lose 20 (okay, 30) pounds, so I may try to refocus on that effort.

Afterward, though, I felt fantastic, which is . . . new.

So, with four weeks left to work the program, I feel as though a 5K in the above parameters might actually be possible.


Ava had a playdate with her best friend Ginger this weekend. They met at preschool, but given Ginger’s summer break (and different kindergartens for both of them this fall), they won’t be seeing much of each other in the coming months.

Despite only being apart for a couple of weeks, their little reunion was incredibly sweet. In fact, it made me miss my own girlfriends quite a bit.

Here’s to BFFs!

Homemade laundry detergent

After draining yet another $25 tub of Tide Free and Clear, I decided to give homemade laundry detergent a try. I’ve been reading quite a bit about it lately—benefits include cleaner laundry, a huge cost savings and product that’s better for your skin and the environment.

I found hundreds of recipes online—some for liquid detergent, some for powder. I decided to go with powder—fewer steps and less messy to manage. Here’s the adapted recipe I used:

  • I bar Fels Naptha, grated
  • 2 cups Arm & Hammer washing soda
  • 2 cups Borax
  • 1 cup baking soda

I found all of the ingredients in the laundry aisle of the grocery story. The hardest part—by far—was grating the soap. I read that Ivory is a good alternative to Fels Naptha, and so I may try that next time.

I mixed everything together, and with about $2 of ingredients, I have enough soap for about eight weeks of laundry (40-50 loads). Each load uses an 1/8 of a cup of detergent.

I used it this weekend, and I was pretty surprised at how well it handled dried mud and other stains. Olivia’s less rashy than usual, too. Plus, the laundry smelled terrific. I suppose though, that could be the new Bounce bar in the dryer. Stick it on the side of the dryer drum, and you never have to worry about adding dryer sheets.

Clearly, this type of efficiency is of utmost importance to someone who spends 45 minutes shaving soap.