Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Crispy Eggplant with Spicy Marinara and Feta

Ingredients
1 eggplant, about 1 lb, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1 tsp dry basil
2 cups marinara
1 cup feta cheese

Directions
1.  Mix milk and eggs in a small bowl.  Mix wheat germ, parmesan cheese, basil, and pepper in a second bowl.
2.  Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, then coat both sides in the wheat germ mixture. 
3.  Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Eggplant should be crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
4.  Add red pepper to the marinara and warm over low medium heat.
5.  Top eggplant with marinara and feta cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Vegetarian Cooking for Today (1993).

Monday, August 2, 2010

Happy Birthday, Kaelin!

Today's Kaelin's birthday, and since I've never posted her birth story...  Well, here it is!  

August 2, 2001

I woke up this morning with really bad cramps.  It was 2:00 AM and everyone else was still asleep.  I didn't want to wake anyone up if I wasn't in labor, but after I got up and started walking around, the pain got worse.  I woke Grandma up, and she said that she thought I was having a baby!  The cramps hurt so bad that I laid in bed with Poopie and cried.  At 4:00, we called the hospital and Dr. Duda said to go ahead and come in even though she doubted that I was really in labor.

On the way to the hospital, Dad and I were stopped by a train.  Then, the main hospital doors were locked!  We walked around the building for half an hour looking for an entrance. 

After I was admitted, things went slow at first.  The nurses kept asking me questions while I was having contractions and got annoyed with me when I couldn't answer.  All I wanted to do was to curl up in a ball, but they wouldn't let me because of all of the straps.  They finally gave me a shot of Demerol and I went back to sleep until I was able to get an epidural. 

Once the epidural was in place, I went from 4 to 10 cm in 45 minutes!  After an hour of pushing, you were born -- a baby girl!  Grandma and Dad were so surprised that you weren't a boy.  You were our daughter, our little Kaelin Blaire.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer Vacation

Jason couldn't get any leave so for vacation this year, we drove up to my parents' house in Virginia.  We spent a day at Hershey Park and the rest of the time in the pool.

First time in the pool.

CANNONBALL!

Mmmm... chocolate.

Kaelin rode the Pirate Ship all by herself.

Bigger than last year.

Vacation with Grandma and Papa


Monday, July 5, 2010

Weekend Recap

We had a perfect 4th of July weekend.  Great food, great friends, great weather.  (Seriously, it was 85 with low humidity!)  Jason had the weekend off, we spent lots of time outdoors, watched movies on the couch, and saw lots of fireworks.  Harper even managed to sleep through the booms; Scout not so much. 

And Harper started crawling this weekend!

Good times.


Friday, July 2, 2010

P90X and Insanity... Now That's Insane!

I'm done with my first week of Insanity! 

I have to say that I'm impressed.  Insanity is definitely the best cardio workout I've had.  Of course, it's only cardio.  I was very disappointed with Cardio Power & Recovery.  It's supposed to be resistance training with your body weight, but other than push-ups and some tricep dips there really isn't anything that builds strength.  I threw in some P90X the other night just to get some upper body work in.

I was going to follow the Insanity program to the letter for the full 9 weeks just so I could see the results, but now that I've done all of the Month 1 workouts, I'm 100% sure that I'll lose strength.  I think I'm going to mix it up a little and add P90X and BBL into the schedule.  Of course, there are several hybrid programs out there, but I'm going to custom design one for myself, to fit my needs and my running schedule.  I'll post it when I get it done (or figure out how to add a calendar.)  I also have a group of friends starting their first round of P90X soon -- can't wait to see their results!

In other news... less than 2 weeks until my vacation!  I'm very happy to go back to Virginia if for no other reason than the awesome running trails.  My parents live less than a mile away from a Civil War battleground that's been revamped with running trails.  Some of them are dirt and through the forest.  Others are gravel across fields.  There's even two MASSIVE hills.  Hopefully, I'll get plenty of running time (you know, when I'm not submerged in their pool.)

Sadly, Hershey Park is on the schedule.  I'm not an amusement park sort of gal and I really don't want to gain back what little I've lost because of some stupid chocolate.  Don't forget the chocolate bar waiting for us that's bigger than Harper!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Problem with Twilight

I like the Twilight books; I really do.  A coworker loaned me her copy of Twilight almost two years ago because I had forgotten a book to read during my lunch break.  I was skeptical, but I'll give any book a chance.

I didn't love it.  The actual writing isn't that great and the main character (Bella) was kind of annoying.  Annoying like I want to slap her and explain to her that a 17 year old in love is, well, laughable.  That's not to say that 17 year olds can't fall in love.  My mom got married at 17 and will be celebrating her 30th wedding anniversary in a few days.  But my God, is Bella an example of how not to be at that age.  Anyways, despite my better judgement, I bought New Moon.  I love New Moon.  It's one of my favorite books.  So, I anxiously order Eclipse and Breaking Dawn -- which both suck. 

But the series is entertaining if you can suspend your disbelief long enough to get into the story. 

In fact, this post isn't a tirade against the books.  I've read the books (especially New Moon) at least a dozen times over the last two years because I really like the relationships between the characters.  I realize that Stephanie Meyer isn't Jane Austin or Charlotte Bronte, but she doesn't pretend to be.

Rather, this post is about how much the movies suck.

Twilight sucked.  I watched it a total of ONE time and I cannot bring myself to watch it again.  It's like they said, "Let's take all the redeeming qualities from this book and throw them out the window."  I felt like I was watching two hours of Kristin Stewart biting her lip.  I've seen Robert Pattinson in other movies, and I know he can act.  Kristin Stewart, well, not so much.  I kept waiting for the movie to develop the characters.  I kept waiting for the bond to develop that turns Bella into an Edwardcentric shell.  It never happened. 

Then New Moon came out.  Remember, that I love New Moon.  The previews were pretty awesome and I thought, okay, I'll bite.  I even bought the movie because I was sure I would love it as much as the book. 

*facepalm*

I love New Moon because of the relationship Jacob and Bella have.  I love New Moon because it's slightly less "Oh, Edward."  But again, the movie lacked any depth.  I realize it's hard to put a 500 page book into a two hour movie, but it really seemed like they cut out the best parts.  Even the screenwriter, Melissa Rosenberg, claims that the series isn't exactly high art.  Thank goodness Taylor Lautner is hot, or I'd be out $20.  Hell, even Robert Pattinson said he's bored of the saga. 

So I was pretty much over the movies by the time the 50 billion trailers and clips of Eclipse were released.  Just the fact that Eclipse is probably the most boring book in the series and that the trailers are centered around Riley, who's in the book for all of three pages, put the proverbial final nail in the coffin.  Maybe I'll pay the $1 for the redbox rental in a couple of months, but I doubt it.

I realize that the Twilight franchise doesn't care.  There are enough vampire wannabes out there to make Summit rich. 

I also realize that I'm not the target demographic for Twilight.  I'm not all "Oh, Edward" and I don't desire to be Bella and have a sparkly vampire save me.  Interestingly, the facebook status updates that are constantly blabbering on about Eclipse are from friends who are over the age of 40 or under the age of 21.  I think I was lucky enough to be raised with a generation that was taught you don't need a man (or vampire) to save you from your life.  Or maybe it's because I'm happily married and have no reason to imagine myself giving birth to a vampire spawn.

Or maybe it's because I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer and realize it's been done before, much better.
 
Photo source:  http://img511.imageshack.us/i/buffy133yq2.jpg/
 
Angel will always be better than Edward if for no other reason than he doesn't sparkle.
 
Also people, please don't name your kid Bella, Edward, or Cullen.  Seriously, Cullen is the fastest growing baby name of 2009.  Twilight is a fad that will fade like NKOTB (look it up, young'uns) and your kid will NOT appreciate it in 20 years.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Need New Tunes

I have a superfantastic running playlist.  It's been so superfantastic that I haven't updated my iPod in about a year and a half.  The thing is, my music interests and my running music interests don't really overlap.  I'm about a 75% rock/grunge/metal sort of gal while my running playlist is mostly pop and rap -- things that have a strong beat.  Since I don't listen to pop or rap on any sort of regular basis, I don't know what new and awesome songs have come out that should be on my playlist.

Jen's Running Mix
Let's Go -- Trick Daddy
Lose Yourself -- Eminem
Pump It -- Black Eyed Peas
Tainted Love -- Soft Cell
Nookie -- Limp Bizkit
Rollin' (Urban Assualt Vehicle) -- Limp Bizkit
Gimme More -- Britney Spears
One Step Closer -- Linkin Park
Somewhere I Belong -- Linkin ParkBleed It Out -- Linkin Park
Click Click Boom -- Saliva
Ready to Go -- Republica
Stronger -- Kanye West
Jesus Walks -- Kanye West
Pain -- Jimmy Eat World
Over My Head -- Sum 41
Hip Hip Hooray -- Naughty by Nature
Awake -- Godsmack
I Stand Alone -- Godsmack
Sweet Home Alabama -- Lynard Skynard
4 Minutes -- Madonna (ft. Justin Timberlake)
SexyBack -- Justin Timberlake
Magic Carpet Ride -- The Crystal Method
Party Up -- DMX
Temperature -- Sean Paul
Beverly Hills -- Weezer
California Love -- Tupac (ft. Dr. Dre)
Fighter -- Christina Aguilera

So I need your help.  Give my music, um, interests... what should I add?  (I realize I'm severely lacking in Gaga, but like I said, I haven't updated in a year.)  I like motivating songs.  I like songs that make me want to dance.  I like songs that will take me from mile 20 to mile 26. 

Suggestions?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Day at the Battery

Last week, we took the kids downtown to do a little sightseeing and buy Jason a new pair of shoes.  (Good Lord, he needed new shoes.)  The day started with Harper's 4 month check-up and shots, followed by a lot of errands, then we finally made it into Charleston.  I have to say I was pretty impressed with Harper.  Even though shots usually make her grumpy, she only cried once and we were gone for a long time.  Kaelin even kept the complaining to a minimum.  It seemed like everything was working out in our favor. 

Except the weather.

Weather guy said it was supposed to be sunny.

I checked the forecast before we left.  I checked it again on our way.  Sunny, hot, and humid (completely the norm for South Carolina).  Of course, as soon as we get downtown the clouds rolled in and the thunder started.  We had lunch, Jason got his shoes (the guy at the running store was an ass, btw) and decided to walk down King St to the water.  It's only about a mile each way, but it starting misting a few block into our walk.  Not knowing if it was going to stop or start all-out raining, we turned back.  I have to say, I was really disappointed.
The view from the car.
Since we couldn't walk to the water, we decided to drive by and at least look at it.  But there was a parking spot!  Right there on the battery!  Yay!  We parked, got the stroller back out and walked along the river.  It was way too hot.  It was way too humid.  There was so much static electricity that our hair was standing up!
My little lightning rod.
We were completely wiped by the time we got home, but it was definitely worth it!  I can't wait until our next outing.  Maybe the aquarium?  The beach?  A museum? 

Kaelin enjoyed it.
Harper wasn't nearly as impressed.
Family Time!

My Shoes May be Trying to Kill Me

Hydration belts, identity bracelets, iPods, Garmins, sleeves -- just some of the gear a typical runner might use on a regular basis.  (Trust me, I've been begging for a Garmin since Christmas.)  But there's really only one piece of equipment that you need to run.

Shoes.

Okay, I know the barefoot running craze is hot right now.  However, I don't live on dirt roads in Kenya and I'm not entirely sure my tetanus shot is up to date.  I have to deal with rocks, melting asphalt, and gross stuff that people through on the road.  I could try to run in the grass, but that brings up the issue of dog poop.  I NEED shoes.

But shoes are bad.  The big argument is that we, as a species, have been running since the dawn of time without shiny new Nikes.  We managed to evolve without a pair of Saucony's on our neanderthalic feet.  New studies are even showing that running shoes are directly linked to knee, hip, and ankle injuries.  As someone who is ALWAYS plagued with running injuries from plantar fasciitis and shin splints to chrondromalacia, this really interests me. 

I regularly change my shoes every 300 - 400 miles.  Physical therapists have watch me run (I have a very slight overpronation but they recommend neutral shoes).  I get professionally fitted at a running store.  I tend to spend about $100 a pair for quality shoes.

And they're hurting me?

To be fair, I have completely sucky form.  Nobody ever taught me how to run.  Not in middle school during the hideous Presidential Fitness Test.  Not in high school while doing splits on the track.  Not in boot camp where running is a mode of transportation.  Like most untrained (or badly trained) runners, I'm a heel striker.  That means I land on my heel, roll my foot, and push off with my toes.  This puts a metric crapton of force on your heel that travels up your leg.  To combat this, companies started adding more and more cushioning to the heel of their shoes.  The heels on the shoes started getting bigger which has led to even more heel striking because the heel gets in the way. 

However, when you run barefoot you land on your midsole or your forefoot while your heel barely touches the ground.  The whole movement is much more efficient and easier on your joints.  Of course, that brings us back to the dog poo.

So what's a girl to do?

That girl could buy a pair of Newtons!



Apparently, these shoes are the bee's knees.  (Whatever that means.)  I have read review after review about these shoes and I am SOOOO excited to try them.  I'm nervous because they're pretty $$$, but the research seems pretty solid.  The shoe has a very small heel and lugs midfoot that force you to run with proper form.  Their website has a TON of information and videos so I'm not going to repeat it all here, but I think they are definitely worth a try.  If I don't like them, I'll go back to my old running shoes. 

Unfortunately, I can't buy them yet.  No store in South Carolina sells them so I was planning on buying them when I go on vacation in a few weeks.  You can buy them online, but I'm really nervous about getting a pair of shoes without being able to try them on.  Of course, while I was researching this article, I just discovered that the HOT PINK shoes that I'M IN LOVE WITH are being discontinued and if I don't buy one of the few remaining pairs on line, I'll either have to settle for bright yellow or neon orange

Aarrgghh!  I'm so confused now.  Should I order the pink ones without trying them on?  Would I look okay in yellow shoes?  Should I call the running store in Virginia and see if they have pink Newtons in my size?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bye-Bye, School

I know I'm a few weeks late here, but Kaelin's last day of school was June 2.  I can't believe I have a 4th grader.  It wasn't all that long ago when she started kindergarten.  Over these last few weeks I've really enjoyed having her home -- almost as much as I've enjoyed not having to take her to school in the morning or interrupt my afternoon to pick her up!


I'm definitely nervous though, since it means our homeschooling adventure is just around the corner.  I have no doubts in my ability as a chemistry teacher on the college level, but am I going to be able to teach my own kid Greek history?  What about Latin?  There are books on her 4th grade reading list that I've never even opened.  How am I going to teach her Shakespeare?  What about when she starts giving me attitude? 

Am I even going to have a free minute to myself?

Anyways, I was originally going to write my own curriculum, but after HOURS of research I realized that I have no clue what 4th graders should learn.  Plus, I might have the tendency to pack a little too much into a school day.  I found what I think will be an amazing Catholic homeschool program so we're going to try that, for at least her first year.  If we like it, we'll stick with it, otherwise we'll try something new for 5th grade.  I also found most of the books she'll need cheap so the whole thing will probably only cost us $200 for the year.  (Between fundraisers and school events, I probably spent over a thousand bucks at her old school -- free education, my ass.)

For the summer, she's working through a summer bridge book and a pretty hefty reading list in addition to the activities we have planned like the aquarium and some Civil War battle sites.  As much as I dislike living in South Carolina, I love that Charleston is full of history. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

When Do You Run?

I'm struggling. I really am. I want to run; I really do. But I can't seem to find the time. It's not time in the usual sense. You know, the 'I don't have time to workout because ...' excuse.

Rather, I can't find the right time of day to run. Currently, Jason is undergoing some pretty intense Navy training and is working 12 hour days 7 days a week doing rotating shiftwork. Last week was awesome. He worked 12:30 PM to 12:30 AM which gave me plenty of time in the morning to run before he went to work. He even went with me a couple of times. (Note, we might want to invest in a jogging stroller.)

This week, he's working 8:30 PM to 8:30 AM. I had originally planned to run when he got home at 9:00. But I ran into two problems. First, the Navy has a warped sense of time. Several times this week, they wouldn't let the class leave on time because such and such happened or so and so was late. So they punish everyone with push-ups and making them stand at attention for an hour. Meanwhile, I'm sitting by the door in my running clothes wondering if he's in a ditch somewhere because he fell asleep at the wheel. By the time he gets home at 10:00, I've usually gotten wrapped up in something else and don't make it outside.

Or he does make it home at 9:00 and it's already 90 degrees and 125% humidity. I suppose the weather wouldn't be a big issue if I was used to running in it, but being a new (returning?) runner, my stamina is crap. Besides, it's going to get a lot hotter before it starts to cool off again and my runs are only going to get longer.

I suppose I could run at 7:00 PM before he goes to work, but usually it's hotter then than it is in the morning. Plus, by 7:00, I have to make dinner, do baths, etc. I *could* go to the gym when he gets home, but I really despise the treadmill and while it's great now and then, it shouldn't make up the bulk of training for anyone who does road races. I also can't afford a running stroller right now, although even if I could, I wouldn't use one. Strollers completely jack with your form.

So any thought? Should I just suck it up and run in the heat? Is there another answer I'm just not seeing?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another Pointless Committee

Last month, Roni (of Roni's Weigh) did a completely awesome post about the obesity epidemic and what the Healthy Weight Committment Foundation aims to do about it. While Roni offered some great ideas of her own, the new organization was basically just rehashing the same old, same old -- exercise and eat right. Well, duh.

Anyways, I wanted to share my very long-winded comment to her here on My Inner Fit Chick (previously KUrunner).
I agree that something needs to be done, but I very much disagree with their methods. Obesity is not as simple as calories in versus calories out. I think most Americans are already “conscious” that we need to eat better and exercise. Weight loss and health is so much more than that.

Why are we overweight in the first place? We know more about nutrition and exercise now than we did 100 years ago, even 50 years ago. But the numbers keep going up. Telling me that I need to eat X number of calories doesn’t change the fact that I want that candy bar.

We, as a society, is stressed to the limit. Moms are expected to be super; we are supposed to get up, make a healthy breakfast for the family, get the kids dressed, pack the husband’s lunch, drop the kids off at school and make it to work by 8:00 for a staff meeting. Then, we are supposed to workout during lunch while magically working on a presentation, pick the kids up and cart them off to soccer, dance and band. We go home and make a wonderful pasta primavera from scratch while entertaining three kids without resorting to TV or video games. Don’t forget the laundry that we have to do or the bathrooms we need to scrub. Then, we are expected to make time for the husband.

Yeah, right. No wonder that McDonald’s looks so tempting on the way home.

If HWCF wants change, maybe they should go after the source. Change the goverment that makes boxes of processed crap cheaper than fruits and vegetables. Go after the fast food restaurants that are on every corner where an extra value meal is cheaper than a pound of meat. I’m not saying that there isn’t personal responsibility involved, but it’s kind of unfair to the crack addict when society willingly puts a dealer on every street. (And yes, I believe that being obese is just as dangerous as being hooked on drugs.)

But telling us what we’ve already been told thousands of times before isn’t going to change anything.

But it gets better. This "health-minded" group is made up of CEOs from companies such as Coca-Cola, Nestle, Mars, Hershey, and Kraft. They are the same ones that make it cheaper to buy a 2 liter of soda than a bottle of juice. They are the ones that sell sugar, sugar, and more sugar to our kids. You think that dinosaur on the macaroni box is targeting adults?

Here's what they should be saying:

Eat less, but keep eating our neon orange processed macaroni. Watch your calories, but keep buying our high fructose corn syrup and aspartame laden sodas. Don't be fat kids, but make sure to save room for a candy bar later.

Anyways, if you're as pissed off as I am now, feel free to send them an email at info@healthyweightcommit.org telling them that if they really want to enact change, they should start with their own products.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Brazil Butt Lift

I am so BORED of P90X. Don't get me wrong, it's a great workout, but 90+ days of it gets really old even with 12 different DVDs. I love Tony Horton, but I can recite every single one of his jokes in my sleep. How do people do 2, 3, even more rounds?

Since P90X was always a little too light on cardio for someone needing to lose serious weight, Jason got me Insanity. It's VERY high intensity cardio featuring calisthenics to build muscle. Although, it is highly debated just how effective Insanity is. There are those who are diehard weightlifters who believe that unless you are throwing around dumbbells, you aren't going to gain muscle. Some people say that it's unrealistically intense and that even someone like Lance Armstrong would have problems keeping up. Others love it.

Anyways, the plan was to combine the P90X workouts I like with Insanity. But then, I saw Brazil Butt Lift.

I'll be honest here; I'm a fitness snob. I quietly mocked my mother every time she bought another contraption or workout video from an infomercial. AbRoller? She's got it. ThighMaster? Check. What about an Ab Lounger? Yep. She even spent the money on the electrocute yourself to better abs thing. I spent a couple days trying out her collection of Firm videos, and sure, they may be great for your average unfit, overweight housewife, but they did nothing for me -- the overweight housewife who runs half marathons. So, I was really skeptical when I saw Brazil Butt Lift on Beachbody's website.

Could the people who make P90X and Insanity really sell something so... easy looking? I mean it looks fun. People dancing around on the beach shaking their booty? Very carnival. The workout was made for Victoria's Secret angel, Alessandra Ambrosio and she does have an amazing ass. But then again, she's a supermodel with freak genes and already had a pretty decent backside before the program. Besides, she doesn't have any muscles. There's no way she could out bench me. Hell, she probably can't run more than 5 miles.

Of course, this discussion went on in my head otherwise Jason would probably be a little weirded out.

But I figure, there's a money back guarantee and I really do appreciate what P90X did for me. If people think Brazil Butt Lift works, I'll give it a shot. If I don't like it or if I feel like I'm losing too much fitness, I'll start Insanity.

BBL comes with a workout plan designed for your butt shape; mine is "too much." Day 1 was basics and Bum Bum (Brazilian slang for butt). Basics is just a tutorial about how to do the moves with proper form. Stuff like, put your foot here and your knee here and engage your core, etc. I even thought about skipping it. It's 10 minutes long and to quote a wise man, my biscuits were burning.

I hadn't even started the real workout yet.

Bum Bum is a combination of cardio while doing moves that target your tush. Instead of endless lunges like P90X, you did lunges as a part of a dance move. Squats, leg lifts... they were all there but as part of the cardio. Bum Bum is 30 mins long and I had to pause the disc twice.

How can I make it through 60 mins of Plyo X and then PAUSE a silly little cardio video?

I mean, I didn't even put on my heart rate monitor. Hell, I almost did it in my pajamas because I didn't think I would sweat. I definitely underestimated it.

There are 3 more workouts in the series, and I'm still skeptical that I'll maintain my upper body strength, but I'm going to give it a shot. If anything, I can substitute BBL in for some of the P90X workouts. But for the next few weeks, I want to see what Brazil Butt Lift can do for me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Brand New Jumperoo!

Not sure what I'm supposed to do here...

Hey, I can spin it!

Thank you, Daddy!

P90X Results and Review

Jason and I started P90X 12 weeks ago and the results are in!

… But before I get to the cold hard numbers, I want to begin by saying that we didn’t follow the program. Not 100% anyways. Hell, probably not even 50%. P90X requires 6 workouts a week and a low-carb nutrition program. I never had any intentions of going low-carb as I’m still breastfeeding. The workouts were fun (and HARD), and I looked forward to most of them, but life happened. I probably shouldn’t have started the program with a newborn who wasn’t sleeping more than a few hours at a time. There were a lot of workouts that I was just too tired to start and I’m sure I wasn’t “bringing it” the way Tony Horton would have wanted. Then, we had two deaths in the family — one being Jason’s dad. Needless to say, with the stress and time involved dealing with everything, pushing play wasn’t at the top of our list. Add to that a couple of trips out of state and Jason’s work schedule drastically shifting…

We definitely didn’t do P90X the way it was intended.
I still saw results, even with my half-hearted attempt and I still recommend everyone try it. In fact, my brother and a couple friends are going to be starting P90X while I’m going through Round 2. Yes, I’m doing it again and hopefully this time, I can do the program right. I got pretty decent results doing about half the workouts so I’m dying to see what happens if I follow it all the way. (Still breastfeeding, so still no low-carb though.) As for my thoughts on the actual workouts:

Chest & Back — Lots of push-ups and pull-ups. A little dull, but the basics work.
  
Plyometrics — I love plyo. It’s hard. You’ll hurt the next day. But it’s fun and I’m sure it’s the reason why I’m running faster even though I haven’t been running nearly as much as I used to.

Shoulders and Arms — My delts and triceps are my favorite parts to work and it was really similar to my arm workout prior to P90X so I may be a bit biased, but I enjoyed it. My problem was not having enough different weights. My 8s were too light and my 15s were too heavy for most of the exercises.

Yoga – Eh. I still don’t like it (and I really love my other yoga dvds) and it tends to be the first dvd that gets skipped during the week.

Legs and Back — Sneaky lunges! Love the calf workout.

Kenpo — It’s fun, but not much of a calorie burn. You really have to push yourself if you want to get your heart rate up.

Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps — Confession here… I’ve only done this workout once. It was HARD. Like, too hard for me to even do half the reps. So, I went back to the Phase 1 dics. Of course, Jason LOVED this workout.

Back & Biceps — Never did it. Again, Jason preferred it over Phase 1.

I did leave out AbRipperX and Core Synergistics because I like to pretend they don’t exist. You know, I hate it, but I love it sort of thing. Overall, it’s a great system although the Classic program is a bit light on cardio. Tony is funny although after 90 days, his “Tony-isms” start to get a little old. I still want to punch Dreya Weber in the face. Karen pot-stirrers are amazing.

Okay, now on to the results.

Jason’s lost almost 10 lbs and 3% bodyfat.

 
I’ve lost over 13 lbs and almost 3% bodyfat. I’m down 2.5 inches off my waist, 2.5 inches off my hips, and over an inch off of each thigh. I haven’t taken my official final fit test, but as of month 2, I’m jumping higher and squating longer. I’ve more than doubled my push-ups and more than tripled my ab strength. I also doubled my bicep curls. (Keep in mind that all of this is without doing P90X every day.)

P90X Results and Review

Jason and I started P90X 12 weeks ago and the results are in!

… But before I get to the cold hard numbers, I want to begin by saying that we didn’t follow the program. Not 100% anyways. Hell, probably not even 50%. P90X requires 6 workouts a week and a low-carb nutrition program. I never had any intentions of going low-carb as I’m still breastfeeding. The workouts were fun (and HARD), and I looked forward to most of them, but life happened. I probably shouldn’t have started the program with a newborn who wasn’t sleeping more than a few hours at a time. There were a lot of workouts that I was just too tired to start and I’m sure I wasn’t “bringing it” the way Tony Horton would have wanted. Then, we had two deaths in the family — one being Jason’s dad. Needless to say, with the stress and time involved dealing with everything, pushing play wasn’t at the top of our list. Add to that a couple of trips out of state and Jason’s work schedule drastically shifting…

We definitely didn’t do P90X the way it was intended.

I still saw results, even with my half-hearted attempt and I still recommend everyone try it. In fact, my brother and a couple friends are going to be starting P90X while I’m going through Round 2. Yes, I’m doing it again and hopefully this time, I can do the program right. I got pretty decent results doing about half the workouts so I’m dying to see what happens if I follow it all the way. (Still breastfeeding, so still no low-carb though.) As for my thoughts on the actual workouts:

Chest & Back — Lots of push-ups and pull-ups. A little dull, but the basics work.

Plyometrics — I love plyo. It’s hard. You’ll hurt the next day. But it’s fun and I’m sure it’s the reason why I’m running faster even though I haven’t been running nearly as much as I used to.

Shoulders and Arms — My delts and triceps are my favorite parts to work and it was really similar to my arm workout prior to P90X so I may be a bit biased, but I enjoyed it. My problem was not having enough different weights. My 8s were too light and my 15s were too heavy for most of the exercises.

Yoga – Eh. I still don’t like it (and I really love my other yoga dvds) and it tends to be the first dvd that gets skipped during the week.

Legs and Back — Sneaky lunges! Love the calf workout.

Kenpo — It’s fun, but not much of a calorie burn. You really have to push yourself if you want to get your heart rate up.

Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps — Confession here… I’ve only done this workout once. It was HARD. Like, too hard for me to even do half the reps. So, I went back to the Phase 1 dics. Of course, Jason LOVED this workout.

Back & Biceps — Never did it. Again, Jason preferred it over Phase 1.

I did leave out AbRipperX and Core Synergistics because I like to pretend they don’t exist. You know, I hate it, but I love it sort of thing. Overall, it’s a great system although the Classic program is a bit light on cardio. Tony is funny although after 90 days, his “Tony-isms” start to get a little old. I still want to punch Dreya Weber in the face. Karen pot-stirrers are amazing.

Okay, now on to the results.

Jason’s lost almost 10 lbs and 3% bodyfat.





I’ve lost over 13 lbs and almost 3% bodyfat. I’m down 2.5 inches off my waist, 2.5 inches off my hips, and over an inch off of each thigh. I haven’t taken my official final fit test, but as of month 2, I’m jumping higher and squating longer. I’ve more than doubled my push-ups and more than tripled my ab strength. I also doubled my bicep curls. (Keep in mind that all of this is without doing P90X every day.)




Saturday, May 15, 2010

Why I Hate (and Like) Weight Watchers

As I recently said, I’m back on Weight Watchers.

*sigh*

This isn’t the first time I’ve done WW and I’m really having mixed feelings about it. The first time, I did the online version. No good. Seriously, if you are planning on using the online version, go to Nutrition Data, Livestrong, FitDay or some other online calorie counting tool and save yourself the monthly fee. Plus, you can easily find all of the information about Weight Watchers, such as how many points to eat and the formula for calculating those points, with a quick google search. And whatever you do, avoid the WW forums at all costs… well, unless you like bashing your head into a wall.

So after my craptacular experience online, I decided to give meetings a shot. I even enlisted Jason to go with me. Yeah, I lasted through 3 meetings with 3 different leaders and gave up.

Why I Hate Weight Watchers

1. It’s a diet.

I don’t care what the commercials say about Weight Watchers being a lifestyle change and not a diet. It’s a diet. Any program that restricts calories is a diet. Period. “Stop dieting and start living.” Indeed.

2. Points are a fancy word for calories.

The difference between Weight Watchers and most other programs is that WW counts Points, not calories. They claim it’s easier to count to 20 than 1200, but either way, good luck remember how many Points you’ve eaten unless you track throughout the day. But if you’re tracking throughout the day, what’s the difference? Computers have calculators.

3. The formula for Points is arbitrary.

Points take into account fat and fiber. Food high in fat is higher in Points; food high in fiber is lower in Points — prompting you to select high fiber, low fat foods. But there’s really no science behind their formula. It seems like they just picked some random numbers and threw them together.

4. Fats are punished.

As I explained, foods containing fat have higher Points than foods without fat — even if it’s healthy fat. Even though WW suggests eating healthy oils, you’re going to have to give up a big junk of your daily allowance for that handful of peanuts. Plus, foods high in fat already are higher in calories, so basically, the fat is counted twice. Of course, the European version of WW only counts saturated fat, not total fat, but us Americans are still in the 90′s “fat is bad” mindset.

5. Not all fiber is equal.

Yes, fiber makes you feel fuller longer and um, helps things along. But only naturally occuring fiber. Adding Metamucil to a food does absolutely nothing than make you need to poop. Go to the grocery store and look at how much food has added fiber. I’m sorry, but fiber doesn’t belong in yogurt. Eating what is essentially a candy bar with 10 grams of added fiber isn’t going to help you lose weight.

And get this… I once went to a WW meeting where the leader suggested taking a fiber supplement with junk food so that the junk food would be lower in Points. Obviously, it’s okay to eat a quart of ice cream as long as you chase it with fiber powder.

6. Weight Watchers products

At the grocery store, you’ll find everything from candy to bread with the Weight Watchers logo on it. Look at the ingredients list. Do you really want to eat that crap? Why would WW encourage you to eat a piece of fruit candy instead of actual fruit? Why do they mass market TV dinners instead of encouraging you to cook yourself? Because it’s a business. And like most businesses, if you’ll buy it, they’ll sell it. Weight Watchers yogurt, Weight Watchers snack cakes, Weight Watchers ice cream. It’s all fake food with fake fiber. I would rather enjoy a REAL piece of cake every now and then instead of eating their processed snack food.

7. Weight Watchers allows too few calories

Okay, this one is just my opinion here, but WW restricts calories a bit too much. A target of 18 – 20 Points a day isn’t unreasonable. Let’s add in another 5 Flex Points a day. That’s about 1250 calories a day (assuming you eat no fat.) Most nutritionists will agree that 1200 calories a day is just too low. Plus, it’s practically impossible to get any decent amount of nutrition when you are ALMOST starving especially if you are eating WW processed crap.

8. WW isn’t for athletes

Again, my opinion here, but Activity Points are flawed. Let’s say I go out for an easy 10 mile run. Weight Watchers gives me 6 Activity Points (about 300 calories) even though I burned over 1000. A pre-run snack, a mid-run gel, and a post-run recovery drink and I’m already over my points allowance that I earned. Granted, most people on WW aren’t doing that sort of activity, but it’s still a flaw in the program.

9. A little too touchy feely

If you haven’t read Such a Pretty Fat, you should. Jen Lancaster describes it perfectly. I’m not really into sitting in a room with 10 other women discussing our feelings about birthday cake.


Why I Like Weight Watchers

Okay, so despite all of my complaints, I’m still giving it another go because I’m having very little luck on my own and it comes highly recommended for breastfeeding women. I’m really worried that I’m not going to be eating enough, but I’ve decided to give it 3 weeks and see how I’m feeling.

1. Eight Healthy Guidelines

Despite marking all sorts of processed crap, WW promotes eating fruits, veggies, healthy oils, dairy, etc.

2. Support system

This is why WW is so popular, I think. You sit in a room with 10 other people with the same goals as you — to lose weight. While the meetings are a little uncomfortable for me, the group atmosphere encourages you to keep coming back.

3. The Core Program

The Core program encourages eating a wide variety of healthy, real food without counting Points.

4. You can eat anything.

This is a plus and a drawback at the same time. You can eat anything you want, as long as you still within your Points target. The bad thing part – you can eat 20 Points of cotton candy, 20 Points of pizza, 20 Points of celery, etc. The good part — if you really want that ice cream, you can eat it as long as you have Points for it. Of course, if you follow the 8 healthy guidelines, you’re much less likely to spend a days Points on a bag of chocolate.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Skinny Fat

Kate Harding is one of the masters of this topic, but there are a ton of bloggers who preach Fat Acceptance. Basically, Fat Acceptance means that overweight and obese individuals shouldn’t be discriminated against because of their size. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the movement because I believe nobody should be discriminated against for any reason — be it gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or the number on the bathroom scale.

Of course, the opposition to Fat Acceptance will argue about the health consequences of being overweight. Yes, I’ll completely agree that someone who weighs 300 lbs and eats a diet of Big Macs probably isn’t the epitomy of health and well-being. But what about someone like myself who has a few extra pounds while eating a mostly healthy diet and running half marathons? It really bothers me that people assume that just because my BMI is above 25, I’m sick. Sure, I’d love to lose 20 lbs and be in the “healthy” range, but my blood pressure is fantastic, my cholesterol is perfect, and I can easily touch my toes.

Would it be better if I was back at 125 lbs with high blood pressure and a cholesterol of above 200? If my BMI was a perfect 22, but I couldn’t run around the block? How about if I looked like Heidi Klum in a bikini but smoked two packs a day?

Just because you’re thin doesn’t mean you are healthy.

Surprisingly, there was a great segment about being “Skinny Fat” on the news the other day. Plus, BMI standards are just ridiculous anyways and not really an indicator of health.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Memory Lane

While googling myself (don’t pretend like I’m the only one who does it), I came across a xanga blog. I had completely forgotten about the short-lived blog I had back in college. Anyways, reading through it, I found one of the funniest posts.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

So, here are my goals for the next 3 weeks:

1. No more fast food. Period. I know that I can eat badly when I cook at home too, but it won’t be 1600 calories for a combo meal with a shake every night.
2. Go to the gym twice a week. I am done by 4:00 on Mondays and Tuesdays so I will hit the gym for an hour before I go get Kaelin.

3. No more soda. This is going to limit my caffeine, and I am sure I will get a massive headache the first few days, but I will feel much better when I start drinking more water. And it’s cheaper.

Maybe it’s not so funny as much as it is sad. Apparently, I’ve been trying to kick some of these habits for longer than I thought. It’s a bit discouraging. I mean, if I haven’t been able to kick soda over the last 4 years, am I ever going to be able to do it?

Then I want to slap myself. There are tons of people who are able to quit real addictions everyday. My mom smoked for 20+ years, and has been cigarette free for almost two. It took her who knows how many attempts to do it (and a nice dose of Chantix) but she managed.

Know of any drugs to kick the Red Bull habit? 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Chemical of the Week - Aspartame


I’ve been working on this post for weeks because if there is anything I’m passionate about it’s chemistry (and why we shouldn’t eat things found on a lab bench.) I want to do a new chemical that’s commonly found in food each week, but I’ve decided to start with aspartame because it is everywhere. It’s also one of the most dangerous food additives currently being used and if I could just stop one person (including myself) from eating the crap, I’ll have done my job.

What is it?
Aspartame is a chemical sweetener invented in 1965, also known as N-(L-α-Aspartyl)-L-phenylalanine, 1-methyl ester. While aspartame isn’t calorie free, it’s 200 times sweeter than sugar so smaller quantities are used to get the same sweetness.

History

Aspartame was denied by the FDA 8 times before it got approval. In fact, when it was finally approved, the FDA revoked it’s approval and determined that the company’s safety data on aspartame had been manipulated. The US Attorneys Office began proceedings against the head of the company, G.D. Searle. However, while the investigation was underway, the lead attorney left the case and took a job with Searle’s law firm. Sketchy, right? In 1980, the FDA set up a review board which found that aspartame had not been shown to be safe for use as a food additive. A year later, a new FDA commissioner was appointed and overrulled the review board allowing aspartame to be used in food. Want to take a guess who he started working for after he left the FDA? Yep, he started working for Searle’s public relations firm. Congress began to prosecute Searle for giving the government false information, but the attorneys assigned to the case chose not to proceed. Not to sound repetitive, but they also landed jobs with Searle’s law firm.

In 1996, the FDA approved aspartame without restrictions and without public notice.

Health Benefits
Although aspartame supporters argue that the chemical is useful in the management of diabetes, studies show otherwise. Not eating sugar is really what helps manage diabetes, not eating chemically sweetened products made from aspartame. Heroin doesn’t cause lung cancer, but is it really a good replacement for cigarettes?

Health Hazards
Numerous studies have shown a link between aspartame and brain tumors. There are more than 90 different side effects from aspartame consumption ranging from headaches and dizziness to memory loss and seizures. Aspartame is directly linked to weight gain and causes formaldehyde accumulation in the body. (Thing of high school biology.) More than 75% of complaints to the FDA are aspartame related. Aspartame has also been linked to birth defects. Sadly, the FDA must not be informed of any of these studies. Their official position is:
Since it was first approved for use in the United States, the safety of aspartame has been questioned by some. To date, however, the agency has not been presented with scientific information that would support a change in our conclusions about the safety of aspartame. Those conclusions are based on a detailed review of a large body of information, including more than 100 toxicological and clinical studies regarding the sweetener’s safety.
Good luck trying to track down any of those 100 studies, though. Their website turned up very little information of aspartame. And, um, what about the hundreds of studies I found after a quick search on Google Scholar?

The Bottom Line
Aspartame is obviously bad stuff. If you are wondering why the FDA would approve something so dangerous, remember that it’s a $1 billion industry.

Whether or not you believe the hype on either side of the debate, the important fact is that aspartame is NOT food. Aspartame is a chemical. Apples don’t have aspartame. Eggs don’t have aspartame. Spinach doesn’t have aspartame. Sodas do have aspartame. Processed foods do have aspartame. Candies do have aspartame. I don’t think you need a scientific study (or goverment organization) telling you which diet is healthier.

I swear it's my last one.


Note:  This blog post is not all-inclusive.  It's a truncated review that points out what I find important.  Please do your own research if you feel mine is lacking!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bad Habits

The theory is that it takes 3 weeks to form a habit so it makes sense that it would take 3 weeks to break a bad habit, right?

Oh goodness, do I have some bad habits that need breaking.

Normally, I eat fairly healthy. I don’t care whether or not high fructose corn syrup is bad for you because I don’t eat it. It’s not food. If it has more than 5 ingredients or it has an ingredient I recognize from my chemistry class, I just don’t eat it. Lately, I’ve been slipping though.

I have a small caffeine problem. I am a Red Bull addict. When I got pregnant, I stopped drinking it for a few months, but my OB recommended picking it back up because I was getting the WORST headaches. But now, with a new baby and little sleep, I find myself reaching for 2 or 3 a day. This isn’t good. Red Bull is full of CRAP. I drink the sugar-free stuff but it’s not like that’s any better. Aspartame. Acesulfame potassium. Both of these chemicals have been linked to numerous health problems such as cancer and obesity. (More on that topic later.) Plus, it’s expensive. I can get it at the commissary for about $1.50, but you can pay as much as $2.50 for a small can at other stores. That’s about $100 a month! Man, I can think of a lot better things to spend a hundred bucks on.

My second bad habit is… diet soda. (Yes, I supposed Red Bull is technically soda, but still.) During my hard-core World of Warcraft days, I was going through about 6 12-packs a week of soda. My desk looked like a recycling center. I don’t remember when, how, or why, but I stopped drinking soda. Ok, maybe I didn’t actually stop because any time I eat out or get fast food, I get a Diet Coke, but I wasn’t drinking 10+ cans a day. Yet, for some reason, I’ve been buying soda at the store again and my desk now looks like a recycling center. Soda is bad! In addition to the chemicals in Red Bull, the acid in soda leeches calcium out of your body. I can only imagine how good that is for a nursing mother with joint problems and a family history of osteoporosis.

Next up — candy. Mmmmm, candy. I have a sweet tooth. If it’s sweet or made of chocolate, I’ll eat it. I got really fussy for a while and wouldn’t eat anything that was less than the most expensive gourmet chocolate (which isn’t bad because you can only afford so much of that stuff), but lately, I’ve been binging on crap. I’ve eaten BAGS of white chocolate truffles over the last few weeks. I haven’t counted, but I would say at least a dozen. I’ve been eating crappy candy bars almost daily. I’ve been picking in Kaelin’s candy stash more than I should. I’ve eaten so many black jelly beans that I felt sick.

Finally, I’m a fast food fiend. I hate this because I don’t even like most of the fast food I eat. McDonald’s is terrible on so many levels, but there I am sitting in the drive-thru. Actually, I’ve been doing much better with fast food recently than I have in the past. I used to eat it 3+ meals a day and my cholesterol levels were scary high for someone in their 20s. Now, I’m only getting it once every couple of days, but that’s still too much considering that I don’t even like how it tastes. Seriously, when I was still married to my first husband, we were spending about $1000 a month on fast food. We NEVER ate at home. Now, Jason and I have a $100 a month limit on eating out, and I would much rather go to a decent restaurant every now and then instead of giving the money to a stupid clown face.

Four bad habits (at least, 4 that I’m focusing on for now). Four bad habits of which I’m getting rid. It’s going to be painful and Jason doubts that I can do it, but for the next three weeks — no Red Bull, no soda, no candy or chocolate and no fast food. Twenty-one days. I know that in moderation, none of my habits are particularly bad, but I’m not a very moderate person. If I have candy, I’m going to eat the whole bag. If I have a case of Red Bull, I’m going to drink it over a couple of days.

Then, after 3 weeks, when I kick this challenge’s ass, Jason will owe me. BIG.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hello, 5 AM

As I was lying in bed this morning, I was mentally writing today’s post. It started something like this:

“I feel like a failure. My workout clothes are neatly laid out, my shoes are at the door, and my iPod is charged, but I just can’t do it. I can’t get dressed and go run. I’m tired. It’s early. I didn’t sleep well. The baby was up less than an hour ago to nurse. It’s cold. It’s dark. I’ll do it tonight.”

Screw that. I got up, put my shoes on, and ran.

It wasn’t long. It wasn’t fast. It wasn’t far. But I did it.

The feeling of accomplishing something, something that is hard and that most people don’t do (I mean, really… how many runners are out there at 5:00 AM compared to 5:00 PM?), is so much better than an extra 9 minutes of sleep.

Hello, 5:00 AM. I kicked your ass today. See you Wednesday!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Harper Grace is Here

This post comes a little bit late, but it’s very hard to type when you have the most adorable little baby craving attention. Harper is two weeks old today after a very surprising appearance (a quick 2 hour labor followed by an unplanned home delivery). She’s doing well, and the whole family is just in love with her.  (Click here for her birth story.)



Unfortunately, I gained more than I had hoped with this pregnancy — 50 lbs! I lost 14 of that at the hospital, then another 13 during our first week home. So even though I’ve lost 27 lbs so far, I still have another 23 to go just to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight (and 60 lbs total to get to my goal.) I haven’t “dieted” yet because I’m breastfeeding and cutting calories can interfere with your milk supply, but now that Harper is getting the hang of it and gaining weight well, I’m thinking about trying Weight Watchers.

Numbers on the scale aside, I’m really nervous about my actual fitness level. I stopped running in October and stopped going to the gym altogether in December when my shoes stopped fitting. Apparently, they frown upon working out in flip flops. I’m not supposed to do any vigorous activity for another month, but light exercise is okay, so starting tomorrow, I’m going to be doing the C25k program… again. It feels weird not being able to run for a minute since less than a year ago, I ran a half marathon with no problems. I know I have to start somewhere, but I’m really worried I won’t get my endurance back in time for the Marine Corps Marathon in October. Registration is in April, so I need to figure it out and fast! Sadly, I can’t get back in the gym due to child care issues, so I’m going to be doing 30DS every other day until I can start P90X next month with my husband. I’ve never had much luck working out at home, but I don’t really have many other options.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Storm of the Century

Well, not quite, but Charleston, South Carolina actually has snow.  Not just flurries, but actual accumulation.  It's not much and I'm sure it will be gone by the afternoon.  Get this though -- the roads are COMPLETELY clear, yet everywhere is closed.  I guess after living in Kansas for so long and growing up in West Virginia, this is just weird to me.

The snow only lasted for a few hours before it melted, but it sure was pretty. 

Thankfully, she still had her winter outerwear from Kansas.

Scout didn't have nearly as much fun as Kaelin.




Monday, February 8, 2010

Welcome, Harper Grace

I woke up from a nap having contractions. They were irregular, but fairly intense so Jason and I figured that tonight would be the night. We had planned to spend most of the labor at home watching movies and relaxing with the techniques we learned in our Bradley class.


Unfortunately, I wound up chained to my toilet. I started having really bad diarrhea, and every time I would get up, I felt like I needed to go again. Half an hour after my contractions started, my water broke. Even though I had been in labor for less than an hour, we decided to go ahead and call the doctor. He told us to head to the hospital and he’d meet us there.

Jason and Kaelin started taking our bags out to the car, but shortly after my water broke, the contractions really picked up. They were still irregular, but coming between every 1 and 5 minutes. Jason was trying to get me to relax, but I just couldn’t stand to be touched. I was leaning over the bathtub thinking that there was no way I’d be able to have a natural birth because the pain was just way too much. There may have been some screaming involved.

 
I finally make it downstairs when I get the urge to go to the bathroom again. I figured the hospital was half an hour away so I better go before we leave. I sat down on the toilet and realized that it wasn’t a bowel movement coming out. I yelled for Jason who walked into the bathroom to find me crowning on the toilet. He asked Kaelin to get some towels and the video camera then made me squat on the floor holding onto his shoulders for support. I kept trying to sit back down, but he wouldn’t let me. While I was squatting, the baby’s head came out without any pushing. One push for the shoulders and less than two hours after labor started, she was here!

Thankfully, she didn’t have any emergency issues when she was born. She came out screaming, was pink, and tried to nurse right away. Jason called the paramedics because our hospital was more than 30 minutes away and it was rush hour in Charleston. They came, cut her cord, and put us in the ambulance. Of course, it was raining, and they didn’t give me time to put a robe on, but we made it to the hospital in one piece.


Looking back, I realize that we got the birth we wanted. There was no medical intervention, at least not until after she was born. Jason got to catch the baby (something our OB refused on our birth plan) and it was just our family to welcome her into the world.

You can view Harper's birth video here.  (Note:  It's a birth video.  If you don't want to see a baby coming out of a vagina, don't watch it.)